Religion ≠ Treatment

stained glassWhether or not you believe in a higher power, it should be general consensus that some things are outside the hands of God. This isn’t the case for everyone, including my mother. I started exhibiting signs of mental illness early on in my life, but received no help… instead we prayed. I would pray every morning and every night. Begging to feel better, begging for relief.  By the age of 12 I was experiencing severe mental health issues and the school stepped in and put me in therapy.

My mother was still adamant that God was the only one who could heal me; my mother had become a huge barrier. My mother refused to give consent for medication even though I desperately needed it.  She fought against the appropriate treatment more and more, not realizing how ill I became because of it.  By the age of 13 I was severely self-harming and in dire need of the appropriate mental health care. My mother was still a barrier, still adamant that God was the only way, and becoming even more disruptive to my mental health needs.

I was struggling in school, I was struggling at home and there was no relief in sight. By the age of 14 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder with Psychotic Features as well as OCD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. My mother did not take these diagnoses well, saying that the voices were demons and evil spirits following me and that God could make it all go away. I became more and more ill.  At the age of 14 I attempted suicide. The lack of appropriate care had taken its toll. I spent a week in the hospital and was then released back to my mother.

Not much had changed, my mother still a barrier and I becoming severely ill. At this point DCF stepped in, my mother still in denial of my illness while I suffered. I spent 4 years in DCF care. Still set in her ways, although she has seen the progress I have made, she is still in denial of my mental health issues. I hope things had gone differently, I wish that she would understand. I guess all I wanted was my mom to see religion is not treatment and prayer is not a cure.

Maddie is a 23 year old college student and mental health advocate.

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