I deal with a lot of health care practitioners – I have a serious, incurable mental illness. (Bipolar, along with OCD and ADD). Before my diagnosis I played around with different things to help my depression – Rescue Remedy, that I became psychologically addicted to, St John’s Wort, which I never remembered to take, and therapists.
Once I was diagnosed with depression I was adamant that I would never need drugs for my illness, and if I’d just cowboy up it would go away. We were talking about a “major depressive disorder.” Years later when I received a more accurate diagnosis they admitted me to the hospital and started putting me on medications. [spoiler] Five years later I take at least eleven pills a day. [/spoiler] I see a therapist every couple of weeks and when I need it I go to group therapies. One of the groups I was a part of was called Dialectial Behavior Therapy (DBT) It is based on Buddhist teachings, although I believe it never fell in to heresy.
I think the “heresy” is where my long ole post fits in. In the groups, we studied mindfulness, learned to avoid black and white thinking and radical acceptance. These are a part of Zen Buddhism. While nothing in the class offended me, I did read a book by one of the speakers that I thought was repugnant. He repeatedly and purposefully used the Bible out of context to prove that all religious teachings espoused the same thing. It was frustrating and I am at the point I cannot take any of his teachings graciously because he so offended my faith. Now, if his messages totally turned my life around, I may not be so quick to kick him to the curb, but ultimately I believe that someone so spiritually lost is not someone I want to take spiritual advice from, even if the temptation was great. If he were a psychiatrist, though, that would be different. My psychiatrist is from the Middle East and shared with me that she meditated, but we didn’t discuss it further. It’s not appropriate, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that she is an excellent doctor. If she was handing out crystals and fliers inviting me to worship them with her, that would be different, but she’s not.
All of this medicine that I am about to take is taken by someone who eschewed aspirin. Sometimes, when I get tired of it, I think, why do I do this? And the answer is, because you are going to die if you don’t.
I do want to be healed, most of the time. Bipolar can cave in on you if you’re not very careful. I am not willing to deny Jesus to do it, though. I think there are all kinds of practitioners that can do great work but I would not be willing to set aside my beliefs or relationship with God to have it done. I’m not passive, I just don’t want to be a part of it. I want my end of the equation to ultimately glorify God. For some reason I am thinking of that old “psychic surgery” scene in the end of the Man on the Moon movie. He has incurable, un-treatable cancer and he flies around the world for a “miracle.” http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=xy53Un2AXpU (work safe) He sees that there is no miracle to be found.
I’m looking for a point to everything I just wrote. I suppose it’s this. I went far looking for help for myself. The best way for me to help myself was with medication and therapy – both decidedly “Western” although the medication more than the therapy. I also needed the body of Christ is work towards being well – that’s a Universal idea, right? I’m not ever going to be 100% well on this side of paradise, but I know that Western medication is going to push me along that path. Medication can be miraculous too, right?