By Tim Fromla
Change for people who have mental health issues is tough. When I became an atheist, I had a hard time not believing in Jesus. For more than 20 years, my belief was Jesus is God, He came to earth, died, and rose on the third day to sit on the right-hand side of God, only to return, rapture people like me, and the battle between God and Satan would take place. I was too scared not to believe, so I grew accustomed to this belief and felt safe.
All this changed after I became an atheist. I became an atheist because of the racism within the Christian faith. The racism where I had to convert all the poor Africans, Asians, Latinos around the world so that they would go to Heaven. The funny thing was, there were no real missions to Europe. The racist statements and actions made by the white folks in my former denomination turned me into a bitter atheist.
With the anger and loneliness brought upon me, my mental world collapsed. The change was hard, and my anxiety turned into depression and other issues. After a few years, I became used to the change and was quite happy. Five years ago, I became a member of a U.U. church and that was not easy either, but eventually, I learned to adapt, and now I am writing this blog, coauthored a book, and seeking treatment.
Then recently, my therapist said that she would have to drop me as a client because of new responsibility, and my former psychiatrist left. People with issues have a hard time with change, but it takes time to adapt. Once the change is accepted, and there is a pattern, things go smoothly or as smooth as possible.
But change takes time.
I’ve noticed of late that people who don’t have these challenges tend to get irritated. Of course, it’s understandable, but sometimes it can be irritating. I have heard people calling folks with these challenges “retards” or “slow,” even psychotic. These adjectives are not only wrong but harmful too. I am not demanding anyone of anything, but to understand how people with mental health issues think and even feel. We don’t want your sympathy or condescending acts, but to treat us like you would treat anyone else.
With the new administration destroying our country, there will be more people seeking help. After watching the news, there were stories of people getting killed by the law enforcement, and this is of concern for many of us. When the answer to a person suffering from a breakdown is a bullet, this makes those who are ill more worried.
We are not defective, but we do need science to keep us balanced. For many of us, prayer does not work. Praying the “demons” away only work on T.V. or the movies, not in real life, and can be insulting that a man with a horn and tail sent his angels to take over our soul. Sure the green pea and head spinning are cool, but when someone has a seizure and babbles what sounds like Latin, isn’t some fallen angel taking over our body, but someone who needs treatment.
Change is tough. Have patience with those who experience change and treat those with the same respect you have for others. Unless we are a threat to others or ourselves, don’t ignore us or don’t be overbearing.