Hey, by now you’ve probably listened to our interview with Joy. In an attempt to further the conversation, I’m gonna listen to each episode and add some thoughts and questions. If it’s helpful, great. If not, we may axe this! It’s random, but here we go:
Shame: Here we go again. If there is one thread I’ve noticed throughout many/most of our episodes, it’s shame. We don’t talk about it enough as a society. It controls us, and it destroys us. Shame is the worst. Mental health only compounds the shame many of us can feel in religious systems. Sometimes that’s very intentional, and other times, maybe not so much.
Meds: I know big pharma sucks, and is super corrupt. I know that natural is always better IF there is a natural product that’s scientifically proven to be as good a supplement. I also know that combinations of exercise and diet for some can help. But damnit. We need to end any stigma around people having to take medication for any form of mental illness. Medication (anti-depressants) very literally saved my life. I know that isn’t true for everyone, but for many, medication is exactly what is needed to even boost start the brain into feeling better. Take your meds, without guilt or shame. It’s not “unnatural”. It’s beautiful and crucial to many peoples survival. Thanks Joy for reminding us of this!
“Mental health is a fad in society”: Wow. Ain’t that the truth sometimes. Hashtags are nice and all, but we need to listen to how each other’s unique mental health challenges impact their lives.
Sometimes dealing with other people’s trauma can actually hurt us more than we realize. Blair and I have realized that recently, and that doesn’t mean we should ever stop listening to and caring for others, but SELF CARE is soooo important!
“The internal shame clock… it never turns off”: blair … 😬
“I’m just a little bit OCD” isn’t a thing: We need to stop downplaying and trivializing it. By we, I mean me. Because I didn’t understand it, I have misspoke and misrepresented OCD. I will do my best to do better from here on out!
Exposure response therapy: has anyone else experienced this? Sounds awful. Makes sense in a controlled setting, but also terrifying. Can we do exposure therapy with Dave? Nope. Nevermind.
Joy clarifies that God didn’t give her OCD to test or train her: AMEN!
If you hear this episode and are familiar with the enneagram, do you think any one number fits with some of the fear based thoughts associated with OCD? I have thoughts, but curious if anyone else is tracking. I blab about it a little bit.
Functional: People may have disabilities which may be invisible, but are JUST as hard and life-changing to deal with as visible disabilities. Thanks Joy for reminding us of this! We never know what people are going through.
Moral Scrupulosity: Hmmm. I bet this one is more common than I would’ve originally expected.
“The whole point of it is that we are free from the obligation to be perfect”: ❤️❤️❤️
Joy finds her peace in Jesus. Follow up…how? How can we truly find peace in Jesus? What does that look like?
Prayer to fix mental illness: Stop. Please stop. If it’s helpful to you, use it, but please please please, don’t point to prayer as THE solution to mental health struggles.
Church: Learn and teach about mental health challenges so that people aren’t uncomfortable engaging and loving on those who are hurting.
Walking away from her inherited faith is what ended up saving her faith. This is far far far more common than most will admit. This is why Christians need to stop panicking if someone “walks away”. It’s not a scary thing. It’s actually healthy and how many build something less toxic and more personal in its place.
Please, please, please, everyone take every opportunity available to call Blair “St. Blair”.
Joy hints that we will talk about it another time… her Hindu husband. The man is a wonderful human. This has a history of being taboo in many Christian circles, for a Christian to marry someone who isn’t equally “yoked”. We want to share with you all how unfair and judgmental that bias is. We plan to share that chat with you at some point!
The Bethel daughter: This is where I really struggle to say much (but watch how much I’m about to say about it haha). This one is hard. You can google the story if you don’t know what I’m talking about. I really struggle with how some folks deal with prayer. Prayer is very personal, and so I don’t think there is a way to “pray” or talk with the Divine. I more mean what we put on prayer and miracles. I’m not saying they are wrong and I’m right. I just lived a lifetime of absolute disillusionment in regards to prayer and what I believed God could do IF I prayed or believed. I somehow experienced two instances of miraculous healing in my life at points that I felt no confidence in God or God’s love for me. Then, I’ve seen over and over and over absolute heartbreak and situations of “evil winning”. Things that if God ordains, God’s a horrible asshole. Anyways, I’m also currently reading a book called “God Can’t” by Thomas Jay Oord. It’s fascinating, and healing in what it does for some of those theological “stumbling blocks”. That’s a lot of shame, and abuse for people to go through to believe that it’s their faith level or closeness to God that dictates whether or not someone is healed.
Anyways, Bethel (whom I struggle significantly with for other reasons) has a couple in leadership (?), and their infant daughter tragically died. They started praying, even well after the body was in the morgue, and as a community, and with millions of folks around the world praying for this girl to “wake up”. This sucks to say, but I don’t think God works that way. Has God raised folks from the dead in history (or as the bible tells us)? Maybe. I believe with at least one little rascal i hold in high regard, and another that said rascal also was directly involved in. Thing is, I don’t think God just randomly selects a few folks to raise from the dead, no matter how hard people pray.
I know that probably angers some people a lot, and I’m sorry, as that’s not my intent, BUT here’s the second part>>>
If my child died, I would pray with the devotion and conviction that all the monks over human history combined have ever prayed, that God would raise my child for even a moment more with me. I don’t blame the parents, nor the community, nor Christians for praying for that. If there was a 0.0001% chance that I could bring them back if that 1 extra prayer was added to the already massive cloud of witnesses who’ve prayed, by asking for others to pray?!?! I’d do it. That’s not the problem.
It’s a tough situation, and I don’t know fully “where I land”, just that my heart breaks for that family and community. I just wanted to add some thoughts on the situation as Blair brought it up, and I didn’t speak up then!
-check on family too!
-Joy is super duper courageous in sharing her story. Thanks Joy!!!
-you can have Jesus AND a pill too, AND a therapist too. Let’s end that stigma.
-Final Question: How can we use what we’ve learned from Joy to make the world, especially our own world, more loving and inclusive?