Why Telling Christians They Can't Take Medication for Mental Illness Is Incredibly Dangerous

(Facebook / Katie R. Dale)

Katie Dale, a speaker and blogger at BipolarBrave.com, advocates for Christians' rights to see a therapist and take medicine for mental illness.

Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 16, she says she started her blog to help raise awareness about the reality of mental illness, which for her, was hereditary. So what about Christians who say medication isn't an option?

"When you have the blues, and you're going through a dark time, or you got a stronghold going on, there is that spiritual element of warfare. But to [say] a blanket statement of 'You don't need medications' is very dangerous," Dale says. "Without the medications, just in my own personal life ... I could be dead. ... I would not be functioning, normal and healthy. ... The brain is just another organ. You can't equate the spiritual to the emotional and the mental in this sense. I think we get off track when we believe that mental illness is a spiritual-rooted thing.

"And my proof of that is that I take the medicine daily, and I don't have psychosis and I don't hear the voices speaking anymore. You know, that's proof to me enough that says, 'No, the medicine is working.' And that's there for a reason. It's the grace of God that He gave the wisdom to the scientists and the doctors, the pharmaceutical companies, to put it together. And I'm able to be prescribed it so I can work and do everything unto the Lord in a functional, healthy way. I think He wants that."

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Dale says that when she was 24, she decided to go off medication partially because a preacher she was listening to said, "If you have enough faith, you can be healed." On the Charisma News podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network, she shares how her husband and doctor didn't agree with that, but she went for it anyway. She ended up back in the hospital suffering from hallucinations and psychosis and was discouraged when no one from her church came to visit her.

"I was misguided, thinking, I'm going to be a poster child for Jesus healing me and it really blindsided me, but I ended up in the hospital again," she says. "... So where was my church at that point? We were a part of a church family ... I remember getting some one-on-one time with some friends in the church choir coming alongside me, saying, 'Hey, I see that you're suffering or you're going through this; let me pray with you.' But they didn't understand. I was having a breakdown.

"So nobody from that church actually came and visited me at the hospital, which, you know, I didn't ask them to ... but with mental illness and going into a psych hospital, it would have been so encouraging and supportive if somebody had come out and seen me in the hospital."

Nevertheless, passionate about getting the word out about mental wellness, Dale facilitated a panel at her church in which Christian counselors and pastors came to talk about it and thereby help remove the stigma surrounding mental illness in many churches.

To listen to more about how Dale is utilizing the platform God gave her to help others cope with mental illness in godly ways, hear the rest of the episode here.

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