I was raised on testimonies of healing.
I was taught about the miraculous, Jesus healing the blind man, that meeting in South America when someone was raised from the dead, the missions in Africa where people had seen limbs re-grow and hearing restored.
I thought healing was the only answer to the question of illness, because illness was always a sign something was badly wrong in your soul or heart or the world, right?
I spent a long time waiting for the happy ending when I would stand and say I was now better. That my mental health was inviolable.
When I would proclaim the trial was over and I was through the storm.
(I know all the metaphors).
There have been many times when I wished this was the case.
I have known my fair share of nights desperate and pleading, while anxiety prowled and consumed me. I know fear, despair and hopelessness.
But I have not been healed,
and most of the time now, I am not waiting to be.
I am accepting of this new me.
Complicated. Vulnerable. Raw. (Brilliant).
Of course, this is easier for me to say today with over a year of good health where I have only experienced relatively minor skirmishes with my mental illness. It is easier for me to accept my frailty when it is not defining my life.
Ask me again when I wake with my heart pounding finding myself spiralling into the abyss, I might think differently.
(I never claimed to be consistent.)
Accepting my un-healing has been a process.
A gradual dawning.
Because there has been no overnight success story, I have had to learn to manage my mental health. This has taken time and effort.
I have gradually refined the recipe which enables me to live well. It is constantly evolving but at present consists of (among other things): long walks, being outdoors, lowering my expectations, doing less, and the anti-depressant I take every morning.
If God had healed me I wouldn’t have learned to understand and care for my body and mind. I wouldn’t have seen the beautiful necessity of self-compassion. I wouldn’t have taken responsibility for myself and made a decision to curate my own life.
But I have learnt and changed and it has been the most joyous and freeing experience.
If God had healed me I wouldn’t have become the me I am now,
(who I really like).
I feel like a completely different person to who I was ten years ago.
Learning how to live again has changed almost everything about me. My relationships are more honest, my marriage is stronger and my kids have a Mum who is open and vulnerable with them.
I have discovered my life is richer with complexity than without it.
God hasn’t healed me because my un-healing tells a better story than my healing could have.
I have often wanted the pain to be taken away. I have wanted these uncomfortable interruptions re-arranging my life and limiting my productivity to be gone for good never to return.
But then I think about who I would be now if none of this had ever happened and I shudder.
I wouldn’t, couldn’t, mustn’t ever go back.
This illness has allowed me to see the world differently and chart my own course in it.
I can see the hypocrisy and nonsense. I recognise the striving, never-enough, always-on-the-go mentality. And I don’t make excuses for it calling it necessary hard work, or ambition anymore.
Being ill has shown me I don’t have to live like that.
Being ill, or being the me that I am now, has shown me there is another way.
There is a road which leads to peace and a path which brings fulfilment and satisfaction without sacrificing my sanity, or self respect or precious relationships.
My un-healing has been my salvation.
Because of my un-healing I have been born again.
So, you read to the end.
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