Rant: Religion is Not a Cure for Mental Illness

Disclaimer: I am an atheist. I’m out and loud about my atheism. However, this post isn’t about my beliefs or your beliefs. It’s about some’s ignorant beliefs when it comes to mental illness and mental health.

 

This rant is about a type of toxic positivity

(Check out the article, linked above)

I read a great article the other day on the subject by Natasha Tracey over at her website, Bipolar Burble. I highly suggest you read her thoughts on the subject because I relate to her attitude towards positivity BS.

So, what is toxic positivity?

Psychology Today defines toxic positivity as “the concept that keeping positive, and keeping positive only, is the right way to live your life.  It means only focusing on positive things and rejecting anything that may trigger negative emotions.”

Too much positivity turns into toxic positivity. There’s a lack of empathy towards the person struggling.

It’s being told that what worked for one person with mental illness should work for you too.

This state of mind can be deadly for so many battling mental illnesses, from anxiety to schizophrenia.

Go for a walk, think positive, exercise, take this MLM supplement.

I know some of these coping techniques can aid in positive mental health. However, none of these suggestions are a cure for mental illness.

So, where does religion come into play?

I have seen so many memes, so many Facebook posts, so many social media comments telling people who are struggling that if they just find Jesus and think positive, they’ll be healed.

I call complete bull-fucking-shit.

Not only are these comments annoying but they can hurt people. They do, in fact, hurt people.

I will restrain myself from ranting about other aspects of Christian propaganda (which is very hard for me to do) but this needs to stop.

Whether you believe in God or Jesus, they do not heal mental illness. They don’t take away the trauma you’re holding on to. They don’t prevent mood swings. They don’t stop hallucinations.

These comments insinuate that when you’re struggling, you shouldn’t see a professional nor should you consider medication. Because JESUS will save you. It’s infuriating.

When people are fed toxic positivity, they don’t get help for years. That’s what happened to me, though my story didn’t revolve around religion. Or they end up committing suicide.

Ignorant comments like these are, in fact, causing death.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure religion helps those who are religious and struggling. But religion is NOT a substitute for professional health.

I don’t care if someone has good intentions. There’s no time for ignorance in mental health. Too many are dying by suicide or overdoses or both.

We have the internet and mental health is such an important topic. There’s no excuse for ignorance.

Why do we live in a world where it’s only considered serious if someone is in psychosis, hallucinating, or are already dead?

This happened to my mom recently. She was also told if she didn’t like the skeleton aesthetics, she wouldn’t be depressed. Are you kidding me?!

/rant

Side Notes:

  • My therapist loaned me Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson. So far, it’s a great read and hits home a bit too hard. I highly recommend it.
  • I have been following the Onision/Greg Jackson dilemma on YouTube. This man is abhorrent but these females are getting justice. That’s beautiful. I’m so invested in it because (I wasn’t groomed like a few) I was emotionally abused by an ex. My ex wasn’t as bad but some of these females’ stories hit home so hard because they were much too familiar. If you don’t know what’s going on, check it out. He’s a YouTube star that’s taken advantage of his platform to both groom teenage girls and to manipulate his girlfriends (and wives) throughout the years.
  • I’m seriously considering opening a YouTube channel on mental health. It could be a passing interest or it could turn into something more. I’m not sure. Opinions?

Love as Always,

Casey Elizabeth ❤

 

44 thoughts on “Rant: Religion is Not a Cure for Mental Illness”

  1. Dear Casey,

    I can relate. When I practiced Christianity I struggled with severe OCD and was told by fellow Christians that “Every Christian is going through what I am.” I was given a book that talked about a spiritual ‘cure’ for OCD. My Bipolar Disorder was dismissed thoroughly, and my hallucinations were dismissed as ‘dreams.’ There was one particular nasty ‘brother’ who went on condemning me and treating me with the scantest respect. Hell, he didn’t treat me as a fellow human being, let alone a Christian. Today, I no longer practice Christianity, and have made peace with my eventual damnation for not doing so. There’s also this movement in some charismatic churches where mental illness is frowned upon as being demonic. And don’t get me started on the saccharine ‘positive’ posts. They’re all bullshit. Every day is a f***ing struggle, but stay strong and fight my friend. I will too.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Some years back when I first became a mental health nurse, I found nurses sitting at patient bedsides quoting God and Jesus and saying stupid things like “God will make you better my child.” or “You must have been bad in another life – God knows! But if you listen to God now…….” I despised these nurses and told them, in no uncertain times, “put your damn bibles away and leave them in your locker. Religion has no place here.” Eventually, all bibles, all religion was banned. It took a while for the Hospital Trust to take it on board but – they did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s crazy to me. There was that one girl that was “exorcized” from “demons”. She ended up dying from not eating because it was obvious she had numerous mental health issues, including anorexia. Instead of getting their daughter professional help, they got her a preist. It blows my mind that even after cases like these and that fact that it’s 2019, people still believe this BS will cure mental illness.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Amen to this! And it’s unfortunate, because religion could potentially play a positive role as a source of hope and community support, but any positive gets buried under the onslaught of ignorance and BS.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Casey, I think starting your own Youtube channel would certainly be an interesting and informative way to channel all you have to say about mental illness.
    Like this very subject your writing about… You are quite passionate about, get out there and voice it. I’d watch it for sure!!!
    Somewhat, on a different note: I myself do believe in God, however I don’t rely on him to take care of my mental health.
    I do in fact try to think positive, more or less… I’m optimistic.
    That being said, I don’t think I’m a toxic person because of what I write about or how I write about something.
    There’s a fine line drawn here… I have a mental illness, I seek professional help, I’m on medication, I try desperately to maintain a good attitude, and I do pray at times, (Not always) but, at times I do ask for help and/or guidance…I find comfort in that. I certainly wouldn’t give all my issues over to God to fix because reality check, it ain’t gonna happen.
    Either way, people are going to do things their way, whether it’s good or bad.
    Back to the Youtube channel… I really think it would be a great forum for you. I say go for it!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t consider you to have toxic positivity. I think it ties in with the stigma on mental illness, that what’s wrong with you is inherently your fault so you should fix it by yourself, instead of getting help. It’s ideas like these that end up hurting people. My best friend Andy grew up in a strict religious home with his dad. I think these types of things were beat into him, so he never got help. He ended up committing suicide in 2013. There’s nothing wrong with positivity in itself or believing in God. It’s how it’s utilized. This lady straight told my mom because she wears leggings with skulls, that’s why she was depressed. I wasn’t trying to offend anyone that believes in God so I hope I didn’t offend you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What happened to you friend is horrendous and should have never happened.
        I have a follower that claims that God is the only cure for her, and that she plans on writing a book about it.
        Meanwhile, the poor thing really does need medical care.
        LOL! I have leggings with skulls, and they don’t depress me. In fact, I love them because they have many colors and go with anything. Hahaha!!!
        You haven’t offended me in the least, Casey. It takes an awful lot to offend me. WE’re all good!!! 😍😘

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I love that stuff! Everyone thinks I’m weird because of it. Lmao. When I was a kid I wasn’t scared by monsters but that I was gonna be kidnapped, after watching John Walsh’s show. Serious. It’s awesome we aren’t the only ones! I got it from my mom. Lol.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is. Depression & anxiety are starting to become mainstream and slowly accepted. But if you have bipolar or schizophrenia or ADHD or OCD, there’s something horribly wrong with you and it’s your fault. So positive thoughts should cure you. I could go on for days about this subject. Lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m totally with you on this! I hate when people try to bring religion into everything. Just today, someone told me that the reason I have vaginismus is because I was meant to be celibate and that I’m breaking god’s wishes by trying to overcome my condition. I wanted to give them a proper “Fuck You!” but just deleted their comment and didn’t give them the time of day. If people are religious, that’s fine, but don’t try to shove your beliefs down my throat or be complete assholes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omg, that’s awful! Who says something like that?! You’re right about people shoving religion down people’s throats. Like when they say God has a reason when young children die of cancer, etc. It’s hurtful, regardless of the person’s intentions.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This really resonates with me. I have been to the psych ward many times and have had to sit through many lectures masquerading as group therapy about positive thinking. I believe positive thinking is a bandaid on a bullet wound. All it does is shame good people who are doing their best. I’ve heard different manifestations of positive thinking. I’ve sat through “growth mindset” trainings. It’s the same thing. I call this brainwashing. Negative thinking takes on a power and a life of its own when a person is isolated and alienated. Negative thinking in and of itself is not dangerous. I don’t even think suicidal thoughts are dangerous. It’s just that society has heaped so much mystery and fear and stigma on the dark parts of the mind – they fester in solitude. These thoughts and feelings don’t need to be suppressed or rejected. They need to be validated and expressed and held up to the sun and the air so these wounds can heal. That takes time and it takes love, understanding and care from the people who support the mentally ill. And for me, I’m probably going to be this way for the rest of my life. I’m not thinking in terms of curing anymore. All of these “cures” have exhausted me. So this world is going to have to suck it up. I’m done being told I’m not trying hard enough to be positive. I’m going to be myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s a terrible thing to say. I am a bible believer and it’s offense when people make God out to be the reason for people’s suffering or sickness. It’s a lie in his word, he says, “When being tried, let no one say, “I’m being tried by God.” For with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone”, James 1:13.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As someone who is very much religious, I wholeheartedly agree. When my intrusive thoughts first came about, I tried to “pray it away.” While I personally believe in the power of prayer, I really discovered then that treating prayer like some medicine for my mental health was extremely toxic. I really appreciate your raising awareness of the fact that religion is not a cure for mental illness.

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