My Illness Does Not Define Me; My Relationship with Jesus Does Print
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 09 August 2012 08:00

Here's a moving, beautifully written article by Anthony Shefter about his experience of mental illness and his Catholic faith. Anthony was part of the Institute's original trio of staff (including Fr. Michael Sweeney and I) back in Seattle.

It was during our first year that his illness began to manifest. This is a man who has lived faith, gratitude, and abandonment to God as has his family. If you come from a family or are in a family or have friends plagued with mental illness, this will resonate.

A few snippets:

"Whatever you call it, I’m crazy as a hoot owl on hormone therapy. When I am not on my meds, I take off in the middle of the night to go wander the streets; I listen to voices telling me to do things that are a really bad idea (like leave the restaurant without paying); I hallucinate; and sometimes I freeze up like the tin man in a rain storm, and stand stock still for an hour at a time. My most superlative exploit? Sliding under the back gate of the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, and then commanding God to set the prisoners free."

"My Catholic faith gets me through everything. I know that I am a human person who has value, despite consistently underperforming in almost every job I’ve had in the last 13 years, and there have been many. I am not a “mentally-ill person” or a “schizophrenic”; I am a human person who struggles with mental illness. My illness does not define me; my relationship with Jesus does. "


Read it all and pass it on to someone who might be encouraged.  If you are encouraged, drop Anthony a line and let him know.