Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On Religion and Mental Illness and sympathy for the Devil

A blog friend of mine who also suffers from bipolar is going through a tough spot in this holly jolly fucking season. She had this to say regarding her family:
They all belong to 2 schools of thougth: 1) If you have a mental illness it’s because you aren’t a Christian & will be al better if you ask Jesus into your heart. 2) Pull up your boot straps & march on!! Well, I was a Christian & experienced both mania & depression, I did as a teen, too; my point is that my mental illness was not healed when I became a Christian. The fact that they don’t acknowledge mental illness both hurts & infuriates me, yet I’m sure part of the reason they dismiss anything I say is because they’d say I’m mentally ill.
I was inspired to reply:
I know just what you mean about the Christian thing. I was raised Catholic. With all love and respect due to the wonderful, benevolent, enlightened soul Jesus, I cannot stand the dogma of the Christian churches. I first attempted suicide while I was still a devout Catholic. I got a lot of the Bootstrap philosophy growing up too. Best not tell anyone you have mental problems or you’ll never get a job. Nobody wants to hire a nut case. Believe me, I heard it often. Well, fuckemall!

I didn't mention this because it wasn't relevant to the post, but I have also gotten this gem from both Christians and New Age types:
Mental illness is caused by demons. If you just exorcise the demons, you'll be ok.
I actually believe in the existence of demons. However, it's like giving coffee to a drunk. What you have is an awake drunk. If you exorcise a mentally ill person, what you have is a mentally ill person who is freed from the influence of demons for a time. They are still mentally ill.
Demons tend to seek out those whose auras are weakened, and the self-esteem deficits that come part and parcel with mental illness open weak spots in the aura and put out a welcome sign for the demons, who then proceed to mentally torture the unfortunate soul. This is why flirting with the darker sides of mysticism tend to be dangerous from anyone who suffers from mental illness. While a perfectly mentally stable and highly adept magician might be able to have a positive experience conversing with a demon, most of us would be advised to avoid such discourses.
Unfortunately, the Dark Arts tend to draw persons who are mentally unstable (myself included in my younger days) because a) our life has been shit in many ways and b) we want a positive change and FAST, and the more benevolent magicks tend to take longer to work.
It was my son who postulated Satan as a positive force as far as the workings of the Universe, but one to be reckoned with very cautiously. He stated that in his view, Satan is a trickster deity. He presents people with temptations and answers their wishes. However, if these wishes are selfish in nature (which the majority of them are) they will lead to the downfall of the person making the wish.
Satan, by the way, does not possess people. He has no need to do so. People will fuck themselves over quite well all on their own. It is various minor demons that possess people. These feed on the misery of their victim.
As trickster deities go, I once called on Loki to shake things up in my incredibly miserable life. I was 23 and had been in a severe depression for about a year. I felt I had nothing to lose. Fortunately, for whatever reason, Loki seems to be kindly disposed towards me. I don't ask him for anything unless I really mean it. I am inclined to believe that he may have played a part in bringing me into partnership with a certain Norse spectre with whom I write books.
The mills of the Gods grind slow, but they grind exceeding fine.

A replica of a carving of the god Loki featured on a stone furnace shield. Loki is the patron gods of blacksmiths. If you are a blacksmith or just like Loki, get your stone shield here.
The only thing that could make it cooler is if Loki would autograph it. Because I'm a doofus I can just see this: "Best wishes to my friend so and so from Loki."