I was touched by this comment on the combox of my post “5 Ways Churches Can Minister to Those with Mental Illness” by Beyond Blue reader Vincent Zimmerman:
Therese, I sometimes think I must be the only person diagnosed with bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety who doesn’t find peace and security in faith. I don’t know why, but fostering a belief in a higher power has caused me nothing but misery and pain. I tried prayer, going to church, bible studies, and nothing did me any good. Different religious beliefs and practices have the same effect. Nothing feels right, nothing touches me on a personal level. I was desperate for a religious or spiritual experience that would touch my heart and point me down the right path. I no longer burn with the desire to find a higher power, because after years, even decades, of searching, I haven’t found anything but anguish and agony. I am glad that seemingly everyone but myself can find peace and solace in a higher power, that they have a support, in times of trouble, someone or some thing that provides them with strength and comfort. I envy others for this, but I’m not bitter towards them. They have something wonderful, a true blessing. I wish I could say the same for myself.
Several readers composed compassionate, compelling responses to Vincent. What would you say to him?