Tag Archives: mental illness

Jesus, O.J. Simpson, and the Gospel

 

Unless you have lived the past 20 years without watching television or reading the news, you likely know who O.J. Simpson is. If you don’t know who he is and what he may or may not have done to his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, click here.

O.J. has always remained in the spotlight and on the news since he was found both guilty and not guilty for the murders of Nicole and Ronald. He presence in the news has increased as his July 20, 2017 parole hearing draws closer.

I’m not interested in O.J. Simpson per se, but I am interested in the topic of public’s ability to forgive a person who has transformed from their harmful ,dangerous, and socially destructive ways. God, Jesus, and the prophets tell us that people can indeed change their ways.

I personally believe Simpson has narcissistic personality disorder, or some type of disorder. Because I don’t have an M.D. is Psychiatry I can’t diagnose him, but I can certainly read him! The industry that I work in involves working with a population of people, most of whom have diagnosed mental illnesses including personality disorders. I have read different research and most of the literature states that those who have personality disorders cannot change, especially those we refer to as psychopaths and sociopaths.

I don’t believe O.J. will ever change his ways, simply because he can’t. There are many who would disagree with me, and I’m alright with that. There are those who believe God is powerful enough to transform anyone, including narcissists and others with personality disorders. While I do believe God is all powerful, I don’t think he works to “heal” certain disorders. God is still God and God will always remain powerful even if people die of cancer, remain in a wheelchair for life, never get to see, or live with chronic pain their entire life.

We don’t expect God to cure every physical illness, so why do so many believe He will “cure” certain mental illnesses?

I don’t know if O.J. Simpson will be paroled and if he has or ever will change his destructive ways; but what I do know is that I don’t believe he can or ever will be able to change. There are ministries all over the world where people work to serve those whose mental illnesses create a barrier to change. It doesn’t make their ministry less effective or meaningless; it’s the opposite, I think there is even more of a need for ministry to people with mental illness.

 

Chronic mental health issues often lead to unemployment, poverty, marginalization, self-medication, and social isolation. These are the situations God has called us to respond to. It’s not easy dealing with the O.J. Simpsons of the world. It is easy to remember their crimes and the many victims they have harmed; however, we also have to remember that once a person is released from prison we do not have the right to mistreat them. It can be difficult in light of the harm they have done. No one is saying take them in to your home and feed them; that would be foolish.

What we are saying is please don’t judge those of us who work with released convicts, the mentally ill who harms others, the violent, and the dangerous.  We are not there to excuse their wrongs, but we are there to treat them as humans; if we don’t, who else will? Remember, those with personality disorders might be your neighbours, bosses, spouse, co-worker, church leader, relative, or friend. Serving them with the love of God and a strong set of boundaries is the most humane and Christ like behaviour we can ever give.

 

The Joy of Celebrity Mental Illness and Breakdowns

 

credit: Maria Fitzsimons/WENN.com
credit: Maria Fitzsimons/WENN.com

Celebrities having mental health issues is not new. Every year there is a celebrity or former celebrity who announces to the world that they have a mental illness. There are also celebrities who have not yet been diagnosed with a DSM-5 condition, but I wish they would be. I hate watching famous people have mental breakdowns with the world watching as entertainment.

Our society has conditioned us not to be cruel towards those with cognitive disabilities or mental illness, but only if they are not famous or a politician. Some how I get the feeling people enjoy making fun of mentally ill celebrities because they don’t get to do so in their every day life.

Consider this:

Have you ever called a bi-polar woman you know a *&^$# @!#&*?

Would you send an email to the management team at your workplace informing them they are all sociopaths?

When a people tell you they have depression, would you look them in the face and call them an attention seeking whiner?

Source: about-face.org
Source: about-face.org

I caution people, that when they are on social media or in group conversations; be aware of how you make references towards mental illness and those who have it. I am definitely guilty of using the words “crazy”, “stupid”, “idiot”, and “dumb” on occasion. These words have been applied to all sorts of nouns in my conversations such as: “That was crazy!”, “Vegan cheese is dumb.”, “That is so stupid, why would anyone buy that?”. Over time I’ve done my best to consciously replace them with other words such as, “well alright then.”, “I see.”, “Interesting.”, or my favourite, “What the….”.

When we talk cruelly about a celebrity’s mental illness or symptoms of illness, we are not just speaking about that specific celebrity; we are unconsciously expressing how we feel about the traits of that person’s illness. No wonder people are afraid to speak openly about having been diagnosed.

Say all you want to about Kanye West and his nonsensical rants, his self-comparison’s to great achievers of the past, and his belief that he is one of the greatest humans to have ever lived; but do so knowing that he presents as possibly having a DSM-5 condition. A mentally healthy person does not behave as Kanye does. A mentally healthy person does not believe the things that Kanye West professes.

Kanye West and Jesus

We were entertained by Charlie Sheen’s mental breakdown and his tiger blood. We laughed at Jason Russell’s naked psychosis. We enjoyed Britney Spear’s bi-polar misadventures in parenthood and driving. We waited with anticipation to see what Amanda Bynes would do or wear next.

Our society needs to stop finding joy in watching other’s have mental breakdowns. The symptoms of mental illness are not for entertainment.