Where is God in the suffering of a mentally ill person? What happens to the soul when the mind is ill? How are Christians to respond to mental illness? In this brave and compassionate book, theologian and priest Kathryn Greene-McCreight confronts these difficult questions raised by her own mental illness--bipolar disorder. With brutal honesty, she tackles often avoided topics such as suicide, mental hospitals, and electroconvulsive therapy. Greene-McCreight offers the reader everything from poignant and raw glimpses into the mind of a mentally ill person to practical and forthright advice for their friends, family, and clergy.
The first edition has been recognized as one of the finest books on the subject. This thoroughly revised edition incorporates updated research and adds anecdotal and pastoral commentary. It also includes a new foreword by the current Archbishop of Canterbury and a new afterword by the author.
Shortly after the birth of her second child, Greene-McCreight fell into a deep depression that lasted on and off for several years. Five years later she was diagnosed as bipolar, "a disease that scuttles between depression and mania." With mental illness so severe that she was hospitalized five times, she nevertheless continued to work as an Episcopal priest and theologian, wrestling with questions that therapists rarely broach but that Christian sufferers can't help asking: If all of God's intentions for us are good, why do we suffer? What is the relationship between mental illness and sin? Is the "dark night of the soul" different from depression? Will God forgive suicide? By means of personal story, theological reflection and practical suggestions for caregivers, Greene-McCreight takes readers into her mind as she plunges from frantic ecstasy ("Gorgeous exotic turbulent swirls of snow. Magic. The world tingles. My brain sparkles, all things connect") to profound despair ("the absence so present you can feel it, taste it, sometimes even heaven forbid, see it and hear it of the good"). With firm but never facile faith, she offers hope to Christians with mental illness and understanding to those who live and work with them.