According to MayoClinic.com,
Schizophrenia is a group of severe brain disorders in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking and behavior. The ability of people with schizophrenia to function normally and to care for themselves tends to deteriorate over time. Contrary to some popular belief, schizophrenia isn't split personality or multiple personality. The word "schizophrenia" does mean "split mind," but it refers to a disruption of the usual balance of emotions and thinking. Schizophrenia is a chronic condition, requiring lifelong treatment.
Schizophrenia sweeps into lives of sufferers and their family members and won’t let go.
David received the news that his condition was chronic from one of many professionals he has seen. As the doctor scribbled notes and flipped through pages in David’s chart, David contemplated suicide and wondered about the eternal consequences of that decision. David asked,
“Doctor, it has been three years. Will I ever get better?”
He paused for a moment and stared at his notes.
“David, you need to think about what level of better you can live with.”
“What do you mean?”
“Just that you need to accept that you will always be this way.”
David and his family tried various treatments including medication, counseling, and electroconvulsive therapy, of which he received twice as many sessions as most people get. But they didn’t help much.
Even though the world’s brightest minds have tried for over a century to find effective treatments for people with schizophrenia, it remains “a chronic condition, requiring lifelong treatment.” Sadly, many of us Christians forget this fact and treat people with mental illnesses as if the disorder can be cured quickly and easily. Though some fellow churchgoers have been supportive, others in David’s life have given him quick and unhelpful “diagnoses” – lack of faith, unconfessed sin, not Christlike enough, secretly gay. David says, “As a Christian, I wish fellow churchgoers would refrain from passing judgment and recommending a fix after two minutes of conversation.”
As brothers and sisters of our gracious Savior, we can do better than this. Let’s listen together to the wisdom of this fellow believer who lives with schizophrenia, and to others who live with it. Let’s refrain from passing judgment on people who live with mental illnesses and their family members. Let’s not give easy answers, which hurt and do not help. Let’s come alongside people, listen, learn, and love more deeply.