Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Learning to Self-Care and Share My Pain

On Saturday 24 February 2018, I attended a Mental Health and Healing day, organised by Guilaine Kinouani. I discovered her after I lost my job last year, and as a Black, female, highly-educated woman – educated in cultural psychology – she was the first person to validate my feelings of pain and anger towards the traumatic experiences of racism I had suffered during my Teacher Training and the detrimental impacts these had had upon my mental health and Epilepsy, as a Black woman in Britain. Guilaine specialises in radical therapy – specifically for recovering from the effects of racism. Her workshops are incredibly difficult to get onto! Because there are so many women like me suffering from the long-term impacts; there are people – especially white people, who expect me to be able to get over what has happened to me, however if I had been sexually assaulted, they wouldn’t be saying this to me and I expect the same empathy. A group of people ganged up on me, tortured me for almost a year – both physically (if you count my Epilepsy) and mentally, and then a month before I was due to qualify, made up reasons to have me suspended so that I couldn’t qualify, and I lost my job. All of this is because of the colour of my skin. All the while, I was gaslighted to the point of insanity, where I very nearly didn’t even believe my own self.

Even though I lost my job in May last year, I only stopped having nightmares about my employers a few months ago. I did not know that what I was suffering were real effects of trauma and oppression, until I discovered Guilaine on Twitter and her blog, which you can also read here. And this is also why it was so important for me to attend this SCAR4Black Women Self-Care event on 24/02. She’d been a huge part of my own self-care journey, therefore it was an honour to finally meet her in real life, but I also wanted to speak to other Black women – women I’d met on social media too.

The morning began with experiencing silence together, as Guilaine led us in a quick session of mindfulness. Now, although I’ve been to a meditation session before, this mindfulness session was different (I realise that I’m using these terms interchangeably here, but just bear with me), because we were a room full of vulnerable women, sharing slices of vulnerability with each other. I had never felt so connected while simultaneously naked with strangers before, unlike the meditation session I went to at the beginning of the month, and I believe that this is to do with the room containing only women and only Black women.

Healing Words

We then had spoken words by Hodan Yusuf, again, a woman I “know” from social media. She read the following poems: Generational Traumas, When Your Options Are Limited, I’m Not My Brother’s Keeper, Bring A Scoop of Yourself To My Table, My Brain & My Words, When My Heart When My Heart,

The Sentience of A Woman: 

I read both people and books

That quote as a fellow observer myself, as well as a Cancerian, stood out to me!

Hodan also gave us a debut of SCAR for Black Women Hashtag (Unfinished):

each time you remind yourself that you are human, is a destination/stop…

…who told us that Black women were the carers and not the cared for?

…Healing is not linear…

…I finally see me for who I am, for where I’ve come from and where I’m headed

Blow Up & Explode

I wish that more people know that no is a full sentence

This line for me, as a Black woman, really stood out.

Lullaby (beautifully sang by Hodan):

Don’t hush… you’ve been silenced for too long in an oppressive world… 

This line was the refrain from the poem, such a beautiful line, again for me as a Black woman who personally has just recently found her voice after being silenced for so long.

How Does the Law See Me? The Legal Visibility of Black Women, Intersectionality & the Law 

The next session was on Law, intersectionality and visibility, led by Kemi Labinjo, who I’d not met before. I think that this was the session that triggered my tonic seizure days afterwards (!), because it forced me to face up to the fact as a Black woman, the law will never protect me and I learnt the brutal way that equal opportunity is a myth. Social theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw reminds us that the law does not recognise intersectionality, so as a Queer, Disabled, Black Woman, I’m screwed in the world of employment. This hit me really hard. I already knew this, but when Kemi said to us:

Don’t think of of the law of being your saviour

… I went into a stupor, because Kemi specialises in discrimination law and sits on Employment Tribunal cases and she was still saying this to us. A room of Black women. And instead of imparting useless legal advice, she was advising us on what to do to protect ourselves mentally:

  • self-care
  • self-education
  • Implementation Intention, for approaching conversations about inequality at work

You have to be your own saviour. 

It was also incredible to meet women who had suffered the same/similar experiences to me, where some are too frightened to return to work. Like me. I also have my Epilepsy to contend with, however I have massive fears that I’m struggling with presently, and I’m dealing with those through private therapy because the NHS deemed me as too high-functioning; some women at this event weren’t even offered therapy – it’s disgusting.

You have to be your own saviour. 

Self-care, Religion & Spirituality

The next session was on Self-care, Religion & Spirituality, led by Samara Linton. I follow her on Twitter and I’ve also submitted a piece for her anthology on Black Mental Health: The Colour of Madness, which I’m hoping will make the final print!!! Samara is incredibly spiritual, grew up in a Christian Pentecostal home (as did I). She’s currently studying a PhD in Psychology, therefore she battles this internal turmoil between spirituality and religion. Her benefits for religion upon psychology are:

  1. Community and support
  2. Promotion of positive co-mentoring
  3. Promotion of positive well-being and there being somebody else in control at the helm (during my meltdowns, I can see the benefits!)

Her points for detrimental impacts upon psychology:

  1. Belief in a punitive god
  2. Negative encounters with peers/ leaders

However, prayer has given her a sense of practice and empowerment, teaching her that her voice matters. This is in fact, what identity through my colour has given me. Samara does identify that prayer, on the other hand has also been used to attack and belittle and degrade. This has been done over thousands of years to Black people, to disabled people, which is eventually why I had to severe my relationship with God.

When I was listening to Samara speaking about her relationship so romantically, part of me did wonder if I could possibly redefine a relationship with God?

Can I redefine religion? Punitivejust… can I redefine these words?

Can I redefine the pronouns?

Can I worship a white man

And the answer to all of these questions are… no. 

If you’re new to my blog (https://thewallflowerinwonderland.com/), then you won’t know that I was born and raised a Catholic, before my family then became born-again Pentecostal Christians, where we worshipped in Black-African churches. I then chose to worship in white-Evangelical Christian churches in my twenties. Then, before I started working for a Catholic school, I had a personal relationship with God, where I wasn’t worshipping anywhere at all. My point is, I’ve tried to redefine religion and I’ve tried to redefine “God”.

So although I respect those who continue in their faith, my answer is still no. I live a spiritual life, in tune with my surroundings and my mind. As a Christian, I was always drawn to Buddhism (it always felt like I was cheating), so it’s nice to just finally be living this way of life.

Lifting for Wellness & Healing: A Personal Testimony

This session was led by Andrea Corbett, who used to be a teacher – in fact, the Head of her Department, who then suffered a mental breakdown. She went to her GP for answers. Her GP gave her a doctors’ note and a prescription for antidepressants. She was signed off work for almost a year and was never referred for therapy. Andrea found her own therapy – changing her diet, exercising (both of which, have a profound effect upon mental health) and lifting weights.

This is not the first time I have heard a testimony from a Black woman who has gone to her GP about mental health issues and hasn’t been offered talking therapies and this is an issue with Black men in particular. Unfortunately Black people suffer racial biases when it comes to our healthcare. Racial stereotypes claim that we carry a higher pain threshold and Clinicians are more likely to diagnose Black patients with a mental health condition from the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), which is the product of white euro-centric symptoms. From this, we are diagnosed, prescribed antidepressants, rather than actually treated for symptoms, which is what talking therapies does. Thankfully, Andrea was able to find that exercise helped her mental health significantly and she never went back to teaching (I don’t blame her). She now coaches people and performs in professional body building competitions. She also recommends Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Self-compassion & Blackness Centred Self-Compassion

This session was led by the host Guiliane herself, who described self-kindness as a revolutionary act, which at first does sound hyperbolic. But when you think about the emotion of compassion, you need to be moved to act with empathy. Therefore, self-compassion is the action of taking away our own pain. However, as Black women, it is something we naturally do not do, or even think about. Even in our anger, we forget that we are feeling pain. In fact, in a room full of Black women we disassociated ourselves from the emotion of pain when talking about experiencing trauma and oppression. It was quite an ah-ha moment.

I remember when I lost my job and I was listening to Drake and Kendrick. I was so angry and in my head, I thought, “well I’m finally that angry Black woman they told me I was”. At first, I didn’t want to let the lyrics penetrate me because I didn’t want to let myself feel anything but anger, but I remember the night in the shower in our flat on Eden Grove, just off of Holloway Road, I finally decided to allow myself to feel pain and it was a different type of crying. To be self-compassionate, you need to notice when you feel pain and you also need to notice what it is doing to your body, because contrary to what Kendrick preaches (LOL), Black does crack on the inside, which is such a powerful statement because from a mental health aspect, we are decaying quicker than our white peers. Guilaine’s advice for the room was to find what brings you joy; What is going to keep you well, and practice self-care in being wise with your battles (you cannot fight everything), because:

Black joy is your liberation. 

Guilaine reminds us that not allowing ourselves as Black women to experience pain is cultural, as well as generational, because we are taught to be givers. But studies show that people who are kinder to themselves are less impulsive, have healthier relationships and are more successful.

Black Excellence Panel

The final part of the event was a panel session with the following participants:  Kiri Kankhwende, journalist, Marai Larasi, Black Feminist Activist Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, co-founder and Director of UK Black Pride (I worship this woman!), and Marsha Gosho-Oakes, a freelance writer, editor and consultant (& my new fave Black Feminist).

The panel were in agreement that Black excellence is about having the space to fail, community and accountability.

Someone in the room asked the panel to define success, and Marsha answered:

When you look around you, there is always somebody better than you. 

This is especially true when you suffer from mental health issues, which is why it’s so important to live your own life and to live your best life.

When the panel discussed excellence, they shattered my assumptions when they told us:

Excellence should not be something that we should aspire to.

Marsha added that excellence is a white standard and a white burden, which therefore doesn’t belong to us. I remember striving for excellence during my teacher training and it was a standard that I could never EVER achieve, because my employers and tutors were constantly moving the goal posts in order to dehumanise me. The panel then went on to suggest that the opposite of dehumanisation is not Black Excellence, but to set our own goals, which as a community we will then be held accountable to.

The day ended emotionally, with me hugging Guilaine and speaking one-to-one with Marsha about my family situation, because I have professional/ educational goals, which I also want to utilise to create a better care situation for my Grandmother, however due to generational barriers (my Uncles and Aunt) which are stopping this, she’s currently living in relational poverty and although my cousins and I are trying our utmost to overturn the situation, the older generation are blocking our efforts. Although I have the skills, I do not have the stamina like my cousins and this is where the issues lay. Last week, during therapy I had a tonic clonic seizure (my first one since May last year). Marsha’s words of advice reminded me that there are women of colour dropping out of Psychology due to ill health, when we need to be taking pains to preserve our own mental health.

I’m a postgraduate Mental Health and Psychology student; my own therapist is a Black woman and it is truly awesome to be able to share my darkest thoughts with a Black woman, to be able to make references to “Get Out” and she gets it! I want that for other women.  We need relatable relationships in therapy for other Black women. I’ve been to therapy before, however having been in therapy with white therapists, I’ve been forced to compartmentalise.

My uncles and aunt will be held accountable, however I need to show myself some compassion and as self-care I do not need to have these conversations with them anymore when they are harmful to me. I can still help my Grandmother from afar.

The Future

We did get homework! Which I’ve yet to complete… It’s an activity scheduling diary. However, I have downloaded the Calm app for future mindfulness sessions (which I’ve already used a few times) AND I have been actively trying to be a revolutionary joymaker for myself. When I lost my job in teaching, I also lost my joy for poetry. Now, I’m writing again and using all of the influences I gained from reading mama Maya Angelou and papa James Baldwin while I was grieving, to create brand new art.

The next #SCAR4WOC event is in April and I highly recommend it.

Posted in Blog

Charlottesville: White Christian Ignorance

Quick rant.

I just stumbled upon a blog post by a person who used the analogy of their eating disorder to compare the compelling evil of Satan to the evil we witnessed in Charlottesville over the weekend. According to the blogger, the power of Satan is compelling people to lie and commit acts of evil. The blogger used the example of their eating disorder as an example.

To say that I am speechless is an understatement.

The person who wrote this, follows my blog and is therefore going to see this for which I am not going to apologise. (Before I proceed however, I’ve had a severe eating disorder myself and I’m not denying its evil hold, so I can empathise with the struggle.)

My mother used to always say that we give the devil too much credit, and for once I am going to agree with her. What we witnessed over the weekend was terrorism:

the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

So this is how the events on Saturday unfolded…

According to an article in the Guardian, Virginia has one of the most relaxed sets of laws in the US. Alt Right groups came from different states, having chosen their territory, like a sniper marks its target. These terrorists came with guns, pepper spray, eggs, clubs, vehicles.

They came to kill. 

Speakers, such as the white nationalist Richard Spencer, had planned to address the Unite the Right crowds descending on a public park to defend a statue honoring the Confederate general Robert Lee, which is set to be removed by the Charlottesville authorities. It was the largest event in recent times organized by emboldened far-right racist extremists.

But the police had to cancel the event, due to the tension between the two opposing sides, which then erupted into violence, when the alt-right attacked the other side with a vehicle and then with the rest of their weapons.

That’s not satanic possession. That’s terrorism.

People on social media are saying that Antifa and BALM (Black Lives Matter) were just as much to blame for the violence. Firstly: 

Secondly, if I came at you with a club or a knife, what the fuck would you do? Would you just stand there? The left were protesting against the celebration of monuments of slavery, to which the right responded with violent opposition. This was war. The violence came from the alt-right. 

Furthermore, to dismiss these acts as “signs of the end times” (which is also what the blogger referred to the attacks as), is a dismissal of hundreds of years of black suffering, and therefore displaying hundreds of years of white ignorance, which is why this was allowed to happen. White supremacists want to bring America back to a time before colour touched your soils, however America is built upon racism – the blood, sweat and tears of people of colour. Your rivers run with the outpouring of that suffering.

When are you white people going to get it?

Does blaming demons for you past console your white guilt?

Medieval Supremacy

If you would like to read more on the history of White Supremacy in Charlottesville, then I highly recommend this article: Racism, Medievalism, and the White Supremacists of Charlottesville,  (2017) by Josephine Livingstone.

XOXO

Posted in Poetry

Dream Killer

INTRO: This is a poem I wrote a couple of months ago, so it’s been on paper for a while. I just haven’t felt ready to share it. I’m less angrier now than I was then, so I’m definitely in a slightly better place mentally, BUT although I have new dreams, like I said before my soul will always remember. I hope you enjoy it and please do share your thoughts. 

 

I arrived at the gates
With my ebony tan,
Ready to become the tawny owl
I had always dreamt of becoming.
My excitement puzzled you;
My endless excitement,
My enthusiasm,
My dedication.
“Why are you always smiling?”
You are asked. “Why not?” was my reply.
Every rung on my career ladder had led me to this
castle – you only have to look,
Look at my credentials!
By half term my owlets thrived,
My solar energy transposed to them,
For the subject I had always loved.  
Then
The rumours began…
Mahogany was out of place.
By winter, my skin had become burnt sepia,
As the venom continued to trickle
Through the ice.
It soon became clear that this castle
Was also your desert,
Where you gradually stole my warmth,
Layer, after layer, after layer.
I stood on trial,
against an invisible jury.
And time, after time, after time,
You told this owl to change her identity.
I was the embarrassment
With my attitude, my clothes, my hair.
In your lair, you unleashed
Your venom,
And drained the life from my very dreams.
What do you see?
When you look in the mirror?
I’m sure you see the pure, Christian angel.
Or do you see the sheer, spiteful fiend?
That I perceive.
The dream killer
Who destroyed my vision,
Destroyed my future.
The dream killer,
Legless,
Heartless,
Thoughtless.
Who turned this young,
Tawny owl,
To old, hard,
Mahogany wood.

Demon at the Gates

Posted in Blog

Labels #2: Atheist

I saw the face of God, he showed me how to live, I threw it back at him

– Face of God, The Drums

 

I am now an atheist.

 

I think I “decided” while I was working as a trainee teacher in a Catholic school, that I could try to be agnostic, because I couldn’t quite give up on God. However, it was eventually white people who took my faith away from me, which is ironic because it was supposedly white people who gave us their Christian God in the first place when they enslaved us.

I’ve started to remember some memories from my childhood, which I’ve begun to talk through with my partner and I’ve been coming to terms with the notion, that I may have been groomed by my father’s father. This is something that I knew for a fact my mother knew, because she would explain to me the lengths she would go to, in order to keep me away from him, yet when I came to talk to her about what happened to me, she didn’t believe me?

Does that make sense to you?

Ice Cube WTF

No me neither.

Which was also another nail in the coffin for my faith.

Coffin Angel
I used to feel so guilty for feeling this way about God, until I realised: why should I? If he does exist, HE DID THIS TO ME, HE LET THIS HAPPEN TO ME. And then I was caught up in this endless loop of wanting to let go, but in order to do that, I had to forgive myself for feeling like this, but I’m the child, I’m the victim in all this. So therefore, there is no God.

 

As a child, my mother would also reprimand me for sitting with my legs open, around men, which I would do absentmindedly as a tomboy. She wasn’t the only woman in my family to do this. She was however, the only one to say that not only was it unladylike, but also that I was tempting my father.

Oprah Puzzled

With sex, it was bad enough that it was dirty for me because of what had happened to me, but Christianity also seemed to soil it all the more.

Plus I only knew sex in terms of abuse from the environment I’d grown up in, and that was it.

Nobody taught me about love.

Nobody taught me that sex could be loving, consenting even!
And with my career, those people also used religion to make me feel inferior, just like my mother did. It didn’t need to be words, I just naively thought that as a disabled person, struggling with my faith anyway, I would be safe with Christians.

But now that I reflect, I do recall my Head of Department saying this to me when I joined the team. So there you go. I expected love, and got hate. When I do the sums in my head, even out in the world, the majority of the people who claim to love the hardest, have the darkest of hearts and also claim to be disciples of Christ.

When I was first put on suspension, The Keepers (2017) came up on my things to watch on Netflix. It’s a shocking story. I’ve had my issues with the Catholic church long before I could form opinions, but this is really something else.

These men abused their authority, in the name of religion to abuse these girls. The crimes they committed were so HORRIFIC the girls were forced to repress the memories of the abuse.

Justice has never been served.

 

Now I want to talk about abuse and race.

 

Let’s return to what my mother said about tempting my father….

 

R Kelly has not so recently been in the media for holding young, black women in a cult and abusing them, and the comments from people of colour – in particular, have been SHOCKING. Some have responded that it was their (victims) time because they’d hit puberty early, that they therefore tempted him and he had no choice in his actions. We as people of colour all know, that this is not the first time – he has a problem, but we make up excuses for him.

My mother reprimanding me on my body language, was this what she was implying?

I recently read an article Oprah shared on Twitter, and MANY women of colour, including people I know, have the same opinion that within our culture, we are very compliant when it comes to child abuse. The article went for the angle of victim blaming, which I agree with, but on the other hand I have to bring religion into it, because instead of doing something about it, we stand back and say “well let God deal with him” which is exactly what my mother did.

I ended up getting into a dispute with a white girl on a thread on Twitter about this article; she felt it was #rude to make this about colour.

I felt it was #rude to not make this about colour. Why do white people have to make everything about them? She called Oprah out on sharing the article in the first place, because white women follow her and therefore it wasn’t appropriate!!!!!!!!!!!!  This girl even had the audacity to say that white women should be able to date black men and not have to know about their culture, which really pissed me off, because she was pretty much telling much telling me that she should be able to fuck black men and deal with their culture. This comment was part of her “apology”, after I had shared part of my story of the blame culture in black culture specifically, which is what the article was directing its argument at. You can read it here.  

Anyway, I’m shaking that girl out, like the kinks in my weave.

Shake My Weave

 

Back to my abuse; In the end, both of my father’s parents died of cancer, and my mother honestly believed those deaths to be God’s justice for what they had done to us. And for what they did to me, her child. Instead of going to the police, she blamed me and “waited for God’s justice”.

 

And where is my father now, while we wait for that justice?

While I struggle with my mental health, and my mother has now lost her child?

Hmmm

 

And that is why I am an atheist. Because a little girl who deserved justice, had it stolen away from her by the people who should’ve been protecting her, using the name of a God that doesn’t exist.

 

And which is why I am now using my experiences, and also studying and MSc in Mental Health and Psychology, because in some way or another, I am going to help children who were once like me who needed the help and justice that I didn’t get. We don’t need any more fucked adults in this world do we?  

Posted in Blog

Proverbs 12: If You Love Learning

I stumbled upon this Proverb, during a particularly difficult season. I’ve been off work due to stress and my Epilepsy. In a haze of sleeping, AEDs, darkness, anxiety and tears, it’s incredibly easy to succumb to the fog and stay stranded. However, what I took from this Proverb is that I can chose to focus upon the lessons instead of the actions.

Learning is fighting, so if you love learning don’t ever give up fighting.

1 If you love learning, you love the discipline that goes with it—
how shortsighted to refuse correction!

A good person basks in the delight of God,
and he wants nothing to do with devious schemers.

You can’t find firm footing in a swamp,
but life rooted in God stands firm.

A hearty wife invigorates her husband,
but a frigid woman is cancer in the bones.

The thinking of principled people makes for justice;
the plots of degenerates corrupt.

The words of the wicked kill;
the speech of the upright saves.

Wicked people fall to pieces—there’s nothing to them;
the homes of good people hold together.

A person who talks sense is honored;
airheads are held in contempt.

Better to be ordinary and work for a living
than act important and starve in the process.

10 Good people are good to their animals;
the “good-hearted” bad people kick and abuse them.

11 The one who stays on the job has food on the table;
the witless chase whims and fancies.

12 What the wicked construct finally falls into ruin,
while the roots of the righteous give life, and more life.

Wise People Take Advice

13 The gossip of bad people gets them in trouble;
the conversation of good people keeps them out of it.

14 Well-spoken words bring satisfaction;
well-done work has its own reward.

15 Fools are headstrong and do what they like;
wise people take advice.

16 Fools have short fuses and explode all too quickly;
the prudent quietly shrug off insults.

17 Truthful witness by a good person clears the air,
but liars lay down a smoke screen of deceit.

18 Rash language cuts and maims,
but there is healing in the words of the wise.

19 Truth lasts;
lies are here today, gone tomorrow.

20 Evil scheming distorts the schemer;
peace-planning brings joy to the planner.

21 No evil can overwhelm a good person,
but the wicked have their hands full of it.

22 God can’t stomach liars;
he loves the company of those who keep their word.

23 Prudent people don’t flaunt their knowledge;
talkative fools broadcast their silliness.

24 The diligent find freedom in their work;
the lazy are oppressed by work.

25 Worry weighs us down;
a cheerful word picks us up.

26 A good person survives misfortune,
but a wicked life invites disaster.

27 A lazy life is an empty life,
but “early to rise” gets the job done.

28 Good men and women travel right into life;
sin’s detours take you straight to hell.

Posted in Blog

Deconstructing My Faith

Many people over the last few months have asked why I no longer attend church.
As much as it is to do with my health, it is now also a conscious decision I have made to stop going.

Over the last year or so I’ve been working on a deconstruction of my faith. Much like this guy actually http://faithandfaders.com/

Pentecostal church was far more interactive for teens and pre-teens

I grew up in a Christian home. When my dad left, my mum ran straight into the arms of the Catholic Church. We would pray the rosary every night before bed, for fear that we would die in our sleep if we didn’t. Then when I was 14 years old, we were invited to a Nigerian Pentecostal church and dazzled by the bright lights and lively music, we settled into our new home. My sister and I in particular were glad for the change – Pentecostal church was far more interactive for teens and pre-teens.
As non- Nigerians, our lighter Afro-Caribbean skin meant that we would never be “black enough”, however it was all the church we knew at the time that wasn’t part of Catholicism and so we stuck with it.

There were cliques

That was until an evangelical church opened up in London; my sister and I had grown up clutching the CDs to our hearts and dreaming that one day they would open up a campus in the UK; we sang their songs as part of our worship in church. It was a dream come true.
And it was the Church I returned to when I’d dealt with my adolescent issues and opened my heart to God.

My mother had always tried to teach us to separate the church from God; we as people are imperfect, we are sinners, we are fickle – we can love each other today and wake up tomorrow with sudden malice within our hearts and eyes. Therefore, when I returned to Church, I worked hard to keep my eyes above at all times. I quickly joined team and became a youth leader and gave everything I had (my time, my life) to nurturing the young body of Christ. There were cliques, as there always are when you deal with people. However, my team as well as my connect group quickly became my family.
I also joined a connect group – a small home group in order to build strong connections with church family as well as the word of God.

One of the members of connect group offered me a job in her school. And suddenly things started to fall apart.
She treated me so awfully that the complex partial seizures that I’d been having became secondary generalised seizures and I was soon diagnosed with epilepsy. Even though she came to see me in hospital while awaiting tests and diagnosis, she insisted that I was faking my condition and terrorised me until I was forced to give up my job.

Do I blame her for the detrimental effects her actions had on my health?
Yes.
Was I angry at her personally?
I was heartbroken.
Does it make it worse that she was a Christian?
Yes because she was one of many Christians who hid behind the word of God to defend her actions. The deterioration in my health was due to my lack of belief in God, not because of her wrongdoings.

Clearly I had done something wrong and God was punishing me

When I was diagnosed with epilepsy, it was too solid a pill to swallow. And clearly it was difficult for the people around me; most of us had grown up Christians and had been taught that all things were possible; that God hears our cries; that we belong to His kingdom and as His children we will never be sick; the Holy Spirit was sent to give us the power to cast out demons just like the disciples.
And yet I have an incurable condition and one that nobody understands either.
Clearly I had done something wrong and God was punishing me.
My Christian friends soon became bored of my texts saying that I was too tired to come to church (when I was told that lack of sleep, caffeine and tiredness were all triggers, I realised that I could no longer run on 2 hours sleep and a Starbucks tall Americano like I used to). Therefore while they carried on living their lives and moving on, I stayed in this groundhog purgatory: seizure recover repeat seizure recover repeat. My texts were read but not replied to and my phone calls went unanswered. Suddenly I was no longer part of a body.
Before being diagnosed, I would run on empty for the Church. But now that I am on copious amounts of medication, like wringing a dry rag, I just don’t have anything left in me to give anymore.

And then there is my family: my mother a devout Christian broke my heart in the cruelest way, and I’ve lost my sister.

Of course we are only human: we make mistakes, we are sinners and therefore not perfect. However, this is no excuse for breaking people and especially no excuse for breaking their hearts.

Reader, you may think while reading this that I am angry. It’s taken me awhile to get to the place that I am in, and that place is no longer anger.
I’ve been accused in the recent past of being anti-church since moving to London – by people who I worked closely with in church. I’ve been accused by fellow Christians of being a sinner because I have relationships with a non-Christians.
I’ve been told that I should not be taking medication, that I should focus my faith upon God instead of drugs (like I’m some druggie who depends upon drugs) and yet I cannot imagine any of these people saying these things to a cancer patient or somebody in a wheelchair. I read posts everyday from the people I used to go to church with wishing luck to people on their way to Chemotherapy appointments. My anti-convulsants medication is just as much a necessity as chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer patients, and wheelchairs are for those who cannot walk.

You wouldn’t tell them that they are possessed by demons either.

The majority of people who have stayed consistent within my life have been outside of the body of Christ. They are the people who have chosen to ask me about my condition as opposed to giving me ignorant opinions.

Prayers are more powerful than advice.

My relationship with Christ is a constant anchor within my life and that will never change. The Bible says that

“Greater love have no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for His friends” (John 15:13)

and that’s the kind of love I’m hooking myself up to right now.

I will continue to mourn for the body of Christ.
However, at this point in my life, it’s just not where I need to be.