You must read and watch this mutli-media NYT interview with Catholic psychotherapist Marsha Linehan. Once a profoundly mentally ill young woman, she was transformed by a incredible encounter with God's love before the Blessed Sacrament and has developed the world's first effective treatment for border line personalities - for people like herself. Be sure and watch the brief video in which Dr. Linehan describes her transforming encounter with God.
It is a must-see if you or family or friends have lived the heart-breaking reality of serious mental illness.
I first heard about her in Seattle while trying to find help for a family member. That she was BD herself was widely known in Seattle so I'm a little puzzled about the "she's coming out" tone of the article. My heart sang, wept, and prayed as I read her story. All I could think was of concentration camp survivor Corrie Ten Boom's saying: "There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will believe us because we were here."
"The patient wanted to know, and her therapist — Marsha M. Linehan of the University of Washington, creator of a treatment used worldwide for severely suicidal people — had a ready answer. It was the one she always used to cut the question short, whether a patient asked it hopefully, accusingly or knowingly, having glimpsed the macramé of faded burns, cuts andwelts on Dr. Linehan’s arms:
“You mean, have I suffered?”
“No, Marsha,” the patient replied, in an encounter last spring. “I mean one of us. Like us. Because if you were, it would give all of us so much hope.”
Notice that in the picture of Dr. Linehan's scarred arm, she is wearing a bracelet medal of Our Lady.
Imagine: our parishes are centers of intercessory prayer where the Blessed Sacrament is regularly exposed in a reverent way for anyone - the mentally ill, non-Catholics, agnostics, seekers, skeptics, anyone - to encounter. A parish where pastors like one I know - who annoints the sick repeatedly in his parish and routinely sees out and out miracles (infertile women become pregnant, clincial depression vanishes, tumors disappear) - and trained prayer teams which include members with the charism of healing are available.
What God might do in our midst. The miracles that would be possible.