To the Pastor Who Encouraged Me to Go Off My Psychiatric Medication

Dear Pastor,

Five years ago, you inspired me to go off my psychotropic medication and claim healing in Jesus’ name. You said if I believed enough, I would have it — true, unadulterated, life-changing healing. And you made it look so desirable to be a missionary preacher.

I would warn you today that you encouraged a very dangerous action. At your admonition of your ministry’s profession, I believed your words. I stepped out in faith and went off my medication.

It took me too long to realize I had really stepped off a cliff and nearly risked my life, but your message that Jesus could heal fell on naïve, unassuming ears. At the time, I was desperate to earn poster-child status for being healed of bipolar disorder.

The very evidence of the result of this dangerous act was debilitating and earth-shattering. God healed me, don’t get me wrong, but I was not healed, mind you, through going off my medicine. I was healed when I was on my medicine.

Unfortunately, my mind, body and soul slipped into a manic psychotic mess of deranged hallucinations, voices in my head and the Devil in my mind. You didn’t see the results of your advice, but I experienced a world of demonic, psychotic, surreal and unforgiving episodes of bipolar psychosis.

In part credit to you, I was forever changed. But God taught me His healing came by His sovereign hand in my cooperation with psychiatrists, therapists and modern medicine. I fear for those who hearken to your messages, who gather to hear your convincing stories, who believe you to be preach without error. And I would warn them against believing you.

I pray for you and fear you’re not preaching the total truth. You did not outright say to me, “Go off your medication,” but in your persuasive argument for healing with the faith we have inside ourselves, you made it look like a hat trick. “With just enough faith…”

I am wary of listening to anyone now. There are too many people who hurt and then look to find healing through faith, expecting that through enough prayer and proclaiming Bible verses, they will have an Acts account of miraculous power to transform their body or mind. I believe God is in the business of saving souls, not necessarily putting on a magic show.

My prayer is that you realize the fallacy of your message.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Unsplash photo by Olivia Snow.

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