I Was in a Very Dark Mental Place

Name Withheld
Published by The Christian Science Sentinel, 6.30.2020

DESPERATE STRAITS. I had been laid off in 2000 when my employer outsourced the work I’d been doing in the computer field. As I looked for employment, I soon came to the realization that my computer skills hadn’t kept up with advancements in IT (information technology). Along with that situation was a longstanding fear that I had a condition called adult ADD (attention-deficit disorder). I was always distracted and anxious, and I was sure this lack of focus had cost me several jobs along the way. Faced with a large family, mounting bills, and a deteriorating sense of self-worth, there was no place to go but down. When I called a Christian Science practitioner, I was considering taking my own life.

With calm assurance, the practitioner told me that I only had to be like that faithful sheep in the 23rd Psalm—obeying God’s command to “not want” but to trust in God’s loving and shepherdlike leadings. She spoke with such conviction that I considered the possibility that God had a place for me, too; that maybe I could actually live “in the house of the Lord,” as the Psalm promised. But I was still deeply concerned that I would never get out of poverty and the chaos that surrounded me. I was in a very dark mental place and still didn’t know if I could live a life worth living.

Amazingly, within just a few days I had two jobs. One of the technology jobs came and went because I was unable to stay focused. My anxiety increased, and responsibility for my family’s well-being loomed. But I knew that staying in contact with the practitioner was crucial. The idea from the 23rd Psalm that I live “in the house of the Lord” continued to be meaningful and helped keep me going. Out of the seeming blue, just a week before Christmas, I was called by a computer company 3,000 miles from home to work on a temporary basis. This was not appealing prospect—leaving my family and going to the other side of the country, but the practitioner helped me listen to God. Was this the right way to go? The answer was, Yes. I believed that God had set me on His spiritual path, and now I simply had to continue to walk in it.

I borrowed money from my mother to pay for the gas to drive cross-country. When I arrived at this contract job, I wasn’t prepared for what awaited me. What this employer had neglected to tell me was that his project was almost six months behind and that I’d have to do the work of an entire team of consultants—and I had only 10 percent of the knowledge necessary. The only way I can describe the situation is this way: Suppose someone gave you a pile of technical manuals 12 feet high to a nuclear power plant and said, “OK, you’re the chief engineer. Make sure nothing blows up. Have a great day.”

Besides being in over my head professionally, I still had to deal with the ADD symptoms—but I kept listening to what the practitioner was telling me about my true worth. She explained to me that any sense of constant distraction was annulled by God’s of divine obedience, whereby, as His children, we are naturally obedient to God, our Father-Mother. And there was one more challenge—since I was a freelance contractor, I found out that I wouldn’t even get my first check for many weeks. I wondered how I would survive on site long enough to send money back to my family—and to make the mortgage payments that were now long overdue.

The practitioner supported me in prayer on a regular basis, giving me spiritual ideas that helped me realize more fully that I was dwelling inside the Lord’s house—not outside. Challenged with doing seven jobs for which I had only a fragment of the training needed, I sometimes walked out of the shipping center where I was working, off into the woods and called the practitioner. “I just can’t go back into that building” I would tell her. “I just do not know what to do next. I don’t know where to start.” Then she would remind me of where I needed to start—with the knowledge that there is only one Mind, and as an expression of this Mind, I had all the intelligence and focus I needed. Every useful idea was mine because the divine Mind is my only source.

Despite the picture of complexity that defied any sort of human analysis, I kept working with the practitioner, being reminded that divine Love was right there in every crisis. And it was. Day to day, thought by thought. Sometimes I’d find myself standing in the pouring rain in the woods on the phone with her, begging just to call it quits, to admit I was a pathetic failure, to once again borrow gas money and drive 3,000 miles home to move my family out of a foreclosed house and onto the street, homeless. But at the same time, I kept being given my daily bread of ideas—ideas as practical as a plumber’s pipe wrench, but “sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12), cutting to the exact points I was required to see and understand spiritually. Practical solutions came, and several times, spontaneous ideas flooded into thought. (One of these ideas actually saved the company’s computer system from unrecoverable loss.)

About five months later, I was hired permanently. Slowly but surely, I took one small step after another from ignorance to competence. Now, after six years, I have literally “written the book” on some technology topics that I couldn’t even describe, much less understand, when I started on this journey.

Divine Love has been my guiding, guarding Shepherd as I have advanced out of thoughts about suicide, beyond depression, past identifying with day-to-day subsistence living. I was able to catch up on our mortgage payments, sell our old house, and buy a much bigger home for our growing family. But what I most appreciate is the remodeled dwelling of my own consciousness. I find that I am largely freed from fear when I recognize that my divine Shepherd is here. As the practitioner communicated to me on that first desperate night, God knows me and I know Him, and I am His, and daily “he leadeth me beside the still waters” of confidence in His love, and gives me His ideas and His supply. They are mine forever.

The individual above has given full permission to include the practitioner’s account of the healing (see below), in the hopes that by illuminating the way in which the practitioner prayed for and supported the patient, others will understand more clearly the role of the practitioner in Christian Science healing.

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