A letter to the Mentally Ill and Other Social Misfits

Dear Misfit, do you know how amazing you are? No really. Have you ever thought about how special you are? We’ve never met before, I don’t know you all by name and I won’t pretend to. I don’t know all of your stories or understand everything you all have-or are- going through, but more than anything I wish that I did. To those of you out there who feel like you don’t belong, I’m here to let you know that you’re not alone. I understand, I really do. If you’re like me and feel like your living on the wrong planet, you’re probably wondering why your even here. Whoever you are, I hope we get to meet one day. We’ll sit down, have coffee, and I’ll be glad to listen to your story. Your story matters, it deserves to be told. I want you to know if you ever need a friend, I’m here. Not to judge you, but to listen and offer support. I know what it’s like to be differn’t, not the special kind but what’s considered to be the weird kind. I know it’s hard to live in a world where you’re not accepted, a world built for the  people who conform to society’s standards of what is normal. It makes life hard. And for me, being a High functioning Autistic means that I have invisible struggles that no one around me knows about or understands.  I remeber when I was first diagnosed with High-functioning Autism at 17. When I was told I had Autism, I didn’t even know what that meant. But when I did find out, everything suddenly made sense. A lot of unanswered questions that I had about myself had finally been answered, but it was difficult to come to terms with. No one had ever told me about Autism growing up, Autism awareness just wasn’t widespread. No one talked about it, not my parents, my school, or even my community. It made me feel so alone and misunderstood. I was confused, angry, & scared. I thought there was something wrong with me. If you feel the same way about yourself, I just want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you. You are not broken or defective, you are not useless or dumb. You are perfect just the way you are and you are more special than you realize. You matter and you have just as much a right to be here as anyone else. Whatever your differences, that does not make you any less of a person. God made you this way for a reason and I don’t believe that he makes mistakes. I know things probably didn’t turn out the way you expected, but I thank God for you with all my heart! Never forget, that’s the truth.

 I don’t like being alone. I don’t like being misunderstood. I’m not perfect and like a lot of people my life is comlicated and messy. I won’t lie and pretend that everything in my life is sunshine and rainbows, because it’s not. Autism makes my life hard because Autism has its challenges. Its taken years just to teach myself the basics of normal life and socializing that most people don’t have to think twice about. After studying some small talk scripts online, I can finally make comments about people’s appearances and the weather. Facial expressions, nodding my head to show I’m listening, forced eye contact, etc. Everything that I’ve learned I’ve had to teach myself. It’s not that I didn’t have emotion, I just didn’t know how to express it. I’ve come along way, but as far as I’ve come, I still have a lot to learn and I know deep down that I’ll never be normal. I’ll never be just like everybody else. When people see my monotone face, they still often look at me like I’m an alien from mars. And you know what? That’s okay. Being Autistic isn’t easy, it’s affected me my whole life even before I knew what Autism was. I’ve tried so hard to “fake normal”, but try as I might, I know that I will never fit in the way that normies will and I realize that not everyone is going to accept me for who I am. This use to really bother me a lot, but overtime God has helped me to see myself the way that he does and I’ve realized that I’m exactly who God wants me to be. Now I love who I am and I can only hope that God will use my testimonies that I am about to share with you all today to inspire others to love themselves as they are. No matter who you are, you have an extraordinary ability to see the world through a differen’t perspective and make the world a better place. There’s a man at my who attends my church with Aspergers who since his diagnosis has dedicated his whole life to supporting, encouraging, and loving children, teens, & adults on the Autism spectrum. There are so many amazing misfits out there that God has used in incredible ways, there stories just don’t get told. The world is more beautiful because of people like you in it. Thank you for exisiting. You are important even if you don’t think so and the world needs more people like you! I thank God for every unique individual out there who dares to be themselves. I want you all to know how much I admire you all for staying true to yourselves even as you struggle to find acceptance in a world that struggles to embrace people outside the barriers of what is normal. Maybe your’e like I was and you’re struggling to fully accept yourself as you are, for you guys I pray that you will see yourself the way that God does. Whatever your struggles, just know that you are amazing just the way you are and today I want to encourage you to see yourself as the incredible person that you are and encourage you to push through whatever struggles you may be wrestling with.

When the Ordinary become the Extrodinary:

“I watch the world from behind walls, a world I will never be a part of. I look around, I beg in the silence, ‘Will you notice me? Please see me’ But like shadows in the night people pass on and my words fall on deaf ears. My tears fall like rain and cuffed by balls and chains, I am an echo in the wind” My thoughts and prayers, The Invisible Girl, 2014. © 2019 https://karynshaven.wordpress.com All rights reserved. 

When someone waves at me, I instinctivley smile and wave back. In that one moment I feel exhilarated- and then that moment ends when I realize that they weren’t actually waving at me. This happens to me all the time as if it were a rule set up by those with selective visibility. I’m the girl in the back corner, the little flower on the wall that stands  separate from the crowd. I’ve never really existed in society, infact to most I might as well be invisible. I’ve lived in the same area attending the same events for about seven years now, and it’s taken about seven years just to get an occasional ‘hi, how are you?’ from the people around me. Before that no one even knew I existed, I couldn’t get so much as an eye glance from anyone. Talk about being a ghost in the room. I’m so used to being ignored by people now that I often just tune out all the noise of the world and enjoy the company of my own imagination. Not that it would matter if someone noticed and talked to me anyways. I can’t complain much, but sometimes having Autism can be hard because it often means that I can’t think of more than a few sentences to say to people. Do you ever feel like you don’t matter? Like your just the ‘third wheel?’ The one everyone just tolerates? You hang out with your group of friends but most conversations are going on without you. Maybe your the unnecessary accessory of the group that just tags along. The one no one acknowledges, the one who is friendless and alone. As awful as it is to say, we live in a world that sees what it wants to see and disregards the people and things that it doesn’t want to see. We all might as well be faceless figures walking around with x’s drawn on our faces. We all want to find a place where we belong, friends to fit in with, but a lot of times we’re cast in the shadows instead. The one thing that really has helped me cope with this is my family and faith. There are no strangers, bums, or outcasts in God’s family. There’s a place for everyone in his Kingdom and there’s a place for you. You are incredible the way you are and even if people can’t see you for it, that doesn’t make it any less true. To those of you who feel like you don’t belong, I just want you all to know that I keep you guys in my prayers. You are not forgotten. You are not alone. You are not unnoticed. You are not friendless. God sees you and so do I, you are known by him, and he understands your feelings and struggles (Genesis 16:13 & Psalm 139:1). Jesus was a nobody who spoke of a truth that nobody wanted to hear. Nobody even acknowledged him before his ministry. Without that angel who appeared as a star to alert the Shepherd’s and guide them, they wouldn’t have known about Jesus. Jesus wasn’t so different from us. He was raised in a humble and insignificant town, growing up an average every day Joe-blow. And even when Jesus was acknowledged by the public, the majority of people didn’t want him. In fact, many turned away from him and straight out rejected and abandoned him. When his ministry became more known, the pharisees said he was demon-possessed (Matthew 12:24), his parents thought he was crazy (Mark 3:21), and his brothers not only didn’t believe him but also ridiculed him (John 7:3-5). Like I said before, he was hopelessly misunderstood by his culture. People made fun of Jesus (Mark 10:34, Mark 5:40, Luke 16:14, Luke 23:35) and his disciples, his close friends, left him. His comrades who he shared everything with, and spent the last three years with, fled at the first sign of trouble (Mark 14:50). Some friends he had. He was a man who suffered a lot of pain and sorrow. We treated him like someone of no importance, like someone people would not even look at but turn away from in disgust. If anyone in the world were truly abandoned, it was Jesus. Jesus loves the bums, outcasts, the lepers, and rejects of society, the people the world forgot. The world says were nobodies, but Jesus took us in his arms and shared in our pain and rejection. We may not see him, but we have his angels watching over us and we have God watching over us. Maybe you’ll never have your name in lights, maybe you’ll never get invited to the places you want to go, or be acknowledged by the people you want to see you, or maybe you’ll never get that promotion you’ve been wanting. But that doesn’t make you a nobody because to God you are a somebody. Your amazing just the way you are and I hope you know that someone appreciates all that you do, even the little things you do are not forgotten by God (Hebrews 6:10). Blessed are you my friend because it’s people like you and me that he uses. God picks up the nobodies and he either turns them into somebodies or he uses them to do the impossible.

  • Abraham became the father of 17 million Jews (Ge. 17:5) 
  • Joseph went from a slave to ruler of Egypt (Ge. 41:40)
  • Naaman’s servant girl, an Israeli captive’s advice saved the Kings Commander’s life (2 Kgs 5)
  • Esther was an orphan who became queen and saved her people from genocide (Es. 2:7 & Es. 8)

In the bible there’s a story about a boy from Bethlehem. He was the youngest of his seven brothers, a nobody and a misfit among his family and people. Unacknowledged by his Father and shunned, ridiculed, and utterly hated by his older brothers, he was the outcast nobody noticed. His name was David. Isolated, alone, unwanted, unneeded, no one cared about him. His own Father didn’t even bother to call him in from his field duties when Samuel was looking for Israels future king among his older sons. I can’t even imagine how David must have felt when his Father finally called him in from the fields and he saw that he was the last one to arrive. All eyes were probably on him in that tense silence, and while we can’t know how David must have felt,  I can tell you how I would have felt: Excluded, ignored, and left out. God noticed David when no one else did and he took that same shepherd boy from his pasture and made him King over an entire nation (Psalm 78:70 & 1 Samuel 16:12, Psalm 89:19). A bedraggled runt went from tending to the sheep of his family’s pasture to tending a kingdom and kicking a 9ft giant’s behind with no military training (According to The Masoretic Text). Yeah David had experience defending his Father’s sheep from lions and bears, which are in itself fierce predators, but taking on a giant? I don’t know about you, but I don’t know if I would have had the guts to do that. I mean, standing up against someone six feet taller than I am? I can’t even imagine going up against a 7ft giant, to entertain such a thought is laughable. And I can’t help but wonder, did laughter roar across the Israeli army when they saw David? Did his own brothers turn away in humiliation? If they did, I can’t imagine the silence that must have followed as David’s stone knocked Goliath dead to the ground. If there’s one thing I see God do the most in the bible it’s glorify the nobodies. God isn’t impressed with looks, fame, or fortune, he cares about the hearts of those commited to him (2 Chronicles 16:9 & 1 Samuel 16:7). Out of all the testimonies that I have heard, the most common one I hear is how God has used the ordinary to do the extradoniary. He takes the weak, powerless, and unimportant in the world to take the hand of the strong and baffle and utterly astound them. It always amazes me how God uses such insignificant people and uses them for such feats. You probably won’t find yourself running a Kingdom, leading an army, or sipping tea with the Queen of England, but don’t ever discredit what God can do through you. Regardless of gifts or talents, strengths and flaws, no matter how big or small your work matters, you matter. And God’s truth about you matters so much more than the world’s opinion of you. You’re somebody special to somebody bigger than you and I, special enough that he always has your back and only wants what’s best for you. Whenever you feel unloved, unseen, unheard, unappreciated, remember who you are to God because when it comes down to it, that’s all that matters.

Loneliness: The Blessing in Disguise 

“I am trapped, shut away in a tomb, a container which retains my weary soul. Sealed in a crypt, I am shackled in chains of loneliness, the bonds which no one can see-” The Invisible Girl, MTAP 2014, © 2019 https://karynshaven.wordpress.com All rights reserved. 

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who just wanted to make friends. That was her dream. She wanted to be friends with other kids so badly, but she was a little odd, so the other kids ignored her. She would bend over backwards trying to fit in and be like everyone else, but the harder she tried, the weirder people thought she was. One night, she got down on her knees and prayed, “God I want to be a friend to others, please help me to make friends.” But her prayers went unanswered and she began to wonder, was she asking for too much? All she wanted were friends she could hang out with and talk and laugh about stupid things with, but she was alone instead. That girl is me. Not everyone wants to be a loner, but for many people that’s the case. In 2018 a Cigna study found that nearly half of Americans report feeling alone (Source below). No one should feel lonely, but when you are, remember that you sometimes God puts us in lonely places for incredible reasons. I know what it’s like to be lonley. I’ve experienced a lot of social isolation throughout my life and it breaks my heart to think of all of you out there having to go through the same thing. Lack of social interactions has left me with little to no friends. People think Autistics are un-affected by loneliness, but the truth is, we aren’t. Some of the loneliest people you’ll meet are on the Autism Spectrum and research is finally beginning to shed light on this. According to research, ASD people are four times more likely to be lonely than the general public. I know there are a lot of forsaken souls out there, and that’s the part of me that’s hoping you will understand. People say that teen years are the worst times in your life, that it’s the hardest times you will ever have to face. And they weren’t wrong, but I want to help you imagine what it’s like to be on the Autism Spectrum and lonely. To be thirteen and lonely is hard enough, but to be thirteen, lonely, and autistic… there’s nothing worse. I’ve never really had friends, never suceeded in making any either. I’ve never felt like I’ve truly belonged or fit in anywhere. I didn’t comprehend “normal”, and there are still many things that I don’t understand when it comes to social cues and the emotional world, which in itself made me feel isolated and alone. It’s pure torture being in a room full of people and still feeling lonley. I remember all the times I was in a crowded room, watching everybody laugh and talk freely about whatever they wanted to, I wanted to join in but I never knew what to say. Every day I practiced a million different scenarios in my head one but could’t come up with one conversation line. Besides that, everyone looked so engrossed in their conversations that I thought it would be rude of me to just walk up and interupt them. I suppose I could have waited and watched for an opening to go introduce myself, the promblem with that is that often times because everyone hung out in larger groups, their conversations almost never broke. You would have to be watching the group the whole time in order to catch the right moment, and I don’t know about you, but I think most people would consider that stalking. I’ll never forget the one time I did walk up to a group to say hi. There conversation ran cold, their smiles fell, and they’re faces challenged my right to be there. They way they looked at me made me feel like some kind of leper. They didn’t have to say anything, they were giving out a silent but clear message that I wasn’t welcome. They might as well have just come out and said, “You’re not one of us, you do not belong with us. Go away.” I stepped back, mute. Message recieved. Their words knived my heart, making it bleed steadily. I wish I could say that I just imagined it, I wish I could forget, but I can’t. Something in me died that day, I can’t even begin to tell you how lonley and angry I felt. I cried but the pain wouldn’t go away. Socially disabled. Socially isolated. Socially clueless. It all brings about the most lonely feelings in the world. I was lonely for so long, I didn’t want to hurt any more. I just couldn’t bear it anymore, so I just gave up trying to make friends and avoided social events all together. What was the point of trying? I couldn’t hold conversations, every trail I tracked always led back. And nobody cared that I was there, in fact I’m pretty sure that I could have dropped off the face of the earth and they wouldn’t have even noticed that I was gone. I cried many tears for the friends I couldn’t make, the conversations I couldn’t hold, and the rejection I felt from those around me. I remember all the years I spent watching my peers, talking and giggling all around me, their backs all turned to me. What’s that like? I thought. Can I be a part of it? Even today, I’ve learned to be okay with being by myself, and yet I can’t help but glance at the happy smiling faces around me and think to myself: What are you talking about? What’s making you smile and laugh like that? Or when someone waves in my direction, I turn around- a small part of me still hoping it’s me their waving to- but it’s always the guy behind me or the girl next to me. I’ve felt the hurt of loneliness, darkness broke through and I almost let it destroy me. But it was that same loneliness that God used in my life to point me to others who are hurting. Looking back, I realize that the promblem wasn’t everyone else, it was me. I thought too highly of people, I had too many expectations. I had this unrealisitic idea in my head that everyone should get along, love eachother, and be friends with everybody. I lived in a fantasy world with a false idea that it was my right to be loved and accepted by others. But I’ve realized that the world is not my friend and it’s not it’s responsibility to be. That’s when I realized that I must stop being worried when other people don’t like me or don’t want to be my friend. We love exalting ourselves and idolizing people, but Jesus takes this idea that were more important than everyone else, burns it to the ground and dances in it’s ashes (John 15:20). Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve. Life’s not all about us, it’s about God and others. I have a t-shirt at home with this saying in it that I just love: Love God, love people. It’s taken me years to realize and accept that my mission in life isn’t to be noticed or fill my own tank of loneliness, it’s about living for the world to see Jesus. Life isn’t about how people can bless me, but how I can bless others. Everyone has a purpose, everyone is important, but our purpose and worth was meant to glorify God. You are more precious than diamonds and you are loved more than you ever know by a God who made only one you, but that love and was not intended to be spent just on ourselves, but to be shared with others. And I was only about to realize this because of loneliness. Sometimes our greatest pain is what becomes the link that draws us closer to others and for me that only became possible because of loneliness. Sometimes loneliness is the light that makes us aware of those traveling downthe same path as us and beckons our hearts to help them through it. I was haunted by the pain I saw in my lonley smiles around me. I didn’t want anyone else to feel that same hurt. I wanted people to know that they’re not alone. I wanted to be a friend to people, even though I knew it would be impossible for me to reach people. The thought of conversations terrified me, but I wanted to make friends anways. I wanted to let the people like you out there know that you have a friend out there who thinks about you and cares for you. I wanted to be there for those who are hurting and comfort those in need, and I still do. Sometimes I think suffering ties us together, making us and those around us stronger in that bond. And if hurt draws me closer to people in that way, then maybe loneliness isn’t so bad after all. The hurt of loneliness isn’t a game, I get that. I probably don’t sound like it because it’s not something that people are always willing to accept. But I’ve seen what happens when someone doesn’t accept hurt, they set out with all these expectations for life only for those dreams to be dashed along with their heart and soul. Believe me when I tell you that what you do next and how you respond to this pain right here and now, that’s what makes the difference. I’ve seen other people hurt. I’ve heard their stories, but no matter how horrifying the rejection was, each of them had a choice: You can let that hurt and loneliness drag you down and fall to the shadows. You can let darkness ooze into your soul and ensnare your spirit, or you can accept that you can’t get rid of all of the hurt and move forward. For me, moving forward started with researching ways to reach out to others. But how could I reach out and bless those around me? How could I be proof of God’s love? I’m awful at conversations, but I realized that I have a knack for writing, that’s when I started writing letters. Slowly its expanded into a little at home, card-making ministry dedicated to encouraging and sharing the love of Jesus with the people the world forgot. There is a purpose for those who wait. And if I had to go through the pain of isolation and rejection all over again, I would. Not because I enjoy loneliness, I hate it with every part of me, but I would go through it again if I had to because of how God has used that hurt to help others for his glory. Loneliness is one of many tragedies in the world, but it can also have a purpose. Loneliness can open our hearts to love and bring us to a state of genuine compassion. Not to say that all suffering is all for divine purpose, with that said, I don’t believe that God wastes suffering either. God can take that pain and turn it something beautiful, if you let him. I use to think that loneliness was a curse, but I’ve learned that it can also be a blessing. I want you all to know today that you are not alone in your feelings. There are people out there who care about you. Never forget the friends you’ve never met. You have friends you don’t even know yet who care about you and are praying for you. Friends who understand your struggles of loneliness and understand your pain and frustration. Friends who are cheering you on through every storm. You can do this, you are strong enough to fight this hurt, I have faith in you. From the friends you haven’t met yet, I hope you know what an amazing person you are. You are good enough and you deserve the best. So have a great day, you deserve it.

“And though I am shut away in a castle, waiting for rescue as I watch the world drift by, I have not lost my faith in you. Though I am un-noticed, I am never abandoned. Let the stormy gales lift my heart to you. I come to the one who understands every pain and heartache. Through many tears you have helped me triumph over each one-” The Invisible Girl, MTAP conclusion 2014, © 2019 https://karynshaven.wordpress.com All rights reserved. 

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Hope for the Depressed:

“The world once shined bright, but now it seems so dark. I am lost, so lost. My innocence, my love, my dreams, my hopes their all gone-” Tears, MTAP short version, 2014. © 2019 https://karynshaven.wordpress.com All rights reserved. 

Warning: Trigger warning, some people may find this article disturbing. (Viewer discretion is advised. Read at your own risk.)

To those who’ve felt Depression or are depressed, I’ve been there and I want to help you through it. You are a gift, a light that brightens the world and you were made to fill a purpose that only you can do. You are not a burden, you are a blessing. You aren’t weak, you are strong. I know you don’t feel brave or strong, but you are, you just don’t know it yet. I have faith in you, you got this! I know it’s dark, I know it’s cold and scary. The scariest part of having depression is being suicidal but being afraid to die. It’s okay if your crying, I cry all the time. I get it, you’re miserable and life stinks right about now, and I want you to know that you are not going through this alone. I can’t truly understand how you feel, but I’m here if you need me. If you need a hand, take mine and we’ll wade through these murky waters together. I am a victim of depression and I know what it’s like to live in the absence of hope. I have Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), something that affects 11 million people. It’s been so long that I’ve forgotten what happiness feels like. If I was ‘happy,’ I wouldn’t know it, I am no longer able to identify it. There are days I feel nothing at all, I’m just numb and then there are days when I feel the weight of sadness. Some days my chest hurts so bad that it feels like someone is squeezing my heart. I’ve been fighting this battle since I was thirteen. It’s almost been a decade now and I’m still going strong. I have High functioning depression, which means I can fake normal and plaster a painful smile on my face, but inside I am dying. Despite common misconceptions, I am suffering with a ligitamiate mental health disorder but you wouldn’t know it because I live what appears to be a seemingly normal life, but really it’s just a mask that foreshadows the torment of depression. For about a year, mabye two, not even my immediate family knew what was going on. I think my family may have sensed sometihing was wrong but wasn’t sure what. Back then if I even tried doing anything fun, my depression only grew worse. I almost resorted to cutting, I started marking my arm with a red marker to mark the places I would cut. One night years ago when everyone else was in bed, I made the attempt too, but then I freaked out at the last moment. I was so petrified that I never tried it again. I had no motivation to wake up, after several hundred attempts to try and make friends and failing miserably, and finding myself standing outside the cliques of those around me, I lost all motivation to socialize. And then, I lost the motivation to live. I didn’t want to die, I was afraid to die, but often times I didn’t want to live either. I felt like I was drowning. I was in such a dark place that while I never made the attempt, I often contemplated suicide. I still remember crying every night, wishing I would go to sleep and never wake up. If not for God and my family… I don’t even want to think about what might have happened. After I went into crisis, I ended up in the emergency room, which is the only reason I was able to get in and see a psychiatrist and was prescribed an anti-depressant. Unfortunatley in my area most pscychiatrists are overbooked with patients and the wait list to see one is long. The only way you can see one fairly quickly is if you are sent to the emergency room because of a crisis. I was prescribed an antidepressant but the medication only took off the edge off my sadness. It was better than not being on any medication, but I hated the fact that the medications often times gave me some unwanted bad side effects. The Anti-deppressants had a tendency to aggitate my acid reflux, resulting in terrible nausea or the bassal contrictors in the medication would restrict blood flow and turn my toes blue even though I was wearing layers of fuzzy socks and warm slippers. But the hardest part was how my body would build up a tolerance to the depression meds, making it difficult to find a medication that actually worked for long periods of time. I never did really find something that worked for me and I’m not saying this to imply that Anti-depressants don’t work, because some do and some don’t, it all just depends on the person. But for me, it didn’t work like I wanted it too. It took five years for me to officially come out of crisis and around seventeen for my depression to become slightly tolerable. In all it’s taken about nine years for things to start getting better for me. I still have depression, but I’m much better than I used to be. I still have off days but I am finally at a place where I can at least attempt a smile and laugh a little. I am thankful for that. 

Depression eats you alive, maybe it’s eating you now as you read this. Maybe you feel like there’s an anchor dragging you down into the abyss with no hope of reaching the surface. I know it’s hard to believe this right now, but there is a silver lining, I promise. For those of you who are struggling, I just want to wrap my arms around you and let you know that everything will be okay. Things really do get better and things will change. It’s okay to be struggling, it’s okay to need help. Don’t suffering in silence, don’t fight this alone. There are people out there who care about you and want to help you through this. If you’re out there, unable to find the strength to rise. If you’re out there, ready to give up and end it all, don’t give up on yourself, you have so much to offer this world. Maybe you are at your lowest point right now, maybe you’re broken, and that’s okay. It’s okay to be weak, it’s okay to be broken. But I don’t think your weak, I think your strong. Your doing your best, and that’s all that matters. Do you know how strong you are to survive the deplorable conditions of Despair’s dungeon? Do you know how strong you have to be to keep on living? To keep thriving through this battlefield? True strength isn’t based on the amount of battles we win and just because we fight doesn’t mean that we will win the war. True strength is measured by every moment we spend either fighting in those war zones or surviving it. For every minute you keep on living in that psychological dungeon, through that overwhelming hopelessness, you are strong in that sense. And you do that by you do that by taking it one second, one minute, one hour, one day at a time. Despair loves it when we take the easy way out, he laughs at us when we give up. It’s what he wants us to do. He dedicates his life to torturing us, whispering into our ears that we are not enough, that we have nothing to live for. He tells us that we deserve to die, that are lives are meaningless and empty. John Bunyan couldn’t have expressed this any better in his book Pilgrim’s Progress. Two pilgrims friends named Christian and Hopeful are on a journey to the Celestial City. Along the way they are attacked by a giant named Despair and taken against their will to Doubting Castle where they are thrown into the dungeon. Despair puts them through harrowing torture and does everything in his power to get them to end their suffering by taking the easy way out by ultimately ending their own lives. When there is no light and it seems there is no other way out, when it seems there is no hope, Christian begins to consider it. Basically in his conversation to Hopeful he’s saying, ‘But killing ourselves, surely we should consider it. After all, wouldn’t it be better than suffering like this?’ Despair’s words had finally reached Christian, they were strangling what will he had to go on. It doesn’t help either when our friends, family, co-workers, and even society itself belittles our sickness. They tell us that we are lazy, that we are feeling sorry for ourselves, that we’re ungrateful, that we should be like non-depressed people, or that we should stop procrastinating and just get over it. Such is the stigma and ignorance of the society we live in. It’s a shame that there is such a lack of education in our schools and in our cities about mental illnesses has led people to say things about our mental disorders that make us doubt our worth even further and make us want to give up and die. But depression is not a matter of lacking contentment, feeling sorry for ourselves, or just being lazy. I know this better than anyone. I may not be rich, but I never considered myself poor. I didn’t have the latest fashions, my clothes were hand-me-downs from my cousins. I didn’t have everything I wanted, but I’ve always had what I needed and that was enough.  I was always content with what I had. Even now when I feel hopeless and sad I still know that compared to the rest of the world my family and I are so blessed. What I lack is not contentment or thankfulness, what I have is a mental illness, a chemical imbalance in the brain that not even depression meds can fix. I know it’s hard for people without depression to understand, but this is not something Depresees can just chase away by being thankful or even by sheer will power. Depression is a pervasive mental disorder, a sickness that like a terminal illnesses is beyond our control and sometimes can’t be cured even with the assistance of medication and therapy. And despite the common misconception, that doesn’t make me weak, and it doesn’t make you weak either. You can be mentally strong and still have a mental illness. Some of the most courageous, strongest, people you’ll meet are those who suffer from a mental disorder. When our mind turns against us, when society patronizes us, we fight through the emotions and stigma. We struggle. We fight. We are wounded. It may take us two or three times more effort than the average person but we get through it one day at a time. Our efforts aren’t understood or appreciated because we aren’t physically sick, if we were, I think people would be more understanding. Our hearts reside in the depths of an abyss bound in chains that no one else can see and because of it we are judged and misunderstood. Often times that means we’re alone and abandoned, but we fight to survive anyways. That’s what it means to be strong. If that isn’t what you call true strength, then I don’t know what is. I still don’t feel happy, maybe I never will, but I’ve learned that it’s okay to manage your depression but never fully recover from it. Maybe the darkness will always be there, but in that darkness God will always be there too. Jesus isn’t silent in your suffering, he understands because he battled with sadness too. 

 “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me-” Jesus of nazareth, Mark 13:34. 

“(Jesus) A man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief-” Isaiah 53:3. 

Your cries weigh heavily on his heart, Jesus really does get you. God doesn’t always heal us, he doesn’t always help us escape our prisons or the demons that torture us- because that’s not what he promised. I just want you to know that it’s not because he’s lost patience with you or is disappointed in you. You’ve done nothing wrong. But if I’ve done nothing wrong, then why depression? Some of the greatest pain out there is not designed to teach something meaningful or isn’t used for a greater purpose. It is without reason, there is no means to justify it, it’s just unfair and has to be dealt with- as horrible as it is to say that. I’m sorry, I wish the world wasn’t like that. But know this, God will always be there to hold you. Psalm 55:22 says that if we give our burdens to God he will sustain us. The word sustain means, ‘to support, to keep going.’ And that’s exactly what God promises to do for us throughout the bible. God brought me low and then he has comforted me. Matthew 5:4 says, ‘Blessed are those who are sad for they will be comforted (NIRV).’ A radical and audacious declaration. How can I be blessed? It is an unusual blessing indeed. God’s ways are mysterious, which is why people often hate his plans so much. We hate what we don’t understand, what we cannot explain. When the rain begins to fall, it’s okay to feel negative emotions, you don’t half to be happy all the time, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed about it. It’s in the rain that we become stronger as people. When darkness creeps into your soul and when you are lost in the dark, hold on to the light. If you look to the light and remember it, the darkness will not overtake you. And as you pass through this valley of weeping, God’s presence although unseen, underheard, un-felt is still beside you in the storm. 

“Hope that is seen is not hope. Who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience-” Romans 8:24.

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools-” Psalm 84:5

The Hebrew word baca (baka) translates as ‘to weep’ or ‘balsam tree.’ While the true meaning is uncertain, the New living translation refers to it as the ‘valley of weeping’ or the ‘vale of tears’. It would be a befitting term for King David who seemed to have battled with depression (Ps. 6:6, 69: 1-3, & 42:11).  I’m no scholar, but it seems that he could have possibly had a long-term mental disorder. I don’t know about you, but I take David’s words as an encouragement to find strength in the God who preserves and sustains us through every storm in life. I think the greatest thing we can come to learn and accept about depression is that the storm doesn’t always pass and that it’s okay not to be happy. I know that’s the American Dream: to be successful, have more, to live the dream, and to be happy. There’s nothing wrong with having hopes and dreams and I’m not saying that we should all be negative eating nightmares. With that being said, there’s also nothing wrong with accepting hurt. Sometimes it’s okay to be sad, sometimes it’s okay to cry. I’ve learned is that it’s in hard times that I have had to learn to dance in the rain. Once upon a time, dark clouds began to roll in and what started out as a perfect, sunny day turned into a dreary wet one. On that particular day I found myself stuck in the middle of a downpour with no umbrella. My first reaction was to grumble and complain, but as the silver droplets danced on my skin, the coolness soaking my hair and clothes- I remembered one of my favorite books, ‘Eye of the Oracle’ by Bryan Davis. My favorite scene in the novel was when the main protagonist, a slave girl named Mara, danced with Elohim in the rain and rises as Sapphira Adi. That’s when beautiful words from the book poured unbidden into my mind and I felt a sudden need to stand in the rain. As I stood there, the rain seemed to wash away every slavish strife that tortured my mind. Since my teen years and now into adulthood, my life has been one big internal struggle with a million different things. It’s in those times that I always like to imagine Jesus extending his hand like he did for Peter when he was drowning. And I imagine myself taking that hand and letting him pull me close and spinning me in a pirouette. Sometimes all we can do is stand in the rain and let ourselves be held by God. When faced with sorrow and hopeless defeat, let God take care of you. Let him hold you and guide your feet with each step. Dance child and feel God’s love, let it be the benevolent and sustaining power that supports you. Let it attain all your sorrows and transform them into crowned blessings. Maybe the darkness will always be there, but so will God. 

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown-” Isaiah 43:2.  

Maybe the storm won’t pass, but God will always be the lifeline that keeps you from drowning. Maybe you will stay mired in darkness, but in that darkness there will always be a light. No matter how deep the shadows, no matter how lonely, empty, or despairing the darkness may be, you can always be sure of finding that light in the dark. God will always be there for you, ready to light your path and guide you even when you cannot see it. No matter how long the night, no matter how deep your pain runs or how dire the situation, never give up, for a day will come when the dawn will shine again. 

If you, a friend, or a loved one needs support in the US, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1-800-273-8255.

Also see:

Scrupolsity, the mental illness that kills Christians:

Religious Ocd, also known as Scrupulosity- “A religious or moral obsession characterized by doing the right thing whether it be religiously, morally, or ethnically. Also defined as a pathological guilt, thoughts, or significant fears concerning religion. It can also include uncontrolled thoughts, images, or urges of  blasphemous thoughts in which one curses God.” 

Scrupulosity makes life miserable doesn’t it? Sometimes it just makes faith seem impossible. I’ve read your stories- how so many of you suffering want to give up on the faith. And it just breaks my heart to hear those words because I understand, I really do. My most recent encounter with it was so bad that I woke up in the middle of the night, the anxiety from my thoughts was so intense that I leaned over my trash can and just about threw up. Maybe the overwhelming fear you face seems impossible to go through, but you can’t give up.  If you do, then everything you’ve done, everything you’ve endured until now, it will all be for nothing. I know it’s hard, I’ve been there. I know your scared, I’m scared too. Some nights all I can do is cry because I feel so bad that I’m having these nightmarish thoughts even though I know it’s not my fault. Scrupulosity is a very good torturer. Like all forms of Ocd, it knows what upsets me and how to get under my skin. It knows how to make me mad, how to make me cry, and how to push me to my breaking point. And then somehow manages to convince me that’s all my fault. Who else out there can relate to this? How many times has Scrupulosity told you that you should be able to control your thoughts? How many times has it told you that you should be able to ignore them, but instead you let it happen? That you want these thoughts? How many times has this doubting disease told you that this is the unpardonable sin? That if God exists he must hate you, that he’s never going to forgive you. You’re way past saving, so why even try? For you guys, I pray that God will breathe light into your darkness and be the torch that ignites your soul for him. I’m writing to you, my Scrupulosity friends out there who feel alone and I’m here to offer you the same reassurance that was given to me. 

You slump into bed exhausted. You put everything you have into fighting the noise in your head, but you often wonder if your even trying at all. A thousand thoughts race through your mind. What if this is sin and not actually scrupulosity? What if I’m doing this on purpose? What if I actually want these thoughts and feelings? Will God hold me accountable for my thoughts? Is this the unpardonable sin? I don’t know your heart, but if you can’t shake your thoughts that’s a pretty good indicator that this is Ocds doing and your thoughts are not intentional. Also, it’s never your fault when Ocd hits. If you were doing this on purpose and actually wanted these thoughts, you would be happy to have these thoughts and you’d be content with the state your in. Finally, this is not the ‘unpardonable sin’, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is something that can no longer be duplicated today. The unpardonable sin was the pharisees deliberately denying the truth, slandering the holy spirit, and accusing Jesus of being demon possessed even while knowing that Jesus was the Messiah. The only unpardonable sin today is the continued state of unbelief, there is no pardon for those who die refusing to believe Christ and utterly reject him forever even unto and after death. So no, no matter what curse words or other blasphemous thoughts you have about God, you have not committed the unpardonable sin. Finally, God knows your heart (Psalm 139:1 & Psalm 44:21) just as he knows that there’s nothing you or I can do to stop these thoughts from happening. And for the record, I don’t believe that he holds us accountable for them. God understands, he knows our hearts even when you and I don’t. I know it’s scary not knowing what’s in your heart, but we weren’t there 2,000 years ago. Jesus knew our hearts before he even spoke creation into existence. What do you think of that? Even though he knew we would have these thoughts, urges, and impulses, he still doesn’t treat us as we deserve. And you know what? He still loves you and I and there’s nothing that we can ever say, think, feel, or do will ever persuade his love to wander from us. His love is so perfect, holy, and pure, it is unlike anything we can possibly understand, it is so much bigger than us. Which brings us to another question that I hear you guys ask: Why does a God of love allow me to have Scrupulosity? It’s an age old question I’m afraid. God doesn’t send suffering into our lives, but he is a God who suffers with us. Bad things happen because the world is full of sin but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care about us or isn’t there. When bad things like Scrupulosity happen, he suffers alongside us and he gives us the strength we need to get through it. Jesus weeps with us through every pain and heartache. When you doubt his love and faithfulness, imagine him wrapping his arms around you, shielding you from every blow of the whip that should have struck you and me. Imagine the bloody footprints Jesus left behind while on his way to calvary, imprints that will never wash away. Imagine the red liquid oozing from his five wounds dripping onto you, flooding your soul in a cleansing wash of mercy. 

Jesus says, “I love you no matter what. I did it because it was you, I did it for you.  You are reason enough.” (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:19, Ephesians 5:2, ESV) 

And when you can’t see the light, never forget that that’s where faith comes in. I hate Scrupulosity, but as much as I hate it, I can’t deny that I am grateful for the things that Scrupulosity has taught me. Every day it teaches me that feelings and thoughts aren’t reliable and you can’t base your relationship with God on it, because if you do, your heading for a world of trouble. It also teaches me that true faith is demonstrated when we step out into the darkness even when we can’t see the light. When you feel stuck with no way out and it seems that there is no end. When your disappointed and discouraged and what little hope you have is slipping away, take God’s hand and let him take the lead. I don’t know about other Scrupulosity sufferers, but my Ocd likes to mock me a lot. 

Are you ready for another beatting?” I looked to the sword weilding demon gloating over me. Her words were a snare, threatening to drag me down into the depths of despair. I tried to stand, but my body was anchored to the floor. My torturer laughed, “Ha, you failure! You are so weak!” 

With labored breath, I grabbed my sword and crawled onto my hands and knees into a standing position. I clutched my side and lunged at the specter, a new passion burning in my eyes. “You’re right, I am weak,” I replied, “But God is strong.” 

Maybe that is why God allows me to have this mental illness, to remind me that his grace is sufficient in weakness. I don’t have all the answers and I can’t say why Ocd happens, but there is something else that I have learned from it. Ocd is often the fire that leaves misery and ashes in its wake but while it can destroy the spirit But I’ve learned that it can also become the awakening fire. When the bellows fiercely stroke the embers, it causes me to step out in faith. God has brought me low, to a place of total surrender and utter dependence and acceptance of my weaknesses. Take it from someone with two different forms of Ocd, it is something that forces me on a daily basis to step out in total surrender and utterly depend on God’s power. It strips me of all pride and forces me to fearlessly trust God in everything amidst doubt and slavish fear. When I am weak, God is strong. I wrote this a few months back during one of my most harrowing encounters with Scrupolsity. I don’t know if it’ll mean anything to you, but I trust that God willing perhaps he will use it to provide those of you struggling with Ocd with encouragement. Here is the entry:

                                                            August 11, 2019

 Torment 

Dearest Father, I bow down before the throne of God, pouring out the full weight of my heart. I present my deepest sorrows and woes, the hurdles of frustration and discouragement. A knot of fear twists my stomach, my thoughts threatening to bring about a vomiting session. I am taken captive by thoughts that fight me at every turn. Foreboding dread overshadows me as the cold flesh of my captor’s hand takes hold of my arm. She drags me through her dark dungeon to her chamber of horrors. Can words ever tell of the unspoken torture of the soul? Can it whisper insight to the pain endured on the dungeon’s rack? Can faith prove strong enough as a demon’s hand spins the wheel, stretching its victims beyond will? Can joy survive the whip of regret that tears away all peace from the backs of the ones who kneel before it? Chained in darkness, I sit alone in a prison where no light can filter in. After these past few months of twenty-four hour periods of torture, I count yesterday’s afternoon intercession as a blessing. Yet days of darkness threaten to snuff the light of faith. When it seems things can’t possibly get any worse, my tormentor conspires new and creative ways to torture me beyond what I can stand. Once upon a time, my worst nightmare towered over me. I scooted back, my heart trembling. You think God can hear you?” She snorted, the shadowed fiends face contorted in a mask of rage as she pointed a fiery finger at me, “Hypocrite! Do you think God is a fool? That he can’t see the falsity you utter? Elohim is a Holy God, he could never love an abomination like you!” I shouted my defense but my voice faded into nothingness, unseen, unheard. She suspend me by the collar and with her red eye beams drilling a new stare into me, she shouted, “Are you so conceited that you have been blinded to the darkness in your own heart? Your heart is as festering and rancid as your thoughts. God can’t forgive a miserable wretch like you!” She screams at me for hours about how I deserve to die, with callous disregard and disparaging remarks; her words are a subtle poison that burns like liquid fire. Sinister voices sing hatred into my heart, their breath of lies a snare set to deceive. O God… I can’t hold out much longerEverything about me is strangled out by a lie, I can’t tell what’s real and what’s not anymore. God of wondrous love, on the wings of hope, catch me as my heart preys to despair. Lift me from this dungeon floor as I crawl to you in weakness; help my feet to fly and my heart to soar. Let us ride on the wings of grace, lifted up by the winds of promise that through your forsaken son, my cold shackles clatter to the ground, and I can one day fly away from this dreary dungeon to be with you. I clench these cage bars that entrap my soul and look to you, another tortured victim, who has suffered far more than I ever could. I look to you, the one who has saved my life many times over. You whom I have shared all my sorrows and tears, all my pain, my joy and laughter with. You are the light that casts out my darkness, that spark of light that always persists. Soon a happy ending awaits and I look forward to the day when I can stand before you. I long to be comforted by the warmth of your embrace, if your near me I can do anything. When I am near you, my heart feels free. Someday soon, I’ll meet you at Heaven’s altar and our hearts shall join as one, forever intertwined. Until that day, the discomfort of these chains are fleeting. The fetters of today can never shackle my soul, my spirit remains stitched to yours alone, apart from you my heart is never truly free. You are creator, my life-giver. You are the Master of my life, the one who teaches me to do what is right. You are my companion, my solace in times of trouble. You are my protector, keeping me from descending into the chasm of despair. You are my strength in weakness. You are my hope in sadness, the restorer of my soul. You are my future, an end to that search for meaning and purpose. And above all, you are my saviour, the one who has delivered me from death. You have been amazingly patient with me, always guiding me. So no matter what may befall me, I will never abandon my beloved just as you will never leave or forsake me. Even if you make me stay in this prison, render me to these chains, and leave me to contend with this mistress of evil a while longer, I shall be content. For you will not abandon my soul to sheol forever (Psalm 16:10). Though sorrow the may last for the night, joy comes in the morning and light shall prevail over darkness… (End of article)

When I wrote this, I was at my weakest and yet when I look back on this jotting I see God’s strength in my writing. I was breaking under the pressure and yet God still gave me the comfort, love, and patience I needed to endure. God is so good! And it makes me reflect on 2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV.

‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness-’ 

Sometimes weakness is what God uses to show his strength in a way that we otherwise would miss out on. As the Pastor of my church, Mr. Reidy once said, “Life is full of valleys, setbacks, disappointments, and sometimes tragedies. There are things we learn in the valleys that we don’t learn anywhere else.” When all else fades and we are blind and stumbling in the dark, the situation entails us to go beyond our thoughts and feelings. We are required to go beyond our facts and logic and become willing to trust in God alone. I don’t understand pain, I don’t understand suffering, many nights all I can do is whisper, Why God? But in all this I know that I am called to trust in the one who holds me. Ocd is how God teaches me faith and everyday I ask him to let me not think too much on what I do not understand, nor see in the things of earth, but to let my eyes be fixed on the things of Heaven so that I might be able to see and understand that which is not seen nor easily understood. I think that while God does not cause suffering he sometimes allows it in order to strengthen our character. Other times it is to see if we are willing to trust him and endure until the end of darkness. We start out as lumps of coal but it is under extreme pressure that we either break or are made into precious gems. God isn’t looking for perfect people or amazing faith, but our faith is shown in our willingness to wait. Trials are the proof of our genuine Faith (1 Peter 1:7), they are what refine us (Isaiah 48:10, CSB). While Ocd is the hot iron brand that scalds our hearts and blisters our faith, it can also draw us closer to God. I don’t know how long I shall be able to withstand the flames, but no matter what happens to me, I know that while the anxiety will always be there, so will God. He walks with us through the fire, therefore I shall not fear when the flames that melt my flesh to muscle and bone. If I have been called to burn in the flames a while longer, even here I shall be content so long as God is close beside me (Psalm 130:5, Psalm 27:14, NIV). Afterall, sometimes flowers grow in unexpected places. Did you know that there’s actually a flower that grows after a wildfire? The Papaver californicum, also called the ‘Fire poppy’ or the ‘Fire follower’ is a rare flower in California that begins to grow in the ashes after smoke of fire triggers the germination stage (See in sources below). Sometimes our suffering is what strengthens our character and transforms our faith, causing it to blossom in ways it otherwise wouldn’t have. Our present sufferings are but a passing annoyance that cannot compare to the glory that awaits us. I wish I could stand with you in your mental anguish, but I have only words to offer instead. Never forget God’s truth about you. Ocd doesn’t define you, it is not who you are. And when you feel guilty about saying the worst possible things to God, God is faithful to forgive. God’s love for you is eternal and no matter what you’ve done or how many times you rebel, his love- it was and is always for you, and nothing you do will never change that. When Ocd infiltrates every part of your life, remember that God is bigger than your Ocd. 

“My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power-” 2 Corinthians 12:9, ERV.

God has already bestowed you with the power you need to stand firm, it is a precious gift from him. He sympathizes in your weakness and secures you in his arms, a protective hold on you that he will never relinquish (Psalm 63:8, Isaia 41:13). He stands firm like a foundation stone and in his mercy and love he fights for us. 

Jesus says, ‘No matter what happens, I’ll always be here for you. Your pain is so great, please, let me bear it with you.’ (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5, Isaiah 53:4, & Matthew 11:28-30)

Yaweh-Shammah is here for you, Jehovah-Jireh fights with you, for you, and through you (Exodus 14:14, NIV. Romans 8:31, NCV. 2 Chronicles 2017, ESV). God is not far and neither is that glimmer, that spark that has the power to ignite your soul and set your heart free. Take your sword now, champion. Arise and stand with me sons and daughters of light. Let God renew your heart and restore your broken spirit, let his perfect love cast out all your fear. Ignite! Let the light ignite the fire within your weary soul. Let your hearts be set ablaze by the love that God alone can give and bask in the warmth of his glow! For it’s in the fire that we are transformed, it’s in the ashes that we are rebuilt, and it’s in the pressure that we are fashioned as diamonds.

Also See: 

Hey friend, I am honored to have shared my heart with all of you out there and I pray that God will take my thoughts of love to a generation that needs them. I don’t know if my words will make a difference or not, infact as I write this I’m afraid that I’m coming off as insenstive and self-absorbed. I feel so much love for you guys and I want to share that love with all of you and be an encouragement, but I don’t have the words to express it. Just know that I keep you all in my prayers and I’m here if you need me. Thank you for all taking the time to read this. Take care and God bless. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Call to Abandonment

© 2019 https://karynshaven.wordpress.com All rights reserved. 

The indenture of abandonment:

Conventionally I don’t think people will find this written work tolerable. But I have come to a place where I no longer care. With an expression of honesty I confess that in the past I would have practiced forbearance and keep myself in line with society’s concept of what is sufficiently good and trained myself to be the character the world wanted me to be.

God of all creation and all of Creation and Heaven itself as my witness- Witnesseth, that I, by my own consent and in sound body and mind do so voluntarily place myself as bond servant, a slave to righteousness, a soldier, and child to the Most High God, Elohim, protector and sustainer of all life. To serve him for the remainder of my days, to death do us part. For all eternity, never to be concluded or ended. Amid the term, I shall seek to honor the Lord’s command, to do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God (Micah 6:8). I confess and believe with my heart and soul that God is the one and true creator and sustainer of all life (Romans 10:9-10). Master of all both in the visible and unseen realm. And I take as gospel that he is my Creator and Lord and with my mouth confess that Jesus is Lord, the son of God, God himself three in one: God the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. I believe that God offered me himself and all that he is through the son. He presented his life to save me, a traitor, and has paid for me with his blood (Ephesians 1:7-8). I confess and believe that Jesus suffered the price I deserved to pay by carrying the weight of my sins, my actions and crimes against the living God and all his laws which I have broken (1 Peter 2:24 & Romans 3:23). I confess that I spent my life like all others with a raised fist in defiance and spat in the face of my creator (Job 15:25). I knew about saving grace through Jesus but I took advantage of it and rejected it. What would I cost me? What would I have to lose in order to gain? Too much. I did not want to pay it would cost me, so I ran away like so many others before me. Much like Edmund, I traded you o God for my own turkish delight and ate from many forbidden fruits to satisfy my own flesh. I choose many idols and worthless pursuits over you. I confess my wrong now. I could not and cannot save myself. I’m not good enough, that’s why Jesus came to save me. Jesus knew all that I would do before I was born, before the dawn of creation even began, and yet choose to save a worthless wretch. I believe and confess that Jesus bore my sins with the rest of the world. Yes Lord, you stepped in when the enemy was ready to finish me off and shielded me from his raining arrows. You held me close to you and wrapped your arms around me in a presence of love. Jesus let himself be nailed to the cross (John 10:18), cleansing and purging me in his blood. He laid himself down and died to save me and I believe in my heart, that God raised him from the dead on the third day (1 John 1:7 & 1 Corinthians 15:4). To said one, to him, to you o God, I know what you ask of me and I accept it. You really came to save me, so I bow and surrender, pour my tears, all rights and all that was once mine I bestow to you. I have not really lived till now; I have seen but not truly tasted your goodness. I pushed you away for so long, I chased a million things, and not one of them brought about true happiness. Nay, I am still searching. So many lost years and now I come to you that you might hear me, that you might change me. I seek you that you might remind me that grace is never beyond me. As Isaiah and Luke said, I have seen a great light in the darkness. Yes, I did not find the light, the light has found me and shined on me (Luke 1:79). Wash me and I shall be clean. Wrathful judgment awaited me and while deserving you still saved me (Isaiah 1:28 & Romans 5:8). You took my pain; you bore my scars (Isaiah 53:5). So I slip off the bonds of sin to be cuffed by the chains of love (Romans 6:18). To you I pass on my individuality for the unworthiness of untying your sandals. I trade my freedom to be a slave. If ever there were an inkling of doubt, a shred of fear to what I shall miss, it is gone now. The rich man went away with all his possessions dispirited because he had many treasures he was unwilling to give up for Jesus. He must have been afraid of missing out in giving up his things because Matthew 19:22 says that when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. He had everything and yet he had nothing. Jesus said, ‘So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’ Let this truth be spoken in Heaven and upon the Earth, for it is what overflows my wicker so that I may burn bright. Because of my refusal to betray you, the world will hate me. I think they could very well one day use this against me, whether to drag me before the court and throw me in bonds, or even now to conclude their own theory of the insanity of following that which is not seen. And though the world and what should come next is indeed hard to predict, a time is coming when the hour of darkness shall fall upon the land. And like hungry wolves it shall hunt and devour the light that refuses to go out. As in my dreams, a prince swathed in a mantle darker than the night shall rise to power. What I felt in the dream at that moment was hard to describe. This creature’s very presence ushered in a lurking danger to the world itself and the prison he kept me in. And in all my dreams, I never felt so terrified as I did then when I saw what is to come. Eleven was the beginning of such dreams that always try to get me to recant my faith- whether it be through persuasion or torture. The cold cement floors, the dank smell of the dungeon, the guards looming above me, their shadow of evil cast on me. Such terrible darkness from them I could feel. And I am told by guards, by soldiers, and demons themselves to recant. But how could I betray my beloved? The King who died for the peasant? How could I fail the love that fed me while I was starving? Who sheltered me from every storm? Because of my refusal to betray, the Prince of evil loses patience with me, and in my dream I was tortured in ways I care not to describe. The demon tells me I will regret it, but no matter how much flesh is torn from my body, no matter the hatred that shall burn like acid, no matter what happens to me, no dungeons rack, no instruments of torture could persuade my love to stray. The world set me on fire, it melted me to my inner core. And when I collapsed to cinders, the good shepherd raised me from the ashes and doused me in the healing drops of living water. So now matter what befalls, even if I were to be deplored and forever forgotten by the world. Even if I were to be left, stored in the depths of the earth, a prisoner to left to drown in the sound of loneliness and sorrow, I could find contentment. Let my heart be yours. For I know this is the right choice, though others may not understand what motivates me to live this ‘radically,’ I am driven to sacrifice everything for the one who gave it all for me. Has love addled my brain? Has the flames of love contorted my vision so that what once was dark can now be seen? I truly hope so. I have a reason to live now, I have been set a fire by a holy awe consuming fire, and I want to leave an eternal record of his love for me. Shrouded by his wings of love and the truth that has set me free, you are my greatest love Elon. And such is the virtue of love! It turns it’s cheek to unfeeling barbarity, it overlooks being torn down, it overcomes the greatest prevailing sorrow. It is the light in the taper, it is the pillar of inspiration, the song in our hearts. It the key to locked doors, it is the chain that lifts the anchor and frees every tortured and shackled soul. I want to worship you. To serve you. To live for you in complete surrender. When the dawn is breaking, and the night falls still, I will look to you, my eyes are on you. I want to be with you. Take it all, I care for nothing, you are my everything. I swear by my very life and soul to serve my Master in good faith, to abide by his law, commands, wherever I shall go- whether I take the wings of the morning or dwell by the farthest sea. I take you to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do me temporary part from you. According to God’s holy law, in the presence of God himself, I make this vow. I am your vessel, to be used or nought, I abandon myself, I give myself up, my rights, and all that I own (Matthew 16:24). I surrender myself and every fiber of my being to God (Romans 12:1). I lay down my body, my soul, my mind, my will, and all the things of the past. I pour out my heart, my blood, my sweat and tears, everything that I am or will be I offer- take it all. I care for none of it, for I could love no other the way that I love you. My time, my energy, and all that God has blessed me with I no longer claim as my own. I swear on my body and soul to strive to live righteously and do my best to avoid sin and temptation (Romans 6:1-6 & Ephesians 6:-16). To fix my thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). To be filled with the spirit and seek God, putting him above all else (Ephesians 5:18 & Matthew 6:33). To live and dress in a way that does not cause others to stumble (1 Timothy 2:9). To acknowledge all offenses and turn from my wicked ways and to grow in the grace and knowledge of God (Acts 3:19 & 2 Peter 3:18). To continue giving generously and to love others (Deuteronomy 15:10, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, 1 John 3:18). I ask that my heart be changed, as I am not capable- though I may be willing my spirit is weak (Matthew 26:41). Change my thoughts about you God and about your word, the way that I live, think, and do. Let me die and rise as a champion, walking in the light (Ephesians 5:8), wielding the key of truth with the power to pierce and unlock the hearts of people (Heb 4:12 & Eph 6:17). Though my goal is not perfection for God knows I am not perfect and he is not telling or even asking me to be holy, pure, and perfect. Because the truth is, I am still going to face temptation and fall into sin. The goal of a true Christian isn’t to be perfect, but to improve, to mature. My goal is to do everything I can to follow in Jesus footsteps, and share the joy of salvation. I shall not waste what my Master has entrusted to me, whether it be in gifts, or words, or worldly things. I consecrate myself, I shall not dine in wine, or alcoholic beverages, or tobacco products lest my heart grow frail and surely be destroyed by fixation. I shall not engage in sexual immortality, gossip, and other unlawful activity (James 1:26, Psalm 141:3, & 1 Corinthians 6:18). I don’t know what the day will bring or what this life shall behold, but, for every moment that unfolds I want you to be a part of it. Every second, every minute, every hour, I want you to be in it. I long for no one else the way that I yearn for you because you have chesed me. I couldn’t always see it, but you did, right from the start I was created for you. So in all things, though my life is but a second to God, I shall be the good and faithful servant to my Master all during the said Term. As you all witness whereof I have hereunto bound myself to this virtually unchangeable contract and committed to forever be a slave of Christ, the Lord Jesus. May this binding contract be acknowledged by the people and all of creation itself- God’s throne and footstool and be found pleasing to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

        ن​

 

The Untold Truth About Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

© 2019 https://karynshaven.wordpress.com All rights reserved. 

What is the first thing you think of when you hear this article title? What do you think of when you hear the word Obsession Compulsion Disorder? Do you think of excessive hand washing? Strong compulsions to be neat and clean? Exaggerated fears of germs? It’s true that Checking and Contamination are two forms of Ocd, but did you know there are four different types of OCD? Intrusive, Scrupulosity (religious), Checking/Contamination, and Hoarding. Millions of people have been diagnosed with Ocd and it is estimated that about 60 million people struggle with Ocd symptoms. And yet no one seems to know what Ocd really is, In fact, just like with Autism there are a lot of myths surrounding Ocd.

So what is OCD?

Obsession Compulsion Disorder is best defined as a mental illness and anxiety disorder that consists of unwanted and intrusive thoughts, images, urges, and compulsions to end this anxiety inducing disorder. It’s also not just one line of thought; it can be anything ranging from Sex, to Violence, to Religion, to Hoarding.

#So Ocd

I discussed and debunked in my other article, ‘Answering the Critics: Debunking the myths of Autism’ the myth that everyone is a little Autistic. But did you know that there’s a myth surrounding Ocd? Just like with Autism there is a myth that we’re a little Ocd. Actually despite the name Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Ocd has nothing to do with interests or addictions. There is a big difference between addiction/obsessions and Ocd. Interests, Addictions and Obsessions like football, coin collecting, binge watching, etc, what do they all have in common? They’re all founded on pleasure while the very foundation of Ocd is pain, suffering, and intense fear. The only word to describe Ocd is Hell.

We all have unwanted thoughts (whether there sexual, violent, or about cleanliness) But what if those thoughts never stopped? What if you had that same thought fifty to a hundred times a day, or more? What if your deepest fears came to life within your own mind? I don’t have to imagine, this is my reality. My Ocd is called Pure O (Pure O is where you have all the inappropriate, disturbing, torturous thoughts, and mental images, without any visible compulsions or rituals. See: (https://www.intrusivethoughts.org/ocd-symptoms/pure-ocd/). I have two different forms of Ocd: Intrusive and Religious. Religious Ocd, also called scrupulosity, is generally defined as intrusive thoughts, obsessions, or images about God, religious figures, spirituality, religion, or morality. I have six out of sixteen symptoms See: http://beyondocd.org/information-for-clergy/recognizing-and-counseling-people-who-have-scrupulosity. Four of my symptoms include: Scrupulosity thoughts (intrusive thoughts about God and the extreme fears and thoughts that tell me I’m going to hell.) Scrupulosity compulsions/rituals: 1. Excessive reflection (making sure I haven’t thought anything blasphemous about God.) 2. Saying the same prayer over and over again. 3. Constantly asking for God’s forgiveness for sins that were committed years ago or even from childhood 4. And repeatedly asking for reassurance, all four symptoms of Religious Ocd.

See:

Every day I have self-devastating scenarios, thoughts, and mental images play out over and over in my head that I have no control over. I won’t be getting into what category of intrusive Ocd I have besides Religious because I don’t feel comfortable discussing it. All I’ll be saying about it is that it’s one of the more unheard of, rare, and extreme forms of Ocd. See: https://themighty.com/2017/10/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd-pedophilia-harm-scrupulosity/

When people say they’re a little Ocd all I can think to myself is, You have no idea what you’re saying. Most Ocd sufferers are rattled when they hear people say there ‘so ocd’ to describe their excessive cleaning, desires for order, or even just as a careless joke. People toss this phrase around lightly like it means absolutely nothing. Everyone laughs about how Ocd they are and no one stops to think why they shouldn’t be laughing at all. Ocd is not a joke. It’s a serious mental illness that, like Autism, affects every day of my life and millions of others. If you were in my head for just one day, or any Ocd suffers head for that matter, you would never laugh again. It brings tears to my eyes because the pain is too great for words. Torture. Suffering. Agony. These words are but a small fraction to the true meaning of Ocd and the pain that it causes its victims. And yet here people are, joking and making fun of this condition, acting like it’s all just a game. Wow. Just, wow.

I know many of you out there mean no harm when you say ‘i’m so Ocd,’ or ‘were all a little Ocd,’ but you have no idea just how much you are downplaying this condition. In fact, it’s because of social stigma of Ocd that many suffering with this condition do not seek treatment. Why? Because despite the seriousness of this illness when trivialized by society we start to believe that this disorder is as unimportant and inconsequential as it’s made out to be. We assume this is something that we can just ‘get over,’ but it’s not. And while there is treatment for Ocd, there is no cure, and if you don’t seek help this condition can get a lot worse. But because hollywood and social media portrays Ocd as wacky, fun, and entertaining, we lack the insight to what Ocd really is and the importance of seeking medical help. We are shamed into silence. And when people do find out about what Ocd really is, they freak out, I can say this because this is what happened to me (i’ll discuss this later on). The prejudice and discrimination, the jokes and laughing. I mean think about how nice it must feel to have someone crack jokes about the very illness that tortures you day and night. It’s like laughing at someone who breaks their leg or is dying from cancer. Yeah, Ouch. Either social stigma makes us question the severity of our illness or it makes us feel embarrassed afraid, and broken. Ocd isn’t a quirk, it’s not a personality disorder (that’s a whole different disorder), it’s not an interest, or an obsession about celebrities, shopping, or the coolest latest movie. This is a mental disorder and every careless joke. Every little laugh. Every judgmental look. Every cruel word. It hurts. It shames us. It silences us. Why is it that people cry outrage whenever someone makes fun of a cancer patients, or other terminal illness, while the stigma of Ocd (and other mental illnesses) tortures us on a daily basis and causes so much pain and suffering is joked about and treated with such disregard? Or worse, is feared, hated, and judged?

See what not to say to someone with Ocd: https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/05/21/what-not-to-say-to-someone-with-obsessive-compulsive-disorder

Also see what other people with Ocd think about people saying everyone’s a little Ocd:

What are the symptoms of Ocd?

Symptoms can vary depending on your form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As far as I’m aware, the most common symptoms include fears of germs, contamination, fears of hurting yourself or other people, severe focus on religious and or moral ideas. Other symptoms can include intense fear of knives, that you’re going to hell, or even hoarding. Like I said, it’s not just one line; OCD can be anything that involves intense fears, thoughts, impulses, rituals, and or mental images. Impulses and urges are also common in OCD.

Note: There is such a thing as Compulsive behaviors where you repeatedly try and do mental or physical rituals in order to try and ease the anxiety, stress, or fear of obsessive thoughts or to make obsessions go away.

It’s important to keep in mind that some Ocd symptoms are obvious while others are not. For example, there are many people out there with undiagnosed Pure O who have spent years and have never been diagnosed because they haven’t heard of it or because they are unfamiliar with this form of Ocd. I was one of those people. I actually didn’t even know what Ocd was until I was professionally diagnosed at seventeen.

Also see other symptoms of OCD:

What it’s like to have OCD

You know how I said Ocd is hell? Yeah, that’s not an exaggeration. It really is hell on earth. Ocd is an enemy and unwanted guest. Ocd is the internal bully, the silent torturer that gladly provides you with endless mental torture. Every day I am shackled by my thoughts and every day I am tortured with mental images. Ocd is the bat and my mind is the pinata. Imagine each unwanted thought as a kick or a hit, it comes swift and unexpected. Each thought is a punch and every day I take a beating. Ocd is always on time, it’s always there to grab you when you fall and hit you again and again and again. This is not something that people should be joking or laughing about. Ocd is a personal attack on my character. I am someone who is very quiet, fragile, peaceful by nature, and Ocd is everything that I’m not. It’s the opposite of who I am. It’s everything that I fear and hate. I feel disgusted by my thoughts. I feel guilt, I feel sick, I feel agony. My goal in life is too help those in need. In some respects I’m a pacifist, as best defined by dictionary.com, I am opposed to ‘war or violence of any kind.’ I would never fight back unless it was the very last option to defend myself. But Ocd is the enemy you can’t ignore and it’s not always one you can’t beat, you have to fight and or resist it. And when you get hit with thoughts you just have to endure the beatings, you have to ignore the punches no matter how painful and the only way to do that is to remember what you are fighting for.

Isn’t OCD a Choice?

People often think that OCD is a choice. But when it comes to Ocd your mind is a battlefield and every day I fight a fight that neither my Ocd or I win; it is a never ending battle. And just like Depression, you can’t just ‘snap’ out of it. That’s like saying someone who is terminally sick that they can just ‘snap out of it.’ Or like a stranger who walks up to another stranger and just randomly punches him/her in the face. Nobody chooses to have cancer and nobody chooses to be punched. Ocd is not just a fear based disorder, it’s an uncontrollable illness that causes extreme fear and distress and no reassurance makes it go away. And while treatment can help, Ocd doesn’t ever fully go away, it can’t be reasoned with and it can’t be thought or wished away either. Ocd is a shackle, a prison for which there is no key or cure. Ocd is the monster in the closest and there is no escaping it. No matter where you run, no matter where you hide, it always finds you. There’s only ever one option: To fight it. But no matter how many times you beat it nothing forestalls its return and it always hits you harder than you can. It is an ever present shadow that looms above you. You are helpless to stop it.

What Causes OCD?

Genetics, brain function, environmental influences such as trauma or abuse can be several contributors to the cause. But that simply isn’t the case for all Ocd victims, sometimes there isn’t a main cause, it just happens, which is probably one of the reasons why Ocd is so hard to understand. There can however be triggers. For me those triggers are violent shows or books. It doesn’t even have to be a lot of violence like blood and gore. For example, I love super heroes, but if a superhero like the Flash is getting beat up by a villain I have to limit how much I watch that show. I can’t play video games with blood or high violence, basically anything over the rating of 10 and up I can’t play. Video game wise I generally stick to Mario games and Legend of Zelda breath of the Wild. I also use to play Kingdom Hearts (those are all great games with no blood and very little violence.) But I can’t read books like Divergence, Hunger games, or Twilight whether it’s because of the violence or sexual themes. I can’t watch NCIS, Criminal Minds, basically anything with a lot of violence (which is most TV 14). Not to say I can’t watch a show like the Flash or Cloak and Dagger once a week, or read or write a book with a little violence in it. I just have to be careful about how much I expose myself to violence because there are days where the more I watch or read about it, the more my Ocd thoughts increase. There are times even just hearing my family watch something like criminal minds can cause me to struggle because my brain picks up what’s going on even through headphones and music (I have sensitive hearing). I recently moved our computer into our sun room just to avoid hearing there shows. I know it sounds excessive, and I imagine it would to someone who has never struggled with Ocd. But what people don’t understand is what it’s like to really struggle against your own mind.

Ocd is caused by bad parenting

You heard it right, just like with Autism people like associate Ocd with bad parenting. It’s true that some children go through trauma and child abuse at home and like I said, trauma and child abuse can be one cause of Ocd. But that doesn’t make all parents with children, teens, and young adults with Ocd bad parents. I can vouch for this because I had a great childhood. Not to say that it was perfect or anything because Autism, school, and other situations in life did make life very difficult. But that wasn’t traumatizing or anything. And compared to the majority of children around the world who live off less than a dollar a day, or the millions of children who have only one parent, or live in the foster system, my life is awesome. My parents didn’t spoil me or anything, and I didn’t always get what I wanted, but they always had my best interests at heart. All they have ever done for me is love, support, and care for me. They are as good as any parent and my Ocd is not their fault or mine. We live in a broken world, full of imperfect people suffering from the effects of a fallen world, and we have to realize that we suffer from diseases, illnesses, disabilities, and even mental disorders (as I said before) not because we are being punished because of our sins, but because the world’s sins have become a part of life.

Are people with OCD dangerous?

Ocd doesn’t make me a bad person. And yet Ocd bearers like me already believe were terrible people because of two things: Ocd and social stigma. We feel so guilty about what the thoughts we can’t control that there are days where some of us just want to die. Ocd causes so much torment, isolation, fear, and guilt that Ocd sufferers (especially with depression) are at a higher risk for committing suicide compared to the general population. I can’t begin to tell you how much guilt I use to feel, it brought me to a very low point in my life, so many times I wanted to die (while not wanting to die at the same time if that makes sense) and having clinical depression did not help. I still remember the nights back when my Ocd and depression first reared their ugly heads, I would literally lie on the floor, curled up in a ball crying for hours. The guilt is unlike any other. Only in recent years have I actually learned to stop being so hard on myself. We are not monsters and we’re not crazy. We are not bad people; if we were we would not feel guilty about these thoughts. It’s because we hate these thoughts that we wrestle with them and feel so guilty about having them. Yes we have unpleasant thoughts and impulses, but just as I said about Autistics and the myth that were danger to society, just because a few people with Ocd (or Autism) commit mass crimes, doesn’t make all of us criminals. We are no more likely to commit a crime than a non-ocd person. Many of us know that are Ocd thoughts are just excessive and irrational. If anything it’s our compulsive habits and Ocd that can be dangerous in the respects of high risks of depression, and suicide, but this isn’t some psychotic break down. Most Ocd sufferers are everyday people. Some give to charity. Some volunteer. Some work. Some are in relationships. Some are parents. And while Ocd can and is debilitating depending on the severity of it, there are Ocd sufferers out there who can function like the typical person, so much so that you couldn’t even tell they had Ocd. With that said, there are a lot of Ocd victims who are crippled significantly in everyday life including in their relationships and work. Like I said, it all depends on the level of severity.

Remember, Ocd can be treated, there are days that I have next to no Ocd thoughts, but even so the best days are nothing compared to the brains of the public. My Ocd thoughts haven’t completely cleared out, but I am a lot better than I was when I first showed symptoms of Ocd, all I needed was love, support, and understanding. The love I feel for my family is the super power I wield to battle my Ocd. Just like in video game Kingdom Hearts how Sora draws strength and power from his friends to battle the forces of darkness. We need people to love, support, and encourage us, not fear and judge us. You don’t have to fully understand, you just have to believe in us. If you do that we will become a powerful force against our thoughts. When we fall, we won’t be falling alone. And when we do fall, we’ll have the encouragement we need to get back up again. Everyone needs encouragement, everyone. But the stigma, judgment, fear, and hatred of our medical condition only causes us to have more fear and hatred of ourselves. Ocd is like a parasite, it feeds off of fear. The more fear there is, the worse the thoughts and compulsions get. What starts out as a spark becomes a wildfire. The only thing I can compare it to is the movie Frozen. The more people feared and judged Elsa, the more she feared herself, and the worst her powers got. Just watch frozen and you’ll understand. But love, love and truth conquers all.

And if you are going to insist that someone with Ocd is some dangerous monster just because they struggle, I suggest you take a long good look in the mirror. We all struggle. We all fight battles that other people know nothing about. We all have secrets. We all have battle scars. We all have our pasts. And just as the battle in all of us between good and evil is never ending, so is the war against our own minds. Ocd sufferers are strong, brave, souls who battle the darkness every day. Some of the greatest battles are fought by people with Ocd, but where will we draw strength to fight if people are throwing stones at us? If the world keeps telling us were the villians, what do you think that will do to someone with Ocd? If you repeat a lie enough, it will be perceived as the truth.

Also see:

 

My experience with OCD.

So many times I contemplated whether or not to share my professional diagnosis because I know the world itself is a harsh critic. Most mental health conditions and disabilities are a question to the world, they are misunderstood. And people fear and hate what they don’t or refuse to understand- especially when it comes to Mental illnesses, Neurobehavioral disorders, and Disabilities. And instead of supporting someone, people just jump on the bandwagon and cut down other people for the things about themselves they can’t control like Mental illnesses such as Anxiety disorders, Depression, etc. But I know who I am and Ocd is not what defines me. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks of me as long as I am true to myself. People will always judge, fear, and hate what they don’t understand and I know that I can’t change the way people will see me. And that’s okay. I just want to put my story out there so because I want those out there struggling with this condition to know that they are not alone. Contrary to the common belief, all my Ocd symptoms are not visible; you can’t tell that I have Ocd.

My Ocd developed somewhere in between fourteen and fifteen after I had been playing World of Warcraft for about two years, but I wasn’t professionally diagnosed until seventeen when I also got my Autism diagnosis. Whether or not World of Warcraft was the cause, I don’t know, Maybe all of this started because of the exposure to violence, I don’t know. But what I do know is that I have been clean of World of Warcraft and haven’t played violent games like World of Warcraft in seven (soon to be eight) years, which makes me think that it was just a coincidence that I developed Ocd at this time just like my depression.

I don’t really know exactly when it started, all I remember is that the thoughts slowly started coming into my mind one day. It started with one, then two, and then over the next few months my symptoms worsened and my thoughts viciously multiplied. I didn’t know what was happening or why I was having these thoughts, only that I hated them and that they made me feel afraid. To be honest, I thought I was going crazy. Not crazy as in hearing voices in your head or seeing things that aren’t there, or becoming aggressive or anything. But crazy as in, I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. I felt so helpless, so confused, so scared. For months, maybe a year (the exact date is fuzzy) I hid my struggles from family members and even my own Mom, who I share everything with, because I feared her reaction. It’s not like I didn’t trust her or anything, but how do you talk about something so horrifying? (I don’t even want to talk about what kind of Ocd it is now because it’s scary to talk about). How do you even begin to explain something that you don’t even understand yourself? I was so afraid that if I told anybody, that they would freak out and send me to one of those insane asylums you see in horror movies where they lock you up, strap you down, and pump you full of drugs. But to those of you out there struggling with Ocd, the two worst things you can do is keep this struggle to yourself and feed it. I learned that the hard way. I thought that it was something that I had to face alone. Even before I knew what Ocd was, I knew that it stood against everything that I loved and believe in, and that it had to resist it. But fighting it on my own, it was so lonely and so frightening. And the more I feared it, the more it grew because fear always begets more fear. This mental illness thrives on fear and rituals whether mental or physical. The more you fear it, the stronger it becomes. And in my own experiences, the more I gave in to the mental rituals, the more I would have to repeat them. To combat Ocd, I always did and am still guilt of resorting to mental rituals of repeating phrases over and over again for as many times as I would and do have the thoughts. This is just one example, if I had bad thoughts about God, I would say, “I reject this thought in the name of Jesus the Christ,” or, “I reject satan in the name of Jesus the Christ,” or, “Jesus blood protects me from the evil one.” I would and still repeat these phrases hundreds of times each day to try and relieve the anxiety that my thoughts cause me. But it has and always leaves me mentally exhausted. And guess what? The Ocd thoughts always come back.

Eventually through hysterical sobs I did tell my Mom about what was going on and she got me in to see a therapist. It was my therapist’s job to listen to me and help me find ways to cope with my Ocd. But what did she do instead? She judged me and feared me. When my therapist asked me how many thoughts I had in a day, I told her I had lost count of them all. A mixture of concern, confusion, maybe even fear twisted her face. I’m not very good at reading faces and maybe I mistranslated her facial expressions, but that doesn’t change the way that I felt when she looked at me. I can’t begin to describe how awful she made me feel. She didn’t have to say anything, her face said it all. The way she looked at me, I can’t describe it, but it made me think to myself, Is there something wrong with me? I went to another therapist but she reacted similarly by sending me to the emergency room. Why? Because she didn’t know me and she didn’t take the time to. I was cleared that very day. The doctor found nothing wrong with me. I was perfectly sane. But I no longer felt like I could seek professional help, so I went to a psychologist for depression and anxiety medication but other than that I was on my own. I had my family to support me and help me get through, but there is only so much someone can do for you. Don’t misunderstand me, my family did everything to their best ability to encourage me, but at the end of the day I had to wrestle with these thoughts in my head by myself. The beatings of Ocd continued, no scratch that- they intensified. Ocd threw every punch it could throw. So many times I cried in agony, ‘please God, take this from me.’ I would cry until I became numb and couldn’t cry anymore, and instead I would groan, ‘Lord, I am a sinner. You can’t possibly forgive me for this. Just kill me now.’ I felt so much guilt that I wanted to die. Ocd told me I was a monster. Ocd told me I could never win. Every day I would tell myself that I would beat Ocd but then Ocd would beat me. My Ocd was taunting me, torturing me. So many times I begged God to take the torment away. But he didn’t because that’s not what he promised. Instead he fulfilled his promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13, ‘The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.’ And that’s exactly what he did; he gave me the strength to endure it and showed me a way out through acceptance of my Ocd (I’ll talk about this in just a minute.) I can’t take the credit. My family filled a major role in helping me with my Ocd but God played an even bigger role. God did it; he used me to burst through my enemies (Ocd) like a raging flood. God did something for me that I could not do for myself. He helped me see the light and he still does. God is stronger than what I face. And every time I was and am beaten up by my OCD, God was and is there to pull me back up. Thanks to the love and support of my God and my family, my Ocd has become less intense. I haven’t master my Ocd just as Ocd has not mastered me, but God and the love of my family brought me to a place where I ignore the thoughts because I know who I am. Not to say I never struggle with my thoughts and rituals because I still have them, and in many ways I am still learning to ignore them. But thanks to God I can do all things because of he who gives me strength. I don’t blame God for not snapping his fingers and making me better because that’s not how God works. He’s not the genie in the bottle that answers our every prayer and every wish. But he did promise: 1. That he would be there with us. 2. That he would give us the strength to endure. 3. And that he would show us a way out. Sometimes I think God allows bad things to happen in our lives because of one of two things: Either he’s trying to get our attention or he’s opening our eyes to the suffering of others (But that’s not always the case, a lot of suffering simply stems from the effects of fallen human nature and the rebellion of earth). So many people are hurting, so many people need hope, they need encouragement, and they need love. And every day God teaches me to take my eyes off of myself and focus on others who are suffering and every day he shows me the unfathomable depths of his love. My God and my family never gave up on me; they cheered me on through every battle. Their love gave me the strength to fight. Love is what conquered my Ocd. Love and truth are stronger than these lies. Love is the ultimate victor. I am a warrior. I will survive because I am a warrior. And I will never give up.

How to cope with OCD

The first step is getting help. And believe it or not the second step is therapy. And I know what you’re thinking, ‘are you crazy? You want me to go to therapist after hearing about your experience with those two therapists?’ Despite my experience, not all therapists are bad people, just as not all apples on the same tree are bad. I mean, one of my relatives is a therapist and he’s a very kind hearted person. I just got unlucky. If you go through or have gone through something similar, you don’t have to stay with that therapist, find another agency if you have to. But trust me, refusing to seek help can only further worsen your condition.

How to cope: When I went to counseling and they suggested that I replace the Ocd thoughts with, let’s say thoughts about the beach. That didn’t work. So they suggested that I quote a source of comfort, for me that was scripture. But again, this didn’t work. In fact, none of the things they suggested worked for me. Everyone is going to have something that works for them but not for someone else. The first thing that ended up working for me, and this was my own idea, was keeping my mind occupied and changing the thoughts. If I can keep my brain active and focused on- let’s say writing, it generally helps keep me distracted and keeps the thoughts less frequent. The second thing that helped was changing the outcome of the thought while it plays out. I don’t know if that makes sense or not. It’s not actually changing the thought because try as I might, when I tried to think about something else, the Ocd thought would always consume that thought. The best I could do was change the end of the thought. The only real downside of this is that it has become another mental ritual that I repeat again and again and it often leads to mental exhaustion. One final thing that helped me, and this is the best one of them all, is ignoring the thoughts. In the Serenity prayer there’s this saying, it goes like this, ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.’ Nothing could be truer. As awful and disgusting as our thoughts are, acceptance of Ocd and stopping your compulsions is the only way to find peace (See the links below. Most people who ‘overcome’ Ocd were only able to because they accepted it.) And trust me, I know. I’ve tried countless solutions and acceptance is the only one that works. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to be hard to accept. It’s going to be painful. It could even cause you to suffer more anxiety and fear. You may even feel like you’re going crazy (recovery is different for everyone). But it’s the only way onto the path of peace. Accept that you will suffer. Why? Because there is no cure and recovery takes time. Accept that you will struggle with Ocd, maybe for the rest of your life, but that it will not overtake you. Accept that you cannot escape what you fear. Accept that even if you manage to get your symptoms under control, even if you manage to keep it from affecting your life, you very well could have relapses and symptoms that were worse than before. I can say this because despite how far I’ve come as far as recovery goes, despite all my good days I still have bad ones. I still have relapses and compulsions. The key is ignoring and resisting them. Not resisting as in, doing your physical or mental rituals, but resisting as in not giving into those compulsions. Accept that you can’t shut these thoughts off at will, you can stop the compulsions but the thoughts will continue. You won’t ever be truly free from Ocd, but the thoughts will get easier to handle. Things will get better in that respect. Accept that this is not a perfect or even permanent fix. But more importantly, accept that Ocd is not who you are. Accept that this says nothing about your character. If you have to, remind yourself. Write down every good thing you can think about yourself, whether your smart, brave, funny, caring, whatever it is, don’t let yourself forget it- put it on your walls if you have to, repeat it to yourself when you get up in the morning and when you go to sleep if that’s what it takes. Just always remember that these Ocd thoughts are nothing more than lies. Fear is a liar and it will do everything in its power to destroy the truth about you. Just like the song by Zach Williams titled, ‘Fear Is a Liar.’ I know it’s hard. I know it’s scary. But acceptance does not mean that you will become your thoughts. I have faith in you. You are strong. You are brave. You are a warrior. But what if I’m not strong enough? You might say. My friend, you are strong enough. I use to be you, every time I got knocked off my feet, I would think to myself, Why me? What if I’m not strong enough? What if the thoughts overtake me? What if the therapists are right, what if I am a monster? But these words, just like all Ocd thoughts, are empty, meaningless. They do not determine who you are or what you will become, you do. You may feel like you have no control, I get that because everything that you feel I have felt. Your confusion. Your pain. Your anger. Your guilt. Your fear. I remember there were times I was so afraid that I would fall into these vicious panic attack cycles (that and other reasons discussed in previous articles). It gets me teary eyed just thinking about it. Everyone has different forms of Ocd and will experience things differently, but deep down we can all sympathize with each other one level or another. You are not alone in this, you are never alone. Don’t give up; you have so much to live for, so much to fight for. Maybe you don’t have family or friends to support you; but there are people you don’t know, people out there who care for you. People out there praying for you, we don’t know your name, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care. You are an incredible, amazing person. And even though we’ve never met, I’m sure we’d be good friends. We all fight battles no one else knows about, but when Ocd fights against you, it will not overcome you. Why? Because you are the hero and Ocd is the villain. And heroes always win. Take the Tv series The Flash for example. No matter how many times Barry Allen is beaten up or defeated by villains like Reverse flash, Zoom, and Savitar, no matter how many times he is knocked down, no matter how many tragedies he faces, he always gets back up again. He always fights, always looks at the bright side of things. He doesn’t give up just because he’s knocked down one too many times, sure he gets discouraged sometimes, but like all super heroes at the end of the day he always gets back up to fight the darkness. It’s a good reminder that we all are fighting battles, we all have our scars. But no matter how deep our struggles, no matter how messy the fight, all that matters is that we remember what we’re fighting for and keep the light and truth about ourselves close at heart.

I know things may seem dark right now, maybe you’re stumbling blindly maybe you’ve lost hope. But remember the one who is holding you. I’ve had to learn things the hard way, but when the pain became too much and I began sinking into the mud and the mire, God was there- ready to pull me out and hold me in his arms. I remember one particular night a while back, weeping bitterly. I clutched my chest and I cried out to God, “Why did you create me knowing that I would be such a terrible person? How can you possibly love me when I have all of these awful thoughts?” And at that moment I felt something I had never felt before. A presence of love wrapped its arms around me and I imagined God hugging me and whispering into my ears, “I love you.” It reminded me of an event that happened back in my childhood. I was walking in the park and something happened that I’m not even sure how to describe. I saw myself standing in Heaven before Jesus, tears streaming down my face, and through sobs asking, “How can you love me after all the terrible things that I have done?” And he just smiled, placed his hands on my shoulders, called out my name and said, “I love you. I love you.” Was it daydreaming? Was it a vision? I don’t know, but what I saw that day and what I felt was something that I will never forget. Maybe God hasn’t answered your prayers, but remember, his answer isn’t always yes, sometimes it’s no and other times it’s wait. Maybe God doesn’t seem there, but maybe you’ve stepped so far back that you can no longer hear him calling out, “I’m here, come find me!” Or maybe your feelings are trying to play tricks on you, because Christianity is not about feelings, it’s about faith in the things you cannot see or feel. And when God doesn’t seem to care, if only you could see the battle he fights for you and the scars that he got protecting you. Maybe your life hasn’t turned out the way you wanted it to be, but my friend, God’s got bigger and better things for you. And he will lead you down a path of hope if you let him.

See articles on the importance of acceptance of Ocd:

Also see how to find find for Ocd and the stories of people with Ocd and what Ocd is really like:

Answering the Critics: Debunking the Myths of Autism

© 2019 https://karynshaven.wordpress.com All rights reserved. 

(Because people are sue happy these days I will not be posting any quotes in this article. I will give links to quotes, facts and statements regarding the topics mentioned in the article. Warning: Some of the links will lead to articles that some people may find disturbing, especially to those with Autism. The things that people say about Autism can be brutal. The reason I included them in this blog is too shed light on what people think of Autism and exposed the stigma, lies, and misconceptions of Autism. Viewer discretion is advised.)

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed- Proverbs 31:8.

To the critics of Autism. You hopelessly misunderstand me. And not just me, but all people with Autism. You are so uneducated about Autism that you start imagining all sorts of things about what Autism is and what it should look like. Autistics are emotionless. Autistics are dumb. Autistics are brats. Autistics deserve to be removed from society. Autistics are inhuman.

You have never said it to my face, but this is what you have said to Autistics everywhere through your posts online and through verbal words. There is a persistent stereotype in society that Autistics are ill-bred, insulting people that are ferociously antagonistic. (See Ashlea McKay’s story: https://medium.com/@AshleaMcKay/an-autistic-adult-on-life-as-the-perpetual-villain-eac6fbd9b4f5). There is a persistent stereotype in society that Autistics can’t feel emotion and are incapable of compassion. That we are either dumb or tech smart. Or that we are all just a bunch of children using this condition as an excuse for bad behavior.  

Note: (If you want to see these stereotypical articles yourself and the impact it leaves, scroll to the bottom of this post just above the source information).

You don’t understand me or other Autistics, all you and society see are misbehaving brats. The social stigma of Autism leads many to believe myths- lies about us- some go as far as to present mere statements of opinion of Autism as fact. And despite the Disabilities Act (ADA) that became law in 1990, there are many out there who discriminate against those of us with Autism. According to Office of National Statistics (ONS) people with Autism and Disabilities are the most likely to be subjected to hate crimes.

See:

I have always known that if I am true to myself, I am judged by the world. If I pretend to be someone I’m not, I’m accepted. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t hide who I really am inside. It saddens me to think that when some people see some low functioning Autistic having a meltdown they jump to the conclusion that this is just another brat using Autism as an excuse for poor behavior.

If I was the only Autistic in the world who was insulted and lied about, I could remain quiet, for that would be too trivial a matter to disturb you, the public with. But by misunderstanding Autism, the conventional image of autism continues to spread, leading to more discrimination, lies, and fear, and even hatred of Autism.

That is why I am writing to you, the public. Not to change your mind or get into some heated argument, but to reach out to you with a heartfelt plea. I can only ask that you will only listen to what I have to say before you or anyone else renders judgement against Autism. You fear, hate, and or judge what you don’t understand. So in this post I am going to debunk the top twelve lies of Autism.

(Note: Skeptic Form and Landover Baptist wrote back in 2013. I am responding to their remarks on this blog because I feel that someone should answer there criticism with truth so that people who find websites like this aren’t further confused about what Autism is and isn’t.)

Myth one: Autistics are emotionless.

This is a lie. I may not be able to express emotion, but that doesn’t mean I have no feelings. Some of my emotions can become very powerful. I’ve laughed, gotten mad, and even grieved. But more than that, I can feel the pain of others. I hear their hearts cries and feel what others feel. When they are happy I am happy for them, when they get mad I feel their anger, and when they grieve I cry for them. I am tormented by the suffering of others, as though it were my own. It’s as though we are connected or share one heart. (Check out this article on a rare condition that allows people to actually feel the pain of others): https://www.rebelcircus.com/blog/rare-condition-allows-literally-feel-someone-elses-pain/

And it’s not just a feeling; there are times it turns into a physical sensation. When people on TV, or in books, and sometimes in real life get hurt, I feel their physical pain in my own body. There was this one anime character in this show I once watched, the character got kicked in the stomach by a bully and I felt immediate physical pain in my stomach as if I had just been kicked. During these instances, I get a brief painful sensation in my body, an intense sharp pain. The only way I can think of to describe it is as is that it almost feels like a stab or shocks of electricity. The lonely. The friendless. The depressed. The homeless. The impoverished. The persecuted. The veterans. The bullied. The orphaned. I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart for them. There suffering brings me to tears, there are no words to describe the agony I feel for them. And I’m not the only one with a heart. Just check out some of the following articles: 1. People with Autism Can Read Emotions. 2. You think autistic people have no empathy? My little boy is so empathetic it hurts by Louise Milligan. 3. What It Means To Be Highly Empathetic, And Autistic. 4. People with autism don’t lack emotions but often have difficulty identifying them.

Myth two: Autistics are uncaring and selfish.

I don’t often talk about my work because I don’t want the credit and I hate the attention. I have much contemplated whether or not to talk about my work in my blog because I don’t want to come across as bragging. But what I’ve’ come to realize is that people need to hear about the good Autistics do. I have made a total of 200 Christmas and birthday cards for children in foster care and Soldiers through organizations like Braids Missions and Soldiers Angels, and that doesn’t include the cards I made for my local police department. I bake cookies for my neighbors at Christmas. And Autism is the reason I do all of this. Autism has made me a social outcast of society, and has given me my fair share of loneliness. That is what moved me to help those the world forgot. Without autism, I may never have done any of this. So please, don’t just automatically assume that Autistics don’t care for people, because we do. Our stories just don’t get told. You won’t see us on the news, or in the papers. You won’t see our stories in movies or in books. And that’s okay, not everyone is meant to be seen, and not everyone is meant to be heard. Some of us are just meant to be the supporting characters. But my point in all of this is that if I didn’t have a heart, and I truly did not care for others, I would not go out of my way to do this for them.

Myth three: Autism is just an excuse for bad behavior.

Meltdown when people hear this word they often think of temper tantrum. But I want to be clear on something; there is a difference between tantrums and sensory overload in Autistics.

See the definition of a meltdown according to the National Autistic Society. Source: https://www.autism.org.uk/about/behaviour/meltdowns.aspx

I want you to imagine something with me. Imagine the sound of a school bell ringing, a door slamming, or a car honking, sounding like…well… think of the most annoying, loudest noise you can think of: Nails on a chalkboard, loud high pitched dogs barking, The blaring music at a concert… noise sensitivity is like that. It’s loud, it’s painful, it’s distressing, and it’s annoying. Or imagine the lights in a classroom, or at a Walmart store hurting your eyes, it’s kind of like the effect you get when you stare at the sun or into a flashlight. It would be painful and overwhelming wouldn’t it?

Have you ever watched the 2013 movie Man of steel? There’s a great scene in this movie that gives a small portrayal of what sensory overload is like. So there’s a flashback scene in the movie of Clark Kent back in school sitting in the classroom. The teacher asks him a question but Clark doesn’t pay attention because he’s so distracted by every frivolous sight and sound: The tapping of pencils, the ticking clock on the wall, fingers drumming on the desk, the writing on the board, the different faces, etc. And if you listen closely you can hear him beginning to hyperventilate, one of the symptoms of a panic attack. Overcome by extreme distress from the sensory overload, he rushes out of the classroom and locks himself in the janitor’s closet, tears running down his face from the confusion and torment of it all. This is just a small example of the many hardships Autistics face when it comes to sensory issues, and this was just a classroom. Imagine going out to public places or crowded areas: Cars honking, stop lights flickering, people talking, phones ringing, babies crying, engines reviving, birds chirping. We hear it all and we hear it all at the same time, and with our heightened senses for someone us it comes in loud and painful. It’s even worse in a city. Add on the construction workers, dogs barking, and other city noises, just thinking about it all can give an Autistic anxiety.

Autistics have incredible superpowers, we have enhanced senses- something the government is even trying to create in their soldiers (See the article government wants to create super soldiers with heightened senses: https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1005512/US-military-DARPA-super-soldiers-mysterious-experiments).

What people don’t understand is that sights, sounds, and even touches can be very distressing and painful- which is one reason that Autistics lash out. Another reason: Social situations. These things can also trigger a fight or flight response in Autistics. It may all seem like overkill, but unlike you, Autistics only have so much energy to put into a day. Enhanced vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, all these things work against us around the clock. For many of us it takes a lot of energy to handle it all, and once that energy is exhausted and our minds have become overloaded, we break down and need time to go somewhere quiet and recharge- otherwise we get so over stimulated, overwhelmed and so stressed out that we lash out. But even so, not all Autistics are aggressive. Check out this article on understanding aggression in Autism: https://www.spectrumnews.org/opinion/guest-blog-understanding-aggression-in-autism/

What sensory overload is like:

See these articles:

What social situations are like for High functioning Autistics:

I hate crowds and I hate eye contact. It’s uncomfortable, it’s stressful, and it makes it a hundred times harder to focus. Not only that, but it gives me anxiety. The truth is that the majority of people don’t have to think about what they’re going to say, Autistics do. For most, conversation just comes naturally. Most people don’t have to worry about their minds going blank, or the awkward silence that comes because they don’t know what to say to you. Autistics do. A conversation seems simple for someone without Autism, but it’s like jumping out of an airplane for someone with Autism. Conversations and contact with people is scary. It’s intense. It’s terrifying. In Fact it’s so terrifying that some of us find ourselves going into fight or flight mode. It’s the same with Sensory overload. See how sensory meltdowns can cause children to go into fight or flight mode: http://asensorylife.com/sensory-meltdowns.html).

See the articles, ‘What is fight or flight response,’ and ‘How the fight or flight response works.’

Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-fight-or-flight-response-2795194

http://www.thebodysoulconnection.com/EducationCenter/fight.html

Don’t automatically assume that because Autistics act out because there spoiled brats. You have no idea how hard life can be for a low functioning autistic, let alone for a high functioning one.

Myth four: Autistic people are a danger to society.

Should autistic people be quarantined/removed from society? (https://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=22275)

Let’s start with the first question: Are Autistics a danger to society? ‘I heard on the news that the Sandy Hook Elementary shooter was Asperger’s and the Umpqua Community College shooter and the Parkland shooter were autistic.’ Ah yes, the news. Have you noticed the news almost never says anything about the good Autistics do? I don’t encourage or support school shootings in any way but just because a few people with Autism or Asperger’s commit mass crimes, doesn’t make all of us criminals.

In 2015 after the Umpqua community college shooting, people were angry and they were looking for someone to blame. When people found out the shooter had autism, the misconception that all Autistics are cold blooded killers started up. This happened again, in 2018 after the Parkland shooter was diagnosed with Autism. Anytime a shooter is diagnosed with a disability or mental illness, some people just automatically assume that all disabled people- especially Autistics- must be like that. Example one: https://www.wnpr.org/post/teen-autism-being-different-was-seen-being-dangerous

Example two: after the UCC shooting, a hate group on a Facebook page called “Families Against Autistic Shooters” came out. You can read their story in one of these two articles 

Also see: https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/internet-rallies-to-remove-facebook-page-linking-013122755.html

The page was taken down shortly after the autism community signed petitions and demanded that it should be taken down. I know people were angry, but come on, you don’t see Autistics throwing all normal people into the psychopathic categories, so please, don’t do the same with us. Were people, we have feelings too. And what about all those normal people who commit school shootings? Not everyone who commits mass murder is disabled or mentally ill, in fact as I stated earlier, disabled people are more likely to become victims of hate crimes. See:

And let’s not forget bullying.

Three million students are victims of bullying every year. And most school shooters felt like they were victims themselves because of bullying. See 11 facts about bullying and its role in school. See:

And while parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz and Chris mercer were not bullied as far as I know, think of all the Autistics who are. I condemn any acts of violence, and I’m not saying that all mass shootings happen because of bullying. But I want you to understand that Autistics are only human. We all have our breaking points. Did you know that people on the Autism Spectrum Disorder are bullied more often than neuotypicals? See:

Imagine something with me. Imagine going to a school where everyone hates you because you have autism. Where everyone tells you you’re ugly, or retarded, or that you should go kill yourself, or that you’ll end up becoming the next school shooter. Just look it up and you will see that hate-crimes and discrimination against Autistics are everywhere:

See article titled ‘Neurotypical Peers are Less Willing to Interact with Those with Autism based on Thin Slice Judgments’ and the article on how : https://www.nature.com/articles/srep40700 Also see: https://www.tameri.com/wordpress/autisticme/2018/01/13/autistics-make-others-uncomfortable-instantly/

Massachusetts allows school to continue use electric shocks on children with learning disabilities. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/jul/12/judge-rotenberg-educational-center-electric-shocks

Also see articles titled, ‘Google Removing Hateful References To Autism’ (Some people may find this disturbing, especially those with Autism. Viewer discretion advised.) Same, articles, but are three different sources:

Article, 6-year-old autistic boy hospitalized after standing up to bullies.’ Source: https://nypost.com/2018/08/27/six-year-old-autistic-boy-hospitalized-after-standing-up-to-bullies/

Article see articles, ‘He’s Autistic; He Deserved It Say Parents Of Bullies.’ And, ‘They want us to die. You wouldn’t believe how many people hate those of us with Autism.’ Sources:

At school. At work. Online. No matter where we turn we are discriminated against. Think about that for a moment, if the whole world misunderstood you, bullied you, or harassed you, hated you, or feared you, because there something about yourself that you couldn’t change or control, don’t you think that you would be angry? And when someone treats you like you’re not human and even goes as far as to tell you that, can you imagine what that does to someone? Tortured to insanity, Autistic children resort to suicide or worse- school shootings. I want you to understand that Autistic people aren’t really accepted – were not even seen or treated as human beings: https://theconversation.com/autistic-people-arent-really-accepted-and-its-impacting-their-mental-health-86817. We just want to be accepted and treated like human beings, but instead we are chased away with pitchforks and torches. We are like second class citizens. We are social outcasts. We don’t act like you, we don’t talk like you, we don’t think like you. These are the crimes for which we are judged and condemned for.

Question two: Should Autistics be locked up? http://www.skepticforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=22275

Ever since the myth of an autism epidemic started, people have been freaking out that Autism is out of control. And when an autistic person commits a crime, that fear and panic only grows. But in 2014 an article came out titled:

Autism Prevalence Unchanged in 20 Years (https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/autism-prevalence-unchanged-in-20-years/).

In 2015, a new study suggested that there was no Autism Epidemic. (https://www.sciencealert.com/new-study-suggests-there-is-no-autism-epidemic).

In 2017 a new report showed that 1 in 36 U.S. children have an autism diagnosis (ttps://tacanowblog.com/2017/12/05/new-report-shows-1-in-36-u-s-children-has-an-autism-diagnosis-now-will-people-care/)

And saying that Autistics should be locked up is like saying that someone with dyslexia, or leukemia, or someone who wears glasses should be locked up. They can’t change who they are. They can’t change the fact that they see things differently, or that they are sick, or that they can’t see without glasses. This is just who they are. And another thing, think of all the people whose lives have been changed because of autism. Just look at some of the articles: 1. Teen with Autism Saves Choking Classmate. 2. Autistic schoolboy saves drowning toddler. 3. Autistic Boy Saves Children When Their School Bus Catches Fire On The Highway. 4. The Utterly Brave Way a 9-Year-Old Student with Autism Saved His Teacher’s Life. All those people would be dead without the intervention of those Autistics. It’s sad to think that people are so quick to judge someone they don’t even know.

Myth five: Autism is caused by bad parenting.

By assuming this you might as well say that when someone has a learning disability, or even cancer, it’s the fault of the parent. You’re blaming them for something that is beyond both the parent and the child’s control. Parenting style can certainly help an autistic child to cope with the world, but it is definitely not the root cause of autistic behavior. My autism is not caused my bad parenting. My Mom for example, one of many of the kindest godliest woman you will ever meet. All she’s ever done is encourage and support me, and she’s always had my best interests at heart. She has always loved me, on the days I was nice and the days I woke up on the wrong side of the bed (we all have those days).

See: https://www.autistica.org.uk/what-is-autism/autism-myths-and-causes

So what causes autism? International scientists may have an answer: https://jbhandleyblog.com/home/2018/4/1/international2018.

Myth six: Everyone’s a little Autistic.

Despite all the studies being done that say everyone carries the Autism gene (See source below:), I personally don’t believe that this makes everyone Autistic. First off, unless you’ve been diagnosed by a professional, there’s no support to those claims. Second, it’s true that people with Asperger’s are said to be chatterboxes and I have heard of people complain that some Autistics are ‘too social.’ And while it’s true that there is a large scale for ASD, for example, some of us are more social than others. For the more social aspect, those on the ASD spectrum may just have advanced communication skills but have delayed social skills or crippling sensory issues- this is a classic symptom of mild autism (see https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-mild-autism-260244). But what I’m trying to get at in all of this is this is that this theory that everyone is a little autistic paves over the fact that the Neurotypical behaviors differ from Autistic behaviors. People may share some of our symptoms, like sensory issues or social difficulties, but our experiences ultimately go far beyond the range of Neurotypical symptoms. So much so that it leaves many of us disabled, and by saying or believing that everyone is a little autistic, this belief downplays our struggles. What we face is very real and very difficult. It’s like someone who has a common cold compared to someone who has the flu. Or someone who walks with crutches compared to someone who is confined to a wheelchair. It’s like someone who scraps their leg compared to someone who breaks their leg, or two different languages, they both are a language but both are not essentially the same. Anyone can have an Autistic trait or two, troubling socializing, sensory issues, etc. But our issues are not fundamentally the same. Autistic brains are wired differently; we view and process the world differently. We are different and we know it, I can say this because I was born feeling different- since I was a child and first understood what the word different meant that’s how I felt. We spend our whole lives standing in the shadows of others. We watch conversations many of us will never be a part of because, when it comes to social situations, because it’s like swimming up the rapids without a paddle or skydiving without a parachute. We have significant and even crippling difficulties in social interaction. When we try to reach out our words can come across as offensive, racist, and blunt even if no malice was intended, that’s how misunderstood we are. When it comes to comedy, jokes, and puns, I can understand what the person is trying to say but I almost never experience the good humor, it’s just not funny to me. Sensory wise, we can become so overloaded so much so that some of us avoid going out altogether or even interacting with people. Employers hesitate or refuse to give jobs to those on the spectrum who can work when they hear they have Autism. People tell us to our faces or whisper behind our backs that we don’t look Autistic. There is no ‘look’ and there never was, what these people are likely thinking of are those with facial deformities, Down syndrome, or severe Autism. Neurotypical people don’t have to deal with that. Neurotypical people don’t have camouflage their Autism from society (many girls, some men, but mostly girl with autism evade diagnosis by masking their symptoms.) Every day we try so hard to fit in, it’s our desperate attempt to survive this world. Everyone may carry that Autistic gene, but we are not all ‘a little autistic.’ And thirdly, there’s a fine line between being anti-social, having trouble socializing, and Autism. Can you make eye contact more than a little to infrequently? Can you enter a public place without getting anxiety? Can you interpret facial expressions, body language, or social cues? Can you keep a conversation? Can you regulate emotion? Can you understand the humor of jokes, puns, pranks, etc? Are you un-sensitive to heat, cold, sound, taste, touch, sight? Can you make friends easily? Are you unaffected by changed routine? Do you have depression, anxiety, or OCD, etc? (Commonly associated with autism) If you’ve said yes to all these questions then chances are you are not Autistic. If however you do think that you do have some ASD symptoms, I would encourage you to see a Psychologist who can properly assess you.

Also see:

Myth seven: Autism only affects children/boys.

Check out these articles:

Also see my blog post: My secret life as a High Functioning Autistic

Myth eight: People with autism are intellectually disabled or stupid.

There’s a popular misconception that autistic people are either tech geniuses or straight up dumb. First off, Autism has nothing to do with being dumb or smart; Autism is defined as exceeding difficulty with social skills, behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. And while there is such a broad ASD spectrum, intelligence can vary for someone with Autism, that doesn’t make us stupid. Research is increasingly showing that even “low-functioning” autistic people might be smarter than neurotypical people in some ways. Also check out this article: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=7885111&page=1

Myth nine: Autism needs to be cured

I’ll admit, I wouldn’t mind a cure as long as it is not mandatory. But to be honest, at the same time I hesitate on those words. Yes it would be nice to be able to have conversations with people without having to worry about my anxiety or communication barriers. Just as it would be nice not to have so many sensory issues, but I am what I’ve become because of autism. It scares me to think what I would be or become without Autism. Would I still be me? Would I become a whole other person? Everything that I am, everything that I’ve become, everything good that I’ve done- it’s all because of Autism. I don’t think Autism is just a puzzle piece you can take away without any repercussions. A cure could very well be like ripping the wings off a butterfly- a cure could rob that Autistic person of a part of themselves. And did it ever occur to anyone what people with Autism might think of a cure? If you do your research you’ll see that not all Autistics want a cure. Many of us have just come to accept ourselves as we are. Society sees Autism as something that needs be stopped, fixed, cured, and because of this there are Autistics out there who take offense to the idea of a cure.  Now I’m not saying people should stop trying to find a cure. In Fact think a cure should be created and made available to those who want it. But I also believe that it should not be mandatory and that it should be the choice of the one with Autism to decide whether or not they want to take the cure.

See some Autistics thoughts on a cure:

Myth ten: People with autism don’t want friends.

Another lie. My whole life all I’ve ever wanted was friends but instead I stand in the shadows of others. Other than my cousins, who live several states away (and I only see once a year), and my siblings- I don’t have any outside friends. (Don’t get me wrong. I love my sisters and I love my cousins and I am so glad that we are friends). Standing outside looking in can just be lonely sometimes, you know? And I did use to have one or two friends, one I knew for three or four years and the other I knew for a couple of months- I want to say I was around fifteen or sixteen at the time but I’m not entirely sure. We would hang out some at my old church, but then we started attending Church of the Open door back in May 2015- Five years ago this May. And I haven’t seen my church friends since. Not that we hung out much to begin with, my friends lived very busy lives and had other friends they wanted to hang out with. But I was always thankful for the time that they did spend with me. I mean, having friends was always better than having no friends at all. But friendship has always been a struggle for me, not just because of my communication issues but also because most just don’t know how to my silent nature. That’s why I started running from people. There are people out there who can talk to anyone else but when it comes to me they don’t know what to say. And since I don’t know what to say, there’s no room for a friendship to form. The only reason I had friends to begin with was because throughout the years God brought some amazing people into my life that were able to hold a conversation even though I never said much in return. It’s not that Autistics don’t want friendship; one fundamental problem is our sensory issues. The second is our Anxiety. And the third is our social issues. And the fourth fundamental problem is that people have their own cliques and they don’t often think to invite people in. At work. At school. At Church. Cliques are everywhere. It doesn’t matter your age, people never seem to outgrow them. And from my own experiences, when I tried to join in a clique the group stared at me like I committed an unspeakable act. Literally, their faces told me, ‘what are you doing here?’ They were giving out a silent but clear message that I wasn’t welcome. And if a regular person can’t break into these cliques, what makes you think an Autistic can? It’s already a thousand times harder for us to make friends, add this on top of the mountainous pile and the odds become increasingly difficult.

I’ve tried reaching out to people with autism and all they did was push me away or got aggressive with me.

To those with similar experiences to this one, I hear you and I’m sorry to hear about your experiences. But what you need to realize is that some of us have been rejected so many times that some of us have just given up. We don’t want to be hurt anymore so we push people away. The truth is that just like you, we have fears. Fears of being hurt, fears of being rejected, fears of not fitting in. These are the same fears most people have, especially teenagers; the only difference in this aspect is that people with Autism are socially clueless. Not that all of us can’t make friends, because there some of us who can. Each person on the Autism spectrum is different, which means relationships can vary from person to person. I hope you can imagine how much harder it is for someone with autism. I can’t say that all of us are perfect, or that we won’t make mistakes, but I can tell you that you’ll never find a more loyal friend.

See: https://blog.theautismsite.greatergood.com/cs-spectrum-strengths/

https://anintenseworld.com/2017/08/28/honesty-loyalty-and-autism/

https://www.quora.com/It-appears-to-me-that-autistic-people-are-incredibly-self-centered-and-self-absorbed-Is-this-a-psychological-fact-about-autism-or-a-misperception.

Myth eleven: God doesn’t love the disabled.

Source from this article labeled: Finally! Autistic Brat’s Parents Told To Move, Or Euthanize Their Spoiled Kid! (Warning, comments are extremely biased and cruel towards those with Autism. Some people may find this disturbing, especially those with Autism. Viewer discretion advised. Read at your own risk:) http://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=92270 )

Spoken like true hypocrites. Sadly there are religious people out there who have adapted the mindset that those born with either physical/mental disabilities are either being punished by God for their own sins, or even the sins of the parent. One of the pastors visiting my church made an interesting comment about those with disabilities. He said, “Disabilities don’t come from sin, but are the effects of living in a sinful world.” It’s because we live in a world of sin that we suffer from diseases, and illnesses, and disabilities- not because we are being punished because of our sins, but because the world’s sins have become a part of life. This is one reason I love Church of the Open door. They don’t judge or condemn those with disabilities. In fact, they have programs for people with disabilities that caters to their needs. And once a year they also have a ‘Day of pampering’ a day set aside where volunteers give a spa like treatment to the mother caregivers of those with disabilities. There is a great misconception in the church that God hates people with disabilities. What’s worse is that Christians give verses like these to support their logic: Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Romans 1:28-32, Psalm 137:8-9. They honestly believe that you can beat ‘the devil’ out of an autistic child. That’s like saying you can beat a cripple into walking again, or a blind man into seeing. There’s no logic to it, it makes no sense. Not only that, it’s highly offensive to all parents who have children with disabilities and to those who have disabilities themselves. To believers with this mindset I say woe to you. A curse is on you believers, for you have judged unfairly and caused the disabled and the disabled believers to stumble (BBE translation. Matthew 23:27.) Mark 9:42, Romans 14:13, Matthew 7:1-5, Luke 6:31-36, James 4:11-12, Romans 2:1-3, Romans 12:16, Matthew 12:36-37. Woe to you for you have condemned the power of God that will be seen in those with disabilities (John 9:1-3). Woe to you, for you have shut the door in the face of people with disabilities. Much like the Pharisees of Jesus time, you have set up impossible standards- impossible standards that have been set for the disabled. We don’t act like you, think like you, or do things the way you do so we must be spawns of the devil. But in condemning those with disabilities you have condemned the prophet Moses himself, for he had a disability: Speech impediment. To those with disabilities, I assure you, the God who fights for us has heard every complaint of the Landover Baptist and one day they shall answer to him for it.

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak. Matthew 12:36, ESV.

Your words will be used to judge you–to declare you either innocent or guilty. Matthew 12:37, GNT.

The mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Matthew 12:34.

And I’m here to defend those with disabilities. First, here are the links to apologetics on God and disabilities: https://journeymanpreacher.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/are-people-with-disabilities-shut-out/

https://davidtlamb.com/2015/10/22/why-does-god-discriminate-against-people-with-disabilities/

And secondly, God never said he hated the retards or Autistics- in fact, nowhere in the bible does it say that. As for disabilities in general, look at the scriptures. “Do not insult the deaf or cause the blind to stumble. You must fear your God; I am the Lord-” Leviticus 19:14. In Luke 14:12-14 Jesus said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Jesus didn’t turn the disabled away, in fact he embraced them and healed them and showed his power through them. Matthew 15:31: So that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel. Not to say that God will take away or heal every disability, but I do believe that God can take the disabilities present in a person’s life and turn it into something beautiful. Look at Moses and his speech issue (Exodus 4:10), Look at Jacob who limped after wrestling with an angel (Genesis 32:22-32), look at Paul and his thorn (2 Corinthians 12:7.) And while we don’t know for sure what Paul’s thorn was, we do know that it was a real source of pain in his life. But despite their disabilities, God used Moses to guide his people out of Egypt, walk Israel across the red sea, wrote the Ten commandments, and guided them towards the Promise land. God made Jacob the father of the 12 tribes of Israel and used Paul to do extraordinary things for the kingdom of God. God loves the disabled and can do great things through them no matter their circumstances. All you need is a willing heart.

Myth twelve: People with autism can’t live a normal life.

Says who? To be honest, a lot depends on where the person with Autism fall on the spectrum. Are we normal? No. But we aren’t some dumb frightening beasts that you don’t understand, we are human beings just like you and we’re more alike hobby-wise than we are different.

Some of us like football:

Football changes everything for autistic teen (https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/2014/09/21/autistic-high-school-football-player/15982889/).  

Michigan football player with autism shows hard work pays off (https://blogs.usafootball.com/blog/766/michigan-football-player-with-autism-shows-hard-work-pays-off).

Some of us like basketball:

Kalin Bennett, Arkansas teen with autism, recruited to play basketball at Kent State. (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/kalin-bennett-arkansas-teen-autism-recruited-play-basketball-kent-state-n94163).

Some of us like music:

Christopher Duffley, 10 year ago, blind autistic boy sing with all my heart (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrA8hIgKJHs). 9 year old kid singing David had autism at age 2 years old (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c5xPRBfjZY). 10-year-old girl with autism singing ‘Hallelujah’ will give you chills (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehkslaQR340).

Some of us like art:

5-Year-Old With Autism Paints Stunning Masterpieces (https://www.boredpanda.com/5-year-old-painter-autism-iris-grace/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic). Thirteen year-old Niam Jain can’t speak. He’s autistic. But he’s learned to communicate through painting (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75nPBgUINMA).

Some of us are animal lovers:

Unbreakable bond between an autistic little girl and her cat (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwYIG87W2f4).

Holly Firfer reports on the bond between an autistic boy and his rescue dog (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWdy6Iy0FK8).

Some of us like to write:

Local teenager with Autism writes book to inspire others (https://www.kgun9.com/news/local-news/local-teenager-with-autism-writes-book-to-inspire-others)

I have autism and I love life. I like music. I enjoy baking sweets. My favorite pass time besides making cards is painting and writing stories (unpublished.) I love my shih tzu. And I absolutely love flowers; I use to pick them all the time for my grams before she passed away. We don’t all have the same hobbies, but that’s what makes everyone in the world so special. I mean, can you imagine how boring life would be if we were all the same? And while not all of us are prodigies at football, or basketball, music, or art, we enjoy doing them just like you.

The reality is that Autistics share the same hopes as you, the same dreams, the same fears, the same high school dramas, the same insecurities. The only difference between you and us is that on top of all these dramas we have the challenges of Autism to deal with. We are human beings. We have feelings. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad there are so many of us who are different; it’s what makes us unique, it’s what makes each of us so special. We shouldn’t be cruel and hateful to those who are different, we should be celebrating their differences! There is nothing wrong with being different. Be unique. Be special.

The stereotypes of Autism and the effects of it:

 

Sources:

 

The Secret Life Of A High Functioning Autistic

© 2019 https://karynshaven.wordpress.com All rights reserved. 

When people look at my face, they see a normal woman, but I have a secret. I have autism. People often look at me or stare when I tell them that I have autism, I feel like they’re saying, “There’s no way you have autism, you simply don’t look ‘autistic.’” I look neurotypical, so of course I don’t ‘look’ autistic. Like so many others I’ve met, they are misinformed and uneducated about autism. People like to say they know what autism is, but if they actually cared to educate themselves, they would know that there is no ‘one look’ for autism and that every individual on the autism spectrum is affected in different ways. What’s even sadder is that diagnosis tests for woman with autism fall short, leaving many like myself to experience late diagnosis’s. Whether people choose to believe it or not, autism is something has affected me every moment of my life since I was born. But what was even harder was living without a diagnosis. Before I was diagnosed I had spent my life feeling alienated from the world. See, I wasn’t exactly like ‘other children.’ I was born one pound and thirteen ounces and to this day I have functioned differently from others because I have been wired differently. I had a lot of sensory issues as a child that weren’t picked up on. When we went out in the winter I would always be wearing my heavy coat zipped up with my hat and gloves on, even in the stores. I think part of the reason for this was because I liked the secure feeling it gave me. I would also never keep on my shoes or socks on because I needed to feel the ground below me and the air around my feet. Mom and I would be out grocery shopping and I would be touching everything with my hands or lying sprawled out on the floor. On top of all of that I had, and still do have, sensitive skin. I can’t stand the tags in shirts or clothing that consisted of lace, scratchy or rough fabric, inseams, etc. Other sensory issues included the discomforting feelings I would get when I was tickled or touched cotton balls. When I was 3, we moved into a new house. The stimulation was too much for me so I tried to escape it by walking down the road. The problem was that it was a country road where cars moved 45 to 60 mph. By God’s grace my Aunt realized that I was missing and came to my rescue. Throughout my life I have had urges to run, which is a typical autistic behavior. There was only one time where I attempted to run but thankfully for the most part I was able to keep it in check. It’s no secret that children with Autism have a fascination with water, sadly this is one of leading causes of death in Autistic children nationwide. I’ll never forget all the times growing up where I was near bodies of water and would be gripped by strong sensations/urges to jump in. I guess I was one of the lucky ones and was able to control myself.  It was a constant struggle to get me to brush my teeth (another symptom of autism), it wasn’t until about fourth grade that I started to manage my own personal hygiene. As for school- it was a very difficult for me. I had slower brain development compared to a healthy brain, for example, I didn’t learn to tie my shoes or zipper my coat up until after first grade. My teachers would often chide me or utter a grumble, telling me that I should already know how to do this stuff. Because I was born premature I went to an LIU preschool class that worked with children who are premature and/or have special learning needs. They, like everyone else, didn’t detect my autism. In first grade I often spent my time of the playground alone, watching the children play together from afar. But I didn’t mind as much, I was always an imaginative child. Throughout life I would play in my own little world, making up my own dialogues, too oblivious of others to play with them. It seemed I lived in my own secret enclave. After first grade, I was pulled me out and home schooled. When I reached fourth grade I decided to give public school another chance. Big mistake. I attended Paradise Elementary school and struggled immensely to pay attention (I had undiagnosed ADD and as of yet undiagnosed autism) and to keep up with the class. Everything I was taught in school was gibberish in my mind; it was like listening to someone who spoke a different language. Learning was like my Achilles heel. I would spend hours at the table trying to finish my homework. If I turned it in late, the teachers made me sit out during recess until I finished my work. These rules didn’t apply to students who were smart or well behaved. Don’t believe me? I handed my homework in late one day, no recess for me. There was another student who turned in his homework late on the same day, but because he was smart and well behaved my teacher told him he didn’t have to finish his homework, he could go out and play with the others during recess. I had to sat on the bench. As for friends, I had none. The other classmates never came around me unless they wanted something. Being the overly trusting child that I was and not being able to read social cues, I unable to detect the motives behind their actions. They exploited my weakness of wanting friends, promising to become my friend if I gave them the erasers, pencils, or other things I had stashed away in my pencil box. Their words were nothing more than a precursor to a year of disappointment, hopelessness, and sorrow. The students would accuse me before of acting violently on the school bus or cursing profoundly at lunch. The teachers never gave me a chance to tell my side of the story; they whisked me away to punish me, forcing me to sit away from the rest of the class to eat my lunch alone. I never stood a chance, not that it mattered, since nobody ever believed me anyways. My classmates would humiliate me and smile at each other when I cried. They would kick me out of their recess games because I was different. In class nobody wanted to work with me during required math games and wouldn’t give me a turn. This earned me a timeout at my desk for ‘not participating.’ Unable to speak up for myself, I often broke down crying at the injustice of the school system. When the teachers would come up to me and ask why I was crying, they would tell me I should have said something. I was just too afraid, ‘they didn’t believe me before, so why would they now?’ I use to smile all the time; nothing could ever get me down. After the events of fourth grade I stopped smiling and my social life only got harder. I tried attending a youth group hoping to make some friends, but everyone was so caught up in our own lives, too busy in the house of God to look around and make the attempt to reach out to those in need. “My house is full but my field is empty, Who will go and work for me today? It seems my children all want to stay around my table, but no one wants to work in my field.” paraphrase from Luke 10:2

After that I stopped trying to make friends, stopped trying to socialize, and drew further into myself. When I turned 17 I went in for a diagnosis. I had autism, ADHD and learning disabilities. My sensory issues, my fascination with water, my poor hygiene, my poor communication skills, giving spontaneous comments that had no connection to the current conversation, saying things that came across as offensive, finally,  it all made sense. The diagnosis had come too late. There is little to no support services provided for autistic individuals once they become adults. When I needed support the most it wasn’t there for me. I tried counseling with an autistic specialist at leg up farms in hopes that they could help me work on my communication skills but without success. I am twenty years old and I live, outside my family, an isolated, a social misfit. I am at a loss as to how to survive in a world that thrives on communication. I have never felt so alone.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that God has always either used my life’s circumstances to draw me closer to Him, to glorify Him, or to create in me a thankful heart for the little things in life. As a child and still today I tend to fixate on the little things- things of small detail that others would probably otherwise think of as insignificant. Leaves. Trees. Bugs. You name it. Ever since I was a little girl I have sensed life in the world around me and seen it as a precious gift from God. Life is a beautiful thing. To this day I remain fascinated by the works of God’s hands; He never ceases to amaze me. There’s not a day that passes that I’m not thankful for each breath I take, and it would seem that for every hardship there is still something for which to be thankful. When I wake up early in the morning and when I lie down to sleep, I always thank my God for this life that (while short) is one that I am thankful to live. For more information on Autism, check out these links below:

The challenges of Autism:

 

World of Warcraft: A Gamer’s Experience and Word to the Wise

© 2019 https://karynshaven.wordpress.com All rights reserved. 

World of Warcraft

A Gamer’s Experience and Word to the Wise

Disclaimer: Sources for each section are listed under each section. The author makes no claim that everything presented here has been fact-checked. However, the author’s experiences as mentioned here are her own, as are the opinions she has expressed. Warning: Some of the links will lead to graphic content because of the nature of World of Warcraft. Some people may find this article or links disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.)

Part 1

To those of you out there who play the game World of Warcraft or allow your children to play the game. I would like to share my personal experience with World of Warcraft and what happened to me because of the game. This is kind of long so I have a part 2 where I would like to share with you the evil your kids are seeing in world of Warcraft and the research that I’ve done about the game in hopes that both adults and the parents of children and teenagers will proceed with caution when letting their children play this game.

My testimony:

When I was thirteen years old I saw a TV commercial about a massively multiplayer online role-playing game called World of Warcraft. Chuck Norris was in it and out of my respect for him I decided to look into the game. It seemed harmless enough; I mean, other Christians said it was okay to play. I took their word for it and decided to try the game myself. The game was separated into two factions: The Horde and the Alliance and each race had its own story line. I was fascinated by all the different races you could play as. I started out as a human in the Alliance. The quests were simple enough. I would go out and kill the wolves prowling around in the forests, kill the orc spies, put out the fires in the orchards, basic stuff. As I leveled up, I was able to explore this new world and slowly I found my character being made into a hero. Feeding the homeless, taking out the bad guys, it all made me feel warm inside. It felt good to be wanted, to be needed. And for the first time in my life I felt like I was somebody doing something important. I felt like a hero. But I quickly found out that I could only play to level 20 without a membership. I ran out of quests to do and was stuck fighting the same enemies and wandering around the same small town. The game got boring so I begged my mom to get me a Warcraft membership for Christmas. With a membership I could level up, fight high ranking enemies, and explore a world of untold beauty. But my actions had consequences. World of Warcraft became a cruel drug dealer that lured me in with its charm and slowly pulled me into an endless cycle of addiction. The game has been called “the most dangerous game on the market” by addiction therapists because it can be just as addicting as cocaine. I would play the game up to eleven to twelve hours a day. If I was asked to take a break or stop to eat something, I would get very irritable and snap at everyone until I could play the game again. I know now that if my family hadn’t been there for me and made sure I was taking care of myself, I would have ended up like this boy who died after playing World of Warcraft for 19 hours straight. Here is the link to his story: https://www.geek.com/games/gamer-dies-after-playing-world-of-warcraft-for-19-hours-straight-1617225/. Too addicted to stop playing the game or tell someone about what was going on, I kept playing. I fell into deep depression and became suicidal but I never had the strength to make any attempts. I felt trapped. My daily bible reading and prayers stopped altogether, there was no room in my heart for both God and video games. The God of materialism had silently seduced me into serving my flesh. I think we as people like to believe that our actions don’t have consequences, but in telling ourselves this lie, we are opening ourselves up to more consequences.  I’ll never forget the day I was out doing a quest when a male Draenei player approached me and started to shout sexual themes at me. I decided to ignore him and had my character walk away, but he ran after me and tried to virtually rape my character. I logged out but I couldn’t shake the feeling of horror. When I got back on, I couldn’t bear to look at my character, the very sight of her upset me because of what had happened. In the end I decided to delete my character and start over. I chose the Undead race, also known as the forsaken. That’s when I met Lady Sylvanas Windrunner, also referred to as “the Dark Lady” or “the Banshee Queen.” She was cold and stern but she was stunningly beautiful and strong. I admired her for taking in those the world had forsaken. Her kingdom was for those who had been rejected by their peers. Those exceedingly different from everyone else. Those who lived as outcasts in society. And those who experienced injustice at the hands of mankind. It was a home I came to know and love. Sylvanas and the forsaken had become my refuge. I followed Sylvanas on quests whenever I could and that’s when I began to see Sylvanas for what she really was. She was a cold ruler, who placed value on few of her subjects beyond their use as tools. And that’s what I was to her, a tool. She hated the Lich king for what he did to her, but she did the exact same thing by raising the dead for her own personal gains. She would also discipline all those who failed or disobeyed her through torture. She wouldn’t enslave the undead as the Scourge did, but she knew how to exploit the confusion of freshly-resurrected soldiers and use them against their former brothers in arms. And just as she taught the forsaken, she also taught me to have a heartless attitude towards humanity. Around fourteen or fifteen, I started having unwanted and disturbing thoughts, images, and urges to not only become Sylvanas herself but also to act out her will. And that will was to slaughter anyone who stood in her way. The real ‘me’ started to become lost under the bitterness and rage I felt towards people. I became a slave to torment, constantly at war with this new personality and my thoughts. I suffered in silence for months, afraid of my family’s reaction if I told them what was going on. I fell deeper into depression and had increased suicidal thoughts. I felt like I was losing my mind. One day my Mom and I were talking, she was about to leave the room when I burst into tears. My body shuddered with each violent convulsion, my sobs begging her to take the torment away. My Mom embraced me and told me that she loved me. Her love was a perfect caption of 1 Corinthians 13:7. She didn’t judge me, or fear me, or call me a monster. She showed me God’s love in a way that I was never able to comprehend before then. My Mom became my support line and helped me break free from Warcraft. I stopped playing the day before my membership had ended and went to several therapists for counseling. But they all looked at me horrified, like I was a monster. This only made me feel worse. The one therapist freaked out and sent me to the hospital but they discharged me. My family and God were the only ones who believed in me, the only ones who saw past the beast I wrestled with and gave me the support and strength that I needed to conquer it. I have been recovering from Warcraft addiction for about eight years now and the effects of Sylvanas poison. To this day the consequences of playing Warcraft continue to haunt me. I can still feel the call of Warcraft beckoning me, but like a person with an alcoholic or drug addiction, I know I must refuse the temptation to take that “drink.” I encourage you to go into these links and read the stories of other addicts and their stories of Warcraft addiction:

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_of_Warcraft

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/4863325/World-of-Warcraft-more-addictive-than-cocaine.html

https://www.geek.com/games/swedish-addiction-experts-tag-wow-as-most-dangerous-game-available-705782/

https://wow.gamepedia.com/Sylvanas_Windrunner

https://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/732882-So-Sylvanas-is-now-a-hypocrite/page2

Part 2

I know there is a lot of controversy among Christians on whether or not World of Warcraft is evil. The main argument made by players is that it’s just a game, but I would like to share with you some of my encounters and other contents that are in this game: occult’s, symbolism, demons, demon summoning, voodooism, blood drinking, Cannibalism, human sacrifice, violence/killing, torture, gender discrimination and rape.

The pictures are pretty graphic so I will not be them on my blog, but I will have links down below to some of the images your child is seeing in the game.

https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/11765606942

Occults of WOW:

Class: Demon hunter

The legion expansion pack allows players to play as demons. I have not personally played as this class, but I have seen them around in World of Warcraft. Those who play as Demon Hunters summon a demon and let the demon ‘possess’ their characters bodies. They harness their powers from the demon inside of them to call upon demonic energies to fuel their abilities and use it to fight against the demons in the game known as the burning legion. It may seem harmless but portraying this class as heroes for becoming demon possessed and using demonic power is clearly a condemned action in Isaiah 5:20, 

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness. (New American standard.)”

Here is a link that will give you more info on this class.

https://wow.gamepedia.com/Demon_hunter)

Occult’s of WOW:

Class: Death Knight

(I played this class)

Death knights are playable hero class first introduced in Wrath of the Lich king. They supplement their strength by wielding dark magic and choosing talent guides ranging from Blood, Frost, and Unholy to increase their damage output. Players who play as the Death Knight class are required to murder and torture NPC’s in the beginning of the game in order to continue on. You are not given the option to spare the NPC after you’ve tortured them (I tried, it’s not an option.) If you try to let them escape it doesn’t add to your quota of ‘people tortured and killed.’ 

More information: https://wow.gamepedia.com/Death_knight

Here is the quest:

http://wowwiki.wikia.com/wiki/Quest:How_To_Win_Friends_And_Influence_Enemies

Non playable occultists that are seen throughout the game:

Occultists can be seen all throughout WOW as well as their temples. Players can do quests that allow you to go into these temples. You can walk in on cultists and demon worshipers while they are performing their rituals and or casting spells over cauldrons. It all may look harmless, but I would encourage you to look up 1 Thessalonians 5:22 and see what God has to say about these practices. I’ve known of about 84 temples in the game.

Here is a list of temples and cults:

http://wowwiki.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Temples

http://wowwiki.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Cults

Symbolism in WOW:

Symbols can be seen throughout WOW, both used for magic, conjuring, and sometimes you just see them spread out on walls and buildings. Some symbols interpreted as good in the game and others as evil. Here is a list of some of the symbols: Symbols used for summoning demons, the symbol of death, the symbol of strength, the Illuminati symbol, and the list goes on. WOW fact: WOW used to use several satanic pentagrams in the game; they only removed it after players kept complaining.

Here is a list of links with more information on different types of symbols used in the game:

http://www.wowhead.com/spell=212283/symbols-of-death

http://www.wowhead.com/achievement=7335/symbols-of-strength

https://www.engadget.com/2010/02/01/the-lawbringer-wow-and-the-magic-circle/ (summoning demons)

Illuminati symbol on monster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB9Mq6NLYvM

All seeing eye at bottom of link’s page: https://www.strangerdimensions.com/2012/03/27/secret-symbols-the-all-seeing-eye/

Symbol- kind unknown: https://forum.davidicke.com/showthread.php?t=80207

Other symbols: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaDd93UYMgQ

The Demon children of Goldshire:

Every day at 7:00 am a group of six NPC human children appear in and around Elwynn Forest and Goldshire and depart at 7:06. The children make a pentagram formation that somewhat resembles a star. Some speculate that they are either a child cult or pointing to a demonic group of people. If you follow the children when they meet up in their house you will hear creepy music play in the background and a voice saying things like, “You will die,” or, “Death is close.” 

More info: https://wow.gamepedia.com/Children_of_Goldshire

Link to video: https://youtu.be/FjbJZC_G7yc

Warlocks/wizards/demons of WOW:

A warlock player has the power to shape shift into a demon and summon the demons to help them in combat. Picture: https://www.engadget.com/2013/03/25/blood-pact-to-summon-or-not-to-summon-thats-the-question/

These are the three warlock talents players can choose from: Affliction, Demonology, and Destruction. Deuteronomy 18:10-11 says, ‘never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead.’ And while it’s true that sins are committed with the heart, they are also committed by action. We may not be summoning demons or casting spells or doing witchcraft in real life, but when we control our characters we are also controlling their actions. We chose what they do and don’t do. So when you have your character do witchcraft, it’s a conscious choice.

From shamanism, druidism, arcane magic, fel magic, blood magic, voodooism, necromancers, wizards, mages, sorcerers, and druids- Warcraft makes life in WOW far more appealing than the real world with its magic. You feel important using your magic for good, casting spells on the enemy, and conjuring allies. It’s all made to look fun and innocent. But remember that with role play, he or she wields the power. The symbols and power they wield open up channels for the spiritual forces. I can’t stress enough how important it is for parents to protect their children and teens from evil. Ephesians 6:12 makes it clear that we must also protect them from the spiritual forces that will try to corrupt them in the invisible and heavenly realms 

Demons in WOW:

Players can take up quests like ritual of doom and demonic offering where they can summon demons and give them offerings in exchange for magic and demonic treasures. 

Blood drinking and Cannibalism in WOW:

Blood drinking and Cannibalism can be seen throughout WOW, it seems to be an especially common practice among the Orcs, Trolls, and Forsaken.

An Orc red from drinking the blood of demons: http://www.wowhead.com/npc=17429/fel-orc-neophyte

A Troll butchering a human: https://www.engadget.com/2009/01/28/around-azeroth-fava-beans-and-a-nice-chianti/

A boiled human in Dire Maul: https://www.reddit.com/r/wow/comments/3k6f64/spooky_creepy_disturbing_things_in_wow/

Other examples:

  1. In WOW there is a female troll named Challe. She runs a home for little children/ tykes’ in Nagrand. Pretty innocent right? But if you go behind her house you’ll find three cages of varying sizes, one of them containing the remains of a small humanoid. Players suspect that Challe eats the children.

2. Characters who play as the Forsaken are given a cannibalize spell that gives them the ability to eat the flesh and consume the blood of fallen enemies. Apparently Leviticus 17:14 doesn’t apply to followers of Christ who play the game because it’s quote, “just a game.” Picture: http://www.wowhead.com/spell=20577/cannibalize

3. While playing as forsaken, players can take up a quest called ‘No escape.’ The player is supposed to take the enemy by surprise when they overhear Lord Darius Crowley, a Worgen and enemy of the Forsaken. They are trying to get Maleb and some other humans of leadership to drink his blood so they can become worgen and will be immune to the depravity (plague) of the forsaken. Maleb and the other members of the leadership grab a vial of worgen blood and promptly drink it, turning them into worgen.

Human sacrificing in WOW:

An orc in Warcraft 3 sacrificing humans to his demon masters: http://www.godrevelations.com/warning-world-of-warcraft-is-occult.html

Characters can do quests like Keys and Cages and other magical creatures from being used for rituals and human sacrifices. In the quest Heinous Sacrifice players destroy Zandalari’s sacrificial altars but the people on the altars have already been sacrificed. Source: http://www.wowhead.com/quest=32538/heinous-sacrifice

Violence/killing:

Warcraft is no stranger to violence and killing. From my experience there were very few places where you could escape monsters, which you would be forced to kill because they always attack you. And even fewer place  you could go where there wasn’t blood, animal bones, or human remains on the ground. Sometimes you could even see the organs of impaled humanoids. But the real creepy places were the ones where the bodies of dead humans could be seen hanging from chains or had been strung from trees. 

When fighting an enemy whether beast or human, blood splatters onto the computer screen and when killing an opponent they drop to their knees and let out a scream before dropping dead, and that was just level 2 on the CVAR scale. Warcraft used to have a CVAR violence level that would allow the player to control the violence level setting of in-game combat. The accepts settings were a range of 0-5, with each setting showing slightly more blood, and slightly more combat effects as the setting is increased. It is very noteworthy for parents with young children who play World of Warcraft. But from what research I have done it would seem as of right now Warcraft has taken this option out of the game.  

Rasha’s sacrificial dagger is an item earned in quests that allows players to kill themselves for fun. See the gruesome images your child sees when they kill their player:  http://www.wowhead.com/item=95566/rashas-sacrificial-dagger

A heap of bones in Karazhan crypts (second picture down):                                                        https://blizzardwatch.com/2015/12/07/wow-archivist-the-hidden-crypts-of-karazhan/

An abomination being built in the apothecarium of the undercity: https://www.argentarchives.org/node/27207

Remains like Eva Sarkhoff’s are seem all throughout the plains of Warcraft:  http://wowwiki.wikia.com/wiki/Remains_of_Eva_Sarkhoff

Thaddeus is final boss in a raid dungeon, the players learn that he is an NPC monster built together by the skins/bodies of women and children collected and killed at the hands of the Scourge.

Bodies of dead humans in Karazhan’s Crypt:        

Torture in WOW:

Galaen’s Journal: a quest to find missing draenei’s husband. The quest ends when the husband Galaen’s journal is found in blood elf camp describing the torture he and his friend endured before he died. But torture in WOW is not uncommon. Warcraft’s over dramatic interpretation of death and torture is vividly described in quests.                         Quest: http://www.wowhead.com/quest=9579/galaens-fate

In a quest called brothers in death, a Death Knight saves Koltira after he has been tortured by the Scarlet Crusade.  I’ve heard of nine year olds and even children as young as six playing this game. And I just want you who are parents out there to take a moment to ask yourself: Is this what you want your child to be seeing? Link to picture: http://www.wowhead.com/quest=12725/brothers-in-death

Ages of some of the children playing WOW:                                                              https://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/672873-How-old-is-the-youngest-WoW-player-you-ve-ever-seen

The art of Persuasion quest:                                                                                                      During this quest, the player tortures a cultist for information. The object the player uses on the prisoner is called a Neural Needler and its use description is: Inflects incredible pain to target, but does no permanent damage.                                                         http://www.wowhead.com/quest=11648/the-art-of-persuasion

Humans in Hillsbrad Foothills are buried alive up to the neck in dirt. The ghouls, which are seemingly tending the field of human seedlings, periodically jump to the nearest human and devour their heads: https://wow.gamepedia.com/Human_Seedling

Bodies hanging in hillsbrad: https://www.reddit.com/r/wow/comments/2cdj2y/was_questing_through_hillsbrad_when_i_found_these/

The Path of Glory appears to be completely paved with trampled bones – the bones of the victims of a demon-crazed genocidal rampage

http://wowwiki.wikia.com/wiki/Trampled_Skeleton

Bodies hanging in sludge fields: https://www.engadget.com/2011/08/25/around-azeroth-dead-end-friends/

Impaled blackrock orc: http://www.wowhead.com/npc=43150/impaled-blackrock-orc

High Lord Bolvar tortured by the Lich King:

http://www.wowhead.com/npc=37183/highlord-bolvar-fordragon

A quest called torture the torturer. Players are told to use the branding iron 5 times on Torturer LeCraft to get information out of him. After that, they are told to kill him. http://www.wowhead.com/quest=12252/torture-the-torturer

In the quest The reckoning a chain coming out of a portal. Sylvanas windrunner is taking blood elf Koltira to the undercity to torture him for being friends with a human. (fifth picture down:)                                                                 https://landofodd.net/2011/05/04/drama-belongs-to-the-forsaken/

A hanging body in Hillsbrad: https://imgur.com/I3LU8Lc

Hanging bodies in Karazhan Crypt: https://www.engadget.com/2011/04/05/wow-archivist-the-karazhan-crypt/

If you look carefully you can see the remains of someone tortured to death on a rack: http://wowwiki.wikia.com/wiki/Chamber_of_Atonement

NPC Human’s inside a cage being experimented on in Sylvanas Windrunners underground city by the Forsaken: https://www.engadget.com/2010/04/10/know-your-lore-current-horde-politics-the-forsaken-page-2/

Vorrel Sengutz was a level 8 Forsaken quest giver found in the Scarlet Monastery Graveyard Wing. Vorrel is dying when Players discover him lying on a torture table. He has been captured and tortured for weeks by Interrogator Vishas. Because he is part of the Horde, Alliance players venturing through often enjoy killing him in one hit. http://www.wowhead.com/npc=3981/vorrel-sengutz

Women Discrimination in WOW:

I’m a woman and I like to play video games, but when I started playing Warcraft I had no idea that I was signing up to be harassed by male players. And I’m not the only one who thinks this, I have read countless stories of Women who Play WOW complain about the discrimination, sexual harassment, and even virtual rape against women and how it is ignored even though it is repeatedly reported to the founders of WOW. There is a great discrimination and violence against women in games like World of Warcraft. And while I admit that there are some women in the game who act like prostitutes and dance carnally in front of the male players, there are also women who play this game who just want to be left alone and want to have the same right to play these games as men do without being harassed.

The Rape of Women who play WOW:

Link to the story below: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mb7b9q/world-of-warcraft-has-a-rape-problem

While there are Christians who don’t believe verses of the bible apply to certain situations, I want to make a note that in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 that God didn’t say abstain from every kind of evil- except for every kind of evil in video games. He said abstain from every kind of evil.

The greatest lie the Devil ever told was that he didn’t exist. If we as believers are going to insist that these are just meaningless video games that are children are playing- then we are denying the existence of the Devil and temptation. I have heard Christians say that they enjoy playing Warcraft. They see nothing wrong with these kind of games as long as self control is practiced. But when we or our children play these games we are opening ourselves up to temptation.

We all like to believe that we are strong, but we must remember that we are still human, and we can still be tempted- especially children. Children are still growing and learning and as they grow older they start to learn what is acceptable and what is not – they try to push the boundaries to see how far they can go.

“Our eyes are the entrance to our hearts and minds and, as such, they provide a doorway to our very souls. If we allow our eyes to linger on evil, we are so affected by what we see that darkness actually begins to emanate from within and can corrupt us and those around us. The Bible tells us that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. His intention is to blind us to truth and corrupt our minds is often done through our eyes to gain entrance to our hearts. He isn’t bound to one method of persuasion, the powers of influence are found in the things we think are innocent- tv, books, video games, etc. That’s why we must commit to being careful where we allow our eyes to go. We guard our hearts and souls by guarding our eyes- and as for the parents of children and teens, it’s crucial that they are being taught to guard their hearts and keep watch for anything that might influence them.” Link: https://www.gotquestions.org/eye-lamp-body.html

Be careful little eyes what you see, it’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings. Be careful little feet where you go, for it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow.

– Casting Crowns, song slow fade