“The Painted Table”, a new book by debut novelist Suzanne Field, tells a fictional story based on her own life. A story that rings true for many whose families were shaped by a loved one’s mental illness.
Amy Simpson reviews the book at CHRISTIANITY TODAY. She begins…
Families affected by serious mental illness, like my own, have many things in common: secrecy, confusion, alienation, exhaustion, fear, even terror; anger, frustration, loneliness, longing to be “normal.”
Sadly, one of them is a common, and erroneous, conviction that we are alone. Because we lack a public and productive forum for sharing our stories, we miss out on a sense of normalization and connection to each other. Our isolation reinforces the importance of silence, which in turn reinforces stigma, which keeps us silent.
Perhaps nowhere has that silence rung louder than in much of the church, where we have allowed fear and misinformation about mental illness to rule. Tragically, this community with the greatest potential for loving and healing such families instead often deepens their sense of alienation.
My exile from the Church of England is conclusive proof of Amy’s assertion so I have added her own book, “Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission” to my Amazon wish list. At least I am not alone in recognising how lacking in Christian compassion many churches are when it comes to including the mentally ill within their ranks.