Fear of Insanity Destroyed

I was reared in the so-called orthodox religion. As a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church at Duluth I attended service regularly and taught in the Sunday School. To me the service was beautiful and dignified; I experienced nowhere else the spiritual uplifting that took possession of me while listening to the chants or reading the Litany. But as I grew older I became more and more conscious of the fact that, in spite of the grandeur of the service, harmony did not prevail; there was very little evidence of brotherly love. I went to other churches and there was the same "inhumanity to man" in a greater or less degree. When I felt myself growing pessimistic, I would reproach myself for beholding the "mote in my brother's eye," and start in with a renewed effort to find the harmony I was seeking.

A year ago last March I was taken ill with typhoid fever; I went to the hospital for treatment. The fever at first was in a very mild form, and in less than four weeks I was supposed to have sufficiently recovered to undergo an operation. This was promptly followed by another run of typhoid fever; then a third siege, each one worse than the preceding. I cannot remember having one pleasant thought during these two relapses. I was constantly being thrown over precipices, would try to walk on water, or would imagine some one was shooting me, or my fingers were being chopped off. I made fruitless efforts to concentrate my mind. A band seemed to be forming around my brain and the hot, heavy, sore feeling at the front of my head threatened to drive me insane. One whole night I lay looking with horror at a pair of scissors on the stand beside me, hoping that I might retain the mental strength to resist the powerful desire to end my life.

Then came the rheumatism. One day a friend called to see me, and during her visit the Sister took my temperature; I read my fate in the nurse's facial expression as she glanced at the thermometer. When I was served with a light supper of milk toast my fears were confirmed that my temperature was again above normal. My friend looked at me with pity in her eyes, then threw back her head and said, "Why don't you get mad? I believe you'd get well if you didn't take it so patiently." I was shocked at this remark, which seemed to me then almost sacrilegious; as I look at it now, there was more virtue in what she said than I imagined. I supposed that God in His infinite wisdom had made me sick, and that it was part of my religious duty to bear it patiently; I had not a doubt but this was a course of development through which I had to pass in order to reach a higher state of being.

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Testimony of Healing
A Case of Dental Surgery
December 7, 1899

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