is a Christian Science practitioner in Kentfield, California. In addition to her work as a practitioner, she has been a Christian Science lecturer. An account of Martha's healing of what is now called bipolar disorder was first published in the Sentinel in the January 22, 1990, issue. Recently, Martha spoke further with the Sentinel about that experience and what she learned from it.
YEARS AGO, I struggled daily with medically diagnosed manic depression. This type of severe depression was, and still is, considered incurable.
The doctor told me that I would never be free from the condition, nor from reliance on daily medication that was supposed to help me stay on an even keel mentally. He said that if I didn't take the medications he was prescribing, he would take no responsibility for my life because in a manic episode, with deep depression, the impulse to commit suicide is extremely strong. Even with that daily medication, there were times when my condition was so severe that I was hospitalized for long periods.
I was a mother who loved my wonderful family and was also very active in community organizations. During the manic depression episodes, however, I couldn't function normally for days and months at a time, even though I wanted to. There were periods of immobilizing fear, extreme anguish and despair, accompanied by impulsive thoughts of self-destruction.
Prior to turning to Christian Science for the cure of manic depression, I had a powerful spiritual experience from reading the Bible while I was in the hospital. One very difficult night, during a manic episode, I couldn't think straight or focus on anything. But I was able to pick up a Bible and find help. During this crisis I said, "If I could just read one word . . . Help me, God." I opened the Bible randomly to Romans, chapter 8, where it says: "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (verses 38 and 39). Although I was in acute mental turmoil that sometimes lasted for hours or days, I suddenly became completely calm. I felt God's great, loving presence, and knew I could never, ever, be separated from Love.
Manic depression was like being in a great mental storm, reminding me of the storm on the Sea of Galilee that threatened destruction for Jesus and his disciples (see Mark 4:37-41). I could feel the spiritual power in the words, "Peace, be still," and my mental storm stopped. These experiences had a profound effect on me, and I wanted to seek a spiritual solution to manic depression.
I knew about Christian Science spiritual healing from reading the Sentinel. A Christian Science practitioner spoke with me about healing, and after the discussion, I felt a deep, strong confidence in the power of spiritual truth to heal me. I stopped all medications. The practitioner daily prayed with me for healing.
I also made a firm commitment to stay mentally with spiritual truths and ideas, moment by moment, day by day. With these healing truths, I felt a tremendous difference in my mental well-being. I became steady with clear and normal thinking and actions, with peace of mind and no turmoil. Not only were the great Biblical truths essential for the healing, but also the great truths in Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy. These were key to my freedom from manic depression. Important in the healing was living my spiritual identity, expressing who I am as the all-good child of the one all-good divine Mind. Through Science and Health, many ideas about my real identity as the divine Mind's expression became an active part of my life. One I love is, "All that really exists is the divine Mind and its idea, and in this Mind the entire being is found harmonious and eternal" (p. 151).
Episodes of manic depression could appear any time, anywhere. One time when I was returning from attending a conference in China with my husband and we were in the Zurich airport, I felt an attack coming on. I said, "Oh my God, if You are the one Mind, and You are, I need to know it right this minute." The episode completely stopped. Relying on the great presence of spiritual truth was so powerful.
When I can say to anyone going through this is: Stay with the power of spiritual truth. The mental darkness cannot keep you outside the light of the powerful, present, infinite, divine Mind, and the powerful healing presence of God's love. Nothing can separate you from the love of God—not fear, anguish, or despair, not the darkest oppression, not terrorizing thoughts of destruction. It's not just human love; it's God's great love. Loving you always.
"Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
It took several years to gain my full freedom. Gradually I began to see the disease as an imposter. I gained an unshakable conviction of the spiritual reality that I was the peaceful expression of the one divine Mind. I felt a true and lasting freedom that I had not felt in years. For over 25 years, I have had a normal and active life that has included traveling extensively around the world. Through the power and practice of spiritual healing, I have gained total freedom from manic depression.
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