The Physician's View

by Dr. Grant Mullen
Mar/Apr 2002

Part 2 of a Series on Emotional Disorders

Blurred Vision and Blurred Thinking

Medical research in recent years has provided physicians with very effective tools to treat most mental health disorders. These treatments however, are not reaching the people who need them because of the lack of awareness and misunderstanding of the general public. The Christian community is particularly uninformed and as a result, untreated.The current situation is similar to the era when eye glasses were first introduced. They were a very effective treatment for blurred vision but they were not well received by the public since people had no idea that they themselves had blurred vision and could be helped with glasses. Most had learned to live with their poor vision and ridiculed those who did wear glasses. I'm sure that there were those who said that "if God wanted me to see better he would have made me that way, there's no need to wear those ugly things on my face." In those days one could function quite well with poor vision since transportation was with horses and the animals always knew the way home even if the driver didn't.Those who tried the glasses couldn't believe the improvement and wished that they had sta1ted wearing them years before. Their vision became normal but they had to live with the stigma attached to wearing glasses. The people around them didn't realize how much better the person's vision had become since blurred vision was an invisible handicap. It was easy and popular to criticize the ugly glasses.Now we are dealing with problems of "blurred" thinking, which are invisible to an ob­server. Even the sufferer doesn't know that he is not thinking as clearly as he should be. The victim is so accustomed to this disability that he doesn't know that he has a problem. He is then resistant to the suggestion that he could be helped and even ridicules those who do go for help. The church has been very guilty of criticizing and shaming those who go for psychiatric help since it has not understood the biological origin of "blurred thinking."

Why would Christians need to understand brain chemistry?

Blurred thinking ,and blurred vision are equally important handicaps and both should be treated. There should be no stigma to either condition._ Disorders of thought should not be over spiritualized any more than vision problems. For those of you who need glasses to read, how well does the Bible speak to you if you try to read it without your glasses? The Bible is silent if you can't see the words. Is this because you are spiritually dead? Has the Bible lost its power in this circumstance? Are you under spiritual attack if you can't see the page of scripture? Not at all. Do you need prophetic rev­elation or deliverance to get the Bible to speak to you again? No, you just have to put your glasses back on. To us it's just common sense.I want you to think of chemical imbalances in the same way, except in this case the "glasses" need to be swallowed to restore proper brain chemistry. If the thinking disability is left untreated it will be hard to read, worship, pray or have proper relationships. The disability will be personal, vocational and spiritual, but the treatment will initially be medical. I hope that after reading these articles you will realize that it's just "common sense" to recognize and treat blurred thinking. There should be no stigma at all to getting treated for these conditions. To ignore this problem is no different than refusing to wear your reading glasses and then not being able to read a Bible.Satan loves mood disorders since he can so easily condemn Christians who suffer from them. When the condition is treated successfully, he loses his foothold on your thoughts. To ignore or refuse treatment for this condition is just like refusing to wear your glasses and voluntarily living with the consequences of poor vision. I hope that through these articles the stigma to medical treatment will disappear and that these conditions will become as socially acceptable as vision disorders.In the next article we will find out how common these problems are.

Dr. Grant Mullen is a mental health physician in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada. He is the author of Why do I feel so down when my faith should lift me up? Mar/Apr 2002 Issue