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a saturday morning exorcism

I got exorcised this morning. It wasn't my choice, mind you, but I wasn't exactly given a choice in the matter. I don't think that most people being exorcised do. It was one of the most bizarre experiences of my entire life, so of course I'm sharing it with the world.

I volunteer at a juvenile detention home in Dayton. The home recently changed facilities, so this morning our ministry team was given an orientation. This was basically Sharing Our Feelings with the Chaplain. The chaplain is an old, small and charismatic little African-American lady. She's a spitfire, and she likes to do some Bible-thumping (praise the lawd!). Anyway, she asked me why I wanted to do this kind of ministry. I told her it was because my own experience with bipolar disorder made me want to help other emotionally troubled teen girls. She took this pretty well and I figured that it was the end of the discussion.

Needless to say, it wasn't. This lady loves to pray, and she loves to pray out loud with everyone standing in a circle holding hands (terrific for a person with OCD). At the end of her prayer she puts a hand on my head (major WTF moment) and prays that the Lawd will deliver me from the 'spirit of bipolarism,' that I would no longer be troubled by evil spirits, that the Lawd will heal me from the influence of my devil.

I thought about twitching, then telling her the devil was leaving me so she'd feel victorious. I didn't. I kept my mouth shut until I was out of her sight, then turned to my team members in time to see that every one of us had the same bewildered and bemused expression. The spirit of bipolarism? I've got to tell you, that's a new one. I should run that by my psychiatrist...maybe not. Anyway, this lady wants me to be partnered with her when we go minister to the girls. No. Just no. It's not happening, no way no how. I'll jump on a chair and shriek like a monkey until she decides I'm past help and leaves me alone.

It was embarassing. I wanted to cry or curse or at least beat a hasty retreat. I must be getting control of my temper because I did none of these things. But I'm still bewildered and a little hurt. I should be able to mention my disorder without worrying that someone will perform an exorcism on me. It's not right and it's not fair and I won't take that. I read a news story about the NIU shooter. Apparently he was mentally ill and took medication, but one of his former professors said that he 'never wanted to be identified with the mentally ill.' So he stopped taking his meds, and now people are dead. I'm not exonerating him; he committed a terrible crime. But there is no doubt in my mind that if there was no stigma surrounding mental illness he would have been a much happier (and safer) person. Maybe someone tried to exorcise him, too.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
mdu_ntr
Feb. 17th, 2008 06:22 am (UTC)
Your story would be rather amusing if it was not so humiliarting. I think it is the lady who should be embarressed rather then you. One day when you look bnack on this you can laugh, she can only be embarressed by her foolishness.
misterbuttercup
Feb. 23rd, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
Wow. Just... wow. I am sorry that you had to go through all that.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )