Mental Health

I showed Jesus my wounds

At yesterday’s Good Friday liturgy, I rolled up my sleeves for the first time this year. So what? Well, my left forearm has some scars on it, and in these scars, open wounds on my mind and soul are visible.

In rolling up my sleeves, I wasn’t just responding to the beautiful weather; I was bringing my wounds, and so myself, before Jesus crucified. He is wounded to enter my wounds, He died to enter my death. He is naked before us: how could I hide myself from Him?

We have to let Jesus enter into us, through our wounds, our sins and our death. How? Through faith in Him and through His holy sacraments. In these, Jesus comes to us in our sins, our struggles, and our suffering, and brings us His life that conquers death.

When we give these up to Him, and let Him enter into them, something mysterious occurs. As He touches them with His mercy, He fills and transforms them with His self-sacrificial love, and in doing so, we find them united to His Holy Cross. Our wounds are united to His.

And His wounds have been glorified by His resurrection from the dead.


God bless you, and Happy Easter!
He is risen!


I love the San Damiano cross. Jesus’ arms are open wide in a priestly gesture, of offering, gift, and welcome. The Cross is an act of love and freedom.

Me and the Cross

I don’t really talk much about my own life here, and certainly not about my mental health. Suffice to say for now, that it feels like its falling apart; like everything I have relied on and hoped for is being lost before my eyes.

And it serves me right. Why? Because I literally asked for it. It was for a long time my prayer, and still is, that God humble me completely. I guess I just didn’t see it looking like this…

As my “everything” seemingly falls apart (I suspect and hope the situation in many ways isn’t as bad as it sometimes feels), I see that I’ve been trusting and hoping in things that aren’t God. And that’s the way to certain disappointment. Yes, I was hoping in God too, but not in God alone.

When I reached my recent lowest, I felt and believed that all that I have and I am is nothing, that all that I have and I am is completely worthless and useless. What could anyone possibly want with me? What could God ever do with this?

But this is pride. To suppose that my weakness– my nothingness– limits God in any way, is madness.

‘Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.’
2 Corinthians 12:8-10

I look to the cross, and I see that God isn’t victorious by strength, but by faith and obedience. It is in Christ crucified, and in Him alone, that I am to place my trust. It is by dying to self, living in reckless sacrificial love, in union with His holy cross, that I am to live and serve God.

‘I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.’
Philippians 3:10-11

So here’s me. However much or little (or nothing) I am, I am God’s, and that is all I need. I’m not called to be strong or talented or valuable, but merely faithful; the victory is His concern, not mine: how could I ever achieve resurrection?

I just hope and pray God lets me remember and accept this when I really need to.

God bless you

P.S. I feel I should also mention, that a part of this feeling of losing everything was the loss of my supposed righteousness when I fell to a certain sin. Thank God I lost this illusory righteousness. I am a sinner, and my only justification is God’s love for me.

I have no righteousness, but I share in Jesus’ own. I have no life in me, except His.

God bless you again

Thoughts from hospital

I’m in hospital this morning (kept overnight), to get stitches on my arm for a cut I made a week ago (self-harm). Please pray for me. Now here are some thoughts.

I’m finding hospital crazy peaceful. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the simplicity, the solitude, the lack of control, or the simple care. Or better yet, the knowledge that this place, this time, is genuinely good for me, bringing me healing. I’m so grateful for and to the NHS.

I think I’m in the hospital today, for a similar reason to why I’m in the Church: because I can’t help myself. I could maybe learn to get by with effort, maybe even living healthily by external standards, but to really live, and live truly, I need real help. I’m not here because I deserve it (I don’t), but because I need to be.

[Thoughts from the second morning (third day)]

The stitches went well. I was put under general anaesthetic because it was multiple layers. Please keep me in your prayers.
The NHS is just absolutely brilliant. The care I’ve been given is simply wonderful. Before this, I knew it was good in theory, and knew it had done me good before, but I didn’t realise how good, how absolutely indispensable it is. From now on, the NHS will be central to my political persuasion.

The love and care of my family and friends has been invaluable also. Love changes everything. By their love, I’m not alone.
The night I cut myself (I did it in the evening), I asked the Lord to speak to me through his scriptures, and turned to John chapter 11, where I found Jesus say (v4), ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God; that the Son of God may be glorified by it.’ I don’t know how he wants to do that, but if he can do it for a dead man, why not me?

Weakness seems to me essential to Christianity. Not just at the start, but the whole way. We need a saviour. I need a saviour who isn’t just against my weakness, my brokenness, my death, but who enters into it. This is the salvation I need.

If we consider we are just saved from sin, then we are stamped “saved”, I think we’ll find big trouble. Jesus came to save sinners, not to stop our sin, then declare us saved (or even both at the same moment). Of course he wants to heal us, and we must let him. As Pope Francis put it, sin is the privileged locus of our encounter with God, and God even caresses our sin.

[In the evening]

I’m going to be transferred to another hospital for a few days so they can do a mental assessment of me. Please pray for me.
Martyrdom is the opposite of suicidal tendencies, I believe. Against the choice of life for myself, taking the destructive choice of attacking that life (for myself), martyrdom offers dying to self and living for others, taking the the positive choice of giving that life for others. That’s why it’s a struggle, rather than working towards the intellectual conviction that life is “worth” living.
I wonder if it might not be “worth” it after all, from a selfish point of view. Selfishness is perhaps the problem in the first place. But martyrdom doesn’t even ask such questions, it just gives and struggles.

Honestly, the thought that I can’t kill myself, but will die many times over for love, has been a strange comfort in times of great darkness. Perhaps even the choice to not take but give my life, is a martyrdom already.

God bless you
Please, pray for me

[A couple days later]

At lunch today, I started thinking of next week this time, when I’ll be having lunch with my Church after mass. It brought me great joy.

That is the beauty of tradition: it allows our hopes and our memories to mingle. Our hopes become more certain, and our memories more fertile, more alive.

[Back home at last]

I’m glad to be back.

The mental health assessment unit was a powerful experience. Life is tough. Such bad things happen to such nice people.

It was tragic to witness (and in honesty, participate in) social outcasts rejecting someone they consider worse than them. I could make excuses, but the simple fact is I was partly selfish, and the other part a coward, because I could have tried, or at least sat out. I didn’t love my neighbour as myself; I didn’t do what Jesus would do; I didn’t see Jesus in the needy. What I didn’t do there, I didn’t do to Jesus.

But it was also beautiful, how accepting, nonjudgmental, and caring other patients were. I think I appreciate better Jesus’ focus on the poor. I also understand better Bl. Mother Teresa’s words,

‘Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.’

To be miserable or keep to myself would be easy and safe, but to give a simple smile or nice word is tough but important. It made a world of difference to me, and I guess I must assume mine helped others also.

Oh, they recommended me counselling and arranged a follow-up visit to check on me, and said they didn’t think medication would be best for me.

Please pray for me.

Oh! I also missed the Sunday obligation as a result (I asked twice, and wasn’t allowed out). I wouldn’t have thought this a big deal, but when I got out, I saw that Pope Francis tweeted,

On the one day I didn’t! It’s not just that I didn’t go, but I now see I didn’t try hard enough. I considered asking for an extraordinary minister or priest to visit me, but didn’t bother, thinking that I wasn’t even sure I should receive the Eucharist. But I didn’t bother to check myself to see if I actually shouldn’t. And I didn’t make much of a fuss at all.

Please pray for me