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Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness [Paperback]

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Item description for Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness by Kathryn Greene-McCreight...

A Christian reflects on how the challenges of mental illness can shape the sufferer's faith.

Publishers Description
Where is God in the suffering of a mentally ill person? What happens to the soul when the mind is ill? How are Christians to respond in the face of mental illness? In "Darkness Is My Only Companion, "Kathryn Greene-McCreight confronts these difficult questions raised by her own mental illness--bi-polar disorder.
With brutal honesty, she tackles often avoided topics such as suicide, mental hospitals, and shock therapy. Greene-McCreight offers the reader everything from poignant and raw glimpses into the mind of a mentally ill person to practical and forthright advice for their friends, family, and clergy. Her voice is a comfort to those who suffer from mental illness and an invaluable resource for those who love and support them.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness by Kathryn Greene-McCreight has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 01/16/2006 page 58
  • Christianity Today - 08/01/2006 page 64
  • Christianity Today - 01/01/2013 page 76

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Brazos Press
Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.62" Height: 0.46"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2006
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  1587431750  
ISBN13  9781587431753  

Availability  0 units.

More About Kathryn Greene-McCreight

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Kathryn Greene-McCreight (PhD, Yale University) is associate chaplain at The Episcopal Church at Yale and priest affiliate at Christ Church in New Haven, Connecticut. Her previous books include Darkness is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness and Feminist Reconstructions of Christian Doctrine.

Kathryn Greene-McCreight has an academic affiliation as follows - Connecticut College.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Psychology & Counseling > Mental Illness
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Psychology
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Christian Living > Spiritual Growth > Spiritual Formation

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Reviews - What do customers think about Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness?

Best Treatment of Mental Illness by a Christian  Apr 24, 2008
I recommend this book to any Christian who is struggling with mental illness, whether in themselves or in a loved one. This book is courageous, honest, and filled with faith. Mental illness is such an incredibly difficult thing for Christians to come to grips with but this author voices and grapples with all the emotional and spiritual struggles involved with mental illness. For someone who had so many questions, theological and otherwise about mental illness, this book was incredibly satisfying and faith-building. This is one of the best Christian books on mental illness I've ever read -- never preachy, often practical, always compassionate, and always pointing you back to the truth and our hope in Christ. My hope is that more Christians become familiar with this book and will be able to recommend it to so many struggling alone out there. Although there are plenty of Christian counseling books on depression, there truly is a dearth of Christian books out there dealing with serious mental illness. This book fills such a void.

Get your facts straight  Oct 18, 2007
I first opened the book to find TWO errors-The story of Andrea Yates killing her 5 children and the author talked about Amanda Yates who killed her six children. Maybe someone should check their sources. Especially in the first chapter. I haven't even forced myself through the rest of the book
A Helpful Companion  Sep 6, 2007
For Christians who struggle with clinical depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia this book will be a godsend. The author is a trained theologian and Anglican priest who has experienced these forms of mental illness and anguish first-hand. The title comes from a translation of the last verse of Psalm 88. Subtitled, "A Christian Response to Mental Illness", the book is not so much a chronicle of her experience as it is one of her effort to find meaning in that experience through her Christian faith. Christians have often experienced suffering in one form or another, but mental illness bears a stigma that makes it a form of suffering that is often borne in secret. In sharing her struggle, the author reveals remarkable insight and courage with a touch of humor. She bravely confronts those who do not understand her experience-from fellow Christians with less than helpful advice to secular psychiatrists who show bafflement or even distain for her religion-even while accepting from them whatever is true or helpful. The only true enemy she has is her illness and its symptoms. She comes through her struggle wounded but transformed by the experience, a whole person, able to find meaning in it in the light of her faith in Christ.

The author's experience made my own struggle with depression look like a picnic but I was very encouraged to find some strong similarities in the way each of us found help and strength in times of great need. I could relate very well to her struggles in prayer and use of Scripture (especially the Psalms) and their vital importance in the process. Greene-McCreight's reflections upon relevant portions of Scripture and the prayers of others throughout the book are of tremendous value. She takes a holistic view of God's provision for those who suffer from mental illness. Her faith is the foundation, but psychotherapy, counseling, medication and the love of friends and family are all part of the help God gives us.

It's hard to know if faith is genuine until it is tested in some way. Does it hold up when stressed beyond our own ability to sustain or comprehend it? Too often among Christians is a sound faith equated with happy feelings. Real joy is an altogether different thing. For Greene-McCreight, the most important lesson learned is that "despair can live with Christian faith. Indeed, having despair while knowing in your heart that God has conquered even that is a great form of faith, for it is tried by fire." She seems to find herself a better stronger person for having been through such a trial, less fearful of any future recurrence of symptoms and more imbued with God's grace. I'm glad she chose not to keep quiet about her sufferings since this book will be a great help to others who either need the help for themselves or want to help others who do.
Excellent Christian book dealing with Bipolar Disorder  May 20, 2007
As someone who is dealing with bipolar disorder herself, I found this book to be tremendously helpful. I especially appreciate the fact that it comes from a Christian perspective. It is very well written and enjoyable to read. =)
brutal honesty, compassion, hope  Jan 17, 2007
When Kathryn Greene-McCreight was in grad school (she earned her PhD at Yale) and gave birth to her second child, she experienced her first major episode of clinical depression. Five years later doctors diagnosed her as bipolar. After five hospitalizations, two courses of electroconvulsive therapy, and constantly changing drug regimens, for the past two years she has experienced genuine improvement and stabilization. In this sensitive and sensible book, she grapples with what she calls the "apparent incongruity of that agony with the Christian life," offering theological and pastoral reflections forged in the fires of her experience.

The title for her book comes from the last verse of Psalm 88: "My friend and my neighbor you have put away from me, and darkness is my only companion" (KJV). Greene-McCreight addresses most of the questions you might expect. Why does God allow such suffering? Why does He seem to abandon someone who is in such pain, and not answer prayer? Is there a connection between sin and suffering? Just what is personality? What is the relationship between the brain, the mind, and the soul? These are not academic questions, but intensely practical ones for somebody trying to make some sense of profound darkness and disorientation in the light of the Gospel.

I found her chapters on mania, what it is like to stay in the hospital, and how she did and did not "connect" with her various therapists and doctors especially moving. In keeping with her Christian tradition as an Episcopal priest, Greene-McCreight does a fine job at incorporating Scripture, tradition (especially a wonderful selection of hymns, poems and prayers), reason (in this case scientific or medical knowledge), and human experience. She concludes that major mental illness results from a combination of both nature and nurture. As for treatment, she does an excellent job of commending the wisdom of the secular medical community, but also cautioning about times and places "where the chasm between the religious patient and the non-religious therapist simply cannot be bridged." A chapter at the end of the book offers practical advice on how clergy, friends, and family can help a person who struggles with major mental illness. I recommended this book to a friend and also a family member before I had even finished it.

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