Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite
Terry Dorn shares his story. As a child he was tortured. Is it any wonder he escaped into mental illness? He fought back when the “officials” wanted to do shock treatments on him. He shares his life as a adult. He was successful, until depression set in and he lost his job…which came first? The depression or job loss?
Dorn became a homeless man, living on the street or in shelters. He explains that way of life. Reading it reminded me of herding animals. The homeless were expected to line up outside and wait until it was time to eat. At bedtime they again wait in line until they are handed a mattress.
Dorn shines light on mental illness. For some reason we as a society are ignorant concerning mental health. Do we not care? Perhaps we think if we pretend it isn’t there it will go away. We readily accept. Sympathize, and help to treat other diseases, asthma, diabetes, cancer….but we do not. When we discover someone has a mental illness we ignore the disease, offer little assistance and shun the person. One of the most shocking statements in this book concerns the attitude of Christians toward the mentally ill. “When I offered to help around the church, they were afraid to even let me be a greeter at the door. It was as if something I had would rub off onto other people.”
As I read The Cross and The Psychiatrist I was reminded of a man I went to school and church with. I’m not sure which came first the mental illness or the drug abuse. He has been diagnosed as Schizophrenic. Someone picks him up for church and Sunday school each week. He is extremely intelligent. I teach the class he’s in. I can always tell when he has stopped taking his medicine. His behavior becomes bizarre and erratic. At first I ignored the mood swings and strange behavior. One day it went too far. I sat down with him and told him how much we love him. Then I told him that until he took his medicine he was not to come back. I cried. He was shocked. The next week he was back on his medicine. He apologized to me.
The mentally ill need God and contact with people. I believe they also need someone that will hold them accountable. Instead of ignoring the mentally ill we need to embrace them in love and understanding.
The Cross & the Psychiatrist is an inspiring look at the mentally ill. Dorn shares the stories of George and Tom with readers. The mentally ill need a voice and they found one in Terry L. Dorn.