I have reviewed a couple of books that have a lived experience perspective that are unique and powerful, like Amy Simpon’s Troubled Minds as a daughter in a Christian family with a mother who struggled with serious mental illness or Lamar Hardwick’s Disability and the Church as an individual with autism and being a pastor. But I Love Jesus, But I Want to Die by Sarah J. Robinson is the perspective of someone who themselves struggle with severe mental illness to the point of suicidal ideation. And even more so, the suicidal thoughts didn’t start until after she became a Christian, let the theological implications of that sit with you for a bit.
There are certainly minor things that I don’t agree with, being on the counselor side of the session, but by no means do they get in the way of the message of this book. The title of the book is an accurate representation of the content inside, it does not shy away from difficult conversations and does not pull punches. Counselors who do not like bringing in spiritual beliefs, biblical counselors, and Christians who do not agree with mental health treatment are not going to feel good reading this. There is trigger warnings because it gets personal and intense, but definitely is appropriate. And I personally found it refreshing and challenging.
The book honestly is for everyone. Pastors who do not understand how mental illness can still have a place in Christianity, read this book. Know you will be stretched if you are willing to listen and understand that salvation does not just fix mental illness. Counselors who want to broaden their cultural competency within a Christian worldview, you will be touched by this. Christians who struggle with mental illness and want to feel like they are not alone, you will find the story of a peer who has been there.
I don’t have the lived experience within this book, but from a counselor who brings Christianity into counseling whenever it is appropriate and has seen her story more than once, I encourage you to check out this book. It points out how being open and vulnerable can be the start of healing, how well meaning Christians can hurt or hinder depending on their self-awareness of mental illness, and how God can and will show up both in a counseling session and at church.
This is a must-read for Christians wanting a strong perspective of a Christian that struggles with severe mental illness and have gone down the path of recovery and growing closer to God. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
[Note: I was provided an advanced copy of this from the author, but loved it enough I bought the Audible version myself]