I am almost afraid to even write anything at all on the subject, as it is such a horrendous tragedy, and I cannot imagine the pain being felt by the family, and yet, at the same time, as the article itself admits, this is not an isolated or unique case. These sorts of stories have affected, and are affecting, so many families in this country and around the world, and obviously the entire subject of clinical depression, suicide, and anti-depressant drugs is such a massive and daunting one.
What really struck me though when reading this piece, was how often the author (the mother) referred to what she eventually came to think of as “the demons”.
She writes toward the end:
“My daughter lived more than six years with an incurable disease that filled her head with devils that literally hounded her to death…”
Yet Natalie was clearly a bright and beautiful human being who indeed longed to be free from the internal suffering, who sadly after years of only numbing the voices and pain through meds came to conclude that nothing could truly cure her.
I also found this article as a possible notable anecdote in light of a conversation/debate I participated in not long ago, whereby the atheist author was basically arguing the point that “backwards religious people” were responsible for the injury and death of many individuals because they ignorantly attributed depression and other mental illnesses to demonic oppression, rather than the much more “scientifically enlightened” view of treating it as a chemical imbalance requiring the appropriate medication.
The thing is, if my arm was being devoured by a pack of rabid wolves, you could shoot me full of morphine until I could scarcely feel the sting of their teeth ripping my flesh, but the carnage would still be taking place…
It is indeed incredibly ironic that in the context of a case where seemingly there WAS no “religious ignorance” involved, and the doctors and specialists and all the resources of the medical establishment were being trusted with complete confidence, the “illness” somehow was still of such a nature that it prompted this kind of personification, this allusion to the ‘antiquated’ notion of devils and demons hounding someone mercilessly. Why would ‘chemical imbalances’ have such a pointed and twisted agenda..? Why would molecules in the brain seem to have the ability to speak, and prey upon our fears and pain..?
Why use such a figure of speech if there couldn’t possibly be any truth to such an outdated idea from the Dark Ages…