I learned of Dr. Stanley’s passing this morning, and am taking this moment to reflect on the impact of his presence in my life. I reached out to his ministry in 1995 when I was initially diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. (DID)
That was one of most terrifying seasons of my life, and I was desperate for someone to help me understand what was happening to me, and who could offer some guidance about how I should proceed with that devastating news.
I wrote to him at the end of the 30-day hospitalization that was my introduction to the world of behavioral health care, because I knew of his ministry, and trusted his relationship with God. He felt like a safe haven in that moment when my world had been so completely shattered.
Psych and clinical terms are familiar to me now, but because of my lack of knowledge about mental health care, the initial introduction to psychiatric care had left me in a shattered heap of emotional pain, shame, and in dangerously compromised physical health.
I had no idea how to cope with trauma recovery, and I hoped that he would be able to offer some guidance for me.
I clearly remember the day I received his response. I can remember how I collapsed into tears of disappointment as I read his words. I don’t recall if he had signed the letter personally, but to the best of my recollection, he had done so.
It was a beautiful letter filled with compassion, mercy, and a long list of recommended resources.
I was devastated because what I truly hoped for in that moment was that his ministry would be part of the immediate rescue measures I needed, and truly believed that Papa God had planned for me.
I was, after all… a child of God, and I just KNEW that He was going to end my nightmare of having no place to call home. Because, that’s what a loving father would do, isn’t it?! He would move swiftly, passionately, and absolutely move heaven and earth on my behalf… right?!
Well, it didn’t quite happen that way…
That letter was the first of many bittersweet moments I experienced during my recovery journey, and at that time, I had no idea how long that journey was destined to become. At that moment, I felt abandoned, forsaken, and betrayed yet again by what felt like disregard for my need for intervention from the God who was supposed to be “my father.”
Although the ministry was unable to help address my practical needs, the love and compassion I felt from Dr. Stanley was the true medicine I needed in that moment.
He did not berate my shattered emotions or desperate cry for help. His tone was gentle and kind, and he validated my need for specialized psychiatric care.
I truly believe that his ministry team truly prayed for me in that season of my life. I am very grateful that he took the time to respond to my letter, and I will be forever grateful for his ministry.
I have spent many days listening to the sound of his messages, and I was always grateful for his gentle spirit.
I will be praying for comfort for his family, friends, and colleagues, but I am certain that heaven is celebrating his arrival.
With much love, honor, and respect for the man whose kindness still springs to the forefront of my thinking when his name is called.
Thank you, Dr. Stanley, for your kindness to me.
With much love and great appreciation,
from Connie’s House.