Here is a video of the same story . I recorded at the request of a Psychiatrist friend for a church seminar on depression:
More stories here: Mental Illness Hub
Biblical distinctions of Jesus' healing
Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Matthew 24:4
For those of you who struggle with the idea that mental illness exists in the Bible (as I did) , this verse really sums it up for me.
It is very clear from this verse that all of Jesus healings of sick people were put into 3 categories:
1) Spiritual - - Demon possession - this is obviously spiritual and while I do not believe a Christian can be demon pssessed since they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit - we still have spiritual problems that only Jesus can heal ( like "pride" for example... thats whatt I struggled with)
2) Mental or Brain-related - Epiliptics - although epilipsy is not usually classified as a 'mental illness" , it is in fact a disorder of the brain - and the brain is synonymous with the mind...." a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain.." Wikipedia
When we speak of "mental illness" , we are not just talking about feeling down in thee dumps - we are talking about a clinical brain disorder. There is literally malfunctions happening in the brain to cause this - this is proven beyond doubt by science. In the case of OCD a part of the brain called the "Caudate Nucleus" is seen to be abnormally overstimulated when observed and is the primary cause of why some of us have obsessive thoughts and compulsions - its like there is no built "shut off" button like a healthy brain would have.
Please see my post
We are also very aware of Alzheimers and other diseases that affect elderly people. We rightly understand and readily accept that this is a deterioration of the brain as the body ages- not demon possession.
3) Physical - Paralytics - while the brain is definitely physical it also a lot more complicated than we can fully understand and malfunctions there affect our cognitive orr mental abilities. This speaks of something morre directly physical, quite separate from what we think of as the "mind". If some is paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury - wee again rightly and readily understand this as a physical problem to be prayed about but also to be taken to a medical doctor.
The causes of any of the above types of illnesses could be sin-related or "for the glory of God" as Jesus said about the blind man in John 4. They are mostly just simply a result of a fallen world.