There was an old white Mitsubishi television in the corner of our kitchen. Dad gave it to Mom one Christmas. Despite the efforts of my teacher to keep my attention, I dreamed of that television all day long. Once the dismissal bell rang, I raced home. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers were all that I cared about.
I was a little manic about the show. I opened the door before the car came to a complete stop. Once inside, I grabbed one of our heavy wooden chairs and pulled it as close to the television as I could get it. When I heard the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers theme song, I knew it was time. A few minutes into the show, the television started flickering. Then, the old Mitsubishi television cut off completely. My Mom couldn’t fix it. After another few minutes, the television came back on. The only problem was that only one channel worked. The Trinity Broadcasting Network was my only source of afternoon entertainment. I thought it was going to be boring until a guy named Benny Hinn came on.
I was glued to the television. Bodies kept hitting the floor. People kept on shaking. Everybody had their eyes closed. Hands waved back and forth to the rhythm of the beat. I’d never seen anything like it. I loved it. Benny Hinn was my new favorite preacher. Instead of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, I started tuning in to Hinn. Who needs superheroes when you have a man running around on a stage knocking people over with just the power of God in his fingertips?
For many months, I practiced on anyone who would let me. When I wasn’t able to do it like Hinn, I simply figured that I didn’t have enough faith. Regardless, I kept watching and trying for a number of years. As I aged out of my Hinn fascination, I realized that he was full of it. Though I still think that’s true, I love watching him. There is something fascinating about the way Hinn’s crusades are all orchestrated and choreographed to bring cures to people. The cures that Hinn sells are not all that different from the cures that are sold in all churches.
My brain doesn’t function like a normal brain. Since my childhood, I’ve realized that my brain was doing things outside of the ordinary. I was well acquainted with mania and depression before I even knew their names. Church drove me crazy. I worried about whether I was saved. I worried about whether I was baptized right. I worried about whether I believed in the resurrection correctly. I worried about whether or not I believed that the Bible was completely true. I knew something was terribly wrong. Worry kept leading to depression and depression kept leading to thoughts of suicide. I couldn’t function. Though I’ve watched the focus of my mania and depression shift and change over the years, one thing has always been constant: church drives me crazy.
When I finally made the decision to go to the doctor, I was diagnosed with a bipolar brain (or bipolar disorder). The diagnosis has always made much more sense to me than the Bible. The Bible always wants me to do things. The diagnosis always wants me to be something. After I was diagnosed, I talked to a liberal and a conservative preacher about what was going on. They both said the same thing: “Let me pray for God to cure you.” I ran out of both offices and have never returned. People who think they need to cure me are very dangerous. They are addicted to normativity in a way that doesn’t allow them the room to appreciate the beauty of difference. They are like the Bible and only seem to be able to prescribe one path forward. I don’t need all that. I have the diagnosis and that is enough. The diagnosis is from God. My brain functions exactly as God intends it to function. I don’t need no cures. I don’t need no Benny Hinns. I don’t need to be preached at. I was created in the very image of God. I am perfection in defection. I am enough.
Brains come in billions of different forms. The rush to categorize brains has led to a desire to label anything that is divergent from our conceptions of normal. The problem with such tactics is that those with power and ability are the ones who get to label what is normal. Normal becomes a category of exclusion instead of a category of inclusion. The concept of neurodiversity pushes back against our conclusions of what is normal. Neurodiversity is a belief that various conditions of the human mind are common variations in human development. Basically, neurodiversity is about spreading the belief that people are perfect just the way they are. Neurodivergence is a natural variation that should be celebrated and not condemned with derogatory labels. Cures are not necessary. The neurodivergent were created just the way they are — in God’s image. The neurodivergent are not alone. God will never fit our normal neurological paradigms. God will eternally be neurodivergent.
“Would you let God cure you?” The question lingered for an extended period of time. I was on a tour promoting my last book and my mental illness came up. After what seemed like an eternity, I raised my head and proclaimed, “No. I’m perfect just the way that I am. God isn’t the cure. God simply is and so am I.”