If I would only know the Truth about my sight, I would not need glasses

By Tessa, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor. Tessa is a pseudonym, to ensure anonymity.

 

I guess the first and possibly the biggest way that Christian Science negatively affected my life was that I was born nearsighted, and because we never saw a doctor, no one acknowledged this until I was about ten. A teacher saw me squinting and asked me if I needed glasses. I said no, that it was the light coming from the window. She moved me around the classroom, and I blamed the board, the colour of the chalk, everything. Finally, she told me to go to the nurse and I told her I wasn’t allowed.

The teacher must have called my parents, because my mother immediately got our practitioner on the phone. This began about three years of me being told that if I would only know the Truth about my sight, I would not need glasses. There were many phone calls with the practitioner, even lengthy typed letters that I would skim and hide in the garbage when my mother wasn’t around. I remember distinctly how angry I felt reading the letters or listening to her soft voice droning on the phone. I did not want to work at a healing, I just wanted to have glasses so I could see. I knew in my very soul that prayer did not work for me and desperately wished I could get this point across to my relentlessly CS parents.

The other day, I came across a journal entry from when I was fourteen years old. In it, I wrote that after much begging my parents were going to let me get glasses. It had been a decade of blurred vision and headaches before they agreed. I had spent my life to that point afraid to look up, embarrassed to not recognize someone calling my name. I fell behind in certain subjects where the writing on the board was key to successful grades (math and science, for instance). Worse, there were things I was excellent at that I had to give up because of it. I was told by the music teacher that I had an excellent ear and played violin very well. She made me first violin in the orchestra. The problem was that I couldn’t see the music, and it wasn’t long before I fell behind and dropped out. I was a very good actress, but I couldn’t see the Director or follow cues or any of the things one would need to function properly on stage. To everyone’s dismay, I dropped out of acting as well.

I’d developed a complex in which I would start things, but not finish them because I was so sure of failure. I understand that adversity can push a person to greater heights. I wish I could say that that was the case with me, but it was not. My huge lack of coping skills led to very low self-esteem. I felt invisible and lived constantly in a fantasy world of my own instead of reaching out to the world around me. Long after I had left Christian Science behind, I began to realize that I never reached for the stars growing up because I could not see, so I was too afraid. I am still working on changing that.

Doctors Showed Me Compassion

The following is a collection of contributions from members of the Ex-Christian Science group about experiences seeking medical care and interacting with medical professionals.

I have health insurance now, but I still am hesitant to even get check-ups. I gave birth to my son a year ago and the whole medical aspect was really a nightmare for me. It’s still almost impossible to not think of health care professionals as the enemy. I also had a horrifying incident about a month ago where a ‘vascular mole’ on my baby’s face popped and wouldn’t stop bleeding. It was the middle of the night and I was there trying to staunch it with tissues and towels and sheets for hours until I finally shook myself, looked at the blood-soaked mess and said, “are you effing crazy? He’s going to bleed to death, call 911!” I’m sad to report, had that been me my mother probably would have let me bleed to death. The baby’s just fine after being stitched up in the ER, thankfully.

– Hilary


This might resonate with some of you…I developed a small lesion on my forehead a few weeks ago which didn’t heal up. I tried ignoring it for a while, and that didn’t work. Then I tried putting antiseptic on it, and that didn’t work. Then I took to the internet and by week 3 was completely convinced I had, probably inoperable, skin cancer. I made an appointment to see a dermatologist, basically expecting to find out how long I had left, and woke up on the morning of the appointment to find said lesion diminished in size.

“It’s a wart, nothing to worry about. You can make an appointment to have it frozen off,” she said. Following day, it had mostly disappeared. Imagine what this is doing to my post-Christian Science neuroses!

– Anonymous


I’ve learned my lesson about healthcare. When an exam by an optometrist revealed I had cataracts, I had double cataract surgery. I’d worn glasses since I was in my twenties, but I don’t need them now. I can even read small print on my iPhone! And, when the girl who cuts my hair noticed something funny on my ear, she recommended I have it looked at. Rather than saying it was ‘perfect’ I went to a dermatologist. She said it was skin cancer, and I had it removed surgically. It took me a while, but I finally caught on.

– Anonymous



I went to the doctor for the first time when I was 23 years old. I got an x-ray done of my tail bone, which was revealed to have been broken when I was ten. My folks didn’t take it seriously enough to have it treated, so it healed in an ‘L’ shape. I also asked for advice and a treatment plan to preserve my destroyed right knee, which I had injured seven years previously and which had never healed.

– Heidi


I went travelling for a year with my wife. A small lump developed on my back which I worried about endlessly. I tried to self diagnose on the net and came to the rational conclusion it was probably benign, but nonetheless my conviction that it was a tumour grew. I decided it would spoil our holiday if I had it looked at and rationalised that the best thing to do was completely ignore it. Eventually, I could contain my anxiety no longer and told her about it. A few hours later I was sitting in front of a Thai doctor in Bangkok, “Yeah. It’s a cyst,” he said. “We’ll just remove it under local anaesthetic, will take ten minutes.” Since then, I try to catch things earlier.

– Anonymous