Seizures, Christianity and Prayer: Manju’s Story

Approach: Prayer and Faith Conversion

Background: Seizures and Shamanism

Manju’s healing story revolves around non-epileptic seizures that she suffered from the age of nineteen to twenty five. In the last thirty years she has had no reoccurrence of seizures. She reports these started after an episode of Typhoid. A rare side effect of Typhoid can cause seizures (Sejvar et al, 2012). She felt that they started during the long hospital stay when a pill got stuck in her throat. For the next six years, she would have regular unprovoked seizures, with seemingly no aggravator. She also states an aunt suffered from similar seizures.

She came from a devout Hindu family and her family took charge of the healing journey. It had always been felt by Manju and her family that her illness was a spiritual one. Manju was taken to an allopathic hospital, but no diagnosis or treatment was provided. The doctor even suggested that marriage will cure her symptoms.

As a deeply superstitious family, Manju’s mother sought most help through Hindu rituals and Shamanism. It was explained to me that Shamanism is commonly sought in Nepal, often before allopathic treatment. It is more readily available, especially in the countryside and comparatively cheap.

She reported that these were intense rituals, which would cause her to shake and faint. She would enter a rigor mortis type feeling for at least two hours after the ceremony would conclude. They left her exhausted for many weeks afterwards, but for the next month, they appeared to stave off the seizures. This process went on for many years.

Shamans suggested to her that someone was putting ill wishes on her through another Shaman, which is why she had to return to complete the ceremonies over and over again.

At one point, their Shaman suggested that they needed to have a larger ceremony at a local significant temple. This involved chanting and sacrificing a goat before 3am. This was the first time Manju had some relief from her symptoms for around six months. Unfortunately they returned after this point.

 

Marriage

Manju was married at twenty two and reports that the seizures continued monthly, with occasions when she had respite from seizures up to four months apart but there was no fixed pattern. Thus, the Shamanic ceremonies continued. She openly discussed the financial difficulty this put her family through and that when she was married, this burden was placed on her husband. During the interview, she said “The Shaman ate my gold.”

After marriage, she started to hear about Christianity. Initially she vehemently opposed the religion and its people. This was exemplified by not inviting Christians into her home, which is very unusual compared with normal Nepali hospitality. However, as she kept hearing about people having miraculous healing, she became more intrigued.

An acquaintance kept coming to visit her and sharing gospels. One day, this person asked if she could pray for Manju and she accepted. She reports feeling a lot better after that prayer and it convinced her to trial Christianity.

Manju describes having a very meaningful dream that night:

She was standing in front of her childhood Ganesh Temple. She was carrying a bible under one arm. She could see that behind the temple was a Christian church. All of a sudden the temple stood up, blocking her path. The temple said “You have worshipped me all your life, why are you going to a foreign God, another God now?”

Manju fought back saying “All my life I have done everything your religion asked for: bathing, fasting and all, but I have been in so much pain, why have you not healed me if you are a God?”. “Now I am going to Church and you can’t stop me”. The voice from the Temple replied “You win” and sat down.

When she woke from the dream, she was crying and sweating. After this, she was very excited to go to Church. She felt due to the dream she had received an affirmation that the true God is a Christian God. She felt that this would heal her and was ready to commit to Christianity.

Manju’s dream is not unlike the stories shared in analysis: (Kruijthoff et al, 2022). This analysis looked at 83 medically remarkable healings, and found a correlation with emotional and physical manifestations and this interpretation of this as the presence of God, with a transformative affect on symptoms and health.

 

Conversion

She went to church for her acceptance of Jesus as Saviour ceremony. Before she attended church, she hadn’t had a seizure in the last four months. After the ceremony, her seizures never returned. She felt regular prayer was a reason for this. Since she recovered, she reports she feels a strength that has returned to her body and a significant reduction in fear, specifically to do with sleeping alone.

She has a firm belief that the seizures will not return. This is similar to Samichhya and Minjur Lama, who share a spiritual methodology and a strong confidence of continued health.

Manju concludes the interview by explaining that she always believed the seizures were not a disease but a spiritual warfare. Although she no longer experiences seizures, she occasionally feels like something is trying to push her down and may experience a headache or nausea. As she understands these symptoms as spiritual, as soon as they come on, she prays, “I have been healed in the name of Jesus, you have no power on me”. And then the symptoms would resolve. She reports that very rarely she suffers from some ongoing sleep paralysis.

This analysis published by Transcultural Psychiatry looks at the possible mechanisms why prayer may be an effect form of healing treatment for psychological illness and trauma (Luhrmann, 2013). They note a decrease in blood pressure, increase in immunity and theorise this may be in part due to improved emotional coping methods and visualisation improving real life outcomes. In prayer, a loving God becomes a soothing self-object, who can lower stress.

Manju shared a quote that had significant effect for her:

 

John 4:4 NIV (New International Version)

“You dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

She feels that the focus on the God within is more powerful than the Gods she was used to seeing in Hinduism that exist outside in nature. Trees, animals etc. The creator that exists within is capable enough to heal.

Manju’s family, her daughter, son and husband all follow the Christian faith. She has a good relationship with her wider family who are still Hindu.

 

Mind Body Spirit Awareness

I found Manju’s understanding of Mind-body illnesses similar to Fiona who could differentiate between ‘normal’ physical sensations and mind-body ones. She explains, she would go to hospital when she has physical illness. She accepts that God has provided medical resources to use when necessary, so doesn’t refuse them.

When she believes she has a spiritual illness, she prays. Manju feels her headaches, nausea, yawning and heaviness in the body are linked to satanic illness and need prayer. This consistently works for her. She has no fear around these symptoms. She feels empowered by God to deal with them. She may take paracetamol or go to hospital if there was something wrong or different with her body that she didn’t recognise.

Both (Lurhmann, 2013) and the study notes on A Symposium on Meditation, Prayer and Spiritual Healing (Janisse, 2005) do an excellent job of explaining the real physical changes that can occur due to Spiritual practice.

Manju feels the thing she has learnt about herself due to her circumstances is all about spiritual learning. She feels she has learnt to question superstition and accept the power of God.

 

Personality ‘Key elements’

  • Open minded- an openness to trialling different techniques when the medical and shamanic ceremonies that had been continuing for many years were clearly ineffective at delivering long term change.

  • Bravery/Agency – to step away from a belief system that her family had followed and continues to follow. An acceptance of being different. ‘The Myth of Normal’ (Mate, 2022) talks about this requirement to have agency in one’s own life for significant change to take place.

  • Humility – to trial something she didn’t fully understand and not question it.

  • Somatic intelligence – to accept that some symptoms are spiritual in nature and that some symptoms warrant medical attention.

 

Barriers and Learning

  • This was my first translated case study. One of the main issues – in using this medium – is that when an interviewee speaks for a long time and is then translated by somebody else, the resulting answer is not likely to be a direct translation as if it was being translated line by line. Translations will be improved at a later stage in the project when there is funding available to hire a translator to work in captions for the video.

  • Translation by Manju’s daughter, Samichhya. Because the translator was not an independent party, the translation likely includes embellishments not spoken by Manju. The additional context is appreciated but not strict to a question and answer format. Again, this is on a needs must basis when the opportunity to interview presents itself. If additional funding can be utilised it will be possible to hire an independent translator should the interviewee accept. Nevertheless, Samichhya did a great job of interpreting her mother’s story and answers.

  • As with (Sevjar et al, 2012) Some persons recovered from their seizures independent of treatment, with only two remaining with persistent symptoms. It is impossible to say whether Manju’s method resolved her symptoms, or if it was the normal passage of time for her condition. Additionally, the intense Shamanic rituals may have prolonged her neurological discomfort.

 

A few key features about Manju’s healing approach, which may be relevant in a wider perspective of all successful approaches to pain resolution:

  • Self driven- that she had to fight the forces of her old religion and superstition, to accept Jesus into her life for healing.

  • Empowered to try something new– to say no longer to a way of life that was not serving her and not helping her heal.

  • Humble – to accept that there are some things out of conscious control. To accept the higher power has control.

  • Independent – the first time not controlled or decided by family or husband, but by her own free will. The ability to use independent means (Prayer) to self regulate.

  • Anger – her dream seems to show a lot of power to stand up for herself against an old belief system.

 

‘Case Studies shared on Liberation Found reflect the individual experiences of people who have undergone different methods of treatment and have found a way that has worked for them. However, individual results may vary. We do not claim, and nor should you assume, that any experience recounted is typical or representative of what another person might experience. We cannot guarantee that anyone will achieve the same results. Before you undertake any methodologies that are new to you, please work with a medical professional to ensure this is a suitable technique in your circumstance. We encourage you to discriminate carefully and make your own decisions before signing up for any retreats, sessions, or healings.’

‘The opinions and beliefs shared in individual case studies do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of “Liberation Found”. The video content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. We do not make any representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness or completeness of the video content. We do not warrant the performance, effectiveness or applicability of any sites listed or linked in relation to the video content’

 

 

 

Fact Files

  • Condition: Non-specific Seizures
  • Approach: Prayer
  • Speaking Technique: Vocal acceptance of Christian God in Church
  • Non speaking elements: Prayer
  • Guided method: faith conversion and self guided Prayer
  • Non Touch method
  • Time taken for result: Approximately one year
  • Previous trials at solution: Hospital based treatment, Shamanism, Hindu ceremonies
  • Language: Nepali
  • Location: Nepal
  • Culture of Technique: Protestant Christian
  • Cost: Free
  • Profession: Householder

Links

Sejvar et al, 2012

https://tinyurl.com/4ehu9mdf

Kruijthoff et al, 2022

https://tinyurl.com/5n8nr4wx
#!

Case Studies

Dana’s recovery from debilitating Migraines and chronic hamstring pain offers so many insights for anyone suffering with persistent pain.

May 10, 2024

Sangmu kindly shared her recovery story from three episodes of depression. She speaks about her gradual understanding of what helped lift her out of these times, and what she continues to take into her future, to maintain a healthy mind.

May 10, 2024

Manju’s healing story revolves around non-epileptic seizures that she suffered from the age of nineteen to twenty five. In the last thirty years she has had no reoccurrence of seizures. She reports these started after an episode of Typhoid.

May 2, 2024

Minjur describes suffering from an early age up until he was twenty with prolonged bouts of Gastritis which would force him to leave the mountains and go to Kathmandu for hospital treatment; a journey of at least eight days.

April 23, 2024

Samichhya shared a wonderful story with us today about her experience resolving a medically unexplained condition she experienced during her childhood.

February 2, 2024

Fiona’s healing journey was one of the first I heard about in the sphere of Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Pain recovery. If I hadn't personally known her, I don’t think I would have believed such an extraordinary story.

January 9, 2024

Nam was my first official interview for Liberation Found, and was an absolute pleasure to talk to about his work navigating anger and anxiety as a Psychotherapist and using Meditation.

December 13, 2023

Dana’s Recovery from Migraines and Chronic Pain

Jess

Dana’s recovery from debilitating Migraines and chronic hamstring pain offers so many insights for anyone suffering with persistent pain.

May 10, 2024

Sangmu’s Perfectly Simple Solution for Depression

Jess

Sangmu kindly shared her recovery story from three episodes of depression. She speaks about her gradual understanding of what helped lift her out of these times, and what she continues to take into her future, to maintain a healthy mind.

May 10, 2024

Seizures, Christianity and Prayer: Manju’s Story

Jess

Manju’s healing story revolves around non-epileptic seizures that she suffered from the age of nineteen to twenty five. In the last thirty years she has had no reoccurrence of seizures. She reports these started after an episode of Typhoid.

May 2, 2024

Minjur Lama: Healing Chronic Gastritis

Jess

Minjur describes suffering from an early age up until he was twenty with prolonged bouts of Gastritis which would force him to leave the mountains and go to Kathmandu for hospital treatment; a journey of at least eight days.

April 23, 2024

Samichhya’s Determination. The Qualities of Healing found through Faith?

Jess

Samichhya shared a wonderful story with us today about her experience resolving a medically unexplained condition she experienced during her childhood.

February 2, 2024

Fiona’s Chronic Fatigue, an Extraordinary Story

Jess

Fiona’s healing journey was one of the first I heard about in the sphere of Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Pain recovery. If I hadn't personally known her, I don’t think I would have believed such an extraordinary story.

January 9, 2024

Psychotherapist Nam on Growing out of Anger and Anxiety

Jess

Nam was my first official interview for Liberation Found, and was an absolute pleasure to talk to about his work navigating anger and anxiety as a Psychotherapist and using Meditation.

December 13, 2023

Share Your Story With Us

Liberation Found is always on the look out for people with a story to share. We would love to visit you either online or in person, and help to expand the positivity in the world that it is possible to find healing.