Tag Archive | Bible

Commenting on Mental Illness

Stella has written a thoughtful & insightful post about a pervasive crisis within society here:

This is not progress – mental illness today in the USA

 

I wanted to share my comment on her post on my blog with my readers, so here it is:

First of all, sorry for the long post, I guess I got on a bit of a roll. So I’m leaving the below “as is” & hope that I haven’t crossed any lines or offended anyone. Most of this comment is based on first or second hand experience, for what it’s worth…

Years ago a psychologist did an assessment on me & said I was “severely depressed”. Some time later, at a doctor’s visit, I mentioned to the physician that I May be “severely depressed”, assuming the assessment was accurate. He offered immediately to prescribe anti-depressants for me. I declined & he actually said “good”. I told him my “depression” (assuming it’s “real”) was likely due in large part to having a severely disabled son, being overwhelmed with the care of four young children, financial stressors, & a lack of relational support systems. I said that I needed to learn how to live within the confines of the life God has given me & didn’t want some type of drug to mask the pain (treat just the symptom). Learning to live with grace in a less-than-perfect-reality (the only kind there is) is basically the essence of the human condition.

By the way, we’ve used psych meds on almost all of my ADHD family members at one time or another. There have been some benefits from the Ritalin style meds several of them used to take. However, 3 of the 4 family members with ADHD prefer Not to use meds to mediate their symptoms. All are gainfully employed & were reasonably successful students (though each hated school to some degree historically), though this condition still impacts their communication & relationships to varying degrees.

My much more complex son was/is a more difficult case. We were pressured to put him on “Ritalin” by the school system (ilegally)–while he was still in Special Ed Pre-School. I was extremely reluctant “to drug my kid up to get some peace of mind”. Several years after the initial pressure based on psych testing & input from a physician familiar with complex special needs kids, we put him on a trial of ADHD medicine–Welbutrin. That worked for him for about a year but he began to develop strange facial tics so we switched him to Strattera. He was on that for several years & it helped his attention, but after Welbutrin was removed (an anti-depressant) his behavioral/emotional control was markedly diminished (probably more of what he was like w/out psych meds but a Huge contrast to the relative “calm” on Welbutrin). Anyway that lead to the doc prescribing Paxil for his Autism cocktail of “depression, anxiety, & obsessive compulsive disorder”.

He functioned relatively well on Strattera & Paxil for years. However Neuropsychological Testing revealed significant attentional/processing issues that might be better addressed with an additional med, Metadate (a form of Ritalin). When the combo of S, P, & M was used for him he had some significant academic gains. He worked more slowly (took his time & thought things through a bit?) but his accuracy improved practically exponentially.

This was my son who needed a Liver Transplant, and as that surgery approached, we began to discuss his entire medication regimen from the standpoint of what would be best from his liver needs as well as what could appropriately address his other medical conditions with needed meds. Ultimately it was decided that Strattera would have to go as it was notoriously hard on the liver. Ironically once that med was removed he began having some of those facial tics again, though not as severely nor as noticeably as when he was younger.

I’d been “short dosing” his Paxil for years. He’d been prescribed 5mls & we’d usually use about 3mls. When he got used to the 3mls (& the doc adjusted her script to how much we were actually using, which was much less than the “therapeutic dose”) we continued to lower his typical dose to about 1.2mls. Even with that very small dose our whole family Really Noticed his behavioral issues when he’d forgotten to take Paxil.

Eventually after the Liver Transplant my son basically self-weaned off of Paxil all together. He still struggles with his emotional control & his anxiety & OCD issues have come a bit more to the forefront without Paxil. However, even when he’s in a place of diminished emotional control he still typically chooses not to “use” Paxil as an emotional crutch. We have supported him in his choices (he’s 22 & “his own guardian” who still needs much guidance & support) but remind him that that medication is available as a tool to assist him in managing his emotional needs, if he so chooses.

Also, since taking him off Strattera his communication has gone Way Up…Since the Liver Transplant it’s almost like he’s become a different person, much more interactive, more hyper verbally, sharing thoughts & feelings more freely, etc. This is likely due to more than just the med change but does make me wonder if the Strattera was rather slowing him down, not the way Metadate did to help him do more accurate work, but like putting him more in a stupor or a fog, for years. Given the complexities of his birth liver function & the buildup of toxins system-wide prior to transplant there’s really no way to know. I just wanted to mention it because the changes we observe(d) were likely due to multiple factors….

We are a Christian family, & this son, even more than all the rest of us “normal” family members, has an extremely vibrant relationship with the Lord. When he is facing intense emotional turmoil we encourage him to spend focused time with the Lord, reading Scripture, praying, & worshiping. This he does quite frequently. I remind him that one of the Fruits of the Spirit (according to Scripture) is Self-Control. Even though he is “wired” in his natural state to have less self-control, given the nature of most of his medical conditions, the Power of God is greater than his diagnoses & the Lord can help him come to a place of managing his emotional/behavioral challenges.

When he’s in an overblown state he’s often irrational in the heat of the moment, perhaps for a couple of minutes. However, we encourage him to step back (take a time out), use breathing techniques (& other skills gained via years of therapy, trial & error, or “professional input” from me–I’m a non-practicing Licensed Professional Counselor), engage the Lord directly, let us pray for/with him, etc. Anyway, usually these things work pretty quickly for him though due to “perseveration” (where he gets stuck in a mental or emotional groove) he may need A Lot of Processing Time, retreading the same ground over memories, hurts, confusion, & communication techniques & challenges…

This is all a Very Long Haul Process…

Years back I wondered if he would grab a weapon & do me bodily harm. As a grade schooler up through the junior high years he used to ball his fist & raise it over his head & his whole body/soul would shake as he wrestled with his extreme desire to punch me in the face. He never did such a punch. However he used to shove, hit, & claw at all family members but his dad (unless he was in an Extreme out of control rage) & appeared to deliberately enjoy inflicting physical &/or emotional harm when he was past the point of caring. He has come An Extremely Long Way since those more difficult days. He still seems to enjoy pushing other people’s buttons, just a little bit, & also throwing others under the bus…but then again, who doesn’t???! He still has his struggles & sometimes still “acts out” verbally or physically, but he de-escalates quickly & is usually truly sorry & repentant pretty quickly. I’d love to see the seas calmed before the storm hits, when the clouds are dark & heavy the the swells on the increase but apparently Jesus still sleeps in the boat well of my son’s soul until the storm has hit & his overwhelmed follower rouses Him so that even “the wind & the waves obey Him”…

Anyway, the bottom line is that I believe that mental/emotional illness is real & it is not automatically evidence of “demonic” oppression as many Believers have suggested over the generations. As a Christian I believe that God is the Creator of All Things, including mankind. As such it’s important to read the manual (Bible) in order to find out the best way for the human creation to function. Our personal experiences of living with complex mental/emotional “illnesses” have shown that the Power of God is able heal our wounded hearts & minds. He can enable us to “rise above” our “nature” & submit ourselves to His Lordship. Medication, Therapy, Supportive Relationships, Practice, & Consistent Reinforcement can all play a BIG ROLE in how well one might “overcome” or learn reasonably successful coping strategies to wrestle our own personal “demons”.

However, society at large, especially one steeped in secularism, political correctness, & lefty thinking is wholly inadequate to address the real and abiding needs of the mentally ill, chemically dependent, & certain types of severe disabilities. As such a modern rendition of some type of institutional system (NOT Prison) should be investigated, implemented, & evaluated and this is a need of crisis proportions. As this is a social problem it needs attention from society. Balancing the needs of the client/patient with those of society at large will possibly take a degree of wisdom not seen since Solomon. Having Federal Support/Oversight with Local Control seems like the most reasonable approach. Using faith-based systems in place might be a good starting place.

There probably will never be any type of complete solution to this problem. It seems akin to what Jesus said “the poor you will have with you always”…but it must also be tempered with another of the Lord’s sayings: “whatever you have done to the least of these, you have done unto Me!”. The final guidance should be “do unto others as you would have others do unto you” (or your parent/spouse/child/friend/co-worker)…

Just my 2 cents…for free!

May God Guide & Direct Us as we seek to address these glaring needs…

Some Thoughts on “The Price That We Pay as the Keepers of the Memories”

This referenced blog posting is quite insightful and spoke to me as the author articulates an intersection between Family Historian and encounters with pain and death…which, of course, also reminds me of walking that Special Needs Tightrope…These remarks from her blog posting (see below) especially resonated!

“I am my family’s Keeper of Memories.  I pay a price because of that.  But it is a price I would pay again and again because the joy, understanding, and connections that come, outweigh the price every single day…The depth of my pain only exists because of the depth of my love and the joyful memories…”

from https://thegenealogygirl.blog/2017/06/13/the-price-that-we-pay-as-the-keepers-of-the-memories/

Also within her posting she refers to Eternal Families and has a link to share her beliefs.  I did not click that link nor read what she said on that topic, so I am not endorsing her viewpoints, as I don’t know what they are.  From my own Biblical Christian perspective I consider the concept of an “eternal family” to be applicable to the family of God, and those who are in the household of Faith.  There are many biblical passages where family is addressed, especially from the perspective of eternity.

Historically the Jews/Hebrews were/are God’s Chosen People.  Abraham was the Father of Faith, because “he believed God and it was credited unto him as righteousness.”  Later in the New Testament the process of being “grafted into the vine” or “made children of Abraham” is described as a faith journey, beyond descendancy via blood (unless you are referencing the Blood of Christ).

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Bing.com image search for “scripture gentiles grafted in”

Galatians 3:6-8 New International Version (NIV)

So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[a]

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[b]

Footnotes:

  1. Galatians 3:6 Gen. 15:6
  2. Galatians 3:8 Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. From BibleGateway.com

 

Image result for I am the door

from a Bing.com image search for “I am the door”, in context this is Jesus speaking…

 

Jesus describes himself as The Way and The Door.  The only way to the Father is through him.  So, from my understanding, we All have the option of becoming part of the Family of God, of accepting Christ, and then sharing in eternal life.  This assurance of eternity in the Lord’s presence, and being united with loved ones in the faith provides me (and many others) great comfort when those seasons of death and loss arise.  Losing a loved one who is a Believer means only a temporary “See You Later” style of goodbye, not a permanent severing of the connection for those of us who are also in Christ!  As scripture says, “we do not sorrow as those who have no hope”.

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Bing.com Image search for “I am the way”

Here is a lengthy passage of scripture worth pondering…

Romans 11 New International Version (NIV)

The Remnant of Israel

11 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”[a]?And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”[b] So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written:

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that could not see
    and ears that could not hear,
to this very day.”[c]

And David says:

“May their table become a snare and a trap,
    a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
    and their backs be bent forever.”[d]

Ingrafted Branches

11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all!Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!

13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruitsis holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

All Israel Will Be Saved

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way[e] all Israel will be saved. As it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion;
    he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this is[f] my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.”[g]

28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now[h] receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

Doxology

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”[j]
35 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”[k]
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Footnotes:

  1. Romans 11:3 1 Kings 19:10,14
  2. Romans 11:4 1 Kings 19:18
  3. Romans 11:8 Deut. 29:4; Isaiah 29:10
  4. Romans 11:10 Psalm 69:22,23
  5. Romans 11:26 Or and so
  6. Romans 11:27 Or will be
  7. Romans 11:27 Isaiah 59:20,21; 27:9 (see Septuagint); Jer. 31:33,34
  8. Romans 11:31 Some manuscripts do not have now.
  9. Romans 11:33 Or riches and the wisdom and the
  10. Romans 11:34 Isaiah 40:13
  11. Romans 11:35 Job 41:11

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. From BibleGateway.com

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Bing.com image search for “grafted into the vine”

Well, thanks for stopping by.  May you find the Lord to be your Savior, Healer, & Lord and may he comfort & sustain you during those seasons of sorrow…and magnify your joy as you Abide in the Vine!

Blessings,

Valerie

the genealogy girl

PETERSON, Grandma and Grandpa with Kent kids, 1987 My siblings and I with our grandparents – Ronald and Margaret Peterson.  1987

The first time I read The Giver by Lois Lowry, I was in my late teens or early twenties attending college.  I was instantly struck by the lack of true joy that existed in the community because of the absence of historical knowledge and freedom of choice.  The stripping away of freedoms, the complete control of the environment – even the weather itself – eventually led to a deterioration in all that makes us human.  No one chose their own career, spouse, number of children, what to eat.  They took daily “vitamins” to control their sexual urges.  Children were bred and then placed with families.  Members of the community were instructed in every way.  They even lost their ability to see color.

But there was one community member who was the “Keeper of Memories”.  This community elder…

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