Psycho-Babble Faith Thread 19

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Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities

Posted by Racquel on June 2, 2002, at 4:18:57

In reply to Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities, posted by SuzyQ on May 31, 2002, at 3:45:01

To SuzyQ,
It took me a long time to be able to talk about my mental illness to ANYONE, let alone fellow Christians. My church is wonderfully welcoming, supportive, and loving to any man, woman, or child, especially those that are hurting. My pastor was a former alcoholic, drug-dealer, drug-addict who served in Vietnam, ran with a motorcycle gang, and committed crimes of all sorts before he came to know Jesus Christ. He has devoted the past thirty + years of his life to serving the Lord by helping and loving people...like Jesus did. I can attest to all he's done for so many people, myself included, out of his love for them, not glory for himself. We have people in our church who are former prostitutes, former Hell's Angels, and former hard-core criminals. We also include as part of our church family people, including me, with mental illnesses like clinical depression, bipolar depression, and others. People from all walks of life and all different economical and social backgrounds make up this little church in Las Vegas, and God has used everyone in the church to help me get through some seemingly hopeless valleys of darkness. Isn't that was Jesus teaches? "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick."
In turn, we hope to share that comfort and love that we received from God with others who are hurting.
I know I wrote that this message board is a bad idea, but after reading the replies I received from all of you, I realized I was in error. Thank you for the kind, courteous, and direct manner in which you wrote your replies. You didn't belittle or attack, which I've seen at some of these other sites around the www, and I appreciate that.
Anyway, that's my little contribution for Jesus. Thanks everyone. Racquel

 

Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities beardedlady

Posted by 2sense on June 2, 2002, at 5:53:05

In reply to Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities, posted by beardedlady on May 31, 2002, at 15:39:07

Where in Maryland? I am in Pittsburgh? It took me 10 years last time and my ex wasn't a Christian. My husband says he is. I believe he has bi polar and was diagnosed with borderline as I wrote before.

No it isn't to late and of course the children come first -- but there is missing piece to me or I wouldn't keep marrying men who are controlling and abusive. I'd like to take this off line -- I feel very vulnerable. The pattern with men in my life, even in business when they are in power positions over me is: my way or no way -- you have no control over the situation.

God does help those who help themselves -- I am praying and reading James -- right now I need discerment and wisdom for these decisions. The 6 1/2 year old weeps and cries at the thought of separation and the two older ones want out -- but they are too much for me to handle alone. My family I love -- the espouse Christian values -- but as with my husband the fruit isn't there -- or another way put -- they talk the talk but don't walk the walk.

What I meant by platitudes is as I read the bible for hope -- I find that hope is there, in the next life -- not now. I intellectually understand all of this -- but emotionally as I said there is simply a piece missing. My mother taught her 3 daughters (and we are like night and day the 3 of us AND our husbands all 5 of them are different as night and day with the exception they are all controlling, insecure, and very much abusive in one way or another (physically, emotionally, etc.) my mother took to heart in an incorrect fashion the submission "clause". Christ spoke to husbands and how they are to treat their wives twice as much as he did to the wives. Does this let us off the hook -- NO! If my husband would be Christ-centered and treat me as Christ treated the church, and re-prioritze and not continually put me in a position of being his mother and if I decline berating me and not doing the thing he was to do (a no win situation) then I would give my right arm, my left arm, -- I used to be a real power house career women -- I used to want it back after our bonus baby -- no, all I want is Christ to dwell in my home and Satan get behind me. This may mean separation, and I am scared, ill, without work (and my illnesses are not well defined -- MS in the makings possible epilespsy -- had a hysterectomy in January from hemorraghing (spelling?) from May of last year through Xmas of this year) with complications from that. I have a heart problem and an attempt at burning a part of my heart last Wednesday did happen (they can't burn too much and then I need a pace maker and cannot get MRIs) I have a phone consult with a neurologist who specializes in epilepsy ( I had a grand mal seizure after two entire nights of NO sleep, begging my psych doc to taper me off of Klonopin which I was originally put on at the lowest dose for insominia 1 1/2 years or more ago -- but his colleage upped it right before he had a massive stroke believing since I talk fast and have Hashimoto's with hypothyroidism that I MUST be bi polar (the woman who handled the family's AD/HD and it is very real -- all of us have sky high IQ's but many of the emotional liabilities that go along with AD/HD -- we get evaluated every few years) she had seen us with this practice for 6 years and after 9-11 (and I lost people there being from the bedroom community of Princeton) to CO -- the last psych doc refused my script wasn't called in soon enough and the wrong dose anyway and voila the seizure so off to the EEG lab and another MRI and a neurologist who specializes in MS -- who should NOT be practicing threw me on Teretol -- I could go on and on and NOT even scratch the surface -- but I keep my eyes on God, know he is in control, read the bible, and other helpful material and comfort my children the very best I can. Our church really let us down so we are without one, but not without a group of unrelated but good christ-centered people there for us.

This was long, I apologize for that -- oh I also have had 4 bouts of anorexia as a very poor coping mechanism and see an excellent ED therapist -- if I find a new psych doc which I must this guy isn't doing his job and my internist is horrified at what he has me on not to mentioned the guy never ONCE in our conversations (since he can't see me until this coming September) told me that abrupt withdrawal from the Klonopin could cause, usually does, almost always at the dose I was on and the length of time I was on it) grand mal seizures (neither the EEG was normal nor the MRI). Like I said I've barely scratched the surface of things -- sorry this is so long.

Thank you for caring, truly.

By His tender mercies, moment by moment,

In His Name always ...

Sue

 

How to Help 2sense

Posted by beardedlady on June 2, 2002, at 6:51:35

In reply to Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities beardedlady, posted by 2sense on June 2, 2002, at 5:53:05

I am in Baltimore, Sue. I think we're maybe six hours away? But I'm very concerned about you. Reading your post, I was so overwhelmed. I can't imagaine living that, with so many things happening at once.

It's often so hard to make the changes we need to make, in order to make the changes in our mental health, because of our physical health. But our physical and mental are so interrelated. It's hard to feel mentally fit when you are always physically unwell, and it's hard to feel physically fit when we are mentally unwell, but there are much more remedies for the latter.

I would like to help you. I don't know how, so please give me a suggestion. Write to me at the [underscore] great [underscore] bearded [underscore] one [at sign] yahoo [dot] com.

If your family would help you, whether or not they are walking the walk of Christians, it might be the best for you. It will seem less traumatic for the littlest one while calming the fears of the older two.

beardy

 

Thank you beardy..

Posted by judy1 on June 2, 2002, at 22:00:58

In reply to How to Help 2sense, posted by beardedlady on June 2, 2002, at 6:51:35

For your kind offer to help Sue, I hope you accepts. Take care, Judy

 

Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities 2sense

Posted by judy1 on June 2, 2002, at 22:04:14

In reply to Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities beardedlady, posted by 2sense on June 2, 2002, at 5:53:05

Dear Sue,
I hope you write to beardy. And just one thing I wanted to share with you- there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you, no missing piece, NOTHING. You are a good decent person who has been abused by evil angry men. They are the problem, not you. Blessings, Judy

 

Re: Thank you beardy..

Posted by Manda on June 2, 2002, at 22:49:42

In reply to Thank you beardy.., posted by judy1 on June 2, 2002, at 22:00:58

As far as how my faith community has responded to my mental illness (depression--maybe bipolar-- and GAD)...

I am a college student who is very actively involved in three faith communities; two are campus organizations (one of which I co-lead) and the other is a regular church. All three of these communities have been exceptionally supportive. In the group that I lead, everyone has been really helpful in getting things done when I am incapacitated. They've also been really useful when I was searching for a new pdoc. In my church, my priest (I'm Episcopalian) is awesome! He is really interested in helping in anyway that he can, and he actually kept me from committing suicide on one specific occasion. He understands that my illness is just that- an illness. However, he realizes that it has spiritual consequences, which is also important to understand. As a result, he is able to distance my illness from my true self, while still helping me to deal with the results of it on my faith life. Anyway, that's my experience.
-Manda

 

Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities judy1

Posted by 2sense on June 3, 2002, at 5:07:38

In reply to Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities 2sense, posted by judy1 on June 2, 2002, at 22:04:14

Thanks, and I really mean it. I had a long talk with the pastor (who called since I was having a heart thing done which has to be done again in 6 weeks) and the conversation lead to June Hunt's series/book(s) on "Hope for the Healing Heart", a book that is small but spells it out to a "T"; as well as the churches roll. This isn't a church I wanted to join it is a Presby USA and I grew up Evangelical Free, but he wanted to go, join and tithe. When I went to the pastor and elders (and their elders are both men and women but aside from that they aren't chosen because their own homes are in order and have committed to spend N years or whatever being surrogoate pastors so to speak. The pastor is just not someone who I believe, perhaps it is this particular church, whatever -- who one can sit and talk to intellectually from a theological point of view. I have found, I do not want to sound critical, that his sermons were appetizers to the meals I anticipated to ponder, and read and pray about and apply to my life throughout the week. It was the constant and continual gossip that drove me from the church.

Thank you -- please pray that the discernment I am asking for I will recieve -- that God, if it is His will and for His glory -- will quickly help us find a christ-centered counselor who is strong and will not, as so many have, just let my husband slide on everything.

Question: when it is obvious a husband is not walking under the Lord -- his fruit and abuse, etc. Does one say nothing, say anything, just pray .... he feels I am highly critical, perhaps I will again go to the Lord and ask him about this specific aspect of my personality -- I have stopped doing so much since moving to W. PA, and staying home fulltime (and that is when the change really started -- I wasn't making money and I wasn't ill and then those two things happened and the control was his to abuse) -- because anything I do he has to take over because I am not doing it right (ex. planting a garden).

In Christ,

Sue

 

Re: How to Help

Posted by 2sense on June 3, 2002, at 5:20:40

In reply to How to Help 2sense, posted by beardedlady on June 2, 2002, at 6:51:35

okay I am trying a 3rd time -- might have had the wrong box checked -- I had no luck with your email address beardy the server just bounced it --

In Christ Sue (aka 2sense)

 

Manda - a question

Posted by mair on June 3, 2002, at 7:47:12

In reply to Re: Thank you beardy.., posted by Manda on June 2, 2002, at 22:49:42

" He understands that my illness is just that- an illness. However, he realizes that it has spiritual consequences, which is also important to understand. As a result, he is able to distance my illness from my true self, while still helping me to deal with the results of it on my faith life. "

I'm glad you've found a supportive community.

I am a member of the uninitiated, and thus not sure I understand your statement (set out above). What are the results of your illness on your faith life? What are the spiritual consequences to which you refer? Do you find that dealing with the severity of your illness makes you question your faith, or do you think your faith makes it easier for you to deal with your illness?

I'm sorry to be so nosy. I'm just curious and want to understand this connection a little better.

Mair

 

Re: Manda - a question mair

Posted by 2sense on June 3, 2002, at 11:03:11

In reply to Manda - a question, posted by mair on June 3, 2002, at 7:47:12

Within the last year my husband's company has gone through 2 lay offs, he has suffered intense and often untreated deep depression, and the psych doc is totally unavailable. I was down to 95 lbs. last year I suffer from anorexia as a very bad coping mechanism. I have 3 children (boy 15 1/2, girl 13, and girl 6 1/2). All of us have been evaluated several times and have very high IQ's along with diagnoses AD/HD and other learning disorders such as: dysgraphia, dyslexia, etc. The school district takes the stance make me -- and I have had to go to Harrisburg more than once. The last evaluation in August of 2001 showed my son have an IQ beyond superior but the reading and writing skills of a 1st grader though the public school which he attended from 3rd - 6th gave him A's and B's. The two older ones then went to a very strict but small Christian school that promised they would be more attentive as well as available, none of that occurred, and in the told us that AD/HD was of the devil. My husband is both verbally and emotionally abusive and we have been together 11 years my first marriage was a physical abuser. When we moved here to W. PA I was healthy other than being very pregnant but leaving the DOE supercomputing community (which I worked very hard at and had an international reputation but then it was destroyed when I found fraud). Since being here my husband is not around he is a workaholic, and is vicious like an unfed tiger. I went undiagnosed with Hashimoto's for 4 years, went almost gray, very depressed and 10+ miscarriages (my husband wanted another child very badly). After Madeline was born 02/96 I got pregnant while nursing and found out when the baby was three months along that it was a little boy and half of his head was not there and the brain was missing and had to have a genetic termination. Eventually I found a doctor to treat the hypothyroidism from the Hashimoto's but the damage to my hands was so extensive I then had to back-to-back hand operations. My ex who has not seen the two older children since I left my job putting supercomputing centers together in Northern CA (this was not the lab I left in 10/95 as a whistleblower) and went underground (and my born again Christian parents took his side even after he admitted I had been his punching bag in addition to myriads of other things). Once the divorce was final this man I worked with was a Christian and seemed God sent -- I married him. Once the ring was on the truth came out. We both come from upper-economical educated families but abuse is EVERYWHERE. I started hemorrhaging last May and by October (after the 2nd layoff, the first being in June, and we had to send the older child with money scraped together to a private establishment) I could no longer hide it and was in and out of ER's 4 times in a short period of time. I had a series of tests and hysterscopy and D&C to get me through Xmas (oh I forgot -- 04/99 right after the two hand operations, my lawyer forgot supposedly to file a paper in 48 hours and so the government got off scott free and then I went through optic neuritis) -- let's go back to 01/2002 when I had a hysterectomy (kept my ovaries and grateful I was) but there were several complications and infections and test results indicating bladder cancer (but I didn't have it) then on 02/19/2002 I had one of many supraventrical tachycardia attacks at the local library (my heart rate was 246+) and was taken out by ambulance and spent several days at the hospital having my heart checked (thank God for my Sicilian "genetics" my HDL the good stuff is near 150) but I had an electrical conduction problem -- I had an appointment for 4/16 -- now my son started 30 minutes north of us taking a few public school classes and then had to be driven from there to the learning center (which thank God was across from my husband's place of business) BUT I couldn't drive so he was clocking like 100 miles had to pick up the kids at the end of the day, and then work at night. I found a law, called Harrisburg, and after Spring break the school followed the law and that was lifted. But my psych doc (one who cared for me for 6 years left in Oct. 2001 and I lost several people in 9-11 -- I was "given" to some other guy (the first one started me on Klonopin at 0.25 for insomnia I think 08/01 -- but this guy thought I was bipolar since I had a thyroid problem and talked fast (being from NJ this shouldn't be shocking) so he doubled the Klonopin (which is addicting and has behavior side effects) then two days later had a massive stroke (very sad) and can no longer work and I was passed again (this was while I was in and out of the ER's) ok so the other doc that remained could only talk to me over the phone and after the heart thing right before Easter (my parents and one sister and husband were to arrive Good Friday -- my second child was turning 13 on Easter) well everyone got the flu and Strep (not me -- mother's immunity I always say) and the church we did belong to knew all of this and more and did NOTHING -- I mean NOTHING -- well the psych doc refused to take me off the Klonopin unless I went on Depakote -- known for its excessive weight gain ideal for an anorexia, 39 year old with body issues headed into the summer -- he called the script in late --I was up and down for at least a week with sick children, ran out of the stuff and had NO sleep whatsoever the Thursday before Good Friday and also the Wednesday before that Thursday -- when the script was finally ready to pick up -- since I couldn't drive and my husband was to weak he picked it up Friday morning -- normally I would have taken it and gone to bed for the day -- but I stayed awake waiting for the family to arrive and had a grand mal seizure (and my almost 13 year old saw the whole thing and is still, as one would expect freaked out) -- wait, wait I am not done.... after another ambulance and ER trip (and the ER doctor didn't do anything a doctor does for an initial seizure -- probably because it was a provoked seizure due to sleep deprivation coupled with cold turkeying a benzo -- but my own doctor scheduled an EEG and MRI -- the MRI after the optic neuritis was clean and my eye cleaned up faster than the doctor had ever seen. The EEG was abnormal as was the MRI. So off to a MS specialist I went who threw me on Tegretol, told me he wasn't going to do anymore tests and that I had MS and see you in August after you recover from the end of May catheter/ablation of your heart (which didn't go well and I have to have done all over again) -- and then in August I get to start daily injections in the derriere) for the rest of my life -- all done in 20 minutes no questions did my husband and I get answers to -- just that the 1 or 2 lesions weren't as big as he like, not classic MS lesions and really not in the right place -- but oh well.

Never once have I questioned that there is a God, that He has a plan for my life -- I have been angry, hopeless, etc. But I have left SO much out -- people say my life is Murphy's law -- but I saw my faith is strong and a sense of humor is the shock absorber of life -- my marriage is going down the tubes fast, the two older hormone driven kids are fresh, I am very lonely and feel forgotten and forsaken -- wouldn't you? Perhaps not, I have given up on asking why, but I'd give anything to be Job (after all I have all of his friends -- especially my mother, "God is punishing you for x, y, and z <-- this I do not know what she is talking about as my father used to interview over lunches when I was 17 out of high school working fulltime potential dates -- 3 guys actually did this and he rejected them all!

I don't know if this makes any sense or just sounds like the ramblings of someone -- you can decide but at least I know what is what and am putting one foot in front of the other. I have felt for many years like a boxer, everyone gone home including the guy who rings the bell to stop that round and give the boxers a rest -- every time I stand up another 2 X 4 hits me -- since last May of 2001 I feel like it is a gang with 2 X 4's and I just do not get it. So I am in James, I need wisdom and discernment -- Lamentations is good as is Romans 8 ... but we all get very weary when things come to fast and there just is not the support system one needs.

Just my 2sense -- hope I did not offend anyone for this was not my intent but everyone makes mistakes -- goodness knows I certainly do.

 

Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities 2sense

Posted by judy1 on June 3, 2002, at 19:16:00

In reply to Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities judy1, posted by 2sense on June 3, 2002, at 5:07:38

Dear Sue,
Please know my prayers are with you and your children. I think I answered your question on how to handle your husband with that sentence- it is up to him to find his way to God. You have more than you can possibly handle without carrying your husband- I know that it is difficult to watch someone you love/or have loved fall apart, but until you have your life and those of your children in order perhaps you'll have the strength then to help him. I pray you find a pastor that can help you, I pray that God will give you strength and I pray your ordeal will be over soon. Blessings, Judy

 

Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities 2sense

Posted by mair on June 3, 2002, at 22:08:25

In reply to Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities judy1, posted by 2sense on June 3, 2002, at 5:07:38

Sue

I feel like I'm the last person who should be responding to one of your posts. I am not a person of faith and belong to no faith communities. I can't quite figure out how I got derailed on this Board. What does seem apparent is that your own faith community is not giving you the support you feel that you need. In an ideal world, what would that support entail? Is your husband active in the same church, and do you feel that he's being supported in a way that you're not?

Mair

 

Re: Manda - a question

Posted by Manda on June 4, 2002, at 0:19:51

In reply to Manda - a question, posted by mair on June 3, 2002, at 7:47:12

My depression makes it so that I am apathetic, which means that my prayer life suffers especially. It also affects how I respond to situations, in that, I become overly pessimistic, but also rather self-centered. Both of these are contrary to the Christian faith- right now, I believe that God is in control, but when I am depressed, I think that only the most horrible things are going to happen to me and that God either doesn't care or can't help. For several years in high school, it caused me to doubt that God existed. Now, it just makes it so that I can't really focus on anything spiritual. Going to church, leading my group, etc. become almost mechanical because I am not able to connect on a deeper level. However, from past experience, I have determined that it is still vitally important for me to stay involved in the life of the church and to keep praying, even when I don't feel like it will do any good. On really good days, yes, my faith makes it easier to deal with my illness. However, I confess, most of the time it doesn't. When I can really think clearly, I realize that my illness is actually a blessing in that it allows me to truly understand other people's suffering. Since I am considering a vocation in pastoral counseling, it is really wonderful to be able to say that not only have I studied the symptoms of the various mental illnesses, but I am clinically depressed (possibly bipolar, and also suffering from GAD) and yet am able to struggle through well enough to help others. I have found, with the peer counseling that I have done within my group, that it is a great comfort to people to hear that I really do understand how they are feeling. I am not merely compassionate- I am struggling right along with them. Anyway, that's my long-winded response. :)
-Manda

 

Re: Manda - a question 2sense

Posted by Manda on June 4, 2002, at 0:28:16

In reply to Re: Manda - a question mair, posted by 2sense on June 3, 2002, at 11:03:11

2sense,
God bless you. I am praying for you. I think you must be one of the strongest people I have ever encountered to endure all of that. Please take care.
Pax,
Manda

 

What a cool church! Racquel

Posted by SuzyQ on June 4, 2002, at 7:06:58

In reply to Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities, posted by Racquel on June 2, 2002, at 4:18:57

"It took me a long time to be able to talk about my mental illness to ANYONE, let alone fellow Christians. My church is wonderfully welcoming, supportive, and loving to any man, woman, or child, especially those that are hurting."

I could have written the above, Racquel. It took me forever to talk to anyone about my struggles--and I still am limited in what I say to others. My church is accepting and loving. I get such joy in helping others, and don't condemn other people who are hurting in whatever area of life they have their struggles. But it seems much easier to give love and help than receive it.

Btw, it sounds like your church really has a niche! Would that more churches were active in showing Jesus' love to others and not just telling about it.

Suzy

 

Re: Manda - a question Manda

Posted by 2sense on June 4, 2002, at 11:47:51

In reply to Re: Manda - a question, posted by Manda on June 4, 2002, at 0:19:51

I know you posted this to Manda, but since I have the same thought cycle regarding my prayer life and feeling guilty about feeling angry or forsaken or both because of all that has happened and seems to continue to happen.

My dad when I was around 8 told me (and I cannot recall what prompted the analogy and he still uses today with me, but even his faith is taking a hit, as with each phone call something else has happened -- yesterday BTW was no different, or this morning -- doctors and establishments of all kinds attached to them can be very difficult especially when they are so overly conscious (and intellectually I understand why, but ethically I pause when they say something I consider "spin") about their own personal liability and deciding whether or not to help me in a certain situation.)

Okay here's the analogy: Remember those small bowl like fishbowls (no stones, or tubes for bubbles, etc.) my Dad told me we, as Christians, believers in God, are like a goldfish in a little bowl on our kitchen table. The sun is setting, and we are hungry as the usual time our "owner" (i.e., God) feeds us has come and gone and time is marching on and the sun has set and the moon is out -- yet no sigh of our master. We as little goldfish do not know (and may never know -- outside of Dr. Doolittle :-) I do not know of someone who could "talk to the animals") that our master actually left work early having heard about a fish food that was more nutritious for us but in a different part of town, further from or perhaps the opposite direction of where we are (where he lives and feeds us). He is stuck in traffic for miles behind many, many cars, as there was a traffic accident. He has not forgotten us, on the contrary he went out of his way to do something very special for us -- but we have 1) no way of knowing that at time 'T' as we wait hungrily, perhaps sad and/or angry feeling forgotten, forsaken; and 2) will never know WHY he was late, as he "can't" talk to us as goldfish (i.e., there are no burning bushes or telegrams from God in a tangible way). I have hung on to this analogy for over 3 decades -- it does not always get me through but ... putting one foot in front of the other like a tightrope walker and focusing on Christ and making my mantra, "God is in control; He has a bigger plan for my life, and though my lantern is so dimmed I feel it may go out AND can barely see to put my foot in front of the one that is upfront, I must trust.

Now for me trust and dependency issues are everything and having (or perceiving) I have NO control over much of anything. Trusting with all one's heart, mind, and soul and not leaning on one's own understanding and allowing God to direct our paths INVOLVES all of that -- it, to me, anyway is the basis of the entire Christianity theology -- trusting and depending entirely on God the Father, his Son Christ, and the comforter Christ left behind, the Holy Spirit. Which I read to think about as an apple, the skin, the meat of the apple, the core -- 3 different parts but all make up a singular thing.

Just my 2sense, and not even solicited, I will keep you in my prayers.

Sue

 

Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities mair

Posted by 2sense on June 4, 2002, at 12:02:19

In reply to Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities 2sense, posted by mair on June 3, 2002, at 22:08:25

There really are no ideals -- support for me within a church body would be awareness and offering to off load the everyday -- but mostly being able to on a regular basis (in the best of worlds a more sanctified mentor who had been along a similar route but ...) to sit and pray with a small group of believers, to study the bible where it addresses more specifically the issues I am facing (Job is often pointed to, and there are many out there, my mother at the forefront, who believe I did something to deserve this -- there is another man who believe (and I do not believe this, nor am I comfortable WHATSOEVER with his take -- I have known he and his wife for 6+ years -- they are my friends, do not go to an organized church but meet with a small group to study the bible, be supportive and pray with one another for one another and others) he believes God is using me to show others, with or without faith, that it can be done -- a lot of continually suffering, constant, without a lot of support (my parents live 350 miles away -- the closest in 20+ years -- this was not my or their choice) but the choices of my husbands. My ex was very physically abusive to me and they always quoted I Peter 3 -- be more "perfect" -- and the pastors from many denominations backed them up (I lived in CO and CA back and forth for 10 years and was in therapy -- secular and Christian) but it always was that I was doing something to provoke him into beating me. After 10 years I had the courage, sort of -- I married my current husband -- we're 10 years down the road and he isn't physically abusive but verbally and emotionally and very inconsistent with his behavior) -- I don't buy that I am being punished -- I am not saying God hasn't wanted to teach me things along these years -- but support in terms of friends is difficult when most are natives and Catholic and it is much like cliques in high school where I live now; I am staying home full time for the first time these last 6+ years -- and my work was fulfilling, gave me intellectual and social stimulation which I do not have know -- so my support comes from people I come across -- having the issues I have to deal with I isolate myself more than I should, I've been burned so many times -- and the experience with the church we jointed 2 years ago (went to a year before joining -- and I didn't want to join but my husband did and I thought at the time it was a good thing, and I thought it would increase my circle of support and people I knew and that the children would have things and people, etc. and they did have a good program -- the youth pastor is excellent (we had tried other churches -- my husband is Methodist but not really brought up in the faith and I was brought up Evangelical Free but my dad's interpretation of the bible was executed in our house, period, end of the story. He is third generation Sicilian and a bit of an Etna AND my mother had 4 in 5 years and left the Catholic church and then they went to a Methodist church for a while and then the Evangelical Free and my mother had her bonus baby (my youngest sister and I are 9 years apart and I pretty much raised her -- my other sister is 14 months younger than me).

So support comes from boards such as this, but tangible people to give you a hug when you find out devastating news like you have MS and instead it is a receptionist asking for your co-pay and the doctor isn't seeing you until August and didn't answer any of your questions. I know I am wordy, I apologize -- I have the need to put things in context for fear of being misunderstood -- this is a by-product of my upbringing -- my parents were extremely critical and my dad was a workaholic and it doesn't matter because I am going to be 40 in November and a big girl and no sense in looking at the past unless it can help you move forward without hurting anyone else.

Again, just my 2sense ... Sue

 

Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities judy1

Posted by 2sense on June 4, 2002, at 12:03:34

In reply to Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities 2sense, posted by judy1 on June 3, 2002, at 19:16:00

Judy and all of you --

Thank you for your support. I don't feel as alone anymore ... :-).

Sue

 

I really like the goldfish analogy. :) (nm) 2sense

Posted by Manda on June 4, 2002, at 12:37:05

In reply to Re: Manda - a question Manda, posted by 2sense on June 4, 2002, at 11:47:51

 

Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities

Posted by Chris A. on June 5, 2002, at 1:40:33

In reply to Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities, posted by SuzyQ on May 31, 2002, at 3:45:01

"Faith is the awareness of utter helplessness without God."
That's a quote I read today, copied off and taped on my monitor.

Most of you have been through some really hard trials. My strength comes from my relationship with Jesus Christ. I try not to get too upset when other Christians let me down, as I am not perfect either. If I went to the the perfect church I would ruin it :-) One of my favorite passages of scripture is I Corinthians 13 - Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. My interpretaion is that God sacrificially loved us by sending His son. By hearing and reading about His love for me, I have faith. Because of His love and the faith it engenders, I have hope. That hope is not only for the future, but gives me the strength to keep going day by day. It does not disappoint. We can live many days without food, so many hours without water, but only about two seconds without hope. I can only love because God through Christ loved me first. He sent His Holy Spirit to comfort me and guide me. All Christians go through desserts and tribulations. Michael Card, one of my favorite musicians, said that while in the dessert it is essential to pray, even if it is only one word. My favorite when in the depths has been "help." He also said to read the Bible, even if it is only one verse a day. There has been more than one occasion when the Lord has used one sentence to give me hope and help me to recover from a suicidal state of mind. Michael's words of wisdom came out of his own struggle with depression. The Christians who have helped me the most have been those who are humble and recognize their own absolute dependence on God. My 2 Sense, is that if a person doesn't realize their own neediness, then they have no business to be in ministry or Christian leadership. I have a lot of rough edges and am glad that God isn't finished with me yet. We are all works in progress. Organized religion has offended many, but when it comes down to it, our relationship with our Creator is between us and Him. Our response shouldn't depend on anyone else. If we ask Him truly honest questions, he answers, often in ways we don't expect. It is refreshing when I find someone in the body of Christ who is loving, empathetic and doesn't judge me. When really ill, I feel paranoid, isolate and avoid those who would really want to be of support. In a way, we could all be considered hypocrites, because we have all missed the mark in some fashion or another. My prayer for everyone here is that they might know the love of God in a personal way. Knowing His love can get us through anything. I hope, in my own bumbling way, that I can comfort someone in the way that I have been comforted.

I hope this makes sense.

To Him alone be the glory.

Blessings,

Chris A.

 

Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities Chris A.

Posted by 2sense on June 5, 2002, at 5:08:32

In reply to Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities, posted by Chris A. on June 5, 2002, at 1:40:33

Thank you for your post, it makes lots of sense. There is intellectual faith -- which is what you wrote of and emotional faith ... which takes longer to catch up when one is going through particularly difficult times, especially if they persist, and seem to bear down without stopping.

You wrote:

"My 2 Sense, is that if a person doesn't realize their own neediness, then they have no business to be in ministry or Christian leadership"

I do not know what this means, I understand the neediness part, though if I understand what you are referring to I would have choosen a different word (just my 2Sense). I am not the individual who posted about going into the ministritry or Christian leadership. If I have misinterpretted what you are writing, then I have been unfortunate to meet a lot of individuals who go into the ministry and/or choose Christian leader-ship and sometimes do "damage" to those who seek their counsel as we are instructed to do -- though James makes it clear we are to ask without doubt for God's wisdom, and I suppose God would not lead us to such people.

I do not have plans to go into the ministry, and at my last church was asked (not by those "in charge", but those who left for the same reasons I did) to play a role in the churches' Christian leadership -- this was not to be. It had nothing to do with my health -- it had to do that they have always done thing one way and were going to continue to do so.

Eventually things got bad enough that a company (who purpose is to do these things) was contracted to write a survey/questionnaire and send it to all church members and after they were completed and returned -- they would analyze and give suggestions either to the church itself or the body the presides over it (for the church itself). I was impressed by the survey because it seemed to ask about all of the things that were lacking (as you've eloquently laid out in your post, some of the things were on the survey in question form) and gave me hope that there was a 'parent' who might steer this church, its 'child' back -- I do not know.

2sense

 

Book on Christianity and Mental Illness

Posted by Krazy Kat on June 5, 2002, at 10:48:45

In reply to Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities, posted by SuzyQ on May 31, 2002, at 3:45:01

I haven't been able to follow this thread, mainly because my time online has been very limited. Also, I need to limit my time online and exist in the real world for awhile.

I wanted to mention a book I just bought and read thoroughly, though. It is written by Christian (what I would call born-again) Psychiatrists who started the "New Life Clinics". I know nothing about the clinics.

I got this book with the hope that it would help my sister and parents understand that my disorder is genetic, though of course external forces influence it. I believe strongly that my father's mother (who abandoned him when he was two), my father, and my brother all have/had forms of Bipolar Disorder. And I'm going to be clearer about my opinion to them next time.

O.K., so it's called "Mood Swings" by Paul Meier, et al. It compares an environmental versus genetic depression very nicely. It touches on 'embarrassing' aspects of Bipolar Dis., such as sexual promiscuity (my family could never handle a discussion re: my path down that road :)). It says 'take your medicine' if you have a Bipolar Disorder, but it also offers spiritual guidance. It also offers practical, secular ways to help live a more balanced life.

All-in-all, it helped moi, who was raised in a born-again family, get over some of the guilt I still have re: this illness and the belief that I somehow should have been able to "handle" it myself. That God would not want someone taking medication to help with it. That it isn't real. Trust me, this came at a good time!

The Dr.'s are good writers, good scientists, and good Christians. Yet, as a no-longer born-againer or really Christian, I did not find anything in it offensive (except perhaps that all the women were pretty much homemakers. :)). So it may be right for Christians and non-Christians alike.

- KK

 

2sense - please see my post above (nm) 2sense

Posted by Krazy Kat on June 5, 2002, at 10:49:58

In reply to Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities SuzyQ, posted by 2sense on May 31, 2002, at 15:16:59

 

Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities 2sense

Posted by Chris A. on June 5, 2002, at 11:43:57

In reply to Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities Chris A., posted by 2sense on June 5, 2002, at 5:08:32

Dear Sue,

Please forgive me for that one. That was really insensitive of me not think of how you might interpret what I wrote. I should have written "In my opinion..." I wasn't referring to you in any way. It's just that your clever screen name caught my fancy and I often say "my two cents worth..." It's a good reminder of why I should not post long after bedtime, and should always ask myself "How will what I'm saying affect someone else?" I ask your forgivesness for running roughshod over your feelings.

What I was trying to say is that I am offended by people in ministry who say verbally or non-verbally, "I have made it, I am mature and let me help you, you poor thing. Your mental illness is a result of your own sin or not following Biblical principles." To me, that is kind of what the Biblical satan's problem was - pride, wanting to be higher than God and others. Leadership requires genuine humility and a servant's heart- knowing that but by the grace of God there go I. The ground at the foot of the cross is level. We all need the love and grace so freely offered. I know I do.
Have I eased your concerns? I hope so, but know I'm not very good at expressing myself in writing.

Blessings,

Chris A.

> "My 2 Sense, is that if a person doesn't realize their own neediness, then they have no business to be in ministry or Christian leadership"
>
> I do not know what this means,

 

Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities 2sense

Posted by Sally green on June 15, 2002, at 20:53:05

In reply to Re: Mental Illnesses and Faith Communities SuzyQ, posted by 2sense on May 31, 2002, at 15:16:59

Hi Ladies:

This is my first time at this post. I was in a relationship with similar problemes that you have discussed. How very trying it can be. I am a Christian and have a wonderful relationship with God, talk with him like a friend. Have any of you heard of Joyce Meyer? She is wonderful! Her teaching tapes answer alot of the things that we wonder about and her answers are based on the scriptures. She started her life in a relationship with all of the attributes we are discussing. When I started dating this guy I had not been in a serious relationship due to a long history of fighting obesity, alcohol and drugs. When we met he partied but had told me that he was ready to stop those things and begin a life with a wife and family. I thought I had met the man of my dreams, someone who would have compassion for the fact that I had used drugs, drank and all the things that come along with that lifestyle. At first things went well and we were in love. As time progress I found out that his parents had been divorced mainly due to his father's undiagnosed Bi-Polar/Manic-Depressive disorder, drinking and woman chasing. As time progressed he got excessively suspicuous, untrusting, jealous, verbally abusive, always accusing me of cheating etc., he was never physically abusive although I believe that he had the potential if I were to live with him or marry him. When he started these actions I wanted to be left alone, so he would get drunk and actually become a vicious, almost insane person! Totally lacking any self control! I was at the top of the world when we met, was sober for a year, had lost 100 pounds and had kept it off for several years and still maintain my ideal weight today. As he became more accusative we fought. I had made so many positive changes in my life, but was affraid to leave him because I thought that at 36 years old, not having a boyfriend for such a long time etc., I may never find another man.

The I started listening to Joyce's tapes, like Wilderness Mentality. She makes some great points. First, that it is not your responsibility or will you ever be able to change these men. Only God can change them. I am sure you have probably prayed and prayed that God change these terrible traits in your husband, obviously without luck. Maybe God is telling you something. I have never been married and do not believe in divorce, but God does not expect you to stay in a relation with such abuse. I am not telling you to get divorced, but why should you waste your life with a man who treats you so badly and with such disrespect? How frustrating it is to be told by these guys that there is nothing wrong with them and that it is you that has the problem. Bull! Don't even let him convince you of that. I remember when this guy was busting things in the house, calling me filthy names etc and would appolize for all of it later, like they all do, how heart breaking the entire situation was. It must of been so normal to him that I actually remeber him laughing, like I should not take these things so seriously! I had to make up my mind that I was better off being alone, or just me and God, as opposed to being with the wrong person. Since that time God has made wonderful changes in my life! I have my own house, business and finally peace of mind!

You sound like a lovely lady and true Christian. Don't give up now! Don't stay with someone like this either! If you have tried everything possible to make things better and prayed to God to change him, maybe Gods answer is "no" because he has a different plan for YOU! You said that you were in an abusive relations for 10 years before this man. You sound like me, keep attracting the same type of guy. Where are the sensible, stable men?? Truly that is our fault! I have not been in a relation for about 3-4 years. God has guided me. I am not seeking out a man or looking for a husband. I have become willing to wait until God brings that special man in my life. If he does not I will know that was also part of his plan! It has been hard at times, not having a man around to do the physical things that come with owning a home etc, but God has never let me down! He always brings a male friend into my life to help out. I have had neck surgery which limits my ability to do alot of heavy lifting and physically draining jobs. Financially times have been tough, but God has NEVER let me be without the money needed for the things that must be paid.

Anyway, don't give up on God or yourself. Have another talk with God and ask him to tell you what to do. Like I told this fellow, if he wanted to go to a psychiatrist I would stay with him, if he would quit his drinking I would go back to AA just for him, I had not gone for many years. He siad that he did not have any problems and liked to drink, that it calmed his nerves. I took that as the sign that I asked God to give me. Really a blessing in disguise!!!LOL!! I kind of felt off of the hook and told him that I was not going to lower my standards to accomodate him, that he would have to raise his standards and help himself, with my help or it was over! Well it has been over for 3-4 years. His life has been filled with one girlfriend after another, his Bi-Polar/MD, drinking/drugs and outrageous behavior affecting all of the relationships and eventually the break-up of every relationship! Maybe this is the only way this man will finally realize that it is him who has the problem. If you do not want to get divorce, then try seperation agreeing to only come back when he his sought the proper help.
Sorry to babble on, but don't give up on God or yourself!!! It is never to late to make a fresh start! God will forgive you for the choices that you have made or need to make! Then you must forgive yourself and don't look back. He will probably make your life miserable for awhile and if like me, you may have to involve the law, but it is time to start thinking about yourself and your kids. This guys father was the same way and he carried over the things he saw into his relationships. You would never want your kids to think that this is normal or that they must put up with this type behavior from the person who is supposed to love them the most.

Good luck and God Bless You and your family. I will pray that he give you the strentgh and determination to make a decision that will help you bring his will into your life. You can have the Good life and plan that God intended for you or stay with someone who obviously has serious problems outside your conrol. Never think that the good life with a normal, caring man is outside of your reach. I never saw myself with a normal guy because I just never dated any, looking in all the wrong places. The wisdom that I have gained from this relationship is remarkable! GOD has a wonderful plan for all of us, my sister, and why would you settle for anything less?

Peace, Joy and Love,
Sally


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