Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Healing of the Spirit

". . . whatever Jesus lays his hands upon lives. If Jesus lays his hands upon a marriage, it lives. If he is allowed to lay his hands on the family, it lives."
(Elder Howard W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve, 1979.)

"Accept the healing of spirit that He alone can give."

First Presidency Christmas Message 1985.)

When my father died, I realized that, despite the illness that took his life, in all the essential matters he had in reality been healed. Cancer prevailed in the ravaging of his body, to be sure, but I was witness also to the undeniable healing of soul which had taken place for him. Through the process of battling cancer, relationships with family members were healed, as well as Dad's relationship with his Heavenly Father. For the first time in my life, I heard my earthly father declare his faith in Jesus Christ. Was not that a healing of profound significance? I held his hand as he passed from this life, peaceful in the knowledge that all was well.

Too quickly, I believe, we despair that someone has not been healed, solely because they remain ill in their body. My experience has been that physical illness can be a means for the healing of the spirit within.

In my own case, I have prayed for years to be blessed with the gift of charity. I have been willing to experience whatever was needful for me to obtain that gift. I am not surprised that it is taking a lot of illness to open me up to the reception of so great an endowment.

Now I am feeling charity growing in me, as well as an increased trust in the Lord. I have prayed also to be able to say "thy will be done" and really, truly, to the depth of my soul mean what I am saying, because I truly trust in God. Those being my desires, they are worthy of suffering whatever is necessary to obtain them, are they not? To me, they most certainly are.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Mallorca 2007 -- Waiting for summer (Part 2)
Originally uploaded by tygerlyl

No outings for me today. As I feared, I have relapsed into depression. I do have hope, however, that I will recover more quickly this time. (No church tomorrow, after all.)

(Click on the picture for photo credits.)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Beginning to Bloom?

Originally uploaded by love_child_kyoto

Like any illness, depression (whether unipolar or bipolar) heals incrementally, and improvement is measured in small triumphs. When you have a bad case of the flu, you are encouraged when the day comes that you are able--finally--to sip a cup of broth and not have it come back up again, to speak without your throat burning, to simply move about the room unattended.

I had a few small triumphs yesterday. I took a ride in the car. I entered a restaurant and ordered and paid for food. I went grocery shopping (to two stores!) with my husband. Like with any illness, I need to be cautious not to "overdo" and suffer a relapse of symptoms. But I do have hope. And I still feel well today (although I am not ready for any more such adventures for a while).

I believe that this third antidepressant may be helping. I have no doubt that calling upon our Father is helping, as well. Thank you to those who love me for your prayers in my behalf. I have hope--albeit a cautious one-- that I am beginning to open again.

(Click on the photo for credits.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Luna Park

Luna Park
Originally uploaded by carlmonus

I'm not sure how to tell, from inside myself, if I am manic or just happy. Do I appear to others like this, or not?

That's why it is good to have honest, and kind, people in my life.

(Click on the picture for photo credits.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mania Tuesday

Don't let the sun go down on me
Originally uploaded by cattycamehome

Up half the night.
Asleep half the day.

Never rested.

(Click on the picture for credits.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Please Don't Label Me "Inactive"

burnham lighthouse
Originally uploaded by g r e e n g a g e

As members of the Church we are sometimes inclined to place labels on others. The world needs to be a place of order, and I guess things seem more orderly when people are placed in categories and stamped with labels. Some of these labels might be “inactive,” “nonmember,” “active,” “single,” “divorced,” “uninterested,” “smoker,” “drinker,” and so on. May I suggest that there is a very real danger in applying these labels to people? It is altogether too easy to forget that each man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of the earth is a child of our Father in Heaven and entitled to the same blessings as we are. If we study the life of the Savior, we find that he was very hesitant to label his brothers and sisters as publicans, sinners, or adulterers. There can be no doubt that, as a perfect man, he was all too well aware of the sin in this world. Yet he was able to condemn the sin while at the same time loving and caring for the sinner. It is interesting to me to note that the one label that he did apply was that of “hypocrite.” Are there any of us who are so free from sin that we can afford to categorize others? Let us be careful to view our brothers and sisters as sons and daughters of God with great potential and to care for them accordingly.--Elder Ballard (Click here to see the entire article.)

An understanding friend of mine recently asked me, "So, are you inactive, or do you just not attend church?" I replied that I am not inactive. I still do all the things that I have done for years: study the scriptures each day, pay tithing, pray. Most importantly, I feel the Holy Spirit guiding me, and I feel my Savior's love and approval. I simply cannot attend any meetings right now, and that is because of my illness. Being the great friend that she is, she trusted that I spoke the truth.

Interestingly, I see aspects of my Patriarchal Blessing being fulfilled now as never before. I know that my light has not gone out. I hope I am serving, although I am unable to accept any formal calling.

I know that we all need to let our lights shine. Perhaps others could think of me--and of others in similar situations--as just a different type of lighthouse.

(Thank you to for the picture. Click on the photo for credits.)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Be happy...!

Be happy...!
Originally uploaded by carf
(Click on the photo for credits.)

Do you ever feel like there is a cultural expectation for you to be happy all of the time?
Do you ever feel that your unhappiness indicates that you are more sinful than your neighbors?
Do you ever feel that the Lord is unhappy with your unhappiness?

There is a nice post about this topic today at Bryan and Ellie, where Bryan argues that sadness is underrated.

Heaven's Love, Unexpected

Walking the dog
Originally uploaded by Tampen

Today I accepted an invitation to visit a dog park. Not being a "dog person," I did not anticipate what a healing experience it would turn out to be. I loved being there. As I sat on a bench, individual dogs approached me and said, each in her own way, "Hello" and "I like you." To my surprise, I felt truly appreciated. I was the recipient of affection without preconditions.

Thank you, Joseph and Abbie.
Now I understand better what the "dog people" are talking about.

(There really is a dog in this picture. Click on it for a larger, even prettier version. Our thanks to the photographer.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pills Anonymous

White-eared Sibia picking Idesia polycarpa.(白耳倒吃山桐子)
Originally uploaded by John&Fish

You may have noticed that I do not post much about the specific medications I am taking. This is not because I feel any shame about your knowing. I do not tell you what I am taking because I do not want you to think that what is working (or not) for me will also work (or not) for you. Medications respond in different ways for different people. You and your doctor will have to decide what is best for you, for your particular chemistry.

It is kind of heartening, knowing that we are very distinct individuals, right down to our most minute wiring. There is nobody else just like me. There is nobody else just like you.

And yet, we have so much to share with one another.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mania and Anti-depressants

I am on my third anti-depressant this year and I am feeling much better. However, on this one I was beginning to exhibit signs of mania--in my case hypomania--which is a too-common side-effect of anti-depressants in bipolar patients. For me, hypomania presents itself with bouts of insomnia, an insatiable desire to spend money, and other unpleasantness. It was scary to experience these again, since I had been doing well in that area for many months. On my next visit to him, my psychiatrist upped my dosage of mood-stabilizer in the hopes that it would be a shield to the anti-depressant's ill effects. So far, so good. (I hate being hypomanic even more than being depressed. I fear all the time that it will worsen and my behavior will hurt those I love.)

There is a great article about the need for mood-stabilizers when anti-depressants are prescribed for bipolar patients today at Bipolar Beat. Click on the link if you would like to read more on this subject.

(Thank you to this photographer for the picture.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"More Data Prove Genetic Link to Bipolar Disorder"

Get links to this intriguing report at Bipolar Blog.

Thank you to idletype for the photograph.

Monday, August 18, 2008

God is There

Tree of Light
Originally uploaded by JPhilipson

You may feel alone. You are not alone.

(Click on the picture for photo credits.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fellow Sufferers

Click on the link here to read the stories of others who have suffered with mental illness of various kinds.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Deplete, Recharge

Convenience Everywhere!
Originally uploaded by bloompy

My husband is a master of analogies, and has helped me understand many a concept by verbalizing a picture I can see inside my head. He told me this one this morning:

Many people naturally assume that what a mentally ill person should do to get better is to push themselves, like a runner. Once through "the wall" things get better. Muscles get stronger by pushing them harder.

But mental illness does not work the way that running does. One does not push oneself to do uncomfortable things in order to become healthier. The mind does not work like a muscle.

The mind works more like a battery. The more it is depleted by over-working it, the longer it takes it to be recharged.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the telephone call

the telephone call
Originally uploaded by rockstro

I answered the phone today. A dear friend called, and I actually picked up.

I'm on my third anti-depressant in a year. Could this one be working?

(Click on the picture for photo credits.)

Words of Wisdom from Temple Grandin's Mother

I promise that in the future, to your surprise, your dreams will have changed, and changed you.

I know that is not what you want.

What you want is a real talisman, a magic something . . .

There was no magic, there was just doing the best I could. That's the point, that's the talisman.

And never letting go of hope.

(Click here for the article from which this came.)

Love Heals

Click here for one mother's story about a moment of healing love.

Monday, August 11, 2008

If at First You Don't Succeed . . .

If at first you don't succeed...
Originally uploaded by petervanallen

This is where I am.

The picture above is where I hope I am headed.

(Click on the picture for credits for this beautiful photograph.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008


Originally uploaded by James Jordan

I find that beauty heals, don't you?

(James Jordan comes through again.)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"Easing the Burdens of Mental Illness"

'The New Testament contains numerous examples of the Savior’s ministry among the sick and afflicted, including those suffering from what we now term as mental illness. 2 The Lord also extended His healing touch to those with other diseases accompanied by considerable stigma, such as leprosy. 3 In biblical times most lepers were shunned by their communities and forced to live in isolation. Today, many of the mentally ill are treated similarly: all too often they are ignored and stigmatized.

'The Savior has commanded, “The works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do.” 4 How can we follow His example in regard to those with mental illness and their families?'

The above is an excerpt from an excellent article by Jay and Dawn Fox. How thankful I am for these kind and caring--and understanding--people.

See the entire article here.

Tying to Sleep

trying to sleep
Originally uploaded by camil tulcan

I found this while I was up with a spell of insomnia. It didn't help me sleep, but it did cheer me up.

(Can you count the sheep?)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Barely Afloat Today

Anti-theft protected
Originally uploaded by aremac

I wrapped a gift this morning for a friend whose husband and daughter were recently killed in an automobile accident. I made a phone call to arrange a visit today to a very close friend whose daughter, last January, was murdered before her eyes. And then I got the news that my widowed mother's much-adored cat had to be put to sleep this morning, and I am submerged in a flood of grief and tears.

I will not be visiting anyone. Those chains that hold me afloat--my knowledge of the plan of salvation--will keep me from complete submersion. But I cannot carry cargo. I just can't.

I hope, particularly if you are one of those I need to visit, that seeing this picture will help you to understand my stillness. I truly have as much love for others as ever I have. But to convey anything has become near to impossible for now.

(Click on the picture for photo credits.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Good Article by Jan Underwood Pinborough

Torsion fracture slo-mo 2

Torsion fracture slo-mo 2
Originally uploaded by Dan (aka firrs)

I feel sad watching this. It feels like this happened to me. Torque was applied long enough; something snapped inside.

I think I experienced what used to be referred to as a nervous breakdown.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


The sky tonight 28feb
Originally uploaded by omarrun

(Click on the picture for photo credits.)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

the water's edge

the water's edge
Originally uploaded by elaine layabout

This made me feel better. I hope it helps you feel better, too.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Family Tree

Originally uploaded by JL 62

Mental illness takes its toll.

(Click on the picture for photo credits.)