Sunday, February 21, 2010
I did a Google search this morning of "Jesus and the Mentally Ill." It was disappointing. This passage from lds.org was much better than anything else I found. You can see the entire page at http://disabilities.lds.org/disabilities/eng/disability-list/mental-illness. I have highlighted some of the phrases which have particular meaning to me.
Mental illness is often poorly understood. This keeps many people from seeking help and receiving treatment. It may be difficult for people with mental illness to talk about it and get support and understanding from others. When others respond with compassion, it can help the person feel more comfortable. The causes of these illnesses are complex. They are usually the result of problems in brain functioning, genetic vulnerability, trauma, chronic thinking patterns, or other emotionally difficult experiences. Sometimes people with mental illness may develop an addiction. People with mental illnesses cannot just will themselves to get better. Blaming the person or others for the illness is harmful.
Most people with mental illnesses are neither violent nor dangerous. Recent advances in treatment have made it possible to manage or treat most mental illnesses. Most people are helped by treatment from a trained mental health professional. Other people can help by providing loving concern, support, and spiritual strength.
Recognizing Mental Illness
Common symptoms include the following:
- Prolonged sadness, extreme feelings of unwarranted guilt, hopelessness, and despair
- Changes in appetite, sleeping, energy, and the ability to concentrate
- Severe anxiety; irrational fears; panic; or recurring, unwanted thoughts
- Confused, disorganized thinking; delusions or hallucinations; extremely poor judgment
- Speech that does not make sense or is very rapid and rambling
- Difficulty doing normal daily activities; withdrawal from family, friends, and normal activities
The person may not recognize that he or she is ill. Many people try to feel better through addictions or substance abuse, but this makes the mental illness worse. Thoughts of suicide or self-harm should be taken seriously.
Ways to Help
- Learn about mental illness from professional sources, LDS Family Services, and mental health professionals. A bishop may give a referral to a licensed therapist through LDS Family Services.
- Treat the person with understanding and compassion. Reassure the person that Heavenly Father loves him or her.
- Remember that mental illness is not a punishment from God.
- Realize that a mental illness cannot be overcome by willpower alone. It does not indicate that a person lacks faith, character, or worthiness.
- Help the person develop confidence through knowing God supports his or her efforts to cope and build strengths.
- Do not take problems that are a result of the illness personally. People with mental illness may feel frustrated and upset because of the illness.
- Include the person in Church activities and appropriate service opportunities. Consult with the person, family members, and others who know the person well to identify limitations as well as strengths.
- Do not argue with delusional ideas or pursue topics that increase agitation. Be aware that stress can make the illness worse.
- Mental illness may require a person to make major life changes. Where appropriate, prayerfully consult with priesthood leaders, family members and caregivers, professionals, and the individual concerning a need for change.
Friday, February 19, 2010
My husband says a prayer, lays down, and within five minutes falls fast asleep. Every night. No matter what.
How. Is. That. Possible?
I have ordered yet another antidepressant through our mail-order prescription service. Should be here any day now. My doctor is hoping it will help me sleep.
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