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National Mental Health Awareness Week

Well, even though I am in school to be a Mental Health Professional some day, I am also in grad school and busy, so I neglected the calendar.

And as someone who is occasionally mental, well, that would also explain why I forgot….

I have written about my personal experiences and shared some resources on this blog over the last few years, here are some if you are interested or need them. Let’s not wait for a family member or a celebrity death to make us aware of this problem.

My Depression

My Depression, part 2

Last Time About my Depression

Afraid of Bad News

State of the Brian Address

Book Recommendations:

Unholy Ghost

Lincoln’s Melancholy

What I been Reading

 

 

 

Broken Hearts

“The DSM would do well to recognize that a broken heart is not a medical condition, and that medication is ill-suited to repair some tears. Time does not heal all wounds, closure is fiction, and so too is the notion that God never asks of us more than we can bear. Enduring the unbearable is sometimes exactly what life asks of us.”

 

Ted Gup

Diagnosis Human from NYT

(I am not anti-medicine but love this quote from an article talking about his son who died of an overdose)

Afraid of Bad News?

sigh.

Unfortunately, yes.

Sometimes, I am.

Every time I read Psalm 112:7 I love it, but then….I don’t.

In speaking of the person who fears the Lord, is righteous, generous, etc…the Psalmist says

“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”

It’s the usual wisdom lit principle that is often true: be good and you get good, and don’t get bad–be bad and you get bad. Santa Clausology. But try telling that to Job.  His friends wrongly deduced that all the bad news Job received was connected to his sin, that he wasn’t righteous, generous, that he didn’t fear God.  And God was displeased with Job’s friends for preaching this cause and effect mentality (which is in the bible from Deuteronomy to Galatians).

Try telling that to my internet friends Les, Keith, and John.

As one who has received bad news, I continue to expect it. Occasionally get caught up in obsessing: thinking, expecting, preparing emotionally for that phone call or knock at the door. “What will I do? How will I handle it? What next?”

Foolishly trying to prepare for that which you cannot prepare. Like Hugh Jackman’s character in “Prisoners,” you can have a basement prepped for the end times, but some lunatic might still kidnap your little girl.

For me, the hardest part is that God hasn’t promised and doesn’t promise it won’t happen again.  People still die and sometimes in unexpected and tragic ways. Bad things still happen to the good and the bad. Families still fall apart as long as Satan is “little g” god of this world.

Trying to convince myself “it probably won’t happen” doesn’t help.  Math was never a favorite subject and I am not good at percentages.  It might or it might not.  Tragedy will or won’t happen. 50/50.

Maybe this Psalm could be interpreted to say that while bad news may come, the godly man or woman doesn’t have to fear it. Sounds good.  Maybe. I don’t know.

I guess I prefer to endure simply with the comfort that while bad news is likely, good news is certain.  Already here.  And HE will help us get through the dark days of loss and grief.

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people…”

Merry Christmas! And if it’s not merry, that’s okay, too. Don’t let anyone try to force “Merry” on you.

May God be with you.

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).

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What I been Reading

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron

You can read the DSM and doctor’s comments but reading a narrative by a gifted author (Sophie’s Choice, etc.) about what it’s like to have Major Depressive Disorder is enlightening.  He talks about how his view of depression (and suicide) change after suffering himself.  He talks about suicide, including how close he got, and various artists he knew who killed themselves. Provides great insight into severe depression.

His writing skill, personal experience, and research (he himself read about his disease in the DSM) provide for a fascinating and brief (less than a 100 pages) read.

Scarred Faith by Joshua Ross

I have already loaned my copy so I can’t quote much except this: “May God forgive us for taking better care of our buildings than we do our neighbors.”

The book is very personal and very powerful.  It focuses on the loss of Ross’ sister who died unexpectedly at a young age and that death’s impact on his faith. He says a lot of important things about risk, adventure, and faith. His style is humorous and down-to-earth but also be warned: Don’t read it in public unless are you okay with crying in public. Big, ugly crying.

The second half of the book has a lot of great stories about what God is doing in Memphis.

Would be great for anyone who has lost a loved one, for ministers, and Jesus followers of all kinds.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

Only halfway through this one but it is interesting.  It’s a personal account about living with Bipolar Disorder (technically Schizo-Affective because she also had delusions/hallucinations but she focuses on the more commonly known Bipolar) written by a psychologist.  She does a great job of painting the picture of the mood swings, especially the highs of mania and the spending, risky behavior, etc. that accompanies it.  Jamison does a good job of explaining why so many who suffer from BPD resist taking medication in spite of the severity of the symptoms.

The most interesting tidbit so far is that she made it all the way through graduate school without recognizing she had Bipolar Disorder.  She was well aware of her moods and struggles but didn’t connect the dots.