Spirituality and Mental Illness


#1

This document (pdf) while lengthy, is not complex and has been put out by the Canadian Mental Health Association so it is rather reputable re mental illness circles. I am only three quarters way through it myself and some of it has enabled me to put some things together for myself that previously were clouded. I suffer Bipolar Disorder. It does not claim to me a spiritual or religious document and it should not be read as such. It is a document that focuses on mental illness and the positive role spirituality in its broadest terms (not only Catholic spirituality) can play in mental illness and the road to recovery. It also puts forward a case for the positive role that religion can play in the recovery road.

It may not be every sufferers ‘cup of tea’, but it does have some very important and valuable things to say, I think, to sufferers of mental illness and those involved in the subject. I am very slowly reading through it with care and because of the length it will take me some time, interspersing my slow read of it between other matters. Worth every penny of it!:thumbsup:

Spirituality and Mental Illness:
cmha.bc.ca/files/12.pdf

Extract from overall document only:

…"…
We cannot use
these findings to prove that
religious observance makes
us immune to mental illness
or that it will actually make
us better, but if we analyze a
large group of people with a
particular disease, the religious
tend to do better. This
may be precisely because
they may have less bad habits
and a better social circle, and
possibly a way of achieving
peace. We all could speculate
on the causes.
However, not everyone is
religious nor does religious
observance necessarily make
[FONT=Times New Roman][FONT=Arial]us spiritual…"…[/FONT][/FONT]


#2

Barbary thank you for that link. My daughter and son-in-law are both psychologists and I have sent them the link. :slight_smile:


#3

Excellent!:thumbsup: …My brother is a psychologist too and he will be receiving the link as well…also he is a practising Catholic so he will be very interested indeed in the document…


#4

I had questioned bipolar before but I don’t think I fit. I was on meds for depression or stress back in the 80’s but just a few days taking them they made me so out of it so I stopped them. Don’t even remember the name of what they put me on other than I didn’t like the side affects.


#5

It would probably take a medical person to diagnose Bipolar…it can express itself in a great variety of ways and probably no two ‘versions’ are precisely the same. Depression (and many do not understand this) is a form of mental illness also and it can come (as can Bipolar) in mild or severe ‘versions’. There are an endless variety of medications available, including in the anti depressant line…and if one does not suit and this is most often due to side effects, there is most always, if not always, another medication that the doctor can prescribe - until ‘almost magically’ one hits upon that medication that will work for the individual. With our modern medicines and doctors insights, there is no need today to suffer … it is unnecessary sufferings insofar, that is, as medication or a doctor can alleviate and today that is quite extensively indeed.


#6

Contents and page numbers on pdf document:

[FONT=Times New Roman]Guest Editorial … 3[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]Background … 4[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]Experiences and Perspectives … 8[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]Inclusion in Spiritual Community …19[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]Spiritual Traditions, Mental Health and Mental Illness …23[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]Alternatives and Approaches …32[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]Book Reviews …39[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman]Resource Lists … 6, 7, 9, 22, 29, 31, 34, 40[/FONT]


#7

Thanks Barb good reading.

godbless


#8

:thumbsup:

It really is great reading as psychiatry is still in the infant stages of recognizing that the person is comprised of spiritual, mental, emotional…in that since Freud I think and the birth of psychiatry the spiritual dimension of the person has never been recognized…hence people presenting to psychiatry with a spiritual problem have been treated as having a pathology needing treatment. Nowadays, and increasingly so, psychiatrists and psychologists are accepting and recognizing the spiritual dimension, hence recognizing when the person may need the advice of a priest rather than the psychiatrist…or perhaps indeed need both.

This is a very important step and especially probably for those of us who do suffer a mental illness/suffering mentally…and an important step of progress for psychiatry and psychology itself.

I think we need to in The Church priests who are trained in psychology and even psychiatry, or suitable psychologists and psychiatrists being trained in spiritual direction. In the middle years of my own illness (Bipolar) I was seeing a Catholic psychiatrist who used to lecture in our seminary…and while not specifically trained in spiritual direction - he was a great help to me through his own knowledge of Catholic theology and spirituality…recognizing when it was time for me to consult my spiritual director and why.


#9

Yes Barb I have for about 7 years had so many arguments with psychologists and psychiatrists as to why they use the inter twining three circles of Neurology, psychology and sociology. Using firstly the neurology where a person might need one of the others. I mention this because for some 25 years I worked with you /families at risk and gained B. Soc Scie, Post Grad Dip in Org Psych and HR.as well as other inline certs.
I was usually not understood or my thesis was rejected. So what you say is very good. Thanks all is good
Godbless


#10

I’ve had major lows & major highs but figured it was just me being me. :cool: At this moment I’m stressed but life is stressing me. I shouldn’t let it. I’m hoping and praying for a stable job, one that doesn’t threat to close us down, one that doesn’t play ‘if you don’t do better’ games with us and still close us even when we had the highest scores. But, I guess that’s companies these days? It costs less to send work overseas but then the overseas techs do things like send out new equipment that has to be returned via the company’s expense because they didn’t troubleshoot the problem correctly. It’s a case of higher ups worshiping the mighty dollar, KWIM?

But I need to remember what I’ve already been brought through and delivered from. I know there’s always hope and I will keep going… like that Energizer bunny… hehe. :slight_smile:

Can’t keep a cheesehead down, we take a lickin’ & keep on tickin’. Even if we’re ‘dislocated’ to another state. Once I have med ins again, will ask about it.
:smiley:


#11

Thought you all might be interested in this, something I came across only last night and was quite ecstatic, having looked for some time now…that is the relationship between psychology and theology without the usual… It’s written by a woman who’s in her 50’s and has three children, a woman who has been down the path of ‘mental illness’ and clawed her way back again - having begun the journey with an anxiety disorder, which led to depression, which led to being diagnosed with manic-depression (which is now known as bi-polar) and finally institutionalized. She wasn’t satisfied in the least with the kind of medical help she received and so began making the links with what it means to be a WHOLE human being in both God’s eyes and the Churches (Yes, she’s Catholic). Makes for some very good reading, I believe (have only just started it myself!). Below is the links to her work - the first one is an abstract on the thesis she did and the second is the actual thesis. The abstract is not long and gives you a pretty good overview of the points she is raising. For those so inclined to get into the detail, the second link is her thesis on this topic, called 'A Practical Theology of Mental Health: A Critical Conversation between Theology, Psychology, Pastoral Care and the Voice of the Witness" by Pauline Emma Pierce B.Th., M.Th. (seems to usually go by the name Emma Pierce). It’s quite lengthy, about 320 pages. Also have a list of books by the same author, dealing with the same theme - let me know if anyone is interested.
Thanks for the links you’ve provided, I’ll be onto them as soon as I get through this lot!:thumbsup:

Links:

dlibrary.acu.edu.au/research/theology/ejournal/aejt_10/pierce.htm

(abstract)

faithroughinc.org.au/docs/Theology_of_Mental_Health.pdf

(thesis)


#12

Roza

I’ve had major lows & major highs but figured it was just me being me. :cool:

Bipolar Disorder is quite a respectable illness actually. It is said that sufferers of BD in the main are highly intelligent and highly creative. Abraham Lincoln, Churchill and many famous people of note and of remarkable social contribution have and do suffer Bipolar. Here in Australia quite a few of our professional people suffer BD. A respectable madness!:smiley:
Extreme highs and lows can be dreadfully painful and also dreadfully destructive…and especially of relationships…there is no need to endure these when medicine can do so much and including with medication. I am totally grateful to God for the gift of medicine and medication in the fight against human suffering.

At this moment I’m stressed but life is stressing me. I shouldn’t let it. I’m hoping and praying for a stable job, one that doesn’t threat to close us down, one that doesn’t play ‘if you don’t do better’ games with us and still close us even when we had the highest scores. But, I guess that’s companies these days? It costs less to send work overseas but then the overseas techs do things like send out new equipment that has to be returned via the company’s expense because they didn’t troubleshoot the problem correctly. It’s a case of higher ups worshiping the mighty dollar, KWIM?

The employment scenario certainly is not looking good in our economic times and with the recent economic crisis which may be prolonged and worse - potential only. I often wonder if it is the worship of the mighty dollar, or just the sheer need to survive and nothing at all nowadays comes free. I feel very deeply for people with young families especially.
Getting stressed out more than one normally does can be a feature in depression. Molehills become mountains! Depression too can be inclusive of anxiety, which is often the reason one is stressed out to the max.
If a person does seek actively treatment for mental and emotional problems…with the successful treatment of these, powerful creative forces can be unleashed as a force for good.

But I need to remember what I’ve already been brought through and delivered from. I know there’s always hope and I will keep going… like that Energizer bunny… hehe. :slight_smile:

Can’t keep a cheesehead down, we take a lickin’ & keep on tickin’. Even if we’re ‘dislocated’ to another state. Once I have med ins again, will ask about it.

,…from one Energizer bunny to another…don’t you just love that song that runs “I get knocked down, but I get up again”…:thumbsup:


#13

LillyDew

]Thought you all might be interested in this, something I came across only last night and was quite ecstatic, having looked for some time now…that is the relationship between psychology and theology without the usual… It’s written by a woman who’s in her 50’s and has three children, a woman who has been down the path of ‘mental illness’ and clawed her way back again - having begun the journey with an anxiety disorder, which led to depression, which led to being diagnosed with manic-depression (which is now known as bi-polar) and finally institutionalized. She wasn’t satisfied in the least with the kind of medical help she received and so began making the links with what it means to be a WHOLE human being in both God’s eyes and the Churches (Yes, she’s Catholic). Makes for some very good reading, I believe (have only just started it myself!). Below is the links to her work - the first one is an abstract on the thesis she did and the second is the actual thesis. The abstract is not long and gives you a pretty good overview of the points she is raising. For those so inclined to get into the detail, the second link is her thesis on this topic, called 'A Practical Theology of Mental Health: A Critical Conversation between Theology, Psychology, Pastoral Care and the Voice of the Witness" by Pauline Emma Pierce B.Th., M.Th. (seems to usually go by the name Emma Pierce). It’s quite lengthy, about 320 pages. Also have a list of books by the same author, dealing with the same theme - let me know if anyone is interested.
Thanks for the links you’ve provided, I’ll be onto them as soon as I get through this lot!:thumbsup:

Links:

dlibrary.acu.edu.au/research/theology/ejournal/aejt_10/pierce.htm

(abstract)

faithroughinc.org.au/docs/Theology_of_Mental_Health.pdf

(thesis)

Fascinating LD!!! The Australian EJournal of Theology did publish a paper by Emma Pierce…in which she raises the point of “the witness” (the sufferer) and their input as vital. Here is the link to add to your reading list:D
A Wilderness Journey – In Search of Mental Health
dlibrary.acu.edu.au/research/theology/ejournal/aejt_10/pierce.htm

And another one, have you read :
THE MENTALLY ILL PATIENT: A FAITHFUL IMAGE OF GOD[size=2].[/size]
[/FONT]http://cathnews.com/news/602/doc/10wds2.htm

By Cardinal Lazano Barragan Javier
President of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral
care
Vatican City
[FONT=Times New Roman][size=3]
[/size][/FONT]


#14

I can’t vote for Dem politicians anymore due to the abortion battle but that was the ONLY thing Billary said that I related to. I took escalation calls from techs in Manila who were taking my job 3 yrs ago. So the company sent work there, put the rest of us on fun job hunts, then companies wonder why their sales aren’t better. Well, ya took our jobs. They forget how one affects the other. Yeah, a friend of mine who is a strayed Catholic at the moment and yeah, she knows I’m back… said Manila needs jobs too… but not my job!!! :stuck_out_tongue: My bad! Got to get over my gripe with that I know, I’m allowing it to be a thorn to me and I shouldn’t. I just don’t like speaking with techs NOT in the US.


#15

***I am interested if you don’t mind.
Thanks
Godbless


Also have a list of books by the same author, dealing with the same theme - let me know if anyone is interested.
Thanks for the links you’ve provided, I’ll be onto them as soon as I get through this lot!:thumbsup:

Links:

dlibrary.acu.edu.au/research/theology/ejournal/aejt_10/pierce.htm

(abstract)

faithroughinc.org.au/docs/Theology_of_Mental_Health.pdf

(thesis)


#16

Goodness Wayne! The thesis sure is a long document, but worth the read I think. As well as a “to get” booklist, I am going to start up a “must read” reading list as it is all getting beyond the likes of me! The thesis will head my list - thank you for the nudge and connection. I am afraid my must read list unless I recorded it is now completely out of control.:o …ahhh well sure keeps a body out of mischief.

Do post the list of books by Emma Peace…I am indeed very interested especially if connected with theology and mental illness.

Thanks Wayne…Barb:)


#17

Hope your job will stay safe, Roza. Politics in the USA are a very hot current affairs issue here in Australia too at the moment with your coming very important and very close presidential elections coming up very soon. We are watching the US very closely, moreso than normal, at the moment. Of course the economic crisis too in the USA is having repercussions here and we are watching that too, although at the moment we are nowhere near whatsoever affected by it all as the US.
I am very frequently getting sales type calls from call centres that are not in English speaking countries, and I cannot understand what they are saying, perhaps half of what they say if I am very very lucky…one does not want to be discourteous, but it does get annoying after a while. The shame of it all is that current affairs programs inform us that these call centre telephone people really think that they speak English ok and are understandable - not so, far from it, most often.

Barb:)


#18

Sure, here they are:

Ordinary Insanity 1987
Passion for the Possible 1989
Psychiatry, Science or Sacrilege 1989
Mental Illness: Fact and Fiction 1997
Ordinary Sanity 2008

Emma Pierce also started a group called ‘Faithrough’. This was after she had gone through the program with ‘GROW’ (an international community mental health movement which began in Sydney, Australia in April of 1957).
Here I quote from the website of faithrough (link:faithroughinc.org.au/about.asp) as to what this group aims for:

Faithrough – a Way Forward

"To that end, that is to say, to understanding mental health, I have developed what might be called an educational programme made up of six sessions. Each session explores an issue vital to mental health as the term ‘mental health’ has evolved out of the experience, not just of mental illness, but more importantly out of the experience of recovery from mental illness. That is to say the issues explored are those the mentally ill who have recovered deem to be significant. These are: interpretation, faith, spirituality, relationship, morality and freedom.

Each session is addressed, firstly in a manner and language that is concise and precise. Secondly it is addressed in a manner that is more indepth. It is suggested that interested communities attain copies of the book Faithrough – Stage 1 (see Book Orders). In each of six sessions the subject matter under the ‘Extended’ presentation needs to be discussed and even debated. There are no ‘experts’ in the field of understanding human nature. Every person is human. Every person has insights to contribute. We learn from one another."

The Stage One, Session One ‘Interpretation - A Concise Presentation’ is a paper that is available on the net: faithroughinc.org.au /docs/Faithrough_Stage_1_Concise.pd

This area of mental health is such a concern in our day - so many people are affected in varying degrees - this forum is certainly testament to this. My own mother has gone through a very similar experience to Emma’s, 30 years ago, came through, but has fallen back worse in this past year with little hope from the doctors. Unfortunately, she never returned to her faith and the Catholic Church, not having found what she was needing at the time. She still believes, but this has become mostly entangled and lost within a New Age lifestyle of the past 30 years. It is so hard to reach her in her despair now, her memory fails her and her anxiety and depression are her devils. That is why this work Emma is doing is vital to the voice of the mentally ill, for the voice of the ‘witness’. She declares that so many minority groups are represented (eg. feminist theology, liberation theology etc…) but the mentally ill have no voice. The medical community simply keep on drugging them into numbness, and theology submits it all to prayer. Emma Pierce has begun a long overdue dialogue between all these parties, understanding that pastoral care, with the emphasis on love, is vital in this process of healing. The church really needs to take this onboard seriously.
Sorry about the long post, but I get so passionate about this topic, as so many people I know are afflicted with it.:console:


#19

Sorry about all the links folks, it seems we are doubling up on them! I’m just getting a little confused as to who is asking who for what…my bad?:doh2:


#20

Hope your job will stay safe, Roza.

I’m still hunting and good thing I posted Father’s Love Letter because I needed it!

Had a lot of hell talked about to me as a kid which made me run, went to the NAM instead, then delivered, then became an anti for a time… now trying to learn what I missed the first time around. Want to keep learning and want to be a good and faithful servant that will hear ‘well done’.


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