Spiritual Impact

Spiritual Impact – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2021

What is a mental illness? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental illness can be described as ” medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning”. 

Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. Any part of the body to include the brain, can become sick or diseased. Mental illness can affect all aspects of a person’s life, including how you live, work, raise children, and relate to the world around you. Mental illness impacts the brain and how we process information.

There are several categories of mental illness, and the degree to which a person is impacted will vary. Untreated mental illnesses can affect us both naturally and spiritually. Naturally, untreated mental illness can negatively impact:

  1. Our families (time/commitment/stress/money/home disruptions/lead to abuse)
  2. The individual (may be unable to work, have a family, engage in society and or school. Live with shame and or low self-esteem)
  3. Legal system (jail is becoming the largest holder of the mentally ill, courts tied up with nuisance cases)
  4. Health (people with a mental illness die on average 25 years earlier due to untreated medical conditions, injury, suicide.

But there is a spiritual impact as well. Man has a spirit, soul, and body. Anything that impacts one area can affect the other areas of our lives. Spiritually the symptoms of an untreated mental illness can:

  1. Leave us tired
  2. Unmotivated
  3. Lead to a loss of hope and faith
  4. Our spirits become susceptible to anything. We have no spiritual defense. Negative coping behaviors that we used to engage in we find ourselves practicing again. 
  5. We can become burned out
  6. Life becomes hard as we do not have the spiritual strength we once had. We withdraw and don’t feel like doing anything
  7. Untreated mental illness can decrease our resistance and lead to ongoing stress. 
  8. Untreated mental illnesses can impact how we relate to others in the Body of Christ. We start to become irritable, angry. We take advantage of others and begin to operate in pride. 
  9. We stop praying, reading the Bible, and trusting Jesus Christ

In the Bible, we see Moses and Elijah, both great men who had a season of depression. In the natural, we can study the lives of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and even Mother Theresa to see examples of depression and or burnout. In a quote from Mother Theresa, she states, “I am told God loves me and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.” Mother Theresa, a woman whose life touched many, got to a point in her life when she said, “nothing touches her soul”. An untreated mental illness, a period of untreated sadness, ongoing burnout can lead to spiritual burn out.

But there is help.

In the natural, there are medications, counseling/therapy to include Christian counseling or pastoral counseling. But when an untreated mental illness has touched your spirit, you need more than medications, counseling, or a pastor. You need the healing power of Jesus Christ to restore you.

If something negative is allowed to get into your spirit and stay there, it can destroy you. How does something get into our souls? By words. Negative or anti-christ words (words contrary to God’s Word) that we begin to meditate on weaken us. When we are weak spiritually, it is harder to resist those words that tell you that it is over, words that cause you to question your faith and walk with God. 

Not everyone with a mental illness is weak spiritually because they have learned to cope with what they are going through. But some people are. When you have been experiencing the same negative thoughts/feelings repeatedly, it is easy to lose hope. It is one thing to believe God for one month, one year, but it is another thing to believe him for years. 

Long-term stress tires you out physically and spiritually. 

What to do?

  1. Get help (mental or spiritual)
  2. Come back to Jesus
  3. Don’t neglect to spend time with him (one on one)
  4. Rest/Sleep
  5. Do things you enjoy
  6. Make changes in your schedule
  7. Get a DVD player and just let the wordplay even if you don’t listen to it
  8. Remind your self of the things the Lord said to you before
  9. Challenge your thoughts with the Word of God. Just because you think/feel something does not mean that it is true
  10. Fast/Pray
  11. Be content in the season that He has for you. If you pray and nothing appears to be changing, it could be for a reason
  12. Talk to people. Engage in life. Do not isolate (there may be times isolation is good, but this should not be an ongoing practice)


Manage The Crisis

Be Prepared. Don’t Wait Until A Crisis Happens. (IGBATTMHO. ALL Rights Reserved 2021)

If you are a family member of someone with a mental illness or are living with the illness, prepare. Do not wait until the last minute to obtain phone numbers, information and support. Depending on the mental illness, we know that another episode is pending.
Develop a strategy and plan now. Calling the police for a mental health crisis should be the last thing you have to do.
No, we are not telling you to call the police but we are encouraging you to plan. If you were living with diabetes or hypertension, you would make sure that you took your medications and regularly checked your blood pressure levels. Why? Because you understand that you are living with an illness that must be managed. Well, just like any other illness, mental illnesses have to be managed. You have to pray, read your word, and fast. Depending on the symptoms, you will have to take your medications, manage your stress and develop a healthy support team. Plan. If you had to go to the hospital, start planning before you are discharged. When you first get your mental health diagnosis, begin to plan. When you see or experience an increase in symptoms, pay attention. Relapse does not just happen overnight. Relapse occurs over time.
Foundation of a Spiritual Preparation Plan
 
Identify your anchor scripture. What is the one scripture that gives you strength and hope? Take that scripture, write it on a piece of paper, and then place that paper somewhere you can see it. That scripture should be one that reminds you of the strength and power of God. Sometimes, when we are feeling depressed and can only see and feel the
depression, negative feelings make it easy to believe that we are useless and do not measure up. When your life feels difficult and alone with your thoughts, it is easy to become your worst enemy. How? With your ideas. You can start feeling like a burden, that people are against you, and you never do anything right. Identify your anchor scripture, and if needed, repeat it to yourself over and over again. When your negative thoughts and feelings talk to you, talk back to those thoughts and feelings with the Word of God. Your emotions can only tell you what it knows. But the Word of God is God’s word in written form, and it is the only thing that can speak to your past, present and future. Your anchor scripture is designed to encourage you and remind you that you are loved by a strong and might God.
Gather information. Gather information about your symptoms or those of a loved one. Ask?
1. What are you/loved one like before the symptoms become active?
2. What are your hobbies?
3. What things do you like to do when you are feeling good?
4. What is the diagnosis? What medications are you taking?
5. Where do you get the medications? What is the name of the Doctor and treatment team?
Begin to ask questions. Questions such as:
1. What pharmacy fills the prescriptions?
2. How would you get medicines in a crisis?
3. If you could not reach your doctor or treatment team in a crisis, who could you call?
4. Is there a crisis team in your area?
5. Are there police officers in your area who are trained in mental health response? (There are plenty in the US).
6. What strategies can you use to help yourself or your loved one before getting to the point where you need to call the police?
7. What are your or your loved one’s triggers?
8. What are the ongoing symptoms?
9. How do you or your loved one manage stress? How can you tell when you are becoming stressed? (Mental illness are made worse by stress)
10. Who will pay your bills if you are unable to do it? How are you going to pay the bills? (Direct deposit, friend, etc.)
11. If you are the caretaker, what would your loved one do if left alone? Do they have a phone number or person to call?
12. If there is a Crisis Team in your area, how do you reach them? What is the phone number? How do you reach them? What are their hours? (Crisis teams can respond in the place of or with the police. However, in dangerous situations, always call the police first.
13. What is the name of your loved one’s doctor or treatment team?
14. What medications are they on?
15. Does your pharmacist deliver?
16. Who are the supportive people in your circle? How can they help? Do they know what you expect from them?
 
Belive that Jesus Christ came that you might have life and life more abundantly. No illness can take away the love and purpose He has for our life. He is not limited by your illness. If you yield to the season that you are in while continuing to trust Him, He will not fail you. 

Assessment – After gathering information and asking questions, take an evaluation of the answers. Identify and list the weaknesses that you have uncovered. Assess what you need and what resources you have in place.

Talk to people in your community. God never meant for us to exist in a vacuum. To develop your plan, reach out to other people and ask questions. Pray and trust God but reach out to people. You are not alone in this. An excellent place to start is your local state mental health agency. https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/



He Is Risen

He Has Risen So You Can Live
A grave can be defined as any place that becomes the receptacle of what is dead, lost, or past. Our sins or offenses against the Lord can keep us in a grave-like condition. A state in which we are dead to the potential that the Lord Jesus Christ has for our lives and lost to the wonderful future He has envisioned for us. When we have not accepted Jesus Christ or are not walking fully in the love of Jesus Christ, we are living in a grave.
But instead of dirt, we are covered by thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are contrary to God. We are being held down by the fears and hurts of our past. The grave of sin is holding the pain that we have refused to let go and those negative feelings that we did not even know that we still carried. The grave that has been dug for us by sin can keep a lid on our desire to love God and prevent us from obtaining all that God Has for us in Him. Jesus Christ, God manifested in the flesh loves you, and He knows all about you. His thoughts and feelings toward you are always good. It is the enemy or the chief liar who does not want you to know that.
Things happen to us as a result of our failure or someone else’s failure to follow the directions that God has set. When we are operating in thoughts and behaviors that are contrary to the word of God, we are in rebellion. Rebellion or sin brings with it consequences and opens the door for pain, problems, and more sin. God wants us to Love Him and His word because He wants to shield us from those consequences.
For example, when a loving parent sets rules, he or she does so because they love their children and do not want the child to face the consequences. When children break the rules, it bothers the parent, but the love that parent has for their child will compel them to help their child cope with the consequences of their actions. You are not reaping the judgment of God but the natural result of your sin or the sins of someone else. Jesus Christ wants you to trust Him with the consequences in your life.
The consequences of sin can keep us in bondage to pride, arrogance, anger, low self-esteem, pornography, abuse, and hurts from our past. The results of sin can bring us so low that we will have sex at a bus stop for 5.00 dollars, sleep in the gutter, and even sell our children for sex. Sin has such a hold on some of us that we will savagely beat those that we say we love, commit adultery, and abuse our children.
Sin will cause us to hold on to and protect “that something” in us that we have grown so accustomed to that we do not want to give it up, even though it is costing us money, friends, sleep, and opportunities. That “something” can be fear of what we will have to give up, a fear of rejection or pride. That something could be hurt, misplaced anger, or low self-esteem. The enemy has come to kill, steal, and destroy, but Jesus has come so that we might have life and be entirely free from sin and death. Not just natural death, but the death that comes to steal our potential and to make it look as if God is not who He says He is (Apostle Robinson).
Again, that “something” can be any thought, feeling, or behavior that is contrary to the word of God. That “something” could even be a good thing that is only bad because it is not what God is calling you to do now.
The problem is that we tend to protect that “something” by putting up emotional walls or engaging in behaviors that prevent us from dealing with the issue. When we allow those emotions associated with our hurts to influence our lives, it can lead to a variety of unhealthy behaviors and thoughts that can prevent us from trusting the Word of God in the now. Living in the past can cause us to react in the present to something that happened in the past.
You see, whenever we anticipate a challenge in the area of “that thing,” we erect emotional defenses as a way to protect ourselves from the pain. While man-made defenses may seem to protect us from the negative feelings we are trying to avoid, they often come with unexpected consequences.
For instance, to shield ourselves from the hurts of our past, we may find ourselves withdrawing from people, arguing, masking our feelings with alcohol, getting into abusive relationships, and or allowing those feelings to control our lives. Additionally, unhealed past hurts can cause us to be oversensitive in certain areas of our lives, and to misinterpret or to react inappropriately to things and people around us. When we internalize the hurts of the past, we can spend the rest of our lives, allowing past hurts to control our present, and cause us to reject people who want to love us.

Over time those emotional walls can become so thick that it is hard for anyone to get in or for you to get out. Any time anyone attempts to touch the wall that you have erected, you get defensive. Putting up barriers to defend yourself can cause you to spend so much time protecting your pain that you do not realize that you are not living.
Unfortunately, man-made defenses, just like the fig leaves, that Adam and Eve used in the Garden of Eden to hide their sins; only conceal they do not heal us. Man-made defenses or gimmicks give us the illusion of being free, but the feelings we are trying to cover up always have a way of manifesting in other areas of our lives. Jesus Christ did not rise again just so a fear of rejection or the defenses that you have created to deal with your hurts can rule your present or control your future.
When we try to cover up our hurts as opposed to allowing God to heal them, we are not free. God wants to set you free from your walls and the influence of your past. God wants to elevate you out of the grave and above your past.
 
 
 
Romans 10 9-11

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.



Admission and After

ADMISSIONANDAFTER

IGBATTMHO Copyright 2019.

 

Being admitted into a Psychiatric Ward is not a sign of failure or the end. An inpatient hospitalization stay can be the beginning of your recovery and could save your life. While in the hospital medications can be adjusted, diagnoses given or changed, and you can get answers to questions. No, I am not saying that a hospital stay is the best thing that will ever happen, and many people do not like being admitted. Some hospitals are better than others and sometimes getting admitted can be a problem. You may be in a room with people who you are not comfortable with, be surrounded by some not so friendly staff and even have to eat lousy food, but focus on you and why you are there. Take advantage of that time to ask questions, to learn from the other people around you and to get better.

 

If you are a family member of a loved one, who is currently on a psychiatric ward, visit and be involved. Get to know the treatment team to include the Attending and treating physician (may or may not be the same person). If possible, ask for a meeting with the Social worker and or Doctor. If a date for a team meeting (a meeting in which all of the professionals involved in your loved one care gets together to discuss his or her case) has been set, try to attend. Your input is valuable and can help ensure that the treatment team is focusing on the right goals (your loved one may not be able to articulate their needs clearly). Ask questions about the diagnosis, about the medications, inquire about the discharge plan and if you have concerns, share those concerns with the team. For example, you may feel that your loved one should be in the hospital for longer than two days. If that is the case be prepared to share with the team why you feel that way, let them know what you have been observing. Please understand that the goal of an inpatient hospital stay is to stabilize not to warehouse. Meaning today many inpatient hospitals do not have enough beds to keep people long term, many of the newer psychotropic medications work faster and people can stabilize to a point where the MD may feel that they can go home quicker. However, you live with your family member, and you know the challenges that you and your loved one will have to face once he or she is discharged. So share those challenges with the team and ask them to help you to develop a realistic plan that takes into account those challenges. For example, if you know that there are limited mental health supports in your area and that the earliest your loved one can get a mental health appointment in the community is three weeks from the discharge date advocate with the inpatient doctor for enough medications to cover the time.

 

Upon discharge ensure that you or your loved has a follow-up appointment with a psychiatrist or mental health clinic in your area. It will be vital for you to follow up and to continue the work you have done while in the hospital. Follow up with a mental health professional, medications, family, friends and faith can all be important components in your recovery plan. Unfortunately, some people do not follow up with a mental health team in their community. Because they feel good after the discharge they don’t feel the need to keep seeing anyone, so they don’t, unfortunately especially in the case of many illnesses, symptoms do return. Don’t let this be you; there are treatment options for you and your loved one to get the help that you need. So get them!



It Not Easy

 
Hard, struggle and painful are adjectives used by some people who live with clinical depression and persistent negative thoughts to describe their life. If you have not walked in their shoes please don’t speak against their walk. Encourage, support, speak life, go the extra mile when they can’t, pray for them when they don’t have the strength and most of all love them and encourage them to get help as needed. People don’t kill themselves because they don’t trust God, don’t have anyone to talk to are sick, broke etc. Ultimately people kill themselves because at that moment the strength that they had been using to fight the persistent negative thoughts and to keep hope alive paled in comparison to the strength of the negative thoughts that they were currently facing. Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors go together. They were not weak or selfish, just at that moment overwhelmed. 2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Yes, we are encouraged to stand in the Lord and to cast down those thoughts that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, however how we operationalize those mandates may look different depending on what we are facing and on how long we have been dealing with a specific persistent negative situation. For example, a long-term illness like clinical depression or one that requires ongoing tests and medical interventions can lead to up and down emotions such as fear and worry. One day you are full of faith and feeling good and the next day you are afraid and feel like giving up. Cycles that have us vacillating between a clean bill of health, treatment, remission, re-occurrence, treatment, remission etc. can wear us out. Sometimes we are going through so much (job problems, family issues etc) that we can feel as if we do not have the physical, mental or spiritual strength needed to deal with the same thing or another day. But guess what? The Lord is not disqualifying you because you feel like giving up. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Before you knew anything about yourself there was a God who loved you. Even when you are without strength, positive attitude or hope He loves you. Sometimes we try to work and stay busy in hopes of putting a distance between us and our negative emotions but negative thoughts can be relentless.
When you have to confront the same negative thought, same health concern, the same fears over and over again you can become tired and weary. And even when things seem to be going well for the moment you can live in fear and with a sense of dread. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because  your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Thoughts that lead to our destruction (spiritually or emotionally) are tools that the enemy uses to destroy us. And just like the enemy who goes to and fro seeking whom he may devour, negative thoughts never give up. Negative thoughts such as those that generate fear, sadness and or defeat can seem like a formidable adversary in our quest to remain sane, hopeful and upbeat. Even when we are smiling and feeling good, those persistent negative thoughts can creep in. And when we least expect it those thoughts can invade our feelings and remind us that we are not really happy. Sometimes you just don’t have the emotional, physical or spiritual strength to keep going, but He does. We can sometimes think that if we are not quoting scripture, praying or confessing that we are not in faith. But faith goes beyond quoting scriptures and a good confession (while these things are important). Romans 4:2-4 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. The Lord knows that sometimes you will be dealing with something in your life that you will not have the strength to face. So don’t beat yourself up if you feel as if you don’t have the testimony that you think you should have or are not speaking in faith in the way you think you should. Each time your spirit cries out and points in the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ that is a manifestation of your faith. This is the time in which all you need to do is to trust Jesus. Your faith is found in your trust and reliance on Him and He does not count or measure your faith in the same way that you do. Never discount the Love of God. Jesus Christ is not as hard to get along with as you think. He will meet you when you don’t have the strength to meet him. He will sustain you even when you don’t have the strength to pray, fast, go to church, read your bible, put a smile on your face, talk faith or think positive thoughts. He will meet you where you are even when you don’t feel Him. If you don’t have the strength that you feel you need He does, even in your silence, your fear, worry and tears He is there and His strength is sufficient. So stop with the self-condemnation and feelings of guilt.  You do not have to do anything extra in this season but just rest in Him.


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