Posts Tagged ‘psychiatric’

be still3 - CopyHas your son or daughter has been diagnosed with a mental health issue? Major depression, obsessive compulsive, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia (among other disorders) are robbing millions of their quality of life. This is part one of a three part series highlighting information about the major mental illnesses, also called brain disorders.

My information is from The National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) the major source of information, education, advocacy, and support for individuals and their families affected by this challenge.


Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. They are medical conditions that men, women, and sometimes even children, have no control over, like diabetes or cancer. These disorders diminish their ability to function and cope with the usual demands of life. The result is a huge ripple effect on family members and society in general. Compassion, understanding and support is needed.

In this addresses major depression. If you love someone who suffers from this, be encouraged. As the non-profit To Write Love on her Arms (twloha.com) says, “There is help and Hope is real”.

One of the best things you as a parent can do is to educate yourself as much as you can. It helped me. (more…)


Read Full Post »

If your son or daughter has been diagnosed with a mental illness this is for you. The main mental health issues, also called brain disorders are:caring concern Major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, among other disorders, are robbing millions of their quality of life.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness, nami.org   is an excellent source of education, advocacy, and support for individuals and their families.

Brain disorders aren’t the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. They are medical conditions that men, women, and sometimes children, have no control over, like diabetes or cancer. These disorders diminish their ability to function and cope with the usual demands of life. The result is a huge ripple effect on family members and society in general. Compassion, understanding, and support is needed in abundance.

Today’s post is about major depression. If you love someone who suffers from this, be encouraged. There is plenty of help and hope. One of the best things you as a parent can do is to become as informed and knowledgeable as you can. This blog will help you get started. (more…)

Read Full Post »

hope12Governor Deeds, I want to tell you I am so sorry  about the tragedy you experienced. My heart aches for you. I cannot imagine your pain. As the mother of an adult daughter who has struggled with a mental illness, I would like to say THANK YOU for your courage to speak out and address the issue of care for the mentally ill in America.

To my readers:  I ‘m speaking about Virginia’s Governor, Creigh Deeds. Have you seen any of his recent interviews? His adult son suffered with a serious mental illness. He unexpectedly became violent,  stabbed his father, then killed himself.

To me, the bigger tragedy is that this happened the day after Deed’s son was released from the hospital for his psychiatric troubles. The governor knew his son’s problems were serious. He’d been hospitalized many times. This loving father tried to do everything he could to get help for his son. He had no idea things would become violent.

After taking time for physical and emotional healing Governor Deeds has decided it’s time to go public. His goal? Better care for the mentally ill. If you’re the parent of an adult child (or a minor) who suffers with a mental illness, you understand.

Have you had your child in an emergency room in a desperate attempt to save their life? Then the insurance company insisted they be released — maybe too soon. And released to where? To what kind of treatment? You know you can’t help them. They certainly won’t be safe alone or with their friends. They need ongoing treatment — insurance companies in many states refuse to pay or pay very little.

I live in Florida where we have the The Florida Mental Health Act of 1971, also called the Baker Act. This allows a person to be evaluated by authorities — a policeman, judge, an EMT, or mental health professional — and if determined to: 1) Possibly have a mental illness,  2) Be a danger to themselves or to someone else, or 3) Be neglecting themselves — then they can be involuntarily institutionalized for a minimum of 72 hours. When necessary, this can be extended for a longer period of time.

Their problems aren’t solved, but at least they’re safe and supervised. Hopefully, by the end of 72 hours they’ll be stable enough to be released. However, the individual has the right to refuse treatment and can refuse medication. Psychiatric care professionals will try to work with family, if they have any, to come up with a plan for treatment upon discharge. Residential care is often needed. It may be voluntary or involuntary. Much depends on their financial resources.

In Florida, if the person lacks the ability to pay, the state will usually pay (when Baker Acted), or else the hospital may have to. Hospitals exhaust every other possibility before they will keep a patient who is unable to pay. If they do have to accept them, they’ll limit the stay as best they can.

Treatment isn’t cheap.

Many can’t afford it.

Without insurance care will be limited. Even with insurance, good care is hard to find.

Many fall in the cracks.

Their suffering goes on and on — so does their family’s.


Yesterday I received an email informing me that the government is trying to pass a law that will decrease the amount of money Medicaid and Medicare will pay out for the medications of mental health patients. Are they kidding? Where do you think that will lead?

To more pain and suffering — more tragic endings.

Governor Deeds, I sincerely hope and pray you’re successful in getting the attention of decision makers. We’re long overdue for major improvements in the care that is available to the mentally ill.  Without this, I fear there will only be more problems in our country’s future.

God bless you as you fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.

This Bible verse comes to my mind:  “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:28)

* Check out National Alliance on Mental Illness: nami.org   They’re working hard to make a difference. Find out what you can do.

Read Full Post »

    “I can’t.  God can.  I think I’ll let him!”

I love this statement.  I think it should be the motto of every parent of a challenging, troubled child.  If your son or daughter is abusing drugs or alcohol, smoking cigarettes, cutting themselves, depressed, having sex, is suicidal, has an eating disorder, has a same sex attraction or is in trouble with the law there is nothing you can do to change them.  You are powerless.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t try and do something.  Of course you want to do everything in your power to help them (offer counseling,  Baker Act them if needed,  take to a doctor or psychiatrist for an evaluation, offer rehab), but ultimately they must decide they want help or none of your efforts will do any good.  They must reach the point of being ready to change, ready to begin a new life.  Until then, sadly, all of your efforts to force them into another way of living will be futile.

I tried this with my daughter.  I was just sure that if we just took her to a counselor,  got her evaluated by a psychiatrist, got her on meds if needed, put her through a residential rehab program, brought the right people around her, etc.  etc.  then she would be “fixed”.  She would be just fine and all would be well!  I was so wrong.  I learned the hard way that I had no control over her.  I could not change her as hard as I tried.  I was truly powerless. This feeling of utter helplessness is so horrible.  The worst.  Especially when you see your beloved son or daughter destroying themselves and you can do nothing but stand by watch it happen.  Pure torture.  If you are in this situation now you know.  Gut-wrenching.  Makes you sick.  There were many days I wondered if my daughter would survive.

I had to learn to let go and wait until she wanted it for herself.  I am sure our efforts did make some deposits in her life that helped her when we was ready later on, but at the time, it was just that – a deposit she would go back to and draw on later when she was ready.  So of course you want to do that!   But until she was sick and tired of being sick and tired. . .  Until she wanted more out of life. . . until she wanted to be well no matter what it would take. . . until she wanted it for herself,  not to please me or her dad or anyone else,  she wasn’t ready.  She had to want a different life.  She had to want to live and only God could make that happen.

When the words  “I can’t.  God can.  I think I’ll let him”  describe your state of mind you can find peace in any situation, especially with your children.  I know it’s possible because I experienced it!   I think it sums up the concept of letting go and letting God pretty well.  It’s taking our hands off and trusting him to be “hands on” in their lives, doing what we can’t do.  We must keep trusting, trusting, trusting.

Our problem may be big, but God is BIGGER!

I have no power to change my child, but God is all-powerful.  He has all the power necessary to do that.

I don’t know what to do, but God knows exactly what to do.

I can do nothing to rescue them.  God can do anything to rescue them.

He can even move mountains if that is what it will take.

So, I will keep giving my child to him, stay out of the way and let him work.

“Have no anxiety about anything . . . bring your requests to God

and the peace of God will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”   (Phil. 4:6-7)

Read Full Post »

Flowers growing out of the ashes of Mt. St. Helens

My life felt like ashes, ashes.  I wondered if I could ever laugh or smile again.  The ashes for me came from my experiences as the mom of a former prodigal daughter, Renee (now 23).

Renee kept me on my knees much of her young life as a stubborn, strong-willed child.  Even as a toddler there were many moments I found myself on my knees by my bed crying and praying desperately for wisdom and strength.  Many times I told the Lord He’d made a mistake – I wasn’t smart enough, strong enough or wise enough to know how to parent her!

Don’t get me wrong, there were many wonderful times and most of her childhood she appeared to be very happy.  Out of our three children, having genuinely received Christ when she was 4, she was the one who had the greatest spiritual depth and insight at a young age.   However, puberty brought a great sense of angst, an identity crisis and an irresistible desire to rebel.  Today Renee says she always knew “I was going to have to learn things the hard way and sometimes I would even cry over that”.  I was completely clueless about the storm that was brewing.


A glimmer of the nightmare ahead began when she was just 12 and cut herself for the first time.  She was upset about something we’d discovered that she had done, knowing she would be disciplined for.  She said the idea literally came to her out of nowhere. She’d never heard of it before and knew of no one who did this to themselves. She struggled secretly with extreme self-condemnation, feeling she had to be perfect. Unknown to us, she had also been plagued with a sense of evil and darkness all around her for years.  We now know it was a combination of depression and spiritual battle.  She thought this was “normal” so she kept it all to herself.  Even today, this still causes me pain.

Renee has suffered the ravages of alcoholism, drug addiction, self-harm (cutting), rape, suicide attempts, hospitalizations in the psych ward, several near overdoses, and several stays in residential rehab programs.  She has also been diagnosed with depression, bi-polar, an anxiety disorder and an obsessive compulsive disorder.

All of this is quite depressing to hear, I realize. I share these things to give you an idea of what God has brought me through. Things I never, ever dreamed or imagined could happen to our family.  Not my little girl!  How could it be possible?  The pain so deep, so immobilizing and crushing.  My children had been my ministry, my mission, my focus.  I had given her my whole self.   I had done my very best to be the most godly, Spirit-filled mom I could be.  To love her unconditionally, without reservation, to teach her God’s Word and model living a purposeful, meaningful life for Christ, with great passion and enthusiasm.  So how could this happen?

I was full of so much guilt and self-blame.  What did I do wrong?  What should I have done differently?  How could God let this happen to my child?  I don’t understand!  I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide from the world.  I just wanted it all to go away, to have my sweet little girl back!

My journey as the mom of a child with these severe problems was typical of a person coping with severe loss, like a death.  For this was indeed a death of sorts, the death of my hopes and dreams for my child.  Much of what I experienced felt worse than if she had died, since it included rejection (when she left home at 18, 6 weeks before high school graduation, to pursue her destructive lifestyle) and my worst nightmares coming true.  It was a living death for me that I thought I would never, ever recover from.  I certainly felt like I aged rapidly during some of these episodes.   Shock, embarrassment, shame, anger, resentment, fear, denial, grief and bargaining with God were my constant companions. What good could come of this?   


So, how has God brought beauty out of these ashes?  In ways I never dreamed possible. “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places.”  (Isaiah 45:3)  I would never have sought these treasures, but I am far richer today than before this trial began.  I have made many discoveries – about myself, about God, my relationship with Him and all my significant relationships.  This terrible experience brought me many gifts.  Author Sharon Hersch says (in her book, The Last Addiction), “I discovered the gifts of addiction.” So have I.  God’s gifts often come to us wrapped in mysterious ways.   Here are just a few that I have been given:

1 ) I have come to know my Creator on a much deeper and more intimate level than I knew was possible.  Pressing in closer for survival brought a greater sweetness to our fellowship.  I was amazed at the nearness of His presence through many sleepless nights and pain-filled days of uncertainty.  Sometimes His nearness was almost palpable.  While at other times He felt far away. I had to walk by faith and not by sight.  Often numb, He had to be enough, even if no other prayer I prayed was ever answered again.  Could I be content and rest in Him even if my prodigal never came home?

2) Scripture became even more valuable and precious. Knowing I couldn’t make it without strength from God forced me to spend much time in the Scriptures until I received what I needed.  I was constantly amazed at how God would give just the right thing each day! Some days I read a few verses before I would come upon “bread” for my soul.  During these years I discovered many “golden nuggets” that will always be precious to me for how they met my needs and gave me such hope – the Holy Spirit assisted me in “mining” them out of the deep, dark caverns of my affliction.  Here are a three of my favorites:

Isaiah 55:8-13  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, declares the Lord….. my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace…..instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.  This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed.”

2 Timothy 2:25b-26  “…in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do is will.”

Isaiah 45:3  “I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places.”

3) I experienced greater spiritual and personal growth. I am the kind of person who does not like conflict. I previously avoided it, but I learned to face it. Instead of run from it I am now able to be more honest about my feelings (though, I won’t fool you, it is still hard!).  I realized I was a rather fearful person.  Going through this trial I learned to face my worst fears, to accept unthinkable possible outcomes and find peace with an unknown future.  My prayer life deepened and I learned to pray more effectively. In short, I grew a lot.

4) I’ve grown closer to my husband and other children. Today we have a richer, deeper appreciation for each other and are able to discuss hard things a little more easily.  When you share so much heartache and pain together it can bring you much closer or it can tear you apart.  So, my husband and I chose to protect our relationship and make it a priority, being careful not to neglect it.  During one of our most difficult times he surprised me by whisking me away on a 3 day cruise, to celebrate our anniversary! We also put out extra effort to be sure our other children were not neglected and knew how loved they are.

In my next blog I will share 4 more “gifts” I feel I was given from being the mom of a self-destructive daughter.

Read Full Post »

I find great comfort and hope from the Bible for life’s trials and heartaches.  I was reading Luke 13:10-17 the other day and was so touched by Jesus’ compassion and heart for those who suffer.  He was so caring and personal.  And what power there was in his healing words!

This passage tells about the healing of a woman who had been “crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.  (Many of our children have been suffering for a long time.  They are all “bent over”, “crippled”.  The situation may even look hopeless to us.) When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”  Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. . . ” (v.11-13)

Look at that!  She didn’t even ask him for help!  Was that her reason for going to the synagogue that day? All we know is that when Jesus sees her, he knows her need  and how long she’d been bound by Satan (v. 16) –  and he is moved out of a heart full of compassion to take action.  He calls her to himself, lays his hands on her crippled, deformed body and speaks those healing words, “YOU ARE SET FREE!”  What healing oil to her body and soul!  I can’t imagine what she was thinking or how she must have been feeling.

As parents, how we long for our children to be set free.  Sometimes we wonder if there is still hope?  I remember feeling this way after my daughter’s first residential rehab experience when she was still only 19.  Would she survive this?  Would I ever get my daughter back, alive?  Does Jesus see?  Does he know?  Does he really care?  Why is it taking so long?  It can be so hard to keep trusting as they are becoming more and more “crippled”.

I love how he didn’t just speak the words to her that brought her healing, but he got up close and personal . . . He touched her.  I wonder if it had been a long time since anyone cared enough to do that?  We tend to pull away from other’s suffering, especially if we don’t understand.  It can be scary!  Much more so during these times when people probably thought her crippled state was due to someone’s sin.

Then immediately after he spoke to her she straightened up and began praising God! The Savior’s healing touch and healing words moved her to worship. She would never be the same.

I believe our Savior sees your sons and daughters where they are right now.  He knows all about their past, knows their every need – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual …… he knows exactly how long they’ve suffered and been bound (addiction, depression, suicidal, bi-polar, self-harm, immorality, trouble with the law, pornography).  They may not even be seeking Him.  They could care less, but that does not stop Him or limit His power.  He hasn’t forgotten them ….. so keep trusting …… He is still able to reach out to them in their crippled state, in their brokenness and deformity, and cause them to hear his voice calling, calling . . . . and make them brand new.

Oh, how we long for our child to hear their Creator’s voice. Oh, that they would hear and respond to His calling!  Oh, that Jesus would get close and personal with them and touch their life in some way.  Oh, that He would speak those healing words over your son, over your daughter . . . “YOU ARE SET FREE!”  May they hear him today, “immediately straighten up” and begin offering what will be lifelong praises to their Creator!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: