Category Archives: Mental health

GUEST POST: Adult autistics – are they doomed to solitude?

Here’s a very thoughtful article by my colleague Karla Hackney published earlier this week in the Oregonian.

Karla Hackney (picture courtesy of Karla Hackney)
Karla Hackney (picture courtesy of Karla Hackney)

Seldom heard are the stories of autistic adults.  And rarely do they report the challenges of those who seek companionship. It’s believed that autism blocks the ability to intercommunicate and express feelings in a normal way.  These difficulties often relegate those diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to solitude.  And yet, like us all, those diagnosed as on the Spectrum deeply wish to love another.

We may think of our own relationships as pertaining to the heart, but for solutions in the field of ASD, research has focused predominantly on the brain.

Click here to read the rest of the article…

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Experiencing resurrection step by step

Sunlit field with Resurrection quoteLife is a journey that doesn’t end with death.

This was one of the consensus views shared by some panelists while discussing choices in end-of-life care at the Mid-Michigan Health Spiritual Care Conference in January. One panelist even mentioned resurrection, which got me to thinking more deeply about the connection between resurrection and choices–not just at end-of-life, but choices made throughout daily life.

Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he told Lazarus’ sister Martha, “Thy brother shall rise again.” Jesus said further, “…he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:23-25)

What did Jesus mean by that? Was he implying that everyone who believes in Christ, or understands Jesus’ teachings, would experience a resurrection in some way? If so, then as radical as this may seem, ultimately, resurrection is for everyone. Maybe not exactly a return to life on earth as in the case of Lazarus, but perhaps in experiencing a new and more spiritual sense of life as immortal, without beginning or end – without death.

Perhaps it’s a little like graduating from school – usually, the culmination of much effort over many years. And this effort to become more aware of immortal being includes learning to make good choices – in how we think and act – on a daily basis. Moses said, “See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil; … therefore choose life…” (Deuteronomy 30:15,19). He linked choosing good with choosing life.

One example of doing this, is not only to treat patients in end-of-life situations with dignity and compassion as the conference panelists advised, but to treat everyone with dignity and compassion throughout daily life. Choosing good can also include being honest, unselfish, and decent. Also, being patient and forgiving, and loving others unconditionally.

Christ Jesus’ life was a model of choosing good every moment. Was this why he was able to raise the dead? From his teachings, it is apparent that he knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that life – everyone’s life – is eternal. His death by crucifixion and subsequent resurrection proved this fact. And, for the great suffering and sacrifice he endured to give us this proof, I and many others are immensely grateful. Doesn’t it behoove us to make the most of it by following his example of consistently choosing good?

By making daily choices for good thoughts and actions, we’ll land in the group St. John called “they that have done good,” whom he said would “come forth . . . unto the resurrection of life.” (John 5:29) This continual choosing of good draws us closer to realizing life eternal.

Each choice for good, therefore, is essentially a step in that direction, and, in a way, a little bit of resurrection. And this can be done by all, gently, with grace, until – wherever and whenever – we come to see clear as day that life truly is eternal.

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A better solution to depression than a walk in the park

Wendy Margolese (Picture courtesy of Wendy Margolese)
Wendy Margolese (Picture courtesy of Wendy Margolese)

Health writer Wendy Margolese of Ontario, Canada, writing in SIMCOE News, says, “I am not saying that nature isn’t a wonderful experience, but I’m circumspect of health solutions that end up making me dependent on a person, a place or a potion.”

She offers a way to go further/higher and includes a wonderful example in which a woman used that approach and found freedom from Postpartum depression.

If you’re struggling with depression, you might find these ideas helpful.

Read her article here:
A better solution to depression than a walk in the park

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Helpful spiritual perspectives for the new class of graduates

(©Glowimages/stock photo - models used for illustrative purposes only)
(©Glowimages/stock photo – models used for illustrative purposes only)

A new class of graduates is heading into summer and then very likely college or career. Here are two articles with some helpful ideas applying spiritual perspectives to this exciting time in their lives.

Do our graduates know how to love?

By Eric Nelson on Communities Digital News

Excerpts:

“In an era in which so many people slip off the rails during adolescence, we don’t have the luxury of ignoring a resource that, if cultivated, could see them through,” says columnist David Brooks. “Ignoring spiritual development in the public square is like ignoring intellectual, physical or social development.

Obviously the various facets of love described by Paul—patience, unselfishness, humility, courtesy and so on—aren’t restricted to a particular religious practice but can and should be utilized in every avenue of life, including academics, athletics, social situations, throughout college and even into the business world.

Are 2015 Grads Spiritually Prepared to Pass Life’s Tests?

By Ingrid Peschke on MetroWest Daily News

Excerpts:

When a graduation speech in rural Alabama produced a spontaneous prayer to a healing God I wanted to stand up and clap, too.

As graduates walk the stage and accept their diplomas, I hope they will consider their spiritual ability to be “right thinkers” by helping their neighbor, choosing honesty and integrity in their daily interactions, and looking to a Higher Power for truthful answers on life’s toughest tests.

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PTSD: Hopeful new treatment approach that looks beyond physical symptoms

120-CR64QQ-Soldier-holding-rifleVeterans suffering from PTSD deserve effective help.

“The need for non-drug treatment options is a significant and urgent public health imperative,” says NCCIH Director Josephine Briggs, MD.

Urgent, because the need for cure is growing, and also because conventional drug treatments aren’t working over the long haul.

This excerpt comes from a thoughtful and helpful Arlington, Virginia Patch article by Richard Geiger, who follows the VA’s search for non-drug PTSD treatment of symptoms.

Geiger looks at how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) are focusing treatment on individuality.

He also looks at lessons learned from the experience of Col. (Ret) Janet Horton, a Christian Science U.S. Army Chaplain, one of the first female chaplains ever called into active duty. She found it unproductive to try to work directly with symptoms at all. Instead, she focused on the individual’s untouched spiritual identity.

This really is a “must read”:  PTSD Treatment: Symptoms or Souls?

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Guest post: Thinking of suicide? Take your troubles to God.

120-FEDRWLR4R Teen on stepsMy colleague Valerie Minard, writing in Collingswood Patch in New Jersey, shared some helpful ideas when dealing with suicidal thoughts.

Excerpts:

“But what about the teens who suffer in silence or are not ready to turn to a teen suicide prevention group or trusted adult? I can’t answer for others but in my case, I found my connection to the Divine was a life saver during a time when I felt there was no one in whom to confide.”

“The ideas that saved me went along these lines…”

  • “These negative thoughts are not your thoughts. They are lies about your worth and purpose for existing, and you don’t need to listen to them. The ideas God gives you are good. Destructive thoughts are not good. The Bible says, “‘For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.’””

For more ideas, read the entire article: Thinking of suicide? Take your troubles to God.

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For Health’s Sake, Watch Your Mental Intake

120-Y9IL56J65J5-Glowimages-filling-a-gas-tankYou don’t put sugar in the gas tank of your car, right? And if your car takes “Regular”, you don’t put in ‘Diesel’.

As society becomes more aware that thought affects the body, it becomes clear that it is important for our health that we watch our mental intake.

Consider the following:

  • a 2014 study found that journalists viewing uncensored violent imagery are at increased risk of adverse psychological consequences.
  • “medical students’ disease”, in which 70-80% of medical students experience symptoms of the disease(s) they are studying.
  • Google’s new Knowledge Graph gives searchers medical facts and details on conditions and shows typical symptoms.

Heath reformer Mary Baker Eddy advises, “Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.”

Watch your intake!

Note: this post first appeared on Ideapod

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When Unconditional Love Reaches a Soldier Suffering PTSD

(@Glowimages/Stock photo)
(@Glowimages/Stock photo)

There’s a reason they’re called man’s best friend.

If you’ve ever had a dog, then you already know something about dogs’ unconditional love. This warrants considering more deeply the divine source and nature of love and its healing power.

Linda Ross C.S. (Picture courtesy of Linda Ross)
Linda Ross C.S. (Picture courtesy of Linda Ross)

Health blogger Linda Ross in Connecticut shares a touching account on LinkedIn of a dog’s unconditional love reaching a soldier suffering with PTSD. It gives a glimpse into unconditional love’s ability to reach below the surface and melt away “difficult memories”. We might also consider how we all have a “divine friendship” with divine Love.

A touching article: Has unconditional love gone to the dogs?

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Need a Ben Bosinger moment?

Sharon Frey McElroy (Picture courtesy of Sharon Frey McElroy)
Sharon Frey McElroy (Picture courtesy of Sharon Frey McElroy)

Writing in the Huffington Post ‘Healthy Living’ Blog, Sharon Frey McElroy examines how abuse victim Ben Bosinger learned to let go of years of resentment toward his father. And she shares how she was able to forgive a couple of fellows at a cafe that upset her by talking about women in a derogatory way.

McElroy then shares some ideas that can help anyone find peace through forgiveness. She writes, “…heading down the path of forgiveness can be as simple as knowing we each have this spiritual sense that can identify the good that’s present even where it seems far from obvious.”

Want a more peaceful day? Need a “Ben Bosinger moment”?

I heartily recommend this Huffington Post article, originally published in PlainViews, a publication of the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network: Want Peace? Try Forgiveness.

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Instead of losing your temper, lose your temper

Bob Clark (picture courtesy of Bob Clark)
Bob Clark (picture courtesy of Bob Clark)

That’s right. Or, as Health Writer Bob Clark in Florida puts it, in a recent Tampa Bay Times article, “Don’t manage anger — get rid of it”.

Clark points out: “studies show that somewhere between 75 and 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians result from stress-related disorders.” And doesn’t it make sense that less anger means less stress? And that then means better health?

So, if you have a temper, lose it – drop it – for good. Clark shares five great tips to help with this, including using humor and love.

See all five helpful tips in: Don’t manage anger — get rid of it.

___________________
(See more on Clark’s blog.)
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