Thursday, April 19, 2018

Pastors need to be equipped for helping those with mental illness.. I have a new book coming soon, The Pastoral Handbook of Mental Illness

A good number of years ago, I received a letter from a young woman who wrote about needing help with her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and her Major Depression. Recurrent. 
 She said “You talk about Hell; I had OCD in high school and did not know it. I had never heard of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and the form I had wasn’t the textbook type. It took the form of scrupulosity where I obsessed about how self-absorbed and sinful and evil I was. I was a Christian but not a strong one. My pastor even came out and met with my parents and me, but he did not recognize that I had an illness and he was totally out of his element.He absolved me through confession and talked a little but it did not help. That’s why I really think that church professionals need to be aware of mental illness and trained in how to help people who have it.  I could have found relief and avoid years of suffering if my pastor was familiar with mental illness. God bless him; he was a wonderful pastor, but he couldn’t meet my needs because he hadn’t been equipped for it. That’s why I think what you are doing is important. Well, thanks for the encouragement. "

Your book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, has made me decide to try again at finding the right medicine for depression because I have been trying to “change my own brain chemistry.”And it is just too big of a boulder to push on my own.  Trying to change biological depression, is like trying to empty and sand box with tweezers. What do you think about Lexipro? It has cured my OCD but left me with depression, and no other antidepressant has helped me with OCD. So I need something for depression. Speaking of which, the sun is out and I better get outdoors.” Anon.

Here is a review from a pastor who has read the book
which will be coming out soon. It too is published by Kregel Publication, Grand Rapids, MI. I applaud Steve’s courage and professionalism in coming forward with this much needed book. The church is made up of everyday, real people and mental illness is a real problem that cannot be swept under the rug. As God gave us doctors to help us with heart attacks, back surgeries, and diabetes, he also gave us doctors to help us with mental illness. Of course God can heal somebody immediately of any disease or illness, but oftentimes he uses doctors, medicine, and other tools to help. In that regard, I believe Steve’s book is a godsend. It gives pastors the knowledge, information, and tools they need to successfully and confidently address this critical issue with those they oversee. God bless you Steve for having the courage to come out of the darkness and shine a light on your own experience so that others may be helped, healed, blessed, and God glorified throughout. Steve Bloem delivers the  information in a way that will help pastors and impact
the kingdom of God today and in the ages to come. God has used Steve’s personal journey mightily to help him understand the tragedy,effects, trauma, solutions, and                                                                              answers for dealing with mental illness. This book is a
                                                                      must read for every pastor and I believe should be taught                                                                         as a course in every seminary.”

                                                                        Jack Alan Levine,Executive Pastor,
                                                                        Purpose ChurchOrlando, Florida
                                                                        Our website is

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Lord's help in finding the right treatment!

Copyright 2010

Coptyight 2010
by Steve Bloem

When I am in a depressive episode it feels like my brain is broken. My first episode (also called age of onset) was when I was twenty nine years old. It lasted a long time and its intensity went from severe to moderate, in a hurry.

The year was 1985. My psychiatrist was a retired medical director of a Christians psychiatric hospital. He graciously agreed to see me as an outpatient because I was an ordained pastor.

On one of our visits, I mentioned to my psychiatrist that my mind still had not cleared, that it felt like there was a cloud over it. I also lamented that I was still depressed. His response was, oh, medications don’t do everything, getting healed involves a lot more than pills. His thinking that a medication only worked partially was painful for me to hear, it did not make sense. I knew how my mind worked before it was broken. It was different and I was afraid it would never be the same. Since medication helped me part of the way, I desired full relief in concrete terms not abstract ones.

Because of my psychiatrist's age, (he was in his 70’s) and because this was 1985, he was steeped in Freudian psychological thought. At one point he talked about the little boy deep down inside me. He also told Robyn and me some of the old treatments for depression. He said that they use to believe, that helping depressed people expressing their deep seated anger, would help them get over their depression.  This scared me. He told me that one of the strategies used in days gone by was to have depressed people scrubbing the grout between bathroom tiles with a toothbrush, until they were very angry. I imagined myself in a depressive episode having to actually be forced to do what he had described.

I did not believe him but I was shaken. Anger turned inward is the hallmark of Freudian and Neo-Freudian psychology. Its effect on the overall treatment of depression is discussed in our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're  Losing It, Kregel Publications. It is needless to say that these interpretations only made things worse. Fo more about this book, you can visit,

I fired my former doctor, who had called antidepressants poison (not the one mentioned above).  Robyn and I were living in Scranton, PA at the time so I made use of public services offered at the Scranton Counseling Center. 

In my studies for my Master of Social Work, I prepared to write a fifty page discourse on the treatment of mental illness in our time (1985). In my research for the paper, I studied many views of mental illness. God, in His loving providence, helped me find an article, The Challenge of Chronic Depressions by Hagisop Askidal, M.D. 

"When I told my new doctor at the Scranton Clinic that I was still depressed he said, "you are under very much stressI think this is your problem." I remonstrated, "I cannot accept what you are saying." I told him about the above mentioned article and what it said about why people who did not receive adequate treatment for depression. 
Apparently my previous doctor felt he did not need raise the medication dosage, or did not try a combination of antidepressants and mood stabilizers.
Thankfully, my new psychiatrist decided to give it a try. I was wholly better in two weeks. I could have gone on for a number of years mistreated and suffering needlessly, if I had not pushed the envelope.

Today psychiatrists have many tools by which you can be symptom free. Of course, medicine will not help you if you recently lost your girl friend or failed a couple of tests at school. Emotional upheaval and external stresses are not the same as clinical depression. Please consider learning about depression and its treatment. One resource, of  course, that we recommend is our book, Broken Minds, Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It. You can find some more information and help by visiting the link below.

This is a brand new book that I have written. Here is one review by a Christian Pastor.

“Every pastor needs to own this book. Here’s why. Thankfully, in recent years, our western church culture has taken some steps forward in understanding
mental illness but we have a long way to go. Steve Bloem helps us move further faster by challenging us with insights from Scripture many of us have simply ignored. Yes, that’s right, the Bible talks about mental illness and the scope is significant. In addition, this is a handbook. It is a quick reference that provides us with both an introductory understanding of various mental illnesses, along with guides for helping us respond to those struggling. This is a book written from both an academic and a life-lived perspective. Steve and his wife Robyn
weave their own personal stories throughout its pages, helping us gain a greater understanding and providing us with the necessary resources to make wise responses to those afflicted with mental illness.”
—Ken Taylor,
Founding and Teaching Pastor,
Creekside Church, Waterloo, Ontario

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Nigeria and serious persecution, also a new book on mental illness.

Apr. 12, 2018 | Nigeria

Christians in a central Nigerian village are feeling betrayed after Muslim herdsmen attacked and killed several people and then attacked again after the funerals. Fulani herdsmen attacked Miango, a village in Jos state on March 8 around 10 p.m. A family on the edge of town lost three boys when the Fulani came in wielding machetes and shooting. Their 4-year-old cousin, Chanka, remains in critical care. That night, the Fulani also killed Iliya Isa, a former Muslim who had accepted Christ. Five days later, the villagers wore black and marched silently to the government in Jos in protest for not being protected by Nigerian security forces. After that, they buried the three boys who were killed, but on the way home to the village, they were attacked again by Fulani men. The evening before, Fulani attacked a home where villagers had gathered to mourn someone’s death and killed 27 people. Pray for the people of Miango, who are angry with both the Fulani and the Nigerian government. Pray for comfort for those who have lost family members. And praise God that the 4-year-old boy who was injured is improving.

Endorsement of Steve Bloem's new book The Pastoral Handbook of Mental Illness
It is published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI.copy right 2018

Pastor Steve Brown
I have been a pastor and a seminary professor for many years, and I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a book as helpful, as complete, and as biblical as Steve Bloem’s. The Pastoral Handbook of Mental Illness: A Guide for Training and Reference. This will become one of the most important books  in your library. 
Bloem is incredibly knowledgeable and refreshingly authentic. The compassion and sensitivity of these pages is Christlike. Get this book and, when you do, you’ll thank me for having commended it to you.” Steve Brown

If you would like to be contacted later by Steve Bloem, when we have our book on the website, please email me at  Don't send any money at this time. This is an alert.
Thank you. Steve Bloem.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Biological depression is, a "darkness that is "felt." What do you do when you can't feel God?

Don't forget to see our new book!

If you have heard this blog and you are depressed, this particular blog should be very helpful.  It is from the book, Broken Minds hope for Healing When You Feel like You're Losing it.
The copy right is (2005) . But it should be said that the contents of this book are as relevant today as when it was first written. Why! Because it is not faddish. It  has "Staying Power."

At one of my lowest moments, when concentrating on anything 
seemed impossible, the third verse  of one William Cowper's famous hymns,
"There is a fountain filled with blood."was able to hold my attention: Here are the words:

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace,                                          Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face. Finally, he says; blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan His work in vain,God is His own interpreter;And He will make it plain.

The above picture about suicide is not in the
book, Broken Minds

My circumstances and disappointments, my very brain storm, were saying to me, “God is frowning on you.” The day was dark . . . very dark. But God was working out His plan, His sovereign will. As Jacob said when he could not be comforted over the reported death of his son Joseph, “All these things are against me” (Gen. 42:36). His heart and his circumstances gave him this analysis of his situation. Like many saints through the ages, Jacob was learning an important lesson about God as our Comfort in the midst of pain we cannot understand.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. (Rom. 8:28–29)

God Delays: God’s Power
Again the Word of the Lord states in 1 Peter 5:10–11: 
“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen ,and establish you; to Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen” (emphasis added).
Suffering seems to go on forever, but when it is over, God often gives us some view of the purposes He has accomplished.


The words of A. B. Simpson (1843–1919) have been  very instructive; The pressure of hard places makes us value life. Every time our life is given back to us from such a trial, it is like a new beginning, and we learn better how much it is worth and make more of it for God and man. The pressure helps us to understand the trials of others, and fits us to help and sympathize with them.There is a shallow, superficial nature, that gets hold of a theory or a promise lightly, and talks very glibly about the distrust of those who shrink from every trial; but the man or woman who has suffered much never does this, but is very tender and gentle, and knows what suffering really means. This is what Paul meant when he said “Death worketh in you.”Trials and hard places are needed to press us forward, even as the furnace fires in the hold of that mighty ship give force that moves the piston, drives the engine and propels that great vessel  across the sea in the face of the wind and waves. My weakness my feelings of panic, and depression, my bewilderment at what I was becoming and what was to become of us. . Somehow, in a way.I could not  appreciate, all of it was part of the divine plan of a loving almighty Father.This insert can be found in the book, Broken Minds Hope For You feel Like  You're Losing It.  Please see pp.67-71.

You can get Broken Minds by going to our website.  We have a price that no one can beat. If you would like to purchase  a new copy of this book. Our offer will not last long, If you are from Canada, please add another four dollars for shipping.  T
The website is 
 You must click on the donation now button smf put the amount


The Pastoral Handbook of Mental Illness: A Guide for Training and Reference. The Publisher is Kregel. Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The copyright is 2018.

This will be coming out soon. If you wish to be put on a list to get a signed copy for 19.00 + shipping, please email us and send it to

Do ot send any money. This is a waiting list.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Great quotes from great men

Dwight Lyman Moody

If you have so much business to attend to that you have no time to pray, depend upon it that you have more business on hand than God ever intended you should have.” - Dwight L. Moody

“A man who prays much in private will make short prayers in public.”- Dwight L. Moody

“Some men’s prayers need to be cut short at both ends and set on fire in the middle.”- Dwight L. Moody


D. Marytyn Lloyd Jones

Prayer is beyond any question the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest and highest when upon his knees he comes face to face with God.”- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in His Word, he intended to be conspicuous in our lives. If He has said much about prayer, it is because He knows we have much need of it.” Charles H. Spurgeon

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Though I am Chastened, or Tormented or Killed, nothing can take away my being a child of God.

have been a Christian for many yearsRobyn and I have many
times been overwhelmed by the storms of life. I had my
first episode of serious biological depression at the age of
 twenty nine. I had to seek other employment besides the ministry.  
Robyn and Ifelt the stigma of such an illness and it permeated our social interactions.

Lindsay Bloem

We lost our daughter and grand daughter on September 11, 2001because a drug addict used the powerful weapon of a car to kill them.  The driver and his friends were using cocaine and "shooting up" heroin" on their way back from a cancelled rock concert. We saw the whole thing and the trauma impressed itself on our brain.   

Charles H. Spurgeon

Genuine Christian my reasoning is this;"I have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that as many as receive Him are the sons of God. I have received Him, and I am therefore a son of God."

Now, whether my Father kisses me or flogs me, I know that I am His son. I am not going to be guided by my state and condition, but by looking by faith at the promise of the Word. The Lord says that if I have received Christ; I have the privilege to be a child of God. 

"Then, whether I am rich or poor—whether I am sick or healthy—.! I do not bring them into the calculation.You must take the naked Word of God as it stands—that I am God's child. If He slays me I am His child. If He lets me go to prison, if He should suffer me to rot in a dungeon, or to burn at the stake, I am still His child! Io not look upon circumstances as at all affecting my position.

Oh Beloved, if you once begin calculating your position before God according to your temporal circumstances, where will you be? Do not talk any more of believing you have given it up—and you are really walking by sight."

Rev. Steve Bloem
Co-founder of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries
Co-Author of Broken Minds.
We will soon becoming out with an informative new
book on mental illness.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My journey with depression, what it feels like.

Depression is not a subject which is usually talked about by evangelical Christians.  But if you counsel those who are born again,who have a mental illness, they will tell you what their symptoms are, and how they affect their mood, thinking, and behavior. Now I have read some great but grisly descriptions of depression and the best ones come from those who have experienced mental illness.

I bought a book once by Kathy Conkrite, the daughter of the legendary newscaster, Walter Cronkite. It included descriptions of her depression, and by many famous people who also suffer suffered from the black plague.. I could only read so much of it because I would start having Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms, Symptoms which are a result of the trauma that I have because of my own horrible, episodic depresion.  People have asked me many times (including psychiatrists); how does it feel when you are depressed?

It (depression) is hard to describe after you are feeling better. The problem is that when you are in the clutches of a depressive episode, you are too depressed to take the time to write about it. The best descriptions that I can come up with are, "it is unbearable anguish, unrelenting sorrow, it is a living Hell."  I hope you don't think I am being profane.

 I use to joke about Hell when someone would tell me that I should go there. My answer was, "I got kicked out for selling ice cream cones." This was not original to me,  but I was not converted and I knew very little on the subject. I no longer joke about Hell. When I say that depression is a living Hell; I am not talking about eternal Hell but I am saying that as far as I know, it is a time of agitation, anxiey, deep sadness, not know how you are going to make it thourgh the morining and when it comes to your family, you feel detached and unable to participate in neither their joys or sorrows.

But there always the hope that medicine will help you.  Those who die forever in Hell have no hope. If you don't know Christ as your personal Savior, you will go to Hell and have the most awful depression., forever

But if you believe in Jesus Christ , you will by faith believe the infinite God/man,  who hung on the cross  and became sin for sinners.  Read what the prophet Isaiah said about Him in Isaiah 52, just as there were many who were appalled at him — his appearance was so disfigued beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness, so he will sprinkle many nations,and kings will shut their mouths because of him

Every time I have a severe depressive episode, I think; "when I get out of this; I am going to warn people about Hell."  Of course Hell is not  a politically correct subject these days.  Someday all those who in are Hell will be cast into the lake of fire.Whether you are depressed  or not,, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!  Receive Him as your Savior ,and Lord! He gave Himself for you to redeem you from your sins. 

Below is a brief diary of my decomposition into the dark dungeons of depression. I had recently been diagnosed by my psychiatrist as having, Bipolar 2 disorder. This was because my depressive episodes come on quite suddenly and they are  very severe in nature. Here is a brief excerpt from my diary.

May 11, 1997,
 I spoke in a little country church today. I wondered, do I have Post-traumatic Stress disorder because of what I had gone through when i was a pastor in the
Flint Hills of Northern  Kansas.
Also,  I am bombarded by everything is temporary obsessions, and the doing  routine things seem so hard today., I am feeling emotionally drained,. and I fear that this is the beginning of a new severe depressive episode.

May 12, 1997 -I called the doctor and asked him to put me on Buspar to augment my Zoloft.  This was hard for me to request because, I become passive while in a depressive episode. He said he would call my prescription to the pharmacy. I hope this augmentation will work quickly.

May 13, 1997- I am quite depressed today, it is very difficult to concentrate; I have moment by moment sorrow. My mind feels dead, but I was able to get my work done and even teach a Dialectical Behavior Therapy group this afternoon. I was able to relate to many of the woman who have Borderline Personality Disorder and many of them also were depressed.

May 14, 1997 - I started work at about 8:00 am today. It seems that none of my fellow case managers have noticed that I am in a depressive episode. Maybe they do but don't know how to approach me. 
From about 10-12:00 noon, I was in agony and intense sadness. I was  was panicky  and my stomach hurt, my appetite was gone. I finally told the staff psychiatrist that I could no longer work and had to go home.

Immediately separation anxiety overwhelmed me and I want to be with my wife. I called her and she asked me, "is it alright for me to go to a bible study with the ladies this afternoon or do you want me to stay here with you? " I try to be brave but after I hang up, I think, "I have to go home." I sob uncontrollably as I drive home, wiping away tears to be able to see. My youngest son greets me at the door and as soon as I see him, I burst into tears.  He is stunned after seeing me sob and calls for Robyn. I pray to God, "Father please don't let me commit suicide."  Deeper and Deeper I descend into a Hell on earth. My thought in the middle of the most intense suffering, "How will people be able to stand Hell--- the real Hell?"