Sunday, November 30, 2014

Schizoaffective Disorder, Part 2

 

 This is part 2 of a series. If you would like to read part 1, you can do so by going to

 http://sbloemreflections.blogspot.com/2014/11/schizoaffective-disorder-part-1.html

 

Suicidal thoughts or behavior

 

 Expression of suicidal thoughts or behavior may occur in someone with schizo-affective disorder. If you have a loved one who is in danger of committing suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.


 Risk Factors

Factors that increase the risk of developing schizo-affective disorder include having a close biological (blood) relative who has:
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizo-affective disorder

    Complications

    People with schizo-affective disorder are at an increased risk of:
  • Social isolation
  • Unemployment
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Developing alcohol or other substance abuse problems
  • Significant health problems
  • Suicide 
  •  

    What you can do?

     

    To prepare for the appointment:
  • Make a list of any symptoms your loved one is experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for the appointment.
  • Bring key personal information and include any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of medications, vitamins, herbal preparations and any other supplements that he or she is taking and the dosages.
  • Go with your loved one to the appointment so that you know what you're facing and what you can do to help.
  • Make a list of questions to ask the doctor to help you make the most of your time.

For schizoaffective disorder, some basic questions to ask include:

  • What is likely causing the symptoms or condition?
  • Are there any other possible causes?
  • How will you determine the diagnosis?
  • Is this condition likely temporary or long term (chronic)?
  • What treatments do you recommend for this condition?
  • What are the side effects of medications commonly used for this condition?
  • If the treatment approach isn't effective, what will you recommend next?
  • What kinds of counseling might help?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask questions anytime you don't understand something.

  • When did your loved one start experiencing symptoms?
  • Have symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • Has your loved one talked about suicide?
  • How is your loved one functioning in daily life — is he or she eating regularly, bathing regularly, going to work or school?
  • Have other family members or friends expressed concern about your loved one's behavior?
  • Have any of your loved one's close relatives been diagnosed or treated for mental illness?
  •  

    What to expect from your doctor

    Your doctor is likely to ask you several questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to focus on. Your doctor may ask:
  • When did your loved one start experiencing symptoms?
  • Have symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • Has your loved one talked about suicide?
  • How is your loved one functioning in daily life — is he or she eating regularly, bathing regularly, going to work or school?
  • Have other family members or friends expressed concern about your loved one's behavior?
  • Have any of your loved one's close relatives been diagnosed or treated for mental illness?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Schizoaffective Disorder, Part 1

 

















 Schizo-affective disorder is a condition in which a person experiences a combination of schizophrenia symptoms — such as hallucinations or delusions — and mood disorder symptoms, such as mania or depression. Schizo-affective disorder is not as well understood or well defined as other mental health conditions. This is largely because schizo affective disorder is a mix of mental health conditions ― including schizophrenic and mood disorder features ― that may run a unique course in each affected person. Untreated, people with schizo-affective disorder may lead lonely lives and have trouble holding down a job or attending school. Or, they may rely heavily on family or live in supported living environments, such as group homes. Treatment can help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with schizo affective disorder.

Schizo-affective disorder symptoms vary from person to person. People who have the condition experience psychotic symptoms — such as hallucinations or delusions — as well as a mood disorder. The mood disorder is either bipolar disorder (bipolar-type schizo-affective disorder) or depression (depressive-type schizo-affective disorder).
Psychotic features and mood disturbances may occur at the same time or may appear on and off interchangeably. The course of schizo-affective disorder usually features cycles of severe symptoms followed by a period of improvement, with less severe symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of schizo-affective disorder may include, among others:

  • Delusions — having false, fixed beliefs
  • Hallucinations, such as hearing voices
  • Major depressed mood episodes
  • Possible periods of manic mood or a sudden increase in energy and behavioral displays that are out of character
  • Impaired occupational and social functioning
  • Problems with cleanliness and physical appearance
  • Paranoid thoughts and ideas

When to see a doctor

If you think someone you know may have schizo-affective disorder symptoms, talk to that person about your concerns. Although you can't force someone to seek professional help, you can offer encouragement and support and help your loved one find a qualified doctor or mental health provider.
 Expression of suicidal thoughts or behavior may occur in someone with schizo-affective disorder. If you have a loved one who is in danger of committing suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

The exact cause of schizo-affective disorder is not known. A combination of factors may contribute to its development, such as:

  • Genetic links
  • Brain chemistry
  • Brain development delays or variations
  • Exposure in the womb to toxins or viral illness, or even birth complications 
For Part 2 please go to: 
 http://sbloemreflections.blogspot.com/2014/11/schizoaffective-disorder-part-2.html

Monday, November 24, 2014

Spurgeon on the Child of God in Darkness



Charles Spurgeon
"Thou art my hope in the day of evil." Jeremiah 17:17 
The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. True, it is written in God's Word, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace;" and it is a great truth, that religion is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above; but experience tells us that if the course of the just be "As the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day," yet sometimes that light is eclipsed.

There are certain periods  a believer has to walk in the darkness
 At certain periods clouds cover the believer's sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light. There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the earlier stages of their Christian career; they have walked along the "green pastures" by the side of the "still waters," but suddenly they find the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the Land of Goshen they have to tread the sandy desert; in the place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, "Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen." 

 Don't think because you are in darkness you are not a child of God.
Oh! say not so, you who are walking in darkness. The best of God's saints must drink the wormwood; the dearest of his children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows. Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid.  He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God's full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.
If you would like to read Spurgeon's Morning and Evening, every day and night or perhaps a few selections, go to: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/morneve.i.html



 




Are you thinking about the end of the year donation gift? We are an IRS, tax free, faith based agency. If you give to Heartfelt Ministries you will be eligible to claim it on your tax return. We are helping people in South Florida, the United States and the whole world.  
 If you would like to see our doctrinal statement you can do so by going to: http://www.heartfeltmin.org/#!doctrinal-statement/c1nw9.

Our purpose for existence: To come alongside and comfort those suffering from mental illness, bereavement and the horror of persecution.
We don't care how much you give.  All we ask is that you pray about it.  You can tell us by email, bloemsteve@yahoo.com or you can go to our web site and click on http://www.heartfeltmin.org/#!contact/cito. Our business address is there if you wish to give by check.  What about giving an end of the year donation?  All you have to do is put the amount of money you want to give and follow the prompts. You can do this at http://www.heartfeltmin.org/#!donations/c1mb0.

 
Finally, if you wish to get our book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, which is published by Kregel and is both available by Kindle and by paper back. If you give a donation of $25.00, Robyn and I will send you a copy of Broken Minds.
For reviews please go to: http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Minds-Healing-Youre-Losing/dp/0825421187


Friday, November 21, 2014

About 100 million Christians across the world are being persecuted. Many orphans have lost both parents who were martyred for Christ.




 

This was taken from a Christian watch group. It is about Zira James who is from Yola, Nigeria: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/news/2014/november/nigerian-children-lose-parents-siblings-after-attack-by-boko-haramhttps://www.opendoorsusa.org/news/2014/november/nigerian-children-lose-parents-siblings-after-attack-by-boko-haram

Zira saw his father shot by the Boko Haram, he wanted to die with him, but ran instead.  “I followed the people who were also running away when our village was attacked. I saw how my father was shot. He told me to run and that God will take care of me. I wanted to stay back and die with him, but I just found myself running in an unknown direction with other people. I thought my mother was among the crowd, but to this day I have not heard anything about her.” Those are the sad words from a young orphaned boy named Zira James, who lives in the city of Yola in north-eastern Nigeria. He was likely the only survivor of his family after a recent brutal Boko Haram attack.

 Zira is now living in a refuge camp near his hometown with other orphans.
Zira’s story was documented by Isaac, an Open Doors researcher for Nigeria who recently returned from the war-torn area. One of the most heart-breaking things Isaac experienced in Yola was meeting 16 children such as Zira who have lost both of their parents in the violence. They all come from different communities. Most of these children narrowly escaped from the hands of Boko Haram, to now face fear and abandonment.
 Sometimes Zira and the other children sleep without food or a mat to sleep on.Zira continues: “I have been here (in a camp near Yola) two months. All my siblings are nowhere to be found. I am now alone in the camp, just staying with other children. Sometimes we get food but many times we sleep without food or a mat to sleep on. God alone will help me.” According to Isaac, every evening the children meet in a car park inside the camp and sing songs to the Lord before they disperse to where they sleep, often under the stars.

Many of the children believe God is Faithful  and they sing to him every night.
Another orphaned child, Tabitha Fogu, told Isaac: “God will not let us down. He will come to our rescue. We depend on Him. Even though we have no parents, by coming together to sing every day, we receive courage and look to God to help us in our difficult situation.
“Everyone here is struggling, so no one can help us. If we had our parents here, they would have struggled for us, but we are left alone. We believe God will struggle for us.”
There are now almost 10,000 displaced people living in a giant camp near Yola. Many are living in tents.

The number of refugees is enormous, children are dying in the camp.
Isaac learned that in the village of Biu 4,000 people arrived after trekking on foot for miles with only the clothes on their bodies. “They wash their clothes at night and wear them again tomorrow,” he stated. “These refugees also come from different areas. Their homes have been destroyed. Some of them have lost their loved ones. Some are looking for their children, husbands and wives. There are cries in the camp every minute of the day. Children are dying of hunger.” 

Pastors who are also refugees help console the people.
During Isaac’s visit, about 200 families  found the strength to come together for a time of worship. “It was a time of encouragement for the people to know that people around the world are praying for their situation. We are thankful that there are pastors among the refugees who are consoling the people and encouraging them to hope in God and cast their fears upon the Lord. It is very difficult here. But although it is very painful to witness these circumstances, I was encouraged to see these Christians smiling despite their suffering.” 

 Open Doors is planning extra relief.
Open Doors has already distributed aid to the beleaguered believers and is planning extra relief items over the next few weeks. Please pray fervently for the Lord’s care for the children of Nigeria who have lost one or both parents and all those who suffer because of these atrocities. This was taken directly (except for my headings from:
https://www.opendoorsusa.org/news/2014/november/nigerian-children-lose-parents-siblings-after-attack-by-boko-haram
 Nigeria is ranked No. 14 on the Open Doors 2014 World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians. 

For a shaded map, of areas of persecution in the world please go to: http://www.worldwatchlist.us/world-watch-list-countries/






Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Do you have a prodigal in your family? Here is the story of Augustine of Hippo. Part 2
















Born- November 13, 354 A.D.
Died - August 28, 430A.D.
Notable work(s) The City of God.
Confessions

Part 2


Then one day, as I was reading the epistles of Paul, a great storm of agitation began to billow within my soul. My heart and mind and even my face became wild, as this inner storm built. There was a garden attached to our house, and I rushed out there so that no one would see me in such a wild state. And there I was, going mad on my way to sanity—dying on my way to life! My mind grew frantic: I boiled with anger at myself for not giving myself over to your law that brings Life.  All my bones cried out that if I surrendered fully to you; I would find myself free and singing your praises to the skies.  I knew that it took but one step—a distance not as far as I had run from my own house to this bench where I had collapsed in my grief.  To go over to your side, to arrive fully on your side, required nothing other than the will to go—but to will strongly and totally, not to turn and twist a half-wounded will so that one part of me would keep rising up and struggling, while the other part kept me bound to earth. 

This inability to decide—for God or for my Self--was torturing me. I pulled at my hair, beat my forehead, locked my fingers together, and gripped my knees with both hands. My whole body felt the agony of my desire to go over to you, but I could not will my soul to rise and cross over to God. I knew that what held me was such a small thing, and yet I turned and twisted as one held on to a chain, as if my own agonizing might finally break it somehow.  Inwardly, I cried, “Let it be done now. Now!”
   
And you, O Lord, were you standing in the secret places of my soul all along! With your severe mercy, you redoubled the lashes of fear and shame, so that I would not give up again, which would mean that chain which bound me from you would bind me more strongly than ever before. I kept imagining the voices of mistresses, as they plucked at my garment of flesh, whispering, “Can you really send us away? How can you live without us?” I ran further from the house, into the garden, and flung myself down on the ground under a fig tree. Tears streamed down and flooded my eyes. I cried out, “How long will I keep saying, ‘soon’ and ‘tomorrow’? Why can’t I put an end to my uncleanness this very minute?”

  At that very moment I heard from a neighboring house a child’s voice—whether a boy or girl I can’t tell—singing over and over: “Take and read, take and read.” It was like the song in a child’s game, but I’d never heard it before.  These words came into my heart with the force of a divine command:            ”Take and read…”I forced myself to stop crying and got up off the ground. I went back into the garden to the place where I had left the Scriptures, which I had carried outside with me –for I believed I had heard nothing less than a divine command to open the book and read the first passage I found.  

I snatched the book, opened it  and read the first passage my eye fell upon: “Let us behave decently…not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immortality and debauchery…Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires f the sinful nature’ (Romans 13:13,14). 

I did not need to read further. There was no need to. For as soon as I reached the end of the sentence, it was as though my heart was filled with light and with confidence. All the shadows of my doubt were swept away.”
Footnote 1 Leith Anderson, Praying to the God You Can Trust, pp. 27-29 and also HIS footnote is Eric Zorn, “Let us Pray,” Notre Dame Magazine (Autumn 1995), pp.44, 45.

If you wish to read part 1, you can go to: http://sbloemreflections.blogspot.com/2014/11/do-you-have-prodigal-in-your-family.html


http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Minds-Healing-Youre-Losing-ebook/dp/B004EPYNLE/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

Monday, November 17, 2014

Broken Minds, the silent treatment.

I would like to mention some things that have happened in the realm of evangelicals and the treatment of mental illness. At the risk of sounding like sour grapes, I decided to write this blog after continually being disappointed with the lack of media coverage for our book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, published by Kregel Publications.
Broken Minds was one of the first  books to be written on the Christian and mental illness in our modern times. It was nominated by Foreword Magazine as the best non-fiction book of 2005.  This magazine is not evangelical but secular. Zondervan's at the same time came out with a book, New Light on Depression. It was written by a medical doctor and a  psychologist.  No doubt it is worth reading.  Another book that was published about the same time was Darkness is My Constant Companion.  It was written by a female Episcopal Priest who knows the deep pain of mental illness.  Since that time many books have been written on the subject of mental illness from a Christian perspective.

Now, I am not saying that Broken Minds has not gotten good reviews.  It has been heartily recommended by those who do reviews for a living.   I don't expect attention from people like Frank Minnerth and Paul Meir. In Broken Minds we deal with their neo-freudian approach of the treatment of mental illness. The  title says it all; it is called  Happiness is a Choice We also use a polemic approach in dealing with the misguided  ideas of Nouthetic Counseling.  This group continues to stand on their no medicine approach.  There are Nouthetic Counselors who try to modify this stance but still do not have a proper view of depression or any other mental illness.

Finally, I understand why Neil Anderson might not appreciate our book since it exposes some of the fallacies of the "spiritual warfare movement" and their erroneous perspective on mental illness. Since the year 2005 there have been numerous evangelical books on mental illness which undoubtedly been influenced by Broken Minds.

I have sought out  Focus on the Family backing but they rejected my attempts numerous times.  Perhaps it is because I am not a psychologist. (Though I studied under one of the most famous psychologists of all times, Dr. Marsha Linehan at the University of  Washington).  I am a certified Dialectical Behaviorist.  I also was a clinical case manager for people who suffer from a severe and persistent mental illness. I worked with psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists and even parole officers.

I was also rebuffed by the 700 club.  This may have been in part because we believe in the cessation of sign and revelatory gifts. Robyn and I had close contact with the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention.  For some reason (and it wasn't because I did not try), they never followed through with our invitations for ministry.

One of the reasons why I am writing this blog is that our non-profit, Heartfelt Counseling Ministries is grossly underfunded. This is because of a lack of exposure. I believe in our ministry but I do wish that I could do more toward supporting my family.

What precipitated my recent discouragement was this:  Some time ago, I was interviewed by a journalist who was writing an article on "Biblical Counseling" (also known as Nouthetic Counseling)  for public consumption. The interview lasted about an hour.  I felt that it was about time the article was to be published, so I put the subject in a search engine and  the name of the  magazine which published it. There is was.  It is a good article and I believed that some of the information I shared was in the article, but Broken Minds was never mentioned.
These are some of the frustrations we face in ministry. We know one moment, one contact can change everything. Are you that contact for Heartfelt Ministries?

Here is a link for  the article on line. It will take some time to read it.
http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/evangelical-prayer-bible-religion-born-again-christianity-rise-biblical-counseling-89464/
Rev. Steve Bloem



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Do you have a prodigal in your family? Here is the story of Augustine of Hippo.




 



Born- November 13, 354 A.D.
Died - August 28, 430A.D.
Notable work(s) The City of God.
Confessions


It seems that in every Christian family there is a prodigal son or daughter.  Their lives are never quite featured in the annual Christmas letter.  But the burden of a child not knowing Christ, gradually getting worse, giving way more than ever to sin bears down on their weary parents. In our ministry we are meeting many, many discouraged moms and dads. Some are missionaries, some are in pastoral ministry, some are Christian businessmen and women, some are home-school parents-all are discouraged. Below is the testimony of one of the greatest Christians and theologians who ever lived. His name was Augustine.  Here is his testimony, part one.


St. Augustine
In North Africa around 354 A.D. Aurelius Augustinus was born. We know him today as St. Augustine.  His father was a pagan man known as Patricius who was quite a philosopher in his own right and led his son in Greek and Roman culture. His father educated him with a perspective which involved religious rituals of indulgent sexual practices and other fleshly actions. Monica, Augustine’s mother on the other hand, was a committed and devoted Christian. 

When Augustine was eleven years old, he went to a school where he learned Latin literature, cultivated quite an interest in philosophy and was known for his brilliant mind.  As he grew, he had no interest in his mother’s faith and decided to follow his father’s teachings. His mother had taught him the best she could, but his father’s religion offered a more tantalizing philosophy. He could freely indulge in sexual pleasures and flaunt his intellectual prowess.  Monica knew she was losing her son, spiritually. She had taught him and prayed for him but when he became an adult, he turned away further and further until he decided to go to Rome. He knew there he would be able to indulge his flesh and participate in even more carnal pleasures.  She begged him not to go, wept and kept praying. She stood at the harbor as his ship set sail and cried and cried, no doubt wondering why God had not answered her prayers for her beloved son.

When Augustine arrived in Rome, her predictions came true. He went so deeply into sin that he actually began a relationship with a woman whom he never married but lived with for thirteen years and fathered a son named Adeodatus.
He became a teacher of rhetoric and philosophy and by age thirty, he was known as an academic and was on track to a shining political career.

At age 32, he began to doubt some of his own doctrine and became disenchanted with the student s in Carthage who were very defiant and undisciplined. Then he wanted to establish a school in Rome, but the students there were very apathetic. Augustine’s life was beginning to unravel, which would be the start of the answer to his mother’s prayers. One day, as he reports in his autobiography,

Confessions:

I was unwilling to enter His narrow way. And it was becoming a heavy grief to me that I continued to act like a worldling, now that I longed for the sweetness and beauty of your eternal home. The reason for my unwillingness was that I was bound by my love for women.
Oh yes, I was certain that it was better to commit myself to your love than to give in to my sensuality. Still I kept giving the slow, sleepy reply: “Soon, Lord. I will come to you soon.” But “soon” had no ending. Because I was so violently held by my evil habit, my mind was being torn. I wanted freedom, but I was being held as if against my own will—and I suppose I contributed to this state of confusion, since I willingly allowed myself to slide into sin.

But you, O Lord, used the changed lives of other men and women like a mirror to keep turning me around to face myself. You set me in front of my own face so that I might see how deformed, how crooked and sordid and stained and ulcerous I was. Horrified, I turned and tried to run from myself—only to find that you were there, too, thrusting me in front of myself. You wanted me to discover my iniquity and hate it, because it bound me and kept me from going with you.

Yet my soul hung back.     
So I lived for a long while in a silent, trembling misery, for I was afraid of giving up my sin as much as I feared death—even though it was because of my evil I was wasting away to death!

His Conversion, coming in Part 2. If you wish to go to Part 1

 
 
 Please check out our book by going to:
 http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Minds-Healing-Youre-Losing-ebook/dp/B004EPYNLE/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=