Sunday, February 28, 2016

Have you ever been in the swamp of sadness?










Please click below for the Swamp of Sadness scene. It is only one minute and forty six seconds.
I watched the movie, "The Never Ending Story" years ago with our four children. Later in deep depression, I realized that this was a visualization (at least for me) of how a person who is depressed  loses hope.  Please note that the warrior Artreyu can represent a care giver of a suicidal person and Artax the horse the one who gives way to suicide..
I know that this is not a biblical narrative but Artreyu obviously needed more help to get Artax out of the swamp of sadness. I have been in the swamp of sadness and had lost hope, but God my Rescuer delivered me from severe sadness and depression.  He is known in the Scriptures as the "God of all hope."The psalmist also said,  "the LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation and  my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.". God uses His people to help others. If you are in the swamp of a depressive episode, you need help!! At Heartfelt Counseling Ministries we can help you. 


Here is another look at God being with us in darkness. 

http://sbloemreflections.blogspot.com/2014/02/is-god-with-you-in-dark.html 
 


 


 Please look at reviews for our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You're Losing It. http://heartfeltmin.org/resources.html

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Are Pharmacies Ripping You Off?

 From the pen of Robyn Bloem, Co-founder of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries
 

 





Image result for black dollar signs
Our American insurance changed and so our pharmacy did, too. Because the insurance company always believes that Steve takes too high of a dose of one of his meds, they will only pay for 2 weeks worth and then he pays out of pocket for the other 2 weeks. The new pharmacy rang up his prescription and said very matter-of-factually, "Okay, that's  $735.00." Huh? We were paying $40.00 for that same 2 week supply at the last pharmacy. 
Steve said, "That's outrageous! I paid 40.00 at (and he named the last pharmacy who no longer takes our insurance -- which is why we switched in the first place). He closed his wallet (and his mouth which had dropped open in shock) and proceeded to the old pharmacy where he purchased the uninsured portion of his medication for $40.00.

 Huge Discrepancy in drug store prices

 How can there be such a huge discrepancy in store prices??? We all have to shop around, do price comparisons and make sure we are getting the absolute best price we can. They ARE different and big chains are not always the best. I get one of my prescriptions at Wal-Mart for 10.00 per month without insurance but Wal-Mart is 4 times as expensive for another one of mine. 

Check around and if you are in a depressive episode and can't face the whole ordeal, find a merciful and determined friend to do that for you. Just another reminder of the stress we face some days when we feel blah, flat and unmotivated and we need to make our way through the systems that be. Please don't stop taking your meds because of these scenarios. That is the wrong avenue. You need them. Find someone to help you and if you know the Lord-- pray. The Lord can bring you help when you are weak and feeling defeated. Hang on. With empathy and love,Robyn.

 I just had a CAMI member, Heidi, make me aware of a web site which does the shopping for you when it comes to pricing medications. This is how we help one another.  I am not sure about mail order countries outside the United States.  Here it is  www.goodrx.com/ 





Would you like to order our book Broken Minds? You can pay by check or online and we will give you a brand new book autographed by Steve by the authors, Steve and Robyn Bloem  Please visit our web site: http://heartfeltmin.org/resources.html





Find out about the CAMI vision.
http://sbloemreflections.blogspot.com/2012/08/cami-support-group-in-at-christs.html














Thursday, February 18, 2016

To the Husband With the Wife Who Has Depression



Editor, I added the images in this blog. SB



Becci Nicholls
Author, by Becci Nicholls. copyright (July 24, 2015)    
Editor - I think this is a great article.  It was posted on our new CAMI (Christians Afflicted with Mental Illness) group.

This is our new CAMI page! We would like to invite you to join this group if you or someone you love suffers from depression or the other mental illnesses. It is a closed group, meaning only members will see your posts and we want you to feel free to share your struggles and prayer requests in a safe environment.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/459882490863734/

Image result for black cloud of depression

Dear Husband,
I love you dearly, more than anything in this whole world. I think you already know this. I know you love me too, I just forget sometimes. Depression clouds my mind and fills me with horrid thoughts about how unlovable and worthless I am. Sometimes I believe you, sometimes I believe depression.
I know you prefer the good days when I’m happy and not anxious or snappy, and I wish I could have these days every day. But I can’t. I feel the cloud approaching and it petrifies me. Sometimes I tell you and sometimes I don’t. Please, if you notice the cloud before I tell you, just hug me tight and tell me we’ll fight it together. Please don’t ask me if I’m OK — my automatic answer will be yes. In reality, it’s a big no. You see, depression can make you feel ashamed.


I know sometimes I overreact about the smallest things and get angry, but please be patient with me. Forgetting the bread will not be the real reason. It’s that I feel like I’m losing control over my mind. Depression is very clever, you see – it builds up a wall of anger piece by piece, and you never notice it until it’s so big it begins to topple over. I’m sorry you get the brunt of my anger on cloudy days. Please forgive me. Please. Just tell me you love me and leave me to calm down.

I know it’s hard to help somebody through depression if you’ve never experienced it yourself. I understand. I totally get it. Just listen to me and ask about the cloudy days. I can’t just bring it up in conversation. Depression clouds your mind. I need you to break the silence.
 
There will be lots of times I feel like you’d be better off without me, or that my children deserve a better mamma. Sometimes I’ll tell you. Most of the time I won’t. Sometimes I can go for months without those thoughts crossing my mind, and other times I think about them every second of every day for weeks. That’s the scary truth. Depression is vile — a vile, nasty monster. Please always keep an eye on me, but know no matter how many times you tell me I’m worth it I probably won’t believe it on cloudy days – but please never stop telling me. Ever.
 Image result for failure
I love our children more than anything, but sometimes I feel like a failure. I feel like a rubbish momma. My mind nags me and tells me other mommas do things better and love better than me. I feel like I always fall short. I find it so hard being a momma on cloudy days, but I try so hard to not let them notice the clouds. I hope you know I try.

I haven’t self harmed since February 2010, but the urge often consumes me. When the black cloud is here it consumes my mind. I fight it so hard for myself, my children and for you. I know it’s hard to understand why I crave it, I can’t explain it myself. It’s like an old addiction that comes to hurt me when it smells the dark cloud. One day I hope it won’t ever cross my mind again.

I know I don’t talk about these black clouds often, but I want to. I hate the silence it forces me to keep. There’s a certain freedom when it comes to talking openly about the monster. Help me find that freedom.

 
Depression makes me feel tired. Sometimes the fatigue is so bad I just want to cry. Every bone hurts. Sometimes I lay awake at night and worry about things that won’t even happen. Squeeze my hand tight if you’re awake too.

Sometimes it takes every bit of motivation to get up in the morning, but I never let you in on this. A new day often scares me. I wonder, will I cope? Will the sky be blue or black? Is the weather nice? Every single morning is hard, but seeing you makes it easier.

I want to publicly thank you for loving me and supporting me. You are the best.
Yours forever,

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Electro-Convulsive Therapy, It has saved livesC!

Image result for ECT
Yes, these people have been helped!











Here is a shocker! Yes, that pun was intended. I have had my depression treated, on two separate occasions by a series of Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT);  I  usually had from twelve to  fifteen seizures induced  by electric shock. I had to be hospitalized for a month the first time and then for a week for the next series.  I also had it as an outpatient. Today it is available as an outpatient treatment in many places.
Image result for ECT
Yes, these people have been helped!


Why did I ask for ECT?  It was because I was extremely depressed; I had to force food because I had no appetite. I also could not sleep at all.  I was very suicidal. Both times ECT  brought me  out of  severe depression. The first improvement came after two sessions and then gradually I had no depressive 
symptoms.
Image result for man resisting treatment
What I don't understand is why is everyone so upset, nervous and opposed to a treatment that is safer than or as safe as antidepressants? You can shock the heart so that it beats again. You can use a Cesarean  Section to bring a child safely from the womb to the world.  But when it comes to treating the brain, stigma and fear abound.

ECT is a biological approach to a biological medical problem. It is in no way a lobotomy. Why is it that the church continues to resist the science of mental illness, when the treatment outcomes are better than ever?  For  further discussion of ECT go to chapter twelve of Broken Minds

 



 http://heartfeltmin.org/resources.html. For Kindle go to
http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Minds-Healing-Youre-Losing/dp/0825421187







Please read  the John Hopkins Hospital brief article below. The only thing I would add is there are two methods of the placement of electrodes on the brain, both bi-lateral and unilateral ECT. Unilateral ECT usually has the least memory loss. Some say bilateral is stronger in its effect on depression.
You can also read about ECT in our book  Broken Minds.  It is available by paper back, Kindle and other applications.

Why use Electro-Convulsive Therapy Is the Right Choice.

 Many people think Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a thing of the past, but it is still being used today, given its effectiveness in treating major depression. In recent years, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and the U.S. Surgeon General have all concluded that electroconvulsive therapy is a valuable tool in the treatment of certain mental disorders, particularly depression.

A Stop Gap for Agony

Before beginning Electro-convulsive therapy, an individual with depression typically first receives psychotherapy, antidepressant medication or a combination of the two. While these treatments are often effective, they take time to work. This delay can be dangerous for people whose depression is accompanied by intense suicidal thoughts and/or delusions. For these individuals, who are at immediate risk for ... suicide, Electro-convulsive therapy can work much more quickly than antidepressants and is therefore a good option
.
Image result for ECT
What happens during Electro-Convulsive therapy? 

It can be performed in an inpatient or outpatient setting. After the patient is given general anesthesia and a muscle relaxant, electrodes are placed on two areas of the scalp. A short, controlled set of electrical pulses is then administered for about a minute. The electrical pulses must produce generalized seizures to be effective. (Because patients are under anesthesia and have taken muscle relaxants, they do not openly convulse or feel the current),

Patients awaken about five to 10 minutes after the end of the treatment. Most are oriented and alert within 30 minutes. Typically, Electro-Convulsive therapy is given two to three times a week for a total of six to 12 sessions. These sessions typically improve depression in 60 to 70 percent of patients -- a response rate similar to that of antidepressant drugs -- and in 80 to 90 percent of people using it as first-line therapy.

ECT'S Shortcoming

A major limitation of Electro-Convulsive therapy treatment is that the benefits may be short-lived. Within a year, 50 to 60 percent of people experience a relapse, and they may have to take antidepressant medication or continue receiving Electro-convulsive therapy periodically to prevent a  relapse.


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How does it work?

No one is sure how Electro-convulsive therapy helps certain mental disorders. It may flood the brain with neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are known to play a role in conditions such as depression and schizophrenia. Electro-convulsive therapy may also help regulate hormones that play a role in these disorders.

This is a re-post.