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. 


 Please look at reviews for our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You're Losing It.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Are Pharmacies Ripping You Off?

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


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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 

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:

Find out about the CAMI vision.

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.

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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.
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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,

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Why I Love the Psalms by guest blogger, Anita Gordon, Alberta, Canada

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"And what do you have that you did not receive..."  1 Corinthians 4:7b

I love the psalms.  I just love them.  I sing them.  I reference them.  I pray them.  I love its songs of pain, its songs of joy, its songs of fear, faith and praise.  There is not an emotion that a human being can experience that is not expressed in one of the psalms. 

Any church that has released their hold of the psalms in corporate worship has done their congregation an enormous disfavor.  Sure, it's trendy now to adopt the more modern praise songs.  In fact, most churches have made that shift.  Praise, praise praise!  While praise is important, the Christian life is not about riding the mountain tops.  What about the Christian who enters the sanctuary sorely depressed?  He cannot see the bright countenance of His God's favour.  In fact, he wonders if God exists at all.  He's not looking to sing praises.  In fact, as the rest of the congregation is giddy with joy during song, he wonders if he's a Christian at all.

Or, what of the one who's conscience weighs heavily upon him?  Guilt is eating at him as his past transgressions come to haunt him yet again.  He remembers the lives he's destroyed.  He senses the burning displeasure of God and it crushes him.  He doesn't feel much like praising either.

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Think of any congregation.  There are depressed people in the pews.  There are fearful people, abused people, persecuted people, thankful people, convicted people, joyful people, delivered people.  That's a huge range of life situations!  And the psalms speak to each and every one of them in their differing circumstances. That is the strength and beauty of the psalms.  They cover such a beautiful array of human emotion in worship.

John Calvin called the Psalms “an Anatomy of all Parts of the Soul”. As he explained: “There is not an emotion of which anyone can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated.”
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The psalms teach us that there is no shame to sing in utter despondency.  Look at psalm 88.  The psalms teach that there is a day of reckoning for the wicked.  Look at Psalm 73.  The psalms teach us that God created everything good.  Look at Psalm 8 or 104.  The psalms teach repentance.  Look at Psalm 51.  And of course the psalms promote praise.  Look at Psalm 95 or 100.  Yes, the psalms is where rich theological truths masterfully and beautifully entwine with human hearts and experiences.

When we find ourselves in various life circumstances--times where we do not even have the words to speak or to pray, the Lord in his infinite wisdom and tender compassion has given His bride a book of songs so that we may lay our hearts open to Him.  He gives us the words that so clearly reflect the raw and unbridled emotion of our hearts.  And He makes the words our own by making every pronoun singular possessive...'I, me, my.'  As a result, these psalms, these words become intensely personal.

But best of all, Christ is portrayed in the psalms.  There are psalms that exalt Christ.  They tell of His work and of His sufferings.  They tell of His exultation and His kingship.  You know, when Christ was on earth He sang the psalms Himself in the synagogue.  Christ also quoted the psalms while He preached and taught.  Think of when our Lord hung on His cross.  What did He say?  Psalm 22 is the perfect picture of our Lord's saddest hours--it is the record of His dying words.

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When I sing the psalms I'm singing the very words of Christ.  I am worshiping as Christ worshiped.  I am sharing, even in just a small way, in His sufferings, in His praise, His laments and in His exultations. 

The psalms never leave us to wallow in our own flawed thought processes.  They always, always, always draw the eyes heavenward.  They allow us to express ourselves articulately and then beautifully directs our gaze to God's wonderful, condescending goodness to us--which ultimately is seen in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh precious psalms!  How good God is to have inspired and preserved such a book for His people.  What a gift for His saints. 

Mental Illness: our book, Broken Minds, (Kregel 2005) chronicles our own story of mental illness, teaches what the bible says and gives the physical aspects of a disease that is crippling Christians who are being erroneously taught that their illnesses are a result of sin. If you want to be validated in your depression or other mental health disorder and spiritually encouraged, I would strongly suggest you order a copy of Broken Minds on our website. We don't blame you for being sick!
Rev. Steve Bloem B.A. M.M.