Sunday, September 25, 2016

Robyn Leeser Bloem with Steve Bloem.
 
 


























WHISPERS IN THE FOYER-Seminar coming.
Yes, I repeat myself. See why below. :)
Recognize this picture? Or this announcement?
Whispers in the Foyer Seminar Oct. 15. 2016
Consider this:
The 1st time people look at an ad, they don’t see it.
The 2nd time, they don’t notice it.
The 3rd time, they are aware that it is there.
The 4th time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it before.
The 5th time, they actually read the ad.
The 6th time, they thumb their nose at it.
The 7th time, they get a little irritated with it.
The 8th time, they think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
The 9th time, they wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The 10th time, they ask their friends or neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The 11th time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The 12th time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The 13th time, they start to feel the product has value.
The 14th time, they start to feel like they’ve wanted a product like this for a long time.
The 15th time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The 16th time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The 17th time, they make a commitment to buy the product.
The 18th time, they curse their poverty because they can’t buy this terrific product.
The 19th time, they count their money very carefully.
The 20th time prospects see the ad, they buy what it is offering.
Now consider this: Mr. Smith penned this witty insight back in 1885 — over 129 years ago! Advertising was still in its infancy, but savvy marketers like Smith quickly figured out that “more frequency = more effective.”
*Taken from the Financial Brand online
I know I have spoken about our October seminar in Boca Raton already. But you know, I watched a commercial about Peter Pan at a 50th class reunion for weeks before I bothered noting who was paying for the commercial. It makes me laugh just thinking about it; you know the one where he stands around insulting his aged 68 year-old high school friends just like an annoying 13 year old would. I laughed every time as if I had never seen it before! That was Geico.
Jon Bon Jovi singing “Turn Back Time” for Direct TV had me singing and laughing for another few weeks. And again, I had to really think about who the advertiser was.
We all know who taught us JUST DO IT! That’s because Nike declared this for the first time in 1988.
So at the risk of annoying you, I am repeating the announcement about our seminar on Mental Health Issues. It is Oct. 15, 2016 at Boca Glades Baptist Church. It costs $60.00 per person, $90.00 per couple, includes lunch and lots of information, our personal journey in ministry as Steve has had Bipolar II since 1985 and what the illnesses are, what they look like, how to help and what the bible says about it.
Hopefully it won’t take Peter Pan, Bon Jovi or the Gecko to help you remember our seminar because we only have about 3 weeks. You won’t be able to turn back time.
We registered 4 more people today so hurry up! Seating is limited. Come on, JUST DO IT.

Comments
If you would like to pay online go to http://heartfeltmin.org/join-us.html
You can also send a check to our address: 4371 Northlake Blvd., Suite 256, Palm Beach Gardens,
Florida  33410

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

God will never leave you in your depression or any other trial!



 







I am sixty years old and I was ordained to the gospel  ministry in 1984.  My pastor at that time said that it was, "a landmark ordination for our church."  Less than a year later I had severe depression and did not know how to fight it. When I was agitated and depressed, I used to read certain passages of the Psalms every day, and hoped they would deliver me. My depression got worse.  I knew that I had access to the throne of God through Jesus Christ and I took advantage of it.  I asked that the depression would be taken away.  By this time I could not sleep or eat and had no libido (these three occurring together are often a sign that a person has biological depression).    


 I turned to evangelical writings of the day for help.  They attributed depression to sin and also a flawed character.  I was ashamed!
I felt abandoned by God and by His church. I believe the devil was using this “apparent desertion” by God and man to try to get me to commit suicide. I kept fighting this atrocious act and had some relief from medication.  My wife Robyn and I believed that God had called me to be a pastor.  I tried to follow through with this high calling. I was asked to preach at what we hoped would be our first church.  Just before the weekend we had been scheduled to candidate at our first church, I told Robyn, “I can’t do it,  I cannot go.”
 I was suffering from a depression that refused to yield to the mediocre treatment, which I was getting at that time. Later when I had partial relief from my depression.  I called the chairmen of the pastoral church committee, the same church which I had sought to be a pastor and told him what was wrong with me. I said to him, “I would like to preach in your church and I know that you are still seeking a pastor.”  He said, "Rev.  Do you have a case of the nerves?”   I told him it was depression.  The church was done with me. 
My suffering continued for many years, finally I convinced a psychiatrist to try me on a new antidepressant.  After two weeks I was better.  After about a year, I decided to go off my medications with my psychiatrist’s blessing. Within a week, I was horribly depressed.  I was very suicidal and had to be watched by family members.
 I went on the same medication that had worked, this time it did not work. I descended into the black hole of depression.  Finally while in great suffering; I decided to get ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy).   Back then, you had to be an inpatient in a psychiatric hospital for getting treatments.  I was in there for a month and the ECT worked.
Please don’t try to convince me that mental illnesses are not biological.  I have been stable now for almost thirteen years.  I take four medications for my illness.  They do not cure me but they take the symptoms away.  They are not tranquilizers or meth amphetamines


 Image result for schooner in a great storm
In fierce storms," said an old seaman, "we must do one thing; there is only one way: we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there."This, Christian, is what you must do. Sometimes, like Paul, you can see neither sun nor stars, and no small tempest lies on you; and then you can do but one thing; there is only one way. Reason cannot help you; past experiences give you no light. Even prayer fetches no consolation. Only a single course is left. You must put your soul in one position and keep it there.
You must stay upon the Lord; and come what may--winds, waves, cross-seas, thunder, lightning, frowning rocks, roaring breakers--no matter what, you must lash yourself to the helm, and hold fast your confidence in God's faithfulness, His covenant engagement, His everlasting love in Christ Jesus. --Richard Fuller

The paragraph above was based on Scripture about perseverance, while in great trials, 
and helped me to trust God while I was in the dark. I fired my psychiatrist, got anew one and asked him to put me on Pamelor.  At first he hesitated and told me that I was under great stress and medicine would not help. But I remonstrated and he prescribed me Pamelor which made me feel better in two weeksI thank the Father of Mercies, and God of all Comfort for His great deliverance in the past present and the future.
.
Why, O LORD, do you stand far off?

God is...an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).  But He allows trouble to pursue us, as though  He were indifferent to its overwhelming pressure, so we may be brought to the end of ourselves.  Through the trial, we are led to discover the treasure of darkness and the immeasurable wealth of tribulation.We may be sure that He who allows the suffering is with us throughout it.  It may be that we will only see Him once the ordeal is nearly passed, but we must dare to believe that He
 never leaves our trial. 

 Our eyes are blinded so we cannot see the One our soul loves.  The darkness and our bandages blind us so that we cannot see the form of our High Priest. Yet He is there and is deeply touched.  Let us not rely on our feelings  but trust in His unswerving faithfulness.  And though we cannot see Him, let us talk to Him.  Although His presence is veiled once we begin to spake to Jesus as if He were literally present, an answering voice comes to show us He is in the shadow, keeping watch over His own.  Your Father is as close to you when you journey through the darkest tunnel as He is when you are under the open heaven.  Daily Devotional  Commentary quote by Streams in the Desert, Mrs. Charles Cowman

Please check out our coming seminar on October 15, 2016. it will be a great time of fellowship and learning Scriptural truths that help explain depression and mental illness.

http://heartfeltmin.org/join-us.html




Thursday, September 15, 2016

Image result for bipolar disorder

Treatment Contracts: A Powerful Tool for Living and Loving with Bipolar Disorder

Sarah Freeman
Pictures added by Steve Bloem


I destroyed my first marriage through infidelity, wild spending sprees, outbursts of rage, and many of the other hallmarks of uncontrolled bipolar mania. People who know the ugly details of my story are often surprised to learn that my second marriage is so successful and solid. How can my spouse trust me? How can I trust myself?

In my other life I am a lawyer and my particular passion is contract law. To me, contracts are never sterile or boring. You see, contracts are all about risk management. Because I care about my clients it is easy for me to feel passion about protecting them - about shielding them from harm. I have discovered that a contract can also help me in managing my bipolar disorder. Contracts are not just restricted to the world of commerce. The most personal and intimate of relationships – marriage - is often understood as a contract. The Bible is built around the contract between God and his people. Contracts can play a central and highly effective role in managing our most cherished, private, special connections. Put simply, a contract is an exchange of promises. Promises that are enforceable. Promises that are guarantees. And since coming to terms with my bipolar disorder,
 I have discovered another very empowering, mutually protective contract – the Treatment Contract.

 Image result for shaking hands

I first learned about Treatment Contracts from The Bipolar Clinic & Research Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital. This is how Mass General describes this wonderful tool:
“A treatment contract is a document that you write while you are feeling well to plan for the times when you do not feel as well. It is written so you, your family, friends, and doctors can recognize your symptoms of illness and can comply with your wishes for treatment.” In other words, a Treatment Contract is an agreement you make ahead of time, when you are well and able to make good decisions. It is critical to understand that a Treatment Contract is NOT something that is imposed on you. Instead, it is YOUR PLAN made ahead of time to ensure that you get prompt treatment based on your own choices and instructions if you become unwell.

 Image result for treatment contracts
Right now my medication and other treatment strategies are working wonderfully and it is a long time since my last episode. But that is only part of why we feel so good about our marriage and so confident of coping with whatever the future may bring. For both of us we have added security and peace of mind because we have the safety net of a comprehensive Treatment Contract.

 
In 12 Step programs, it is often explained that folks are “only as sick as the secrets they keep”. Sometimes the symptoms of bipolar disorder also lead us to keep secrets and hold back important information from our loved ones. However, as I myself have discovered the hard way, once an episode of mania or depression fully develops, it becomes almost impossible to make good choices. Instead, I am likely to behave in ways that are destructive to myself and the people around me. What makes it all worse is that during a serious mood episode we become less connected with reality and with the people around us. This makes it harder to short-circuit negative behaviors, especially if we are being secretive or feel paranoid or in other ways deluded about the “rightness” of our actions.

Make a treatment contract ahead of time.

Instead of understanding intervention from loved ones and our medical team as well intentioned and necessary, we may resent it and feel convinced they are the ones who “do not understand”. The solution? Create a Treatment Contract ahead of time. There are no hard and fast rules about how to do this. Do what works in your situation, based on the issues that have come up in the past. Because of my history of bipolar hypersexuality and infidelity, my spouse and I are especially concerned with identifying the signs that a manic episode is developing. At the first signs of mania we want to try and stop the episode from becoming more extreme. W e also want to make sure that no matter how acute the mania may become, the practical consequences are minimized.
Image result for question mark
How do we do this? Strong, decisive action may be necessary. This means a proactive intervention aimed at containment. What are some examples of “strong, decisive action”?

1. Restrict or monitor Internet use. This is to avoid both online shopping and gambling, and sex related activities such as pornography or cybersex. It may also help prevent the bipolar person from isolating and retreating into themselves too much.

2. As much as you can, take cash, credit cards and ATM cards for safekeeping. If things seem like they could get really out of control, also consider taking the car keys.

3. A dear friend of mine is married to a lovely guy with bipolar disorder. He is a musician who has a long history of substance abuse as well as his bipolar. My friend manages their money by giving him a monthly allowance. He has an ATM card to access this account at all times, but if he goes off his meds or seems to be getting hyper, she cuts off all other access to their finances. This way he always has some autonomy and dignity but can't get them into financial trouble
.
4. Some experts suggest cutting up credit cards but this can be a problem. For example, a non-bipolar spouse will still need to pay bills and buy groceries. Finding a way to divide finances like my friend does with her musician husband is more practical.

5. Watch both email and conventional postal mail very carefully as credit card companies are still sending out credit card applications and those seductive little convenience checks.
6. If you are lucky enough to have any kind of portfolio, you may need to confide in your investment advisor or broker. Although financial professionals are bound to carry out the client's instructions, a heads-up can encourage them to insist on written instructions and a face to face meeting. Ideally agree that they will notify a spouse, doctor or other appropriate person if any unusual transactions are requested.

Does restricting or monitoring Internet use, or cutting off access to finances sound heavy handed? Please listen – I destroyed a wonderful marriage and my financial security when manic, so I KNOW these actions can be necessary, constructive and loving. Managing bipolar is a lot easier with the right tools, and Treatment Contracts are a tool I strongly recommend.

 Sarah Freeman
 http://ibpf.org/blog/treatment-contracts-powerful-tool-living-and-loving-bipolar-disorder


How about coming to our seminar, Whispers in the Foyer; An Honest Look at Mental Illness on October 15, 2016.


http://heartfeltmin.org/join-us.html

Monday, September 12, 2016

Our Lindsay. Suddenly she drops out of the family pictures

Robyn Leeser Bloem's photo.
                             

 Robyn Leeser Bloem's photo.


....There have been meals with an empty chair, 2 high school graduations without her, 3 college graduations she missed, two post graduate celebrations without her picture in the group, three births and many holidays, everyday occurrences and her own birthday and that of Emily for 15 years that she has not come. We do not grieve as those who have no hope, but, oh my, do we grieve! Lindsay's last act was heroic; not as a first responder, not a paramedic, not a firefighter, but as believer in Christ who cared about others. She was killed on her way home from a prayer vigil for our nation on Sept. 11, 2001. She laughed, she cared, she had depression and a panic disorder, she encouraged her brothers and her friends, she couldn't wait to be a mom, and she loved hard and fully! The world didn't get to know her for long but she won. Now she is with our Wonderful Savior doing whatever departed saints do. We will all be together soon. She would want us to serve with all our strength now that her faith is sight. And we are trying to do that, to the glory of God. We love you, honey and we will see you soon! Mom and Dad.


Robyn Leeser Bloem's photo.                                                                             




Image result for empty chairs at dinner tableImage result for lindsay bloem














Image result for wedding supper of the lamb

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Schizophrenia, What you need to know.







Image result for homeless people in america
 









I was an associate director of mental health for a urban ministry in Grand Rapids, MI.
Some of the most difficult clients were the ones who suffered from schizophrenia. There are many misconceptions about schizophrenia. One which has continued to be promoted for years is that schizophrenia is a spilt personality syndrome. This is not true at all.
It is a complex mental illness and one of the most difficult to treat.
 

I had the privilege to go with founder and director, Don Tack of Servant's Center (he was my Bible teacher at the Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music)  under bridges and various places away from the bustle of the city. One such place was known as the Village of the Damned. Its location was in the woods which provided plenty of fire wood to keep warm in the cold Michigan winters. Those who gathered and lived there were some of the most severe cases, with which I had ever seen. These people won't come into the city of treatment. Our job was to go out and befriend them and help them in any way we could. We tried to forge a bond with them and then bring them to a Community Mental Health Center which would offer them psychiatric treatment.
We were able to get more than a few help but it took along time.
 

We got them out of the state hospitals but we have had a terrible time of getting them into treatment and find housing etc. I would ask those who don't believe that mental illness is a biological disease talk to a person who has schizophrenia, who is floridly psychotic, having loss touch with reality. These poor people were deinstitutionalized in the late 1950's and 1960's (in the United States) but they have few places to go. I know for a fact that in Michigan the state prison officials would drop off the mentally ill on the county line rather than actively provide linkage to mental health services.
Many of our readers are from other countries all over the world. Please feel free to comment below and tell us what your country does or doesn't do with schizophrenics. . Please pray for those who have this dreaded disease and pray for their families.
 Image result for schizophrenia symptoms
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia? The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three broad categories:
1. Positive symptoms are unusual thoughts or perceptions, including hallucinations , delusions, , and disorders of movement. An example of a delusion is depicted in the above picture one that people are stalking you.

2. Negative symptoms represent a loss or a decrease in the ability to initiate plans, speak, express emotion, or find pleasure in everyday life. These symptoms are harder to recognize as part of the disorder and can be mistaken for laziness or depression.

Cognitive symptoms (or cognitive deficits) are problems with attention, certain types of memory, and the executive functions that allow us to plan and organize.
Cognitive deficits can also be difficult to recognize as part of the disorder but are the most disabling in terms of leading a normal life.
For more on line go to: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/schizophrenia/what-are-the-symptoms-of-schizophrenia.shtml
 
 

If you would like to attend our seminar, called Whispers in the Foyer an Honest Look at the Christian Mental Illness. Please go to http://heartfeltmin.org/join-us.html

For more about Robyn's and Steve's book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, Kregel Publication. http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Minds-Healing-Youre-Losing/dp/0825421187

Thursday, September 8, 2016

What is the churches problem when it comes to depression?

Broken Minds: Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You’re Losing It, Steve and Robyn Bloem. Kregel Publications: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2005. Paperback, pp. 301. [Reviewed by Rev. Martyn McGeown.]








How do people—especially church people—react to depression? The Bloems, both of whom have suffered from clinical depression, argue that the church has failed to minister properly to the mentally ill. One of the main reasons for this is the church’s refusal to view depression and other mental illnesses as anything other than a disease of the soul, a spiritual disorder, which modern medicine cannot help. Thus a stigma has developed around the mentally ill, such that physical disorders (kidney stones, arthritis, heart disease, cancer) are categorized in an altogether different manner from mental disorders (depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disease, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress, postnatal depression, etc.).




The Bloems have suffered at the hands of—often well-meaning—Christians, who have stigmatized mental illness, and thus added to the burden of the depressed saint in the church. The attitude of many is that Christians are not supposed to get depressed, and if they do, there must be some sin, some hidden bitterness, in their life. Often Christians, argue the Bloems, are like Job’s comforters, who added to, rather than helped, his depression. For example, in a chapter entitled, “Depression and the Ekklesia of God,” Robyn Bloem writes:

Fellow Christians have ministered to us in a multitude of ways by both words and deeds. Some also have intensified our grief and frustration by thoughtless words that either came from attitudes of prejudice or the need to fill dead air when the person didn’t know what else to say. The general rule for approaching a friend or relative who is touched by mental illness is to listen much and speak little (233).
                   Earlier Steve writes,
To show Christ’s love, it is sometimes needful simply to weep with those who are weeping, rather than to give superficial advice or try to be cheery. Job’s friends were good comforters as long as they sat in silence. It was when they opened their mouths to preach long, superficial sermons that they were used of Satan to drive Job into deeper despair (206).

The Bloems speak from personal experience. Steve, a pastor, who is now the director of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries, Inc., has suffered from clinical depression for years, and his wife, Robyn, is no stranger to depression herself—both her own, and her husband’s. The Bloems describe (especially Steve’s) experiences—from indefinable feeling of unease, the persistent darkness, the sleeplessness, the crippling incapacitation, the different diagnoses and treatments, the (often unhelpful and even prejudiced) responses of family, friends, and church, and even the alluring song of suicide. Steve devotes a whole chapter to the subject of suicidal ideation and suicide.

The Bloems contend strongly that depression is an illness that can be treated (although not cured) with medical intervention, as well as by the comfort of the gospel. Why are Christians reluctant, they ask, to treat depression as a disease, and seek medical help, while they would frown upon someone who did not seek medical help for a physical disease such as a fractured bone, a tumor, or a blood clot? Why do Christians reject the findings of psychiatry and psychology out of hand, while they embrace the findings of cardiology, oncology, etc.? Writes Steve, “Because we have distanced ourselves from scientific inquiry, we have tended to offer little to the mentally ill—except condemnation” (113).



Steve Bloem writes this to illustrate the inadequacy of the Nouthetic, “Christian-counseling” approach to the depressed, which he says he has often found “degrading” (187):A typical Christian counselor’s response to a depressed person might sound like this:“Brother, you have suppressed a deep resentment toward another. You have bitterness in your life that you are not dealing with. When this happens, your body does not know what to do with it, and you turn the anger inward on yourself to avoid dealing with the true issues. This in turn will deplete your neurotransmitters in the brain…. So put off your anger and you will put off the depression….”This fictional counselor finishes the day’s sessions and heads home with a splitting headache. Would he try to get to the spiritual root of his headache? Or would he pop a couple of aspirins into his mouth? (190-191).
               Please don't --




 Whispers in the Foyer, An Honest Look at 
the Christian and Mental Illness
 We just finished a seminar in Alberta, Canada and now we have another one. It will be at our home church in Boca Raton, Florida.The date is October 15, 2016 For more information go to heartfeltmin.org/join-us.html 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Asia does not deserve to be hanged for her faith in Christ.

Asia Bibi’s Death Sentence Appeal Update

 Image result for asia bibi

 

A jihadist mob beat her. Her daughter was bullied and tormented.
Then Pakistan sentenced Christian mom Asia Bibi to death for her Christian faith. If we don't act, she will be hanged. This Christian mother of five has been on death row for nearly six years - separated from her husband and children. 

Asia Bibi, the Christian mother of five from Pakistan sentenced to death for her faith, could soon have her final appeal date with her life on the line.
Pakistan’s highest court has accepted Asia Bibi’s request for an early hearing. Asia, a Christian mother of five, has been in prison since June 2009 for allegations of blasphemy. Two of her co-workers alleged that she uttered derogatory remarks against the prophet Muhammad, a crime punishable with the mandatory death penalty.
In November 2010, the trial court sentenced Asia to death. Four years later, the Lahore High Court upheld her conviction while criticizing her defense during trial. The court noted that Asia’s counsel at trial had not cross-examined the two accusers. The High Court said that, because “the most relevant aspect of the prosecution case remained unrebutted,” the witness statements are “deemed to have been admitted by the defense.”

Asia’s new counsel, Saif ul Malook, filed an appeal with the Supreme Court noting multiple errors in the case. He argued, among other things, that the lower courts failed to take into consideration the unexplained delay of five days in registering the First Information Report (FIR). Asia was forced to confess to the crime before a mob of hundreds of Muslims and the case was registered “after due deliberation and consultation by [the local Muslim cleric].”

Under Pakistani law, such delay is considered harmful for the prosecution’s case because it shows that the accusers had planned the case with mala fide intention. In 2002, the Supreme Court reversed the conviction of Ayub Masih (a Christian on death row for blasphemy) over a few hours of delay in registering the FIR.   Please also see -  www.callformercy.com/ (Voice of Martyrs)


 Whispers in the Foyer, An Honest Look at 
the Christian and Mental Illness
 We just finished a seminar in Alberta, Canada and now we have another one. It will be at our home church in Boca Raton, Florida.The date is October 15, 2016 For more information go to heartfeltmin.org/join-us.html 








Support groups. Seminars Counseling and More
Please visit our web site

http://www.heartfeltmin.org/what-we-do.html