Monday, May 29, 2017

This is a repost

From the National Institution of Mental Health

Everyone double checks things sometimes. For example, you might double check to make sure the stove or iron is turned off before leaving the house. But people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) feel the need to check things repeatedly, or have certain thoughts or perform routines and rituals over and over. The thoughts and rituals associated with OCD cause distress and get in the way of daily life.
The frequent upsetting thoughts are called obsessions. To try to control them, a person will feel an overwhelming urge to repeat certain rituals or behaviors called compulsions. People with OCD can't control these obsessions and compulsions. Most of the time, the rituals end up controlling them.
For example, if people are obsessed with germs or dirt, they may develop a compulsion to wash their hands over and over again. If they develop an obsession with intruders, they may lock and relock their doors many times before going to bed. Being afraid of social embarrassment may prompt people with OCD to comb their hair compulsively in front of a mirror-sometimes they get “caught” in the mirror and can’t move away from it. Performing such rituals is not pleasurable. At best, it produces temporary relief from the anxiety created by obsessive thoughts.
Other common rituals are a need to repeatedly check things, touch things (especially in a particular sequence), or count things. Some common obsessions include having frequent thoughts of violence and harming loved ones, persistently thinking about performing sexual acts the person dislikes, or having thoughts that are prohibited by religious beliefs. People with OCD may also be preoccupied with order and symmetry, have difficulty throwing things out (so they accumulate), or hoard unneeded items.
Healthy people also have rituals, such as checking to see if the stove is off several times before leaving the house. The difference is that people with OCD perform their rituals even though doing so interferes with daily life and they find the repetition distressing. Although most adults with OCD recognize that what they are doing is senseless, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary.
Statistics and Age of Onset
  • Approximately 2.2 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 1.0 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have OCD.
  • The first symptoms of OCD often begin during childhood or adolescence, however, the median age of onset is 19.
 OCD sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some people have it while others don't. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain are involved in fear and anxiety. By learning more about fear and anxiety in the brain, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role.

  •  People with OCD generally:
  • Have repeated thoughts or images about many different things, such as fear of germs, dirt, or intruders; acts of violence; hurting loved ones; sexual acts; conflicts with religious beliefs; or being overly tidy; They do the same rituals over and over such as washing hands, locking and unlocking doors, counting, keeping unneeded items, or repeating the same steps again and again; They Can't control the unwanted thoughts and behaviors; They don't get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but get brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause;They spend at least 1 hour a day on the thoughts and rituals, which cause distress and get in the way of daily life

Who Is At Risk?

For many people, OCD starts during childhood or the teen years. Most people are diagnosed by about age 19. Symptoms of OCD may come and go and be better or worse at different times.OCD affects about 2.2 million American adults. It strikes men and women in roughly equal numbers and usually appears in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. One-third of adults with OCD develop symptoms as children, and research indicates that OCD might run in families.

Have you read Robyn and Steve's book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing  When You Feel Like You're Losing It?  It is published by Kregel Publications of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Here is a link to some reviews of the book:
There is a chapter on anxiety disorders.
If you wish to see a list a program on OCD, go to:

Please go to our website

Monday, May 22, 2017

Are you a defender of the weak?

 Image result for broken minds

Proverbs 18:14, “The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but a broken spirit who can bear?” (NASB)

The writer is saying that the human spirit given by God is resilient and helps people get through all kinds of sicknesses. But when the spirit itself is wounded or broken, there is much to endure and no inner resource to help endure it.

The word spirit is used here of the person’s inner being. If your spirit is broken, then you cannot endure the daily routine of life,  you cannot sustain sickness. Proverbs doesn’t offer a solution for this dilemma, nor does it go into reasons why the spirit may be wounded. It simply makes a statement: When the healing mechanism is what needs to be healed, that’s a serious problem. A broken spirit, whatever the cause, puts a person in the category of not being able to go on with life in a normal fashion. 
When I have a severe patient and my spirit is broken, as well as my mind, I am devastated, harassed and full of terror all the day long. People who say there is no such thing as a mental illness are not only ignorant of science but they disrespect the sufferer.You might say that when Robyn and  I became weary of people questioning us"what was wrong," we wrote a book about our own experience with depression. Please see our book,


 I especially liked the verse, " You are a defender of the weak."

"Everlasting God"

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles
by Christ Tomlin

Monday, May 15, 2017

Are you in denial about having a mental illness?

Denial Runs Deep

 Image result for a person who is in denial

Part of my denial was that, as a born-again believer and a trained theologian, I did not want to entrust myself to a “system” where I would be vulnerable to mistreatment or psychological brainwashing. A deeper reason was that I had been taught that depression was for wimps. Surely if Christians walked with God, they would not get depressed. 

It wasn’t that I hadn’t heard the other side of the issue. One of the professors during my pastoral internship was a psychiatrist who spoke to us about the chemical imbalance that causes depression. I’d listened to part of a radio program devoted to the story of a man who had depressive episodes. I heard only part of the program because I was so afraid of identifying with the symptoms that I changed the station. God was working in subtle ways to prepare me, in spite of my denial.

Another reason for the denial was that I had a family I desperately wanted to care for. As symptoms grew more acute, I increasingly was a burden on Robyn—in addition to her responsibilities with an infant and two other young children. I knew I was failing to live up to her expectations. She had worked hard and lived with insecurity long enough. But instead of stepping up to the plate, I was making her life miserable. My illness was a burden on everyone who cared for me. 

Image result for a person with a smiling depression

To the extent that I was able, I developed a “smiling depression,” trying to prove the adage, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone.” I ignored a more truthful expression in Romans 12:15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Paul’s command benefits the body of Christ when members open their lives to each other. Quite honestly, my temporary charades fooled no one, and I couldn’t keep up the act very long. My condition was starting to haunt me relentlessly.
 Image result for couple holding hands in the dark

Robyn and I were experiencing what the Puritans called dark providences. Actually, the idea of providence is not very popular in our day. Many good definitions of providence have been given, but one I particularly like is from John Murray, the Scottish Presbyterian theologian and educator. Murray said, “Providence is that marvelous working of God by which all the events and happenings in His universe accomplish the purpose He has in mind.”5

Steve: The Issue of Stress

Scripture speaks about trials and tribulations—stress—as universal to human life and sometimes useful to help us grow. I do not believe that pressure in itself causes mental illness. When mental illness is present, though, stress brings it out into the open because a person’s natural resources for dealing with stress are suddenly unavailable. 
 Image result for Blame it on stress
I looked at my hectic life and came to the natural conclusion that I was depressed because I was “stressed out.” That was hardly a surprising diagnosis. We were moving, without definite work prospects, and I was pursuing my vocational dream. The error of the doctors was to assume that stress in itself caused my symptoms. They didn’t ask whether I had been able to handle stress in the past, so they missed the fact that something was radically different—the onset of a mood disorder. 

Stress is an easy catchall explanation for a host of maladies. Doctors tend to be under considerable stress themselves in the examining room. When someone comes in with symptoms of anxiety and nervousness, they perform a cursory check on heart and blood pressure. Everything seems basically to be working. Must be “stress.” Prescribe a generic pill to settle the nerves.
Next patient please. 

Changes in the amount of time and money a doctor can spend with a patient under “managed care” make accurate diagnosis of mental illness more difficult. Tests indicate mental illness by ruling out alternative causes for symptoms. That takes both time and money. There are many forms of imaging that are know being used to see mental illnesses and the brain. 
(Bloem, Steve and Robyn : Broken Minds, Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're  Losing It.
Kregel Publications:Grand Rapids MI, ( 2005) chapter,pp. 30-32

 This book was written by Robyn and Steve Bloem.
 If you would like  to purchase this book or get more information about it. please go our website.It is on sale at this time.