Tag Archive | mental health

Don’t Underestimate Your Influence

PositiveInfluence

Do you ever wonder if you’re helping your child who has mental illness (MI)? His illness may prevent him from thanking you. Your spouse may not acknowledge your efforts. When we near our breaking point, we’re tempted to give up.

This message is dedicated to the countless moms who privately provide support. No one sees all you do. No one could know how you minister to your child, in spite of your broken heart. You’d much rather crawl into bed and cry … for a week or two. But there’s no time for you to grieve.

Recently, I witnessed beautiful motherly care and attention. My good friend sat beside her adult son in a mental health care facility.

She had recently totaled her car, which left her with some back pain. She and her husband had settlement the day after her son was admitted into the hospital. Her husband had paper work to do. So she went to visit her son alone (not knowing I’d come alongside her).

In spite of fighting a cold, she asked all the right questions. Presenting each one lovingly.

“Did you eat last night?”
“How did you sleep?”

“Do you like your psychiatrist?”

“Do you take a walk in the hallway sometimes?”

“Did you have group?”

“What are you thinking?”

Periodically, she gently stroked his arm. Sometimes, she allowed silence.

She reassured him without promising something that may not happen.

“Do you think I’ll be able to go to my Bible study’s Christmas party on Friday?” her son asked.

“Maybe. Hopefully,” was her honest reply.

My friend held it together while in the hospital. Until we stepped outside after visiting hours. The exit door became a faucet for her tears.

I tried to comfort her. “Are you okay?”

“I’m numb,” she said as she softly cried.

I gently stroked her back.

Will her son be released before Christmas? That remains to be seen. Will his new medication restore him to his sweet self? Time will tell.

When is it a good time to be hospitalized for MI? Certainly not at Christmas.

Seventeen years ago Christmas wasn’t a time for celebration. Our son, Chris, had to be hospitalized. Those memories mercifully have begun to fade. Visiting my friend’s son threatened to arouse painful emotions.

“Are you sure you want to go?” asked my husband lovingly. Wondering if it would be too difficult for me to relive reminders of our son’s hospitalization.

“This will be healing for me,” I answered. “I know how much it would have meant if someone sat by me when Chris was hospitalized (if you couldn’t come). Especially if that person knew exactly what I was feeling.”

So I went. And was blessed by what I saw in my friend’s compassionate care of her son.

Her son also impressed me. There he sat in a psychiatric hospital speaking about God’s Word. He quoted verses from the Bible and discussed some of his favorite stories. His shattered cognition didn’t dampen his determination to focus on the Lord. His inner turmoil didn’t rob him of his love for God. My friend can take credit for investing Truth in him. God’s Word promises that His Truth will not come back void.

Isaiah 55:11 tells us, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”  (KJV)

Can anyone relate to the thankless care you provide for your child with MI? Certainly the Lord can. He healed ten lepers, but only one thanked Him. He died on the cross for the sins of all mankind, but men mocked Him as He hung dying. Spewing anger in return for His unconditional love. Countless still ignore His free gift of salvation.

Christ surely knows what it’s like for you. He sees your faithful labors of love. So seek His approval. He’s well-pleased with you. And know this: you’re having a positive impact on your child even though it can’t be measured.

Hang in there, with your focus firmly fixed on Him.

The song “In Christ Alone” (from the Secrets Of The Vine CD) reminds us that, “Here in the power of Christ we stand.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExnTlIM5QgE

 

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Mental Health Boot Camp

boot.camp.mental.health

My husband and I will be away on Wednesday so I’m posting this early.

I’m passing along a post from another website. It was posted on Devotional Diva’s blog September 30th.  It clearly portrays what life can be like raising a child with mental illness. While demonstrating how to maintain a focus on the Lord.

http://www.devotionaldiva.com/2013/09/mental-health-boot-camp/#comments

Rest in His love for you as you listen to “Be Still and Know” from Scripture Lullabies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKWGSzxtcZA

Intuition

intuition

Did your motherly instinct ever contradict actions recommended by professionals? There are times to trust your gut. Our children with serious mental illness (MI) need protection. We’re their first line of defense.

Moses’ parents did what was necessary to protect their baby. “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”  Hebrews 11:23

Years ago, I did what was necessary to protect Chris. There came I time when I had to stand up against professionals. Maybe the details of my story will sound familiar.

*******************

The day came for Chris to begin treatment in a partial-care facility. As I drove him there, I worried if the professionals would be caring. I tried to reassure myself everything would be okay.

How can I leave Chris with complete strangers? He just experienced being locked in a psychiatric unit in the hospital. The psychiatrist said he’s ready for the next step. But, I know Chris is still emotionally fragile. God will be with him there.

As we approached the facility, there was a sign directing us to a temporary trailer. The sign on the door read: “Partial-Care Temporary Treatment Facility: Due to fire, our main facility is being repaired.”

I dropped Chris off and went home. Household chores couldn’t keep my mind of Chris.

What’s he doing now? Is his day structured? Is he responding to the other patients? Is he interacting with them?

The day dragged on. Finally, it was time to pick him up. I studied Chris’s face as he approached the car. He walked slowly. Head down. No smile.

“How did it go, Chris?”

“I couldn’t stand it. I felt closed in. It reminded me of the hospital. I felt like a caged animal.”

“How was the social worker?”

“She spoke mean to me. She hates her job.”

Chris’s remarks about the social worker concerned me. Chris’s MI caused him to have a negative attitude. But, God provided discernment. My heavenly Father used my intuition to tell me Chris’s assessment was accurate.

The next day, I accompanied Chris into the facility to meet the social worker. We had a brief conversation. The most enlightening portion went like this:

“Have you worked here long?”

“Only a few years. Chris will soon have a new social worker here. I’ll be leaving soon. I’m pregnant. I’m looking for a different profession. I hate this job.”

Her comments confirmed my suspicions. Chris was right. Suddenly it was even harder to leave him. Knowing he’d be spending the day with someone who hates her job (and Chris?).

When I picked Chris up, he offered some news.

“I met with a psychiatrist.”

“How long was your meeting?”

“Only a few minutes.”

Chris seemed very agitated.

“I don’t want to go back to that place.”

Once again, God provided discernment. My intuition told me his reaction was based on a bad situation, rather than on his condition. His medication had started to help him return to the old Chris. I decided to let Chris stay home the next day (to take a break from the program).

The next day, I called the guidance counselor of Chris’s school. I wanted to inquire about homebound instruction. Little did I know, I was about to get lectured by that professional.

“I’m calling to discuss the details of Chris’s homebound instruction.”

“Mrs. Chandler, where’s Chris?”

“He’s home with me. I kept him home because the partial-care facility seemed like a detrimental place for him. The social worker admitted to me she hates her job.”

“It’s against the school district policy for Chris to be absent. You need to call our social worker.”

When I called the social worker, she yelled at me. She chastised me for making the decision to keep Chris home. In an angry tone she said, “Mrs. Chandler, you’re too over-involved.”

Too over-involved! With my own son?! Does she actually believe I’m simply allowing Chris to play hooky? Surely, she knows about Chris’s diagnosis. Lord, help me respond correctly.

“First of all, I’m the one in crisis and you’re the professional. I’d appreciate it if you’d speak to me with more compassion. Secondly, there’s NO WAY I could ever be over-involved with my son. He’s MY son. I’ll do what I feel is best for him. The social worker at the partial-care facility hates her job and was agitating Chris.”

Her reply: “Well, the psychiatrist at that facility determined that Chris is ready to go back to school.”

In shock I said, “That was based on a brief conversation with Chris, without reading Chris’s hospital records, or without speaking to me!”

“There are procedures to be followed, Mrs. Chandler. You can’t simply keep Chris home.”

“Well in lieu of anyone taking the lead, I’d be happy to take responsibility to arrange a meeting.”

The school social worker backed off and said, “The social worker at the partial-care facility is supposed to arrange a meeting. I’ll make sure it happens as soon as possible.”

I hung up the phone. Emotionally spent. But, grateful God helped me stand up to the professional who—shall we say—lacked bedside manners.

*******************

Sometimes God uses caring professionals to guide us through the mental health system. Other times, He alone provides the discernment and wisdom for us to know what’s best for our child. Either way, God equips us to do what He calls us to do.

Listen to “Lord, Reign in Me” as a reminder He’s alive and directing you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSdthxieYp4

Was there a time when your woman’s intuition directed you to stand strong against professionals on behalf of your child?