Archive for the ‘Mental Illness’ Category

What About Bob – Part I

June 16, 2010 1 comment

When I need a good dose of humor and a reality check as a counselor, I watch the movie “What About Bob?” Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfuss) shows just how truly intoxicating the profession of counseling and how that professionalism can become a barrier to connecting with a client.  I love Bob (played by Bill Murray).

Another blogger presented a thought-provoking view of what Bob was really searching for, but Dr. Marvin could not see beyond his blind professionalism.

Dysfunctional and imperfect community can be a greater source of healing than the professional and sterile relationship between the therapist (or pastor) and client.

When Bob Wiley first meets Dr. Leo Marvin, it’s in the sterile setting of his therapist’s office on the 44th floor. Dr. Marvin sits behind his monolithic desk with his symbols of success and identity surrounding him. But Bob is taken by Dr. Marvin as a person. He wants to talk, to hang out, to just be with Dr. Marvin. While Bob’s neuroses naturally drive people away, inwardly he hungers  for fellowship.”  –Jason Zahariades

Here are two movie clips showing Bob and Dr. Marvin’s first meeting.  Enjoy!
[There is a little bit of language as Bob suffers from Tourette Syndrome most often associated with random outbursts of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks].

The next clip shows Dr. Marvin’s solution to Bob’s issues.  Bob is delighted until he learns that the counselor he has come to quickly depend on and have confidence in is leaving on  vacation!


Change A Mind About Mental Illness

April 14, 2010 7 comments

Want to help break the stigma associated with mental illness? Me, too! Here is a good website to start with:  Change A Mind About Mental Illness.  For several years I have had a  growing passion for breaking this stigma within the church.  Sadly, the statistics stated below are as true for our churches as they are for any other people group on the planet.  Think about it when you walk into your place of worship this Sunday – could you identify these people?  My hunch is probably not – because the stigma has entered the church walls making it an unsafe place for the broken-hearted to share their mental illness.  This saddens me deeply.  I once heard that the church is to be a “hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”

[From the website]1 in 6 adults and almost 1 in 10 children suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. Yet, for many, the stigma associated with the illness, can be as great a challenge as the disease itself. This is where the misconceptions stop. This is where bias comes to an end. This is where we change lives.

I can be an advocate for such strong words as I have experienced mental illness in the experience of clinical depression for over 30 years.  The promises of God are sure and have been a help and refuge for me.  But people walking alongside of me, including counselors, pastors and doctors have been like Jesus with skin on – they have helped in more ways than I can express.   It really doesn’t matter whether you have personally experienced mental illness, God calls His followers to be swift to care.  And if it is difficult, then pray for the compassion and mercy to care.  This, in part, is what the Resurrection is all about.  Jesus is passionate about healing on many levels – from broken legs to broken hearts.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory. (Isaiah 61.1-3)

Pray to have eyes to see and ears to hear – to not back away.  Life is messy.  The evil one thrives on accusing hurting christians to hide behind smiling faces.  Jesus has promised that the truth will set us free.  You don’t have to be a counselor or a pastor to come alongside hurting people.  In fact, refer people to counselors when you believe a matter is over your head.  That’s a grace shown, and a responsibility we all have.

i will present you
of my
if you are patient and tender.
i will open drawers
that mostly stay closed
and bring out places and people and things
sounds and smells, loves and frustrations, hopes and sadnesses,
bits and pieces of three decades of life
that have been grabbed off
in chunks
and found lying in my hands.
they have eaten
their way into
my heart
altogether – you or I will never see them –
they are me.
if you regard them lightly,
deny that they are important
or worse, judge them
i will quietly, slowly,
begin to wrap them up in small pieces of velvet,
like worn silver and gold jewelry,
tuck them away in a small wooden chest of drawers
and close.
-author unknown

Categories: Mental Illness

Caffeine and Mental Illness

March 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Interesting post from the Caffeine Web.  I am an enthusiastic fan of coffee, so had to check out this article.  Maybe you are not a coffee drinker, but enjoy your caffeine in other ways.  Here’s a site where you can calculate your caffeine intake.

NASA’s Caffeine Findings


In 1995, NASA’s Dr. David Noever and his fellow researchers at the Marshall Space Flight Center studied the webs spun by common house spiders (Araneus diadematus) dosed with several drugs, including LSD, marijuana, benzedrine, chloral hydrate and caffeine. The more toxic the drug, the less organized the web the spider created.

The spider on marijuana drifted off before finishing the job. The spider on benzedrine, an upper, worked energetically but without much planning. The spider dosed with chloral hydrate, a sedative, soon fell asleep.

To the surprise of Dr. Noever et al, caffeine did the most damage of all the substances tested. The spider dosed with it proved incapable of creating even a single organized cell, and its web showed no sign of the “hub and spokes” pattern fundamental to conventional web design.

What does the web of a caffeinated spider (which can hardly be accustomed to the jolt of a morning latte) have to do with human behavior? Unlikely as it sounds, it may be the most vivid illustration of caffeine’s disorienting effect on caffeine-sensitive people, many of whom may be misdiagnosed as mentally ill:

“Caffeine-induced psychosis, whether it be delirium, manic depression, schizophrenia, or merely an anxiety syndrome, in most cases will be hard to differentiate from other organic or non-organic psychoses….The treatment for caffeine-induced psychosis is to withhold further caffeine.”

Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose, 3rd ed., 1998
Michael W. Shannon, MD, MPH,
Director, Lead and Toxicology Clinic, The Children’s Hospital; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Staff Toxicologist, Massachusetts Poison Control System; Lester M. Haddad, MD, Clinical Professor in Family Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina; Emergency Physician and Active Staff, Bon Secours St. Francis Xavier Hospital; James F. Winchester, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Georgetown University Medical Center

Categories: Mental Illness