We have been inundated with articles on mental illness lately. I post a lot of these because I would be under that category and because I post a fair amount about suffering on this blog. There is a Category on the right for suffering and also a link to the old Suffering Christians blog.
I’ve read things from Oswald Chambers and D. Martin Lloyd-Jones about what I call “real psychology” and thought they were ahead of their time–earlier and middle of the last century. As it turns out, the Puritans were way ahead of their time. They even recognized that there can be physiological components to depression, which many people today still don’t believe. I’ve read that the contemporary book Helpful Truth in Past Places: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Counselling by Mark A. Deckard is a good place to start.
The Puritans and Mental Illness | HeadHeartHand Blog
The following is a good article about how certain terms can be hurtful and unhelpful. I don’t think there is a need to go all politically correct on this, but there should be some guidelines, especially for journalists who write about these things. I don’t really mind the terms like mental, headcase, wacko or whatever, unless they’re meant in a truly hateful manner. (Sometimes we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously either.) I think it’s the proper medical terms used incorrectly that can be especially unhelpful. The writer of the article mentions calling yourself “a little bit OCD”. I’m extremely particular, almost to the point of being ‘certifiable’, but I’ve stopped using the term ‘a little OCD’ once I learned how awful being truly OCD really is. It’s not funny. And people always get schizophrenia wrong. They’re usually meaning ‘multiple personality disorder’, as in a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Or people who say one thing and then another, which could just be hypocrisy. Schizophrenia is awful (I’m not), and not funny or something that should be used when a more accurate term could be.
Another area is when someone is chronically depressed and they’ve tried everything, and have lived with it for decades, and then when mustering up the courage to mention it, have someone else say, “Yeah, I get depressed too.” That’s a tough one because there are so many degrees of depression. Same goes for anxiety and a number of other things, including chronic [physical] pain.
The article also mentions that those who are mentally ill are not likely to be more violent than the general population. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say, “Yeah, she’s Biopolar, so she’s kind of dangerous” or something to that effect. I deal with Bipolar Disorder (Bipolar II on the depressed end of the spectrum, or the unofficial term Bipolar Depression, if you’re familiar) and I know there’s no truth to that. Being Bipolar doesn’t make someone violent or mean.
By the way, incorrect spellings would be Bi-polar or BiPolar, if you happen to be writing about it. Bipolar Disorder is the general term, but there are two basic types, being I and II (1 and 2) and it’s a spectrum disorder in many ways. So two people who both suffer from ‘Bipolar Disorder’ could have varying symptoms that vary in severity.
‘Crazy Talk’: How We Characterize Mental Illness | Her.meneutics | Christianitytoday.com
The 9 words you missed. – This is a post about hope. I identify with the majority of what he says. I’m basically in a permanent “season of hurt”, so I get a lot of practice. I really like his “edge verses”. I call them “verses off the beaten path”, which I like to post on Twitter or Facebook when I come across them if they don’t require explanation–especially the OT, but his term sounds less like some are more important than others.
A couple of Reformed resources:
Westminster Theological Seminary – The Westminster Theological Journal – this has somehow failed to acquire my attention until now
The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson – free ebook in various formats and even as an MP3 audio book too
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.