Monday, May 09, 2011

Spirituality and Mental Illness

I wanted to call attention to a very helpful post by an internet friend, Lisa Graas about the spiritual needs of those suffering from mental illness.  Lisa suffers from depression and has outlined a very helpful means to emotional wellness.

She suggests offering up one's sufferings for others.  These graces, she says, are important not to waste.  It also gets us out of our own heads, something I had not thought of before.  It does not matter if you don't have anyone or anything specific in mind to offer up your sufferings for.  God will use them regardless.  You can always offer them for others who suffer from mental illnesses.

Lisa suggests a devotion to Saint Dymphna, something that is close to my heart.  She mentions St. Dymphna Shrines both in the United States and abroad, to visit.

Something else she talks about that I have also found crucial is the development of virtue.  I recently posted about how helpful Totus Tuus Ministries have been to me in that regard.  Overcoming one's shortcomings and avoiding their repetition reminds me very much of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  We must squarely face how we have hurt others and make amends when possible.


newguy40 said...

A couple years back my then 16 YO son developed a mild OCD, food phobia along with his preexisting ADHD. This resulted in a great deal of trouble at school and home that even today we still deal with.
Frankly, for myself, without the holy eucharist, Mass and prayer the family would not have survived. Many many prayers have gone and continue to go the the Blessed Virgin Mary. Stay close to her and you'll stay close to her Son.

It's difficult and painful to watch your child go spiral into serious physical and emotional danger. I can truly say that only by putting the situation in God's hands and accepting the cross he offered me, was I able to make sense of the pain my son was suffering.

As you note, mental health is process. A sometimes long long road of a lifetime. There is alot more I could say on this subject. When I am asked for advice from others on "how I handled it..." I say "pray constantly".

Dymphna said...

There are times when my struggle with depression gets me down. It is those times I am glad God exists and is watching over me because I don't do a very good job, sometimes, of watching over myself.

Prayers for your son and your family.

Barbara said...

Like you, I suffer from bouts of depression. There is only so much I can do with diet and exercise to manage it, and, thankfully, I am not always depressed as I once was. Offering it up for the conversion of sinners as Our Lady of Fatima requested makes me aware that no matter what I am going through, it has a purpose. I don't need to know why, I just need to do what God asks. Glad you posted this.

Dymphna said...

Thanks. I take such comfort too in the fact that life has a purpose.

Emily said...

I found St. Dymphna when I ran into anxiety attacks in high school. She became my Confirmation saint, and I happily say that that struggle helped me understand trust in God, patience, etc. Praise God for his goodness and I believe Dymphna's intercession was a part of my growth. That's what drew me to this blog!
I also love the stuff from Totus Tuus. This is basic stuff every Christian should be doing! We all need to read it and learn from it, and hopefully grow in grace and holiness.
Thanks for what you're doing!

Dymphna said...

Thank you very much, Emily! I'm so glad you enjoy some of what I post.

Dymphna's favorite quotes

"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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