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When You've Reached Your Limit

I was listening to the radio station KLOVE today as I was driving and heard a Christian singer talk about a time in his life when he was de...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What Is It About Your Care Team That Makes A BIG Difference?

You are in a position to choose what makes the difference in your mental health care starting with your care team. Some of it is a little harder to find, but if you're willing to be flexible with your time and distance then there's a really good chance you can find the people you need for your care. And the power of prayer makes a big difference, as well. What am I talking about specifically? YOU NEED CHRISTIANS ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH CARE TEAM. Starting with a counselor/psychologist-do your research. There is nothing wrong with coming right out and asking the person who answers the phone, "Is this a Christian counseling (or psychology) service?" If not, move on. You can start your research on the internet or ask friends who may know someone in your community. FINDING A CHRISTIAN COUNSELOR/PSYCHOLOGIST IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON ON YOUR CARE TEAM. Why? This is the person you are going to share everything about your depression with, your triggers, discussing anything you want to aid in your care. In turn, your counselor should provide you insight about your yourself, your depression, tools you can use in situations when you need help getting through something that triggered your depression, for example. You should always be talking more than your counselor/psychiatrist in your sessions. Your first session may require he/she talk more, but typically you should be talking about yourself. Then they interject what they notice or ask questions about something you said. I went to a Christian counselor I was referred to out of my first hospital stay, but it didn't work out. I met with her twice. She talked about herself both times a lot. So, I moved on to another one who happened to be my social worker from the hospital I stayed at. She worked at the private practice my Christian psychiatrist--who I also met and was my doctor at that same hospital--had outside of working at the hospital. I've had quite a few counselors or psychologists through my life before I got saved and after so I learned what made a good one and what didn't. And sometimes the Christian counselor you find just isn't a good match and that's okay. Go looking for another one. You will be so happy you did.

What about a psychiatrist? If you have spent time with your Christian counselor/psychologist and he/she recommends at some point you seeing a psychiatrist then this would be your next care team member. (A psychiatrist can write prescriptions for medications, but a counselor/psychologist cannot.) It would be fantastic if your Christian counselor/psychologist knew a Christian psychiatrist for your referral, but it may not be the case. He/she may know a very good one, but they may not be a Christian. In my opinion, when it comes down to medicine, I would rather just have a good doctor, Christian or not. Remember, nothing is impossible with God and He's in control. This person (psychiatrist) of your care team may be someone you may have to travel outside of your home boundary to go see if you live in a small town. And you may have to do the same to find a Christian counselor/psychologist.

So, the only obvious question that may be lurking in your mind might be, "Why do they have to be Christian?" You might be surprised how this is not so obvious to Christians as you would think. There are certainly more Christian counseling services now probably than when I was seeing one. When I was my lowest at the hospital and then naturally found out that several people working there were Christians was such a comfort to me--that I just knew I wanted to keep going to the Christian psychiatrist when I got out and the counselor who worked out of his office. That was like a given to me. I wouldn't have had it any other way. The big difference about your care team being Christian is that for one--they will pray for their patients. To me, that's huge. They will relate to you and your problems from a Christian perspective, not introducing non-biblical ways in handling your emotions, behavior and attitudes. He/she will be positive and optimistic in always approaching things knowing God's in control and focus on what you can do in the here and now and keeping God in the equation. A non-believer won't do that. You can talk freely about being a Christian knowing your counselor can relate and understand you from a spiritual standpoint. 

If you find there is a huge difference in your beliefs with a supposed Christian counselor/psychologist--meaning they are believing in something that is not biblical then I would switch to a new counselor/psychologist. My husband and I did that with a counselor he had known for a long time. This counselor had seen my husband on his own for a while and then we together saw him. One day we got into a discussion about homosexuality. And then this counselor made the statement that shouldn't everyone be allowed to marry if they love each other. That broke the deal with me. We walked away. As you see, not every Christian or supposed Christian counselor, in this case, to Christian patient situation will be perfect, but you move on until you find the right match--just as you would in the secular world with secular counselors.

I hope this has helped in understanding how important it is who you choose for your mental health care team. God has put Christian health care providers in this field to help people, just as in any other field. But they have a unique understanding of mental health patients and mental illness that, simply non-believers won't have. And they will have it and see it from God's perspective and His love that secular counselors will have no depth in understanding.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

When Life Changes Your To-Do List

As you know, I did not publish several days this week of blog entries as I intended. I had a family health emergency that needed my attention. Things are back to normal so I am able to take a breath and write again. But this almost-whole-week's experience definitely left an impression on me.

It started on Monday afternoon when I got a call from a family member saying she was at the ER and asked if I would meet her there. It was for a possible heart attack and so I took off, trying to contact other family members at the same time to let them know what was going on. When I got there it was around 3:15ish. The ER was busy and several other people sitting in the ER were hooked up to IVs. When I reached my family member, she was sitting in a lounge chair with an IV in, but no fluids connected to it. We sat in this little curtained off area in a hallway for 5 hours before being taken back to the actual ER space. My family member had tests run such as blood taken, EKG and those came back normal. So we thought the seriousness of the situation has subsided even though we still had not seen an ER doctor. But they kept us. They did a chest xray which came back normal, as well. My relative thought it was just indigestion for sure because the pain had mostly gone away. She was treated with a GI cocktail which was to calm any indigestion and it did help.

So when we were taken back to the actual ER part of the hospital I would go out to the nurses's station after an hour or so asking when my family member would be seen--she still had not seen the ER doctor. I was told she was up next. An hour later I went out again and asked the same question and said why if everything has come back normal can my relative not be discharged. I was told she can't leave until the ER doctor has seen her--and she was still up next in line.

Finally, a Physician's Assistant (PA) came in to see my relative, basically to talk about what brought her into the ER. The PA said she wanted to get another round of blood taken since enough time had gone by since my family member had come to the ER. So another sample of blood was taken and another xray. The PA came back in and said that everything looked normal, but the pancreas levels are highly elevated and that my relative would be taken up to ICU for a couple of days. My family member looked and me and I at her and I mouthed the word, 'Wow'. That was a shock and my relative was scared in an instant. Her whole face became flush. She was thinking it was pancreatic cancer--a death sentence in her mind.

It was amazing to me how in one moment when we were getting ready to pack up and leave and then she was told something totally unexpected and that she was going to the ICU for a couple of days. We were both shocked. Something like that or worse can change your life. It reminds me of my dad 9 years ago in that same ER. We had finally gotten him to go to the ER because he was going back and forth between constipation and diarrhea and we knew something was wrong. The ER doctor he had came in and told us he either had leukemia or some kind of cancer. Well, either way it was cancer and we were in shock and the room got quiet. 

I was concerned about my relative and what she had just heard. She was clearly upset. And I then knew I had to spread the news that plans had changed. That was hard too because some of the people I going to have to tell knew what an elevated pancreas could mean and others would probably freak out cause they didn't understand--was that bad or really really bad?

Plans changed. Then my sister and I started on a schedule of sitting with our family member or taking turns, being there with her. We went through what seemed like a lot of unknowns. Whatever it was kinda took care of itself through an endoscopy, elevated liver enzymes and then everything--all enzymes going down. No one could definitively tell us this or that happened by the time we left. My relative is doing much better and is back at home. She is a little tired and not able to do too much, but she is feeling a lot better.

I thank God that my mother is alive and well and still with us. I praise Him for taking care of whatever was wrong within her body. I thank God for Jesus and his resurrection that we get to remember tomorrow--the sacrifice given for all of us to have the shackles of chains fall off for those who know Him and to look forward to the day when we will see Him face to face. What a beautiful face to see, to look upon. Happy Easter!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week of April 10-14: New Morning Monday-The Triumphal Entry

I apologize for not putting out a blog entry on Friday, but the server for blogspot was having difficulties. I was not able to access the website at all for the times I checked.

This week's blog entries will be about preparation for the coming day of Easter. Each day will have something related to the leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. A day that gave us the forgiveness of our sins from the perfect sacrifice that God provided through His son Jesus. Today's account comes from the celebration of Palm Sunday which not all Christians may understand where the celebration comes from. It comes from the people laying down palm branches before Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Not all denominations celebrate or acknowledge Palm Sunday--so not everyone would understand what it means. This first account quoted below from John will mention palm branches:

"The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. they took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, 'Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel.' Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, 'Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt.' At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him." (John 12:12-15, NIV)

This is another account written by Luke:

"After Jesus has said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethpage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 'Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.' Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, 'Why are you untying the colt?' They replied, 'The Lord needs it.' They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 'Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!'" (Luke 19:28-38, NIV)