Thriving in the fast-paced world of Mental Health

DNAFlat affect…Unengaged mood…Monotone speech…Socially dysfunctional…Tangential comments.

Defining People or Listing Symptoms

If you read through such manuals as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders you will find phrases like this to describe how an individual might be presenting himself before a mental health professional.

Yet… to one too many people, that individual is lost.  That individual’s personality, that individual’s dreams, that individual’s hurts, and his desires can so e a s i l y become lost in our rat race of doing our jobs.

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Lessons from One who has Schizophrenia

…feed by lambs.

Jesus (John 21:15 New Century Version)


schizophreniaAbout 5 years ago, in the midst of a very busy Christmas Season, I decided to veer off my schedule for the afternoon and talk with Georgette.  She had a Bible in her hands, which intrigued me.

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Quitting can be rewarding

stop signsSome days I want to quit.

The lessons I daily teach, at times, seem to be so quickly dismissed.

And, I leave the group while wondering if what I taught was in anyway understood.

Like the lesson on the social skill of developing empathy:  “Why”, I asked myself, “don’t they treat their peers more kindly?”

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Stories about Communicating with the Cognitively Impaired

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit;

for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.


the Holy SpiritI had some wonderful talks with people who have disabilities at camp, yet too often I leave a conversation with a person who has cognitive difficulties feeling incomplete.  It is not that I did not pour my self into the discussion or the brief encounter, but the fact is that the person showed to me that he had difficulty processing what we had talked about.

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Caregiving Tip #53 – Reality Based Life

'phoney' written on T-shirtI hope that you have been taking something away from my camp posts

Today, I want to talk about how we can -and, I believe, should- learn from others, specifically, those for whom we care.

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An Undervalued Tool for Caregivers

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Support can be Icky

disablity signsThis is post number 2 from Camp.

Icky is a word that I don’t use much, but it pretty much accurately describes what I want to share today.

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Confessions of a Camp-a-holic

Lessons for Caregivers

true confessionsAs promised in  my previous post, I wanted to share my thoughts on my camp experience of working with individuals who are disabled in hopes that these stories can help you to be a better care giver.

So, one lesson that I learned is this…

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Reflections of A Wounded Healer

two hands ready to touch one anotherToday, I am getting ready to meet our campers here at Joni and Friends Family Retreat.

Never in my life would I have imagined that I would be here or doing what I am doing.  Let me reword that:  “Never in my life would I had imagined that I GET TO DO what I am now doing”

I know that other caregivers look upon their work as something that they GET TO DO, also.  But, I also realize that there are days when caregivers  do all they can do to just get by.

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1 Step to Motivate Others

a stick figure listening to a soundOne of the biggest stereotypes that I have encountered as I have been working with individuals who have disabilities is that ‘they are all the same’:  they are broken, and if they get lucky, someone can fix em.

This type of pidgeon-holeing is a slap in the face to them and the rest of humanity as it continues to foster short-sightedness in the eye of the observer by way of their assuming that that person is a cog in the system that when rotated enough times in a certain direction will  produce predictable results. And thus, we have one counseling session after another, one doctor’s appointment after another, one set of medications after another…

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Getting Camp Ready

Family Camp Joni and FriendsOver the last couple of months the New England team for the Joni and Friends Family Retreats have been working at a feverish pitch to get our first camp of the season ready to go for it June 9 opening.

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Success Stories of People with Disabilities

Meet Coco:  A lady who is both deaf and blind.  While our world attempts to make people with disabilities into second class citizens, just listen to what Coco has to say:

 In January of 2009, I backpacked through Europe alone, visiting and giving lectures  in England, Holland, Switzerland, Germany and touring Ireland, Scotland and London.

How could a young lady do this ALONE with a double disability if she allowed the naysayers of the world to have their way?  Though Coco admits to having gone through trials, her attitude towards them are that some are good, some bad, and some challenging.  Clearly, Coco has broken free from the chains of negative stereotyping the world places upon her.

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Caregiving Tools from Scripture

toolsHow can God’s word help us become better caregivers?  One big way is that it can keep us going in the midst of continual and immense obstacles.

Posted in Scriptural Reflections and Disabilities | 3 Comments

God’s Word in the Trenches of our Life

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 New American Standard Bible

Applying God’s Word

sign reading FEARLESS1. Is your strength and courage from God?

If our beliefs don’t match our actions than we will become stressed. Thus if we believe this Scripture, but assume that we can better live by it AFTER we have dealt with the problem, we really are not believing God’s Word. Just confess and forsake this…and move on!

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Disability Conferences and Statistics

Disability Conferences and StatisticsPart of my mission is to help others understand that the many individuals and companies that tell us that people with disabilities can and do live full lives. I got this infograph from Michael Leavy who is affiliated with Home Healthcare Adaptations.

The reason that I am posting this is because of my mission:

to help others understand that the many individuals and companies (like Home Healthcare Adaptations)  that tell us that people with disabilities can and do live full lives

I know this infographic is small, BUT, if you click on the image, you will be taken to a larger pic, which you then can enlarge.

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Jesus and Schizophrenia

Jesus and SchizophreniaThe other day as I went about my work of caring for individuals who have disabilities, I thought of this Bible verse:

to whom God willed to make known

what is the riches of the glory

of this mystery among the Gentiles,

which is Christ in you,

the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:27 (NASB)

My mind started to play with these words, turning them over and over in wonder, perplexity, and amazement: if Christ is IN YOU, then when I see an individual with schizophrenia do I also see Christ in them?

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Miracles in the midst of Caregiving

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid … for the Lord thy God … will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

imagesI believe in miracles.  Let me tell you about one.

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Success meets up with Disabilities

imagesAccording to Michal Hyatt, former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers and current author and blogger, defines success as responsiveness to one’s environment.  He states that quickly one responds to situations will be  measure of how well they accomplish tasks.  Follow through, for Hyatt, is a large indicator of success.

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Your Personal Values of Faith are Important as a Caregiver

“Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.”

personal values of faithPersonal values are important, but…

The person who tells you that he is kind to all, then who quickly turns around in the check out line to give a piece of his mind to that mother who can’t control her kid as he pushed the cart into his ankles…is just one of many examples of the unnecessary stress we have because our lifestyles don’t mirror our beliefs.

While it may be natural to say, we all do it, it becomes a big problem when you are a caregiver trying to assist your clients towards better lifestyles.  In my previous post, I gave the example of a group advocating for their clients to define their own goals, but with the unspoken caveat of as long as it is ‘doing it my way’.

So, just how is your value system influencing those people in your charge?

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Another Look at Moses and His Speech Impediment

mosesMoses had a speech impediment!  The leader of the Hebrew nation had problems in communication:

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

Exodus 4:10 NASB

 Did you ever wonder how good of a leader Moses was BECAUSE he had a speech impediment?   Here, let me list out some of the reasons that I lean this direction:

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Anxious Thoughts from 30,000 Feet!

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 6.27.37 AMAre you trying to suppress those worrisome thoughts or are you dealing with them?  Well, you are not alone.

Though more than 18% of Americans over 18 years have some anxiety disorder, there are a greater number if individuals who just plain worry.

And worry can eat you alive. Upset stomachs. Sweaty palms.  Heart palpitations. Shortness of breath.

I know people like this -as I am sure you do too.  But, by practicing skills such as deep breathing techniques, anxiety can be lessened …if not eliminated.

I speak from experience.   I don’t like to fly, and am currently  inside a Delta Airlines flight 2110, coming back vacation visiting family

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