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.
The brain is gone (?)
This statement by Robert Kennedy Jr was his description of people who have autism. Fortunately, some people have spoken out on this to set the record straight.
You can too.
The context of this statement came during his attempt to campaign against a bill that would make it harder for parents to opt out of vaccinations. His position is due, at least, in part, to his view the significant correlation between vaccinations and autism. (two things to note here though: first that correlation is STILL in question, and that ‘brain dead’ is not a characteristic of autism)
Without others cheering us along, or providing some sound counsel on our own ideas, we are not going to be as productive as we could have been.
Basically, we really do need one another.
Today, I want to turn the corner –slightly, in order to talk with you about how one’s faith plays into this whole idea of support. I will be coming at this from the Christian faith perspective and along the way, I hope to challenge you to reassess your own faith.
Over the years I have had opportunity to lead life skill groups for individuals with disabilities. And, while there are a lot of different techniques that can be learned there is one thing that continues to so essential for ANYONE to succeed.
Watch this short clip about AMY and her recovery from mental illness, paying particular attention at 1:30 minutes
Did you catch that one thing NECESSARY for success: having someone believe in you! Please note in the picture to this post that the only thing missing in Support is You. Namely, there is support available to you, but it will not be handed to you on a silver platter. You will have to invest time and dedication to make it come about.
One of my most popular downloads is my S.M.A.R.T. Goal worksheet. Now, I would like to elaborate on the steps to reaching S.M.A.R.T. Goal as it pertains to someone who has an anxiety disorder.
Helping people with anxiety set goals can be daunting, but not impossible. And, while the details will be different from one person to another, and from one disability to another, the general principles will be the same to all. (If you have questions on how to adapt S.M.A.R.T. Goals to your lifestyle, contact me and I will do my best to help you.)
As I was driving to work the other day I was more aware of the wide disconnect between some people’s faith and their lifestyles when working with people who have disabilities, which translates into weakened relationships with those whom they serve.
And, as I drove I began to formulate a prayer for us who work with the disabled, a prayer that can be very powerful.
(NOTE: what I am describing is not intended to be used for someone who is having delusions that would put anyone in physical danger!)
Talking with people who have delusional thinking can be difficult when you start discussing areas that you know are ‘hot spots’ for them, which makes it akin to walking through a mine field. Please remember –let it be burned into your mind- that sheer reasoning with them regarding the absurdity of their convictions will not convince them to change their belief because this is not about educating them. Mental Illness does not mean stupid! Far from it. Mental illness is -in the vernacular- a broken brain.
The Word of God is Applicable to us Today
The other day I was thinking of Moses and the Israelites facing the Red Sea while the hordes of Egyptians descended upon them to kill them. And while the Israelites feared for their lives, Moses told them to stand still and see how God was going to save them. You can read the full account of this at Exodus 14.
Mary Ellen Copeland is the founder/developer of W.R.A.P. (Wellness Recovery Action Plan), which is a fairly intense and extensive program to help individuals not only manage their life with disabilities better, but to move towards enjoying their life more.
You can read more about W.R.A.P. here. If you have a mental illness-and personally from my experience of 7 years leading life skills groups, it can be useful to anyone- it is geared specifically to you. If you can answer the following questions with a YES, W.R.A.P. might just be something for you to investigate:
Having a disability can be brutal!
- …when symptoms of mental illness flare up, life suddenly becomes overly complicated
- …when your child who has autism is going through a spell, you are at your whit’s end to know how to comfort him
- …when your deafness is yelling at you so loudly that you can are not able to be a part of the conversation, your self esteem can take a plunge
And, yet, there IS a way through these struggles:
- support groups
- assisted-living devices/animals
And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.
One thing that can easily be forgotten in our churches is that there is nothing in the Greek Text, no variant readings, that would even suggest that this verse excludes people with disabilities, as if to convey a message that being tolerant of others can stop when it comes to some sort of outlandish behaviors from one who is disabled
Recently, I asked myself this question as I am preparing to launch my book (see the right side bar!). Why am I doing this? Is is to make money, or is there another purpose? As I jostled with that question for several minutes, I knew the answer: it was to convey a message of hope to people who have disabilities that there is LIFE beyond the disability. Sure, I am aware that I may make a few bucks because I am pouring my all into making this book look good and be great, but, again, my reason is to get my message out there.
Why is it that we take such an inordinate amount of time when trying to discover what a newborn wants as he cries, but when it comes to trying to make out the rambling statements of one who has schizophrenia, our patience is drawn thin?
Would we treat that little baby any different IF we knew that one day he would grow up to be that person who was rambling?
It is excruciatingly difficult at times trying to help individuals get more out of life while running into road blocks on a too frequent basis. And, yet, the reward is overwhelmingly refreshing: to see someone ‘get it’ can easily put a smile across my face that is larger than the moon, and it is worth far more than hitting a good day on the stock market.
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
For each one will bear his own load.
(My commentary on the above is that, firstly, we need to help others do what they can not do for themselves, yet, we also need to recognize that others must take responsibility for their own life)