One of my college students with ADD made a comment that I thought was profoundly succinct and wise:. How do I know? I have the inattentive type myself. I must admit, I hesitated to admit that on this website, wondering if doing so might cost me opportunities. However, I believe the stigma must end. If I say there is no shame to disability, then I must live my life that way.
Before I do, let me emphasize those gifts I mentioned—creativity, intuition, insight, honesty, compassion, tenaciousness, etc. Unfortunately, the condition has to seriously mess up daily functioning to receive a disability label, so here are some typical challenges faced by kids and adults who have the various types. Hyperactive-impulsive type sometimes referred to as ADHD.
Most researchers report that few people past the age of 6 or 7 have this type. I suspect some highly successful adults fall into this category. Because they can focus and organize, they accomplish at high levels. Why should they get diagnosed? Of course, the people who work and live with them might feel differently! Do you remember the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes? Calvin is the epitome of the combined type. In one strip he daydreams about being Spaceman Spiff during math class. Those of us who have either of these types tend to share characteristics that perplex people without ADD.
When something catches our interest, we can get locked into it and not find our way out, even forgetting to eat and sleep. The reason the mistake is repeated is the same brain glitch that caused us to make the mistake in the first place. For example, a person with ADD has her water cut off more than once for nonpayment. The results are extremely embarrassing, annoying, and inconvenient, as well as expensive.
See what I mean? We know we have gifts and want to share them with the world. We know that the ADD-less among us wonder why we find difficult what comes easily to them. We also realize that our ADD-related challenges inconvenience and frustrate the ADD-less, and we regret the imposition, sometimes beating ourselves up because of it.
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The world needs what we have to offer. Some of the most gifted individuals throughout history and living today benefited society by strengths that resulted from ADD. I ask two things. Those of you who are teachers, spouses, parents, friends, or colleagues of kids or adults with ADD, thank them today for the gifts their ADD has brought into your life. Click here for lyrics. I don't know no one who's not touched in some way on this subject.
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If we don't talk about it we'll never find healing. I believe God used you to enlighten us. Thank so much! Georgie Beaver Thank you Fonda for your comments. I am a long-term sufferer with mental illness in the form of OCD and depression. It gets worse as I grow older. I have prayed to God many times to please heal me but so far, I have not experienced healing.
It is hard to understand God's ways when you have mental illness that is on-going. I hang on to the scriptures in Revelation chapter 21 - God promises to wipe away all of our tears and there will be no more sorrow or crying or pain. That includes no more mental illness. RG I read information that stated the medical field needs to stop trying to do the churches job and the church needs to stop trying to do the doctors job.
Instead of admitting limited or no knowledge and discomfort when approached about bipolar so many are quick to give out wrong or misleading hurtful responses. The church and the medical field need to find a way to bridge the gap of communication and information. We need to be open and honest with love and encouragement in the churches.
There are many grey areas involved and not just black and white.
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I have experienced some of the same problems in and out of church. When the church is supposed to be a haven it is surprising to get a very cold shoulder from leadership. Fortunately, I am continuing to educate myself and family on the realities of mental illness not the myths or perceptions. I really appreciated the insight provided in this particular blog.. Joe When I tried to meekly explain my schizo-affective and bipolar disorders to my minister - I felt immediately 'negatively judged' by my minister due to my mental illnesses.
He even actually told me he thought I had "grieved the Holy Spirit. I soon had suicidal thoughts and guilt thoughts. My mental illness began long before I was officially diagnosed, and becoming a Christian later on die not take the illness es away. Now I arrive for worship services late, take the Lord's supper and contribute, and then leave early to avoid the ministers' 'cold greetings. Regards P. Melodye Ray I wish every pastor in America would read and understand this essay.
So much neefleas suffering could be avoided. Louis I'm not saying it was the sole purpose of the article, but this is creating a divide between Christians and non-Christians as illustrated in the comments. As a Christian, I can tell you that we aren't taught to ignore medical doctors or psychologists. However, we rely on God to completely heal us by any means necessary. He is our healer. That can take place by way of a miracle, through medical advancements, and solid counseling.
Healing can come in any way. Cherish All I know is I didn't have any mental illness until I prayed to someone and got an answer. That can cause your mind to play tricks on you. And for someone who really relys on those hallucinations and delusions as a way to live your life then you are suffering from the way of the world religious sickness and it can cause psychotic behavior and schizophrenia.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself because its not of reality. Lizanne Corbit Thank you for this beautiful read. I think this is such an important conversation to be having. This kind of thought process is not an isolated one, and unfortunately, it can be very damaging. It can also lead to the thought pattern of thinking something is inherently wrong and needs to be solved or fixed.
Mental health conditions should not be seen as problems to be fixed, and certainly not prayed away, but this thinking is out there and conversations like these can help to shed light, awareness, and understanding.
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Sharon Amen to everything you said sister! Religion and religious people see mental illness as a spiritual thing. For so long I went untreated and traumatized because I thought all I had to do was pray or fast or renew my mind with scripture. I believe God heals everyone in different ways and if you can be healed of a mental illness miraculously then kudos to you! But the majority of people I know are allowing God to heal them through treatment, meds, doctors, and self-care. I suffered in silence as a teenager. I wasn't diagnosed until I was After I got on meds, learned coping skills, and started practicing self-care and compassion towards myself I am finally living.
What put me in the hospital was a "spiritual fasting" that was almost the death of me. I do have faith in God and I also have faith in the tools He has given me to be well and live a good life. Most religious people are very closed minded about mental illness. There are some who are understanding if they have experienced. So I have learned to just share my story regardless because I know there are people struggling out there that I can help. Thanks for sharing yours! Michael Manuel I believe the Lord can he a person from mental illness through fasting and prayer,supernatur healing a real miracle from above is the best option that is attainable to all who call on Him.
Gay Brickhouse I want to know how to start a support group. I've lost family, friends, and a relationship to this dreadful disease. LoveWins Hey, I love this post. Mental illness and depression is all around, not just in the african american community. I'm a young black women who suffered as well. Praying is a huge part of the healing process. I didn't even know how important praying really was until I just humbled myself and started to do it. After constant suicide dreams, depression ect. I by faith signed myself up for therapy, which helped me with my self esteemed and to grow a voice for "MySelf" instead of others.
But during therapy after a suicide dream , I prayed to God to help me with what whatever this was going on in my head. There was no church around, no pastor, no preacher in my room at the time when God showed me vision of almost everything I did in life. I was so shocked, I hopped up out of my bed and began to apologize for those things He showed me. Now this experience is what really made me seek God for healing and to know Him. With the help of my therapist who I believe God placed in my life to help me. God then went ahead of me and made a way for me to receive healing. During my process, I went to visit a church after continuously praying..
God spoke through this women to me concerning the things I was going through and praying about. She told me exactly what I really had been seeking from God. She told me that God was going to literally touch my mind and renew it. And that he was going to take away the nightmares and depression I was feeling. God had really touched my mind and revealed himself to me in a mighty way.
One morning, I woke up and I realized I did not have a nightmare or the feelings of depression. Inside of me was this heavy feeling of peace, love and JOY. I touched my mind because I didn't have any thoughts inside of my head! This is so amazing. The healing came unexpectedly, I fell done to my knees and worshiped the True Living God.
I'm set free from depression and mental illness. You guys we will go through in this life until we die. Its apart of life. But having God makes it all better! He can do it for anyone. I encourage you all to not go by what men says about "Religion, and God. Get alone when no one is around and tell him all about what your going through.
Don't put a time limit on God as to when he will heal you. God Bless! Patty Fonda, Thank you for your well written blog! I personally am working hard to try to help with erasing the stigma of mental illness. My son was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was At first, at age 17, it seemed like he was just depressed. We have prayed and prayed for God to heal him. Since his diagnosis he has been diligent to take his meds and is now able to hold down a part time music teaching job. He was able to start a support group for others suffering from mental illness as well as working.
He's doing great and if you met him, you probably wouldn't even know he had this condition. Maybe this is how the Lord has answered our continued prayers for him!! My husband and I teach the Family to Family Class now because it helped us so much when we took it. I highly recommend that class!! I wish you well and will continue to fight for fulfilling lives for those with M. John Cunningham Prayer is a narcissistic control mental disorder.
As is all parts of religions. The god, messiah complex. They get their information from book with no printed authors. No original text. No appendix or providence listing sources. Caring, loving humans and human rights should always be over any and all gods, religions, religious beliefs or rights. Prabhjot Please I request to preister of the church for pray me because I have depresion. Mary Carver Loved this article!! I am not a minority but I am a Christian and have been told way too often to just have more faith or "think positive"!
Have to fight tooth and nail to get real medication!
What a hell mental illness can be at times. Francisca T. Rimando I need to know more about mental health is it inborn or made up thanks. Tosha I'm dealing with this very thing right now! I'm so fed up with folks saying "give it to God" "pray harder" or my all time favorite one I have bipolar disorder, anxiety and PTSD and I pray, meditate, practice mindfulness, go to every support group there is and I see a therapist regularly It's insane and just plain wrong! I believed for many years that there had to be something wrong with me because no matter how much I prayed and "gave it Up to God" I was still suffering with mental illness I actually believed that I was being punished.
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I'm sorry for the long post but I really needed to vent and after reading ur blog which by the way is incredible! I knew this was a place where I wouldn't be judged. Thank u for sharing ur story it definitely hit home. Adam Montgomery When I lived in a spiritual, African-American community, I felt more accepted than ever given I was experiencing bipolar symptoms. My friend was able to explain the "devil came in my life" to be reintegrated after a borderline episode.
Religion is a great thing for mental illness. I just wish we could accommodate science and religion to find a solution to this horrible problem. JRice Fonda, Thank you for sharing this story. As a woman of color, who is working my way through depression with the help of professionals and medication, I know there is much more that you could of have said. I have been told by well-meaning people that this functioning shell of a human being is all I will ever be; but I believe that is where pray comes in.
The faith to continue to work with my doctors, and counselors; to exercise, to eat better, to try new things and even new medications, if I have to; will come from continued growth in my spiritual relationship. All of us have to remember that faith needs work! Gwen Captain I'm an African American woman with mental health issues. I would love to reach out to you and share some insight into some of the barriers I have endured personally and professionally. I am looking to starting an informal group in my church talking about solutions during critical times. Your article was refreshing.
Thank you. Tracy G. I understand the struggle that our people had in society that did not lend itself to making mental illness an issue. However, I was sexually abused, lived amidst domestic violence, incarceration of a primary care giver, and alcoholism. I too now advocate for the de-stigmatization of mental illness in every community.
Thank you for your contribution on the topic! LaShawn Faison-Bradley Thank you for the article. Matthew Potter African-Americans are not the only people subjected to this illness, i. Whites, also are prone to to depression, and any other form of illness you can think of. By the way, your story was well written and inspirational. I, too, have suffered depression ever since I can remember, and used to use sweets to "medicate myself" and it turned into full-blown schizophrenia.
I no longer suffer from symptoms of schizophrenia, but still struggle with long-term depression. Matthew Potter African-Americans are not the only people affected by mental illness, i. Whites suffer from it also, and I am one of them, hoping for answer for the cure someday, just like you did. By the way, your story was well-written, AND inspirational. Nancy I am discovering that it is not only the African-American culture that is holding on to misconceptions about mental health issues, but the majority of all Americans hold false beliefs.
I think we are back to the Middle-Ages regarding mental health. Why is it so hard for people to accept that the brain is an organ of the body just like any other organ? Faith without works is not faith. Pat DeVries I am a white mother with an adopted black daughter who has been diagnosed as bi-polar, mood disorder and borderline personality disorder.
I have heard from her so many times This is a very helpful article for me. I have printed it off and am giving it to her to read. JD Vashon True cross-culturally. Many clergy are not trained to handle medical or mental illnesses. Thank you for the reminder. Victoria Marie Alonso Astonishing! With God all things are possible but we have to do the footwork and that includes seeing doctors and taking our medicine. Lolita I too have a passion to eliminate stigma among Our culture. It's inspiring and brings hope to see someone who has been through it give an even deeper perspective on the effects and how it hinders.
William Tritz Loved your story! Thanks for sharing! Flovea Great article. Direct and to the point. Barjohn Fonda you are amazing.
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I stand with you and am so proud to call you my friend. Keep pressing forward my sister. Linda Phillips Fonda, I really appreciate your speaking out so openly and honestly to address how the African-American culture views mental illness. I know your voice is being used to open the eyes and minds of many in our community and state, no matter their racial or cultural roots. Patricia Mallory Thanks so much for shedding light on an otherwise hopeless situation that many people are in great need and understanding what a devastating MI is not only personally but to the families as well.
Looking to join up with support groups to help my grown son in his battle with this. Just giving him the meds and expecting him to cope all by himself! They are falling thru the cracks in society, and it seems nobody really cares! But I do and with a Gods Hrlp , we'll find a way out of this nitemare! Again, thank you. Robin B. Kemp We almost lost our daughter this week to suicide. She is recovering medically, but she has a long road ahead.