The Nightmare Outcome Of A Son’s Mental Illness

Taken from the Los Angeles Times  which is found   HERE.

Cynthia Hernandez was thinking about the missing dog when she awoke early that September morning in her family’s two-story tract home, tucked away in a residential enclave north of a busy commercial corridor in Chino.

The 10-year-old cocker spaniel, Sandy, hadn’t been seen since the day before. She went outside to call the dog again, without luck. She came back in, took a shower and began ironing clothes for work.

Her husband, Anthony, was in bed browsing the Internet on his new tablet. He didn’t look up when their 19-year-old son, Aaron, walked into the room. Aaron and his mother had argued about the missing dog, and Anthony wasn’t in the mood to talk to his son now.

Aaron’s behavior had been spinning out of control.

He was convinced he was being poisoned by trucks passing on the nearby thoroughfare. Smells and loud noises upset him; he would grow incensed if his mother burned a tortilla in the kitchen or his grandmother had the television volume too high in her room. He punched holes in the wall and talked about killing himself. Once, his mother said, he told her he dreamed that he had killed her.

It was obvious to Cynthia that her son was a danger. She and Anthony had sought help from California’s medical, legal and law enforcement institutions. But they had found only temporary relief, and were frustrated by the piecemeal and often impenetrable nature of the state’s mental health system.

“I felt that one day I would come home and find him dead in the house or that he would hurt somebody in the family,” Cynthia said later. “We always felt that. We lived with that every day.”

On that September day, Aaron walked up to his father as he sat reading in bed and raised a baseball bat above his head.

The youngest of three children, Aaron was an artistic kid who loved playing guitar and the video game “Halo.” A lifelike drawing he made for his grandmother of Sandy, the cocker spaniel, stands out in the collection his family keeps.

In middle school, he began using marijuana and, later, hallucinogens. After repeated attempts to control his drug use, his parents decided it was linked to an underlying mental health problem.

Psychiatrists began offering assessments of what Aaron’s trouble might be and finally settled on a diagnosis: paranoid schizophrenia.

Aaron’s father was well aware of mental illness: Other family members had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

In the 21/2 years leading up to that September morning, Aaron and his parents had been stuck in a nightmare cycle. He had been taken to a psychiatric hospital eight times on 72-hour involuntary hospitalizations, known by police and mental health workers as a “5150 hold.”

The forced holds are reserved for people who pose an immediate danger to themselves or others or are too mentally ill to care for their own basic needs. That can be extended for 14 more days, or sometimes longer, when the patient is found to need more intensive intervention.

After a few days or at most a couple of weeks in the hospital, staff would release Aaron and he would refuse to follow up on treatment and deteriorate again.

In the most extreme cases, a court may order the patient placed under a conservatorship, allowing a family member or other court-appointed person to make medical decisions on their behalf for a year or more. In many cases, that means placing the patient in a locked psychiatric facility and sometimes forcibly administering medication.

But how the state law is applied by each of California’s 58 counties depends on the money and beds available and the philosophy of county officials, doctors and judges.

“What has in essence happened is that every county has sort of crafted the rules that meet their needs the best,” says Sheree Kruckenberg, vice president of behavioral health for the California Hospital Assn. The result, she says, has been “very divergent applications of people’s civil rights from county to county, city to city, hospital to hospital and even from physician to physician.”

Some counties report high rates of 72-hour holds but rarely hold patients longer. Others detain fewer people but keep them longer. And some counties are far more likely than San Bernardino County, where the Hernandez family lives, to initiate the conservatorship process when a patient is referred to them.

A few California counties, including Los Angeles and Orange but not San Bernardino, have begun to implement Laura’s Law, a measure that permits courts to order outpatient treatment of people with severe mental illness. The law’s criteria are less strict than those for conservatorship, and it does not require patients to submit to involuntary medication.

Still, some civil liberty and patients’ rights advocates have argued that this expanded use of forced treatment infringes on patients’ rights.

Melinda Bird, director of litigation for Disability Rights California, says the real breakdown in the system is that there aren’t enough voluntary treatment services and too little effort made by healthcare providers and county officials to engage people like Aaron in the existing programs.

“No one has shown me an individual who could not be engaged if approached in a way that made sense to them,” she says. “You don’t need to force treatment. It is ultimately counterproductive and incredibly expensive.”

State Assemblywoman Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), who wants to expand the use of Laura’s Law, points out that people whose mental illness goes untreated often end up incarcerated.

“We see this as a way of potentially increasing people’s freedoms,” she says.

Unable to control Aaron, his parents kicked him out of the house twice after he turned 18 in 2013.

During the first stint of homelessness, he was arrested on charges of indecent exposure and having an open container of alcohol. The case is pending. During the second, he landed in the emergency room with a skull fracture. He said someone hit him with a skateboard.

Shaken by each incident, his parents took him back in, but his behavior made them increasingly anxious.

In a video Anthony saved on his cellphone, Aaron — slight and dark-haired, with a pockmarked face — paces back and forth, cursing and covering his ears as he argues with his parents.

“I wish I could go outside, but I can’t, because people are going to be throwing their cars at me and throwing all kinds of fumes in the air and I can’t even breathe in my own neighborhood,” Aaron says.

Anthony and Cynthia wrote up a document outlining their son’s medical history and said they would bring it to Canyon Ridge, a private psychiatric hospital in Chino, each time Aaron was detained there.

They wanted the doctors to make a referral to the county of San Bernardino, which would then decide whether to file a court petition seeking a mental health conservatorship for Aaron. But Canyon Ridge never made that referral, Anthony and Cynthia say.

Representatives of the hospital did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Advocates and healthcare providers said there can be disincentives against doctors recommending conservatorships and counties pursuing them, including the strict requirements for a patient to qualify, the time it takes a doctor to argue the case in court, and the shortage of long-term beds for psychiatric patients.

Even in cases in which the provider recommends a conservatorship, the county still has to make a decision to pursue the case.

In some counties, like Los Angeles and Alameda, the public guardian’s office files a court petition nearly every time a healthcare provider refers a patient for a conservatorship, according to data provided in response to requests by The Times. L.A., for instance, has filed petitions on 100% of the approximately 1,200 referrals it received each year. In San Bernardino County, the average was 34%.

Karen Cervantes, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health, said investigators petition for conservatorship only when “there are no other alternatives available.” It’s not clear what the county would have decided if the private psychiatric hospital where Aaron was taken during his 5150 commitments had referred him for evaluation.

On the day before he raised the bat above his father’s head, Cynthia said Aaron told her that a demon had appeared in a car’s exhaust.

She called the county mental health crisis team and tried to put Aaron on the phone with them, but he refused, she said. The crisis unit sent a police officer to the house. By the time he arrived, however, Aaron had calmed down. When the officer asked if he wanted to hurt himself or anyone else, he said no.

Later that day, with his father at work and his mother out on an errand, Aaron led the family spaniel, Sandy, outside. He lifted a baseball bat and brought it down on the dog, pounding her until she was dead.

The next morning, Aaron brought the same bat down on his father. Twice.

Anthony, a stocky 52-year-old, managed to wrest the bat from his 110-pound son. He didn’t see the knife in Aaron’s other hand until the young man sank it into his temple.

“Why are you doing this, son?” Anthony asked. “They’re going to take you to jail.”

“Just die, Dad,” Aaron said. “Just die.”

Cynthia ran outside to look for help. Aaron found her in a neighbor’s yard, and slashed and stabbed her too.

Emergency room doctors were able to stitch up Anthony and Cynthia’s wounds — including one gash on the mother’s neck that barely missed an artery. They pulled a fragment of the knife from her scalp.

Police officers chased down Aaron and subdued him with a Taser. He has been jailed ever since on charges of attempted murder and animal cruelty, to which he pleaded not guilty. In late March, a San Bernardino County Superior Court judge decided that he was competent to stand trial. A trial date has not been set.

From the beginning, Aaron called his parents from jail every day and sent rambling letters with drawings of heroes and monsters. Anthony goes two or three times a week to visit him. It took Cynthia longer to work up the nerve to face her son after the attack. Aaron’s brother and sister do not speak to him.

After a couple of months in jail, Aaron began taking medication. His letters changed, becoming more coherent, his parents say. He began to write about feeling remorse.

Both parents say they want their son to go to a state hospital for treatment, not to prison.

“I’m almost relieved that it happened this way, because now we’re going to have something done,” Anthony said the week after the attack, a stitched-up gash running all the way from his eye to his ear. “Which is odd to say and strange to feel this way. But this is what we’re left with.”

In a jailhouse interview with The Times, Aaron chokes up when he describes killing Sandy.

“I thought, I can’t believe this, I just took my dog’s life that I love so much,” he says. “It was the evil within me trying to take over the so-called anger I had stored up inside of me.”

The same bat could have killed his father. He says his mind is clearer now.

“I’m really thankful that my parents are still here.”

 

Ohio’s Prisons Hold 10 Times As Many Mentally Ill As Its Psychiatric Hospitals Do

Taken from the Columbus Dispatch  which is found   HERE.

The largest provider of mental-health services in Ohio is easy to find: Look no farther than the nearest state prison.

More than 10,500 people in Ohio prisons, more than 1 in 5, have a diagnosed mental illness. And 1 in 12 has a serious and persistent condition such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. There are 10 times as many mentally ill inmates as there are patients in Ohio’s six psychiatric hospitals.

The numbers are higher for females: 41 percent of 2,510 inmates at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville are on the mental-health caseload.

Terry Russell, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio, said these alarming figures are no accident.

“These people are generally not in prison because they are criminals,” he said. “Most people that end up there are the most severely mentally disabled who get into trouble because they are untreated or resistant to treatment. Families many times desert them or don’t know how to help. They end up in the street, which puts them in harm’s way. In most cases, law enforcement gets involved.”

Quiana Froe, 35, of Scioto County, is one of more than 1,000 women with mental illness at the Marysville prison. Froe said she had a mental breakdown midway through a previous eight-year prison sentence.

“I started hearing voices,” she said. “I had heard them before, but I thought it was the drugs.”

When Froe’s mental illness caused her to act out, she was thrown into a segregation unit by herself. There, she said, the voices continued calling to her through the vents in her cell. “There were scary moments,” she said quietly.

She was released from prison but committed a new crime and ended up back in Marysville. She thinks that lack of treatment made her condition worse.

When she came back, things were different. She now receives treatment and medication to cope with her bipolar disorder, and she is much calmer and “at peace,” she said. If problems recur, “I make sure I go see someone to talk it out.”

Taxpayers pay the hefty tab for the 10,596 mentally ill inmates. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spent $41.7 million on mental-health care and medications in fiscal year 2014 and is projected to spend $49 million this year. That is on top of the $22,836 annual overall cost per inmate.

Gary Mohr signed up to run state prisons, not mental-health facilities, but he’s doing both. Cognizant of the issues, and the costs related to mentally ill inmates, Mohr opened residential treatment units at four prisons, including the Marysville facility. He is opening a fifth at the Grafton Correctional Institution. And he is hiring 27 more mental-health staffers and adding beds at the Allen Oakwood Correctional Facility in Lima, where seriously mentally inmates are housed.

Mohr said he is relaxing the long-standing policy of segregating mentally ill inmates with behavioral problems.

“We are coming up with a policy where we do not keep inmates who are mentally ill in long-term isolation. Segregation is our default sanction, but our goal is to ensure that the behavior that got them there doesn’t happen again. This is going to be a major reform in Ohio and across the U.S.”

Mohr also is pushing for greater support and more funding for mental-health courts, currently in just eight of 88 counties, to divert mentally ill people to less-costly, more-effective programs.

“If these courts become familiar with the issues and can find suitable placements, particularly with Medicaid, we ought to be doing that instead of just launching them into prison.”

Dr. Kathryn Burns, chief psychiatrist in the prison system, said people with mental illnesses typically get arrested more often because their untreated behavior brings them into conflict with law enforcement. In the legal system, they have fewer chances of getting community treatment or probation because judges have limited options. The offenders have burned bridges with family members and in the community. Prison is often the last resort.

“They are our family members. They are going to come home. Very few people will stay in prison forever,” Burns said.

Ohio Reformatory for Women Warden Roni Burkes adds, “Folks should care because they are human beings: our mothers, daughters, sisters. They deserve care like anybody else.”

Rita Greifenstein, 78, from Lake County, who is serving four years for voluntary manslaughter, has bipolar and anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress syndrome. She has struggled with mental-health issues since age 5 and has been in and out of state institutions.

“I feel like they don’t know what is going on,” Greifenstein said of the prison health staff. “ They haven’t found the medicine that works for me yet.”

The stigma of mental illness exists inside prison walls just as it does in the outside world, she said. While other housing units at Marysville have names such as Lincoln, Kennedy and Harmon, the mentally ill live in the Residential Treatment Unit, marking them as different. Greifenstein said women in the unit get harassed by other inmates.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services is working with prisons on treatment for inmates with substance-abuse problems, but the agencies aren’t yet sharing services for the mentally ill.

“For individuals who are exhibiting symptoms, the first interface with the system is criminal justice,” said Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director of the mental-health agency. “Not all those individuals need to end up in jail.”

But the agencies are cooperating to find treatment, housing and employment for ex-offenders. Mental-health personnel begin working with inmates up to 90 days before they are released so they have a place to live and access to treatment.

The expansion of the federal Medicaid program by Gov. John Kasich’s administration is making a big difference, officials from both agencies said. While Medicaid can’t be used to treat inmates in prison, it applies once they are discharged. The state has signed up all female prisoners for Medicaid and is working to enroll the men.

While there are encouraging developments, NAMI Director Russell remains troubled that prisons have become asylums for the mentally ill. The organization’s statewide conference on Friday and Saturday at the Hyatt Regency will focus on “criminalization” of the mentally ill.

“We just have no place for those individuals who are ill enough to be in harm’s way but are not ill enough to end up in a hospital,” he said. “Criminalizing the mentally ill just makes no sense from a treatment and economic standpoint.”

Streams In The Desert: April 18th, 2015

And he shall bring it to pass Psalms 37:5

I once thought that after I prayed that it was my duty to do everything that I could do to bring the answer to pass. He taught me a better way, and showed that my self-effort always hindered His working, and that when I prayed and definitely believed Him for anything, He wanted me to wait in the spirit of praise, and only do what He bade me. It seems so unsafe to just sit still, and do nothing but trust the Lord; and the temptation to take the battle into our own hands is often tremendous.
We all know how impossible it is to rescue a drowning man who tries to help his rescuer, and it is equally impossible for the Lord to fight our battles for us when we insist upon trying to fight them ourselves. It is not that He will not, but He cannot. Our interference hinders His working.
–C.H.P.
Spiritual forces cannot work while earthly forces are active.
It takes God time to answer prayer. We often fail to give God a chance in this respect. It takes time for God to paint a rose. It takes time for God to grow an oak. It takes time for God to make bread from wheat fields. He takes the earth. He pulverizes. He softens. He enriches. He wets with showers and dews. He warms with life. He gives the blade, the stock, the amber grain, and then at last the bread for the hungry.
All this takes time. Therefore we sow, and till, and wait, and trust, until all God’s purpose has been wrought out. We give God a chance in this matter of time. We need to learn this same lesson in our prayer life. It takes God time to answer prayer.
–J. H. M.

Praise & Worship: April 17th, 2015

1.  How Can It Be-  Lauren Daigle

2.  Empty Handed-  Lindsay McCaul

3.  One Thing Remains-  Bethel Music

4.  Glorious-  Bryan & Katie Torwalt

5.  Something In The Water-  Carrie Underwod

6.  The Proof Of Your Love-  For King & Country

7.  Two Thousand Years Ago-  Godfrey Birtill

8.  Strong God-  Meredith Andrews

9.  Come Holy One-  Young Oceans

10.  Healing Is In Your Hands-  Christy Nockels

11.  He Knows-  Jeremy Camp

 

 

Borderline Personality Disorder

Taken from   NAMI  which can be found   HERE.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a condition characterized by difficulties in regulating emotion. This difficulty leads to severe, unstable mood swings, impulsivity and instability, poor self-image and stormy personal relationships. People may make repeated attempts to avoid real or imagined situations of abandonment. The combined result of living with BPD can manifest into destructive behavior, such as self-harm (cutting) or suicide attempts.

It’s estimated that 1.6% of the adult U.S. population has BPD but it may be as high as 5.9%. Nearly 75% of people diagnosed with BPD are women, but recent research suggests that men may be almost as frequently affected by BPD. In the past, men with BPD were often misdiagnosed with PTSD or depression.

Symptoms

People with BPD experience wide mood swings and can display a great sense of instability and insecurity. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid being abandoned by friends and family.
  • Unstable personal relationships that alternate between idealization—“I’m so in love!”—and devaluation—“I hate her.” This is also sometimes known as “splitting.”
  • Distorted and unstable self-image, which affects moods, values, opinions, goals and relationships.
  • Impulsive behaviors that can have dangerous outcomes, such as excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse or reckless driving.
  • Suicidal and self-harming behavior.
  • Periods of intense depressed mood, irritability or anxiety lasting a few hours to a few days.
  • Chronic feelings of boredom or emptiness.
  • Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable anger—often followed by shame and guilt.
  • Dissociative feelings—disconnecting from your thoughts or sense of identity, or “out of body” type of feelings—and stress-related paranoid thoughts. Severe cases of stress can also lead to brief psychotic episodes.

Borderline personality disorder is ultimately characterized by the emotional turmoil it causes. People who have it feel emotions intensely and for long periods of time, and it is harder for them to return to a stable baseline after an emotionally intense event. Suicide threats and attempts are very common for people with BPD. Self-harming acts, such as cutting and burning, are also common.

Causes

The causes of borderline personality disorder are not fully understood, but scientists agree that it is the result of a combination of factors:

  • Genetics. While no specific gene has been shown to directly cause BPD, studies in twins suggest this illness has strong hereditary links. BPD is about five times more common among people who have a first-degree relative with the disorder.
  • Environmental factors. People who experience traumatic life events, such as physical or sexual abuse during childhood or neglect and separation from parents, are at increased risk of developing BPD.
  • Brain function. The way the brain works is often different in people with BPD, suggesting that there is a neurological basis for some of the symptoms. Specifically, the portions of the brain that control emotions and decision-making/judgment may not communicate well with one another.

Diagnosis

There is no single medical test to diagnose BPD, and a diagnosis is not based on one sign or symptom. BPD is diagnosed by a mental health professional following a comprehensive psychiatric interview that may include talking with previous clinicians, medical evaluations and, when appropriate, interviews with friends and family. To be diagnosed with BPD, a person must have at least 5 of the 9 BPD symptoms listed above.

Treatment

A typical, well-rounded treatment plan includes psychotherapy, medications and group, peer and family support. The overarching goal is for someone with BPD to increasingly self-direct her treatment plan as she learns what works as well as what doesn’t.

  • Psychotherapy, such as dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic psychotherapy, is the first line of choice for BPD.
  • Medications are often instrumental to a treatment plan, but there is no one medication specifically made to treat the core symptoms of emptiness, abandonment and identity disturbance. Rather, several medications can be used off-label to treat the remaining symptoms. For example, mood stabilizers and antidepressants help with mood swings and dysphoria. Antipsychotic medication may help control symptoms of rage and disorganized thinking.
  • Short-term hospitalization may be necessary during times of extreme stress, and/or impulsive or suicidal behavior to ensure safety.

With proper treatment, BDP can be managed effectively. Read more on our treatment page.

Related Conditions

BPD can be difficult to diagnose and treat—and successful treatment includes addressing any other disorders somebody might have. A person with BPD may have additional conditions like:

  • Anxiety disorders, such as PTSD.
  • Bipolar disorder.
  • Depression.
  • Eating disorders, notably bulimia nervosa.
  • Other personality disorders.
  • Substance use disorders.

– See more at: http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder#sthash.sFPQgTcU.dpuf

Streams In The Desert: April 15th, 2015

I trust in thy word” Psalms 119:42

Just in proportion in which we believe that God will do just what He has said, is our faith strong or weak. Faith has nothing to do with feelings, or with impressions, with improbabilities, or with outward appearances. If we desire to couple them with faith, then we are no longer resting on the Word of God because faith needs nothing of the kind. Faith rests on the naked Word of God. When we take Him at His Word, the heart is at peace.
God delights to exercise faith, first for blessing in our own souls, then for blessing in the Church at large, and also for those without. But this exercise we shrink from instead of welcoming. When trials come, we should say: “My Heavenly Father puts this cup of trial into my hands, that I may have something sweet afterwards.”
Trials are the food of faith. Oh, let us leave ourselves in the hands of our Heavenly Father! It is the joy of His heart to do good to all His children.
But trials and difficulties are not the only means by which faith is exercised and thereby increased. There is the reading of the Scriptures, that we may by them acquaint ourselves with God as He has revealed Himself in His Word.
Are you able to say, from the acquaintance you have made with God, that He is a lovely Being? If not, let me affectionately entreat you to ask God to bring you to this, that you may admire His gentleness and kindness, that you may be able to say how good He is, and what a delight it is to the heart of God to do good to His children.
Now the nearer we come to this in our inmost souls, the more ready we are to leave ourselves in His hands, satisfied with all His dealings with us. And when trial comes, we shall say:
“I will wait and see what good God will do to me by it, assured He will do it.” Thus we shall bear an honorable testimony before the world, and thus we shall strengthen the hands of others.
–George Mueller

 

A New Approach To Mental Illness In The Church

Taken from  Christianity Today which is found   HERE.

Churches, we need a new approach to mental illness.

Or, maybe not new, but a more Christ-like approach to mental illness.

A Question

“Why is this so uniquely difficult for Christians?” It was an astute question—the right question, really.

I was being interviewed by a reporter for a national publication in the wake of the tragic suicide of Matthew Warren, the son of Rick Warren. National news sources covered the story, many about mental illness and suicide, and people in churches were asking important questions.

But regardless of when these topics are raised, there is a unique challenge created for Christians, who believe God heals people. He heals our hearts of an all-encompassing sin condition, and He heals physical illness. But when we experience situations like Matthew’s, where clear healing did not take place, we are often overcome with unanswered questions.

The unexpected and horrifying can happen, and even though we believe in the miraculous and understand the freedom and forgiveness we have in Christ, we can’t help but feel that something is missing.

It happens every time we hear stories like this.

Some History

It is common practice in churches, however, to treat mental illness differently.

I wrestled with these questions as a young pastor, and literally had no idea how to deal with them. I learned through on-the-job training the level of deficiency in my understanding of mental illness.

Early in my ministry, I met a wonderful gentleman who loved the Lord with all of his heart, who had a deep passion for God, and who exuded the character of a man who had spent a lifetime getting to know Christ. He experienced seasons of life, though, when he would simply spiral down to a place of dysfunction. He struggled with bipolar disorder, and it would overcome him (his words) for long periods of time.

In the midst of his struggles, he repeatedly cried out to God. He spent hours meditating on the Scriptures, particularly the Psalms. He begged God for help in the midst of his trouble time and time again. He had no idea how to respond to the lack of healing, and, honestly, neither did I. I was 25 years old, and all I had heard about dealing with mental illness was that Christians just “prayed it away.”

It was an attack of the enemy, or so I’d been told, and the necessary response was expulsion—just cast it out.

Since that was what we knew to do, that’s all we did. Our church prayed over him. I prayed over him and with him. Never has a man prayed harder to be set free of the cycles that he experienced in his own life than he. Ultimately, though, he took what he believed to be the only way out. He ended his own life.

His family was utterly devastated, as was I. As I tried to walk with them through their grief, I had to come to grips with a painful reality. I came face to face with the fact that I was woefully unprepared to deal with this situation, and the ideas that I had previously relied upon were completely inadequate to give me the necessary wisdom.

Unprepared

I was unprepared to deal with mental illness, and by my actions, I almost denied that it is even real. Of course, I would have been prepared for any number of other forms of illness. If someone had come to my church with a broken leg, I would have recommend they go see a doctor. For virtually any other illness, I would have said the same.

It is common practice in churches, however, to treat mental illness differently. We immediately assume there is something else, some deeper spiritual struggle causing mental and emotional strain.

The fact is that mental illness and spiritual struggle can be (and are) related. We are not separate things, we are complex people—remarkable connected in spirit, soul, body, mind, etc.

But, let me be direct here: if we immediately dismiss the possibility of mental illness and automatically assume spiritual deficiency, our actions amount to spiritual abuse. I know those are powerful and pointed words, but I believe them to be true. Please, don’t miss them.

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