Amy Sky Recovery Story: Part 1

Taken from   Mental Illness Today  which is found   HERE.
Three years ago, Canadian singer-songwriter Amy Sky was invited to sing at the annual Mad About You Gala for the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario. Before her  performance,   Amy mingled among people wearing elegant dresses and black ties. But this cocktail party charmer was far different from any she had ever heard: People spoke openly about having recovered from an addiction, or having faced bipolar disorder or suffered from depressions so debilitating , they feared, they wouldn’t survive.
What surprised Amy even more was the fact that “they all said it without self-consciousness or shame, but just as a matter of fact,” She remembers. When she stepped onto the stage to perform later that evening, everyone expected her to launch into one of her famous, chart-topping pop songs. Instead she told them that her most famous tune.“ I Will Take Care Of You” was a reference to the dark days of postpartum depression she suffered following the birth of her two children. “I never planned to speak about it ,” says Amy

I didn’t think there was something to talk about.  To me it was such a private thing that, on some level, I was in denial that it was even an illness. It was just something I went through.
It never occurred to me that mental health issues could be something you could talk about, laugh about, and admit to. While Amy surprised even, herself ,  by revealing such personal pain in a public setting, the credits, the honesty and bravery of the people in the room that night with inspiring her to do so.
 “When I shared (my story) with the room, you could have heard a pin drop, “Amy recalls. “ That was not what they thought they were getting when they hired me. They thought they were getting a shiny, happy pop singer. They were shocked: I was shocked.  But it felt right to finally talk about it.”

Streams In The Desert: May 18th, 2016

I was crushed…so much so that I despaired even of life, but that was to make me rely not on myself, but on the God who raises the dead” 2 Corinthians 1:8, 9

“Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length;
Pressed so intensely it seems, beyond strength;
Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul,
Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll.
Pressure by foes, and a pressure from friends.
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends.

“Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
Pressed into loving the staff and the rod.
Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;
Pressed into faith for impossible things.
Pressed into living a life in the Lord,
Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.”

The pressure of hard places makes us value life. Every time our life is given back to us from such a trial, it is like a new beginning, and we learn better how much it is worth, and make more of it for God and man. The pressure helps us to understand the trials of others, and fits us to help and sympathize with them.

There is a shallow, superficial nature, that gets hold of a theory or a promise lightly, and talks very glibly about the distrust of those who shrink from every trial; but the man or woman who has suffered much never does this, but is very tender and gentle, and knows what suffering really means. This is what Paul meant when he said, “Death worketh in you.”

Trials and hard places are needed to press us forward, even as the furnace fires in the hold of that mighty ship give force that moves the piston, drives the engine, and propels that great vessel across the sea in the face of the winds and waves.

Streams In The Desert: May 14th, 2016

In the selfsame day, as God had said unto him   Genesis 17:23

Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience. Every time God calls us to any duty, He is offering to make a covenant with us; doing the duty is our part, and He will do His part in special blessing.

The only way we can obey is to obey “in the selfsame day,” as Abraham did. To be sure, we often postpone a duty and then later on do it as fully as we can. It is better to do this than not to do it at all. But it is then, at the best, only a crippled, disfigured, half-way sort of duty-doing; and a postponed duty never can bring the full blessing that God intended, and that it would have brought if done at the earliest possible moment.

It is a pity to rob ourselves, along with robbing God and others, by procrastination. “In the selfsame day” is the Genesis way of saying, “Do it now.”
–Messages for the Morning Watch

Luther says that “a true believer will crucify the question, ‘Why?’ He will obey without questioning.” I will not be one of those who, except they see signs and wonders, will in no wise believe. I will obey without questioning.

“Ours not to make reply,
Ours not to reason why,
Ours but to do and die.”

Obedience is the fruit of faith; patience, the bloom on the fruit.
–Christina Rossetti

Praise & Worship: May 13th, 2016

1. You Won’t Relent-  Misty Edwards

2.  I Give You My Heart-  Hillsong

3.  Holy Is Our God-  Robin Mark

4.  Great Are You Lord-  All Sons And Daughters

5.  Savior To Me-  Kerrie Roberts

6.  You’re Not Alone-  Meredith Andrews

7.  Prodigal-  Michael Gungor

8.  Maybe-  Parable

9.  Lay Me Down-  Andrew Peterson

10.  Manifesto-  The City Harmonic

11.  Awesome God-  Rich Mullins




Do You Inherit Your Parent’s Mental Illness?

Taken from the  BBC  which is found   HERE.

In the battle to find what causes mental illness, scientists are increasingly looking at genetic factors. For James Longman – whose father killed himself after suffering from schizophrenia – it’s a very personal question.

I’m often told I look like my dad, that I have his mannerisms and some of his habits. It’s something I take pride in. But it’s also something that worries me because he had schizophrenia, and when I was nine, he took his own life.

After a particularly bad two-week episode, he set fire to his flat in London, and threw himself out of a window.

Some of the details of his life and death have only become clear while looking into this story. Multiple suicide attempts; walking around London in just a bathrobe; hearing voices. They are details that contrast so strongly with the man I remember from when he was well – happy, creative and funny.

Twenty years earlier, his own father – my grandfather – had shot himself after finding out he had cancer. I also have other family with mental health issues. Now in my twenties I sometimes struggle with depression. So I naturally think – is this something that runs in my family?

For a lot of people, mental health is a difficult thing to talk about. But those who deal with these issues can often point to family members with similar problems. Do I get depressed because of the trauma of losing my father in such tragic circumstances? Or is it written into my DNA?

At King’s College London (KCL), researchers have been looking into the genetics of mental health.

Studies into twins and family histories have proved that mental health illnesses have a genetic contribution. But it’s only in the past few years scientists have been able to fully identify the genetic changes that might be causing that increase in risk.

Prof Cathryn Lewis, a researcher from the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre explains: “It’s really hard to identify the genetics for mental health disorders. We learn at school about simple Mendelian [relating to the laws of Gregor Mendel] diseases – like Huntington’s or cystic fibrosis – where there is the gene, a single gene that contributes to it.

Are you affected by this?

  • Samaritans provides emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or thoughts of suicide
  • Its number is 116 123 and is free to call and will not appear on a phone bill
  • Rethink Mental Illness has more than 200 mental health services and 150 support groups across England.
  • Its number is 0300 5000 927

“Mental health disorders are not about a single gene but about a collection of genes. We need to start thinking about this as a cumulative loading of genetics.”

The work at KCL is still in its early stages. But it has been found there are 108 genes with changes in people with schizophrenia. Now, nine genes have been found across those with depression, and 20 in people who have bipolar disorder. There are almost certainly many more still to find and scientists say many of these genes will be shared across the different conditions.

Making sense of my genetic legacy is important, because it allows me to break away from the feelings of inevitability that depression gives you. Is this meant to happen? Am I meant to get over this? Is this bigger than me?

“Evidence from the last few years also suggests that many mental disorders share common genetic risk factors – for instance, genetic variation associated with schizophrenia overlaps with both depression and bipolar disorder,” says Lewis.

My father’s schizophrenia has not been passed down to me – as I haven’t experienced any of the symptoms I would have had by now – but perhaps some of the genetic coding we share has caused me to experience depression.

Siblings can have very different outcomes. Twins Lucy and Jonny have a bipolar mother. Jonny has also suffered from the condition, while Lucy has not.

“When I have a bad episode I’m not able to drag myself out of bed,” says Jonny. “Or if I do, maybe next level, I’m able to drag myself out of bed but I can’t understand things. I literally can’t understand how things fit together. There’s cloudiness in my brain. So there are lots of physical aspects of feeling what people are calling mentally unwell.”

I asked him how he felt when he was diagnosed with his mother’s illness.

“Oh my God. So many different emotions and intellectual responses that you go through. I cried with relief.” But he continued: “I’m my mother’s child. But I feel like my own condition is unique. Because every mental health condition is unique to that person.”

If you have a depressed parent, you’re twice as likely to experience depression. With bipolar, you’re four times more at risk. And in schizophrenia – which my dad had – it’s eight times.

But these are relative risks – overall risk remains very low. And, as ever, there’s a certain amount of chance involved in picking up genetic traits. Our upbringings and what we experience as children and adults has a huge influence on whether or not we develop mental illness.

My father’s death has had a huge impact on my life and on my relationship with my mother. She too has depression – brought on perhaps by my father’s death. So it was vital that I spoke to her, to understand a little more of what she went through – and what worries she had about me.

The sense of failure she felt in not being able to stop his death was clear. So too were her concerns about me developing a psychotic illness like my dad.

She describes the day he died. She came into my school to tell me, and remembers my nine-year-old face looking up at her from her lap, my legs swinging between hers. I’d cry at night, she told me, calling out for my dad. I remember none of this.

But her fears about me inheriting a serious condition like schizophrenia are behind her.

“He would be very proud of you now,” she says. “Very, very proud you’re doing all the things he would never be able to achieve. In his heart, he would feel: ‘Oh wow, what a great young man – we made him.'”

“Living With Schizophrenia” Recovery Video For The Whole Family

Taken from Schizophrenia. Christianity. Hope  which is found  HERE.

I. Holger

In this 25-minute video, Living with Schizophrenia, produced by the LEAP Institute, you will see interviews with three people who are recovering or have recovered from schizophrenia.

“Some of the things I wish I had known earlier about schizophrenia,” says Rebecca, who lives with the illness, “is that it’s not a moral problem or a problem with your intellect.  It’s simply a chemical imbalance in the brain.”

Ashley, who also lives with the illness counters a prevalent view of people who have the diagnosis.  “Society views schizophrenia as a person having a split personality or a person who is extremely violent or dangerous,” she says.  “Those stereotypes really bother me. . . I don’t have a split personality.”

In the video, parents and siblings of those who live with symptoms also speak about their experience and what they have learned.  Dr. Xavier Amador, a psychologist and founder of the LEAP Institute, began to argue with his ill brother, telling him to “just cut it out,” or “you’re being immature.” Amador learned the wrong way, what the best way was to help his brother.  ‘Stop arguing’ topped the list.

“Shut up and listen,” says Amador, in a gentle tone.  Listening transformed his relationship with his brother.

Dr. Amador wrote I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help, in which he describes the LEAP method of communication and how to help someone accept treatment. He helps narrate this video, filled with hope. “We don’t have a cure for schizophrenia, but I tell you,” he says, “we have so many tools to make the lives of these people so much better.”