Can we learn to truly LIVE with mental illness?

In college I became familiar with this quote by Jonathan Swift:

“May you live all the days of your life.”

It seemed to go well with one of my favorite lines from the movie Auntie Mame:

“Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”banquet2

Combine the two and the message is pretty clear. I dove into it head first and tried to make these my mantra. I wanted to feel everything deeply. However, I quickly learned that in feeling deeply there were no normal occurrences. Only incredible highs and devastating lows.

I also discovered a quick and strong anger with the ability to hold a grudge with perfect recollection until the end of time.

And beyond.

But hey, that’s just because I’m a passionate person, right?

After all, life is to be LIVED!

In my case, and probably many others as well, this drive to live a passionate and deeply meaningful life was more a matter of mental illness than of excitement for all the good I could find. Continue reading Can we learn to truly LIVE with mental illness?

We must make sure this never happens again. How?

More deadly attacks last week. News commentaries expressed some of the following:

gunsThese are such senseless shootings.

Will this mean that Canada will withdraw support for combating ISIL?

What were the mistakes made that allowed such a thing to happen?

Are jihadists infiltrating every nation? 

We must make sure this never happens again.

All of these are reasonable statements and questions. Seeing those killed while defending what should be symbols of democracy, freedom, and most of all hope in the future is a tragedy that sickens everyone.

Well, almost everyone. Continue reading We must make sure this never happens again. How?

Are there responsibilities of respect in welcoming?

I’ve read several articles in the past few weeks talking about big changes in accepting people of diversity in congregations, specifically in Latter-day Saint sacrament meetings.chapel

                                             (Source: LDS Media Library)

I guess if you think about it, over the years it must have appeared to be a pretty homogeneous group of people. The men all in white shirts and ties, the women in skirts and blouses. Everyone with their 5.6 children in tow, complete with runny noses and Tupperware containing Cheerios. Just as the meeting is beginning, there is the frazzled mom hurrying to tuck junior’s shirt back into his very small dress pants as they try to avoid the only free bench left, the front row.

But being someone who grew up in these similarly dressed, similarly-sized families, and similarly cut hair people in Sunday afternoon meetings, I always remember looking around and thinking how different everyone was. Continue reading Are there responsibilities of respect in welcoming?

Is mental illness the thin line between genius and insanity?

Throughout history some of the greatest minds with the sharpest intellects have made contributions that have, literally, changed the world.

LincolnAbraham Lincoln was the great emancipator. Ludwig Von Beethoven could compose numerous works at once, many of which are still played in symphonies today. The incomprehensible work of the Sistine Chapel makes Michelangelo a name familiar to even young school children. Charles Dickens gave us literary works that share timeless insights into human nature and behavior. Winston Churchill produced 43 books on top of helping the world return to sanity from a global war waged in madness.

It would be hubris to place ourselves at the same level of accomplishment and brilliance as any of these gifted individuals.

Yet it is thought that Abraham Lincoln possibly suffered from clinical depression, that Beethoven worked through bipolar disorder, that Michelangelo was autistic, that Dickens may have also had severe depression, and that Churchill was yet another who was bipolar.

At the time many of them were given the benefit of the doubt and people would politely say that they were a little eccentric. Continue reading Is mental illness the thin line between genius and insanity?

You have to let me work here, don’t you?

Let’s try another story to get us started today:

Once upon a time there was a very skilled, very ambitious journalist. After working through several attractive offers, she accepted a position with the news organization DEF. The overall culture and people were by far the most appealing to her.

Part of her contract agreement contained a list of rules and regulations that DEF stated clearly were nonnegotiable behaviors and personal conduct. One obvious infraction would be to share any news story or company information with its top rival, GHI.signed

Any breach of this protocol would result in her termination.

The journalist signed the contract, feeling that all of the terms were agreeable. After all, DEF had every right to set its own standards of conduct and enforce any infraction.   

She worked hard for DEF and became renowned in her ability to dig deep enough to find the truth, without destroying the innocent in the process.

???????????????????????????????DEF couldn’t be happier.

Neither could the journalist.

Over time, however, the journalist and DEF began to have some deep philosophical differences. They made editing decisions on her stories, and she felt that her true work wasn’t being reflected in the reports told. Continue reading You have to let me work here, don’t you?