Saturday, August 11, 2012

Treating Mental Illness: The Mind and Spirit Connection

There is a line in my favorite musical Next to Normal, which is about a woman with bipolar disorder, that says:

"What happens if the cut, the burn, the break was never in my brain,
or in my blood, but in my soul?"

This is from the song "The Break" which is about how she has tried medications and treatments but none really work for that long and she has relapses of her illness. She wonders if maybe all of the treatment is not working because the illness is really mainly in her soul.

I named my blog "Bipolar Spirit" because I feel the body and spirit (what some call soul) are intricately linked together. (I guess I would not be a minister if I didn't believe that.) While I know mental illness is a chemical imbalance, I also believe it is an imbalance in the spirit as well.

I have been trying to manage my mental illness for fourteen years (I have been sick since I was six but only started getting treatment when I was 19) with medicines and talk therapy, and I have never really gotten better. Through all of this, I have always known that my mental illness really comes from a crushed spirit. The psychiatric profession calls it a trigger event (or events), as in a traumatic event happens and it triggers the chemical imbalance in your brain. I think the trigger causes a break in your spirit that co-occurs with the chemical imbalance. If our treatments only focus on trying to fix the chemical imbalance and not also on taking care of your spirit at the same time, I am not sure anyone really becomes well. 

I would add: "Help Heal Yourself."
I believe truly managing mental illness means possibly taking medication, going to therapy, and also becoming in touch with your inner spirit and the Spirit of Life that is all around us. I have finally found a medical practice that takes an integrative approach to medicine which will help my logical and my spiritual sides combine in order to treat my illness. While some people may think this is not a legitimate way to treat mental illness, I know it is the right way for me. I see too many people with crushed spirits to think differently. That is why my faith is so important to me, because it speaks of salvation in this life, through knowing you are loved just as you are and discovering who you are and your place in the Universe so you can live out your purpose in life. When you are able to do that, you are healthy and whole and can bring love into the world to make it a better place. Essentially, if you are out of balance, you can't really care for those around you. 


Rev. Katie

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