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BarbaraTherese

Private Vows in The Laity/Spirituality

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BarbaraTherese

Would prop you & your Ecclesiastical Team.. but I am out of props!  So.... here is an AnnieProp for lack of others:  :saint2:

 

:)

I keep forgetting about these props!

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BarbaraTherese

My next move to keep my mind active on practical things at a difficult time, is to design a standard dress.  What I am definitely considering is black loose slacks which keeps one well covered (cheap to buy) and probably a simple hip length loose blue top, short sleeves loose and wide enough to include a black skivvy (roll neck) underneath in winter - top will have same material blue collar. Top would be quite plain no motif or 'bling', worn with a cross on a chain about 3half inches from neckline.  I have a dressmaker round the corner who can make the top quite cheaply - all else I have.  Obviously nothing at all like a religious habit!

   Drawing it for my next visit to my SD I am hoping will keep my mind on practicalities and off other things until current crisis and stress is resolved.  I am hoping Father next visit in a few weeks will be able to set a firm date for the Home Mass and House Blessing later in the year, approve whatever I design dress-wise as I think I will probably fiddle with a few ideas before settling on something final. I will organize and send out invitations (one month after invitations are received requesting RSVP and three weeks before the actual event).

 

My psychiatrist will also attend providing the date is convenient.

 

It is 7.28pm here on Tues 18.2.14 and after much prayer and sweat, few tears, a really nasty anxiety attack has alleviated and fizzled out.  Words cannot express my gratitude as I work through this time - and for those who have prayed for me including a community of Carmelite nuns.  My psychiatrist is spot on by stating that my terrible fear of Bipolar makes a difficult situation even worse for me.  I agree! But so far, so good and this does give me a sense of some confidence I can work through things without a Bipolar episode and this confidence serves to alleviate fear.  My hand is very much in The Lord's Hand who very often, perhaps most often, works with very ordinary circumstances - rather than outstanding and obvious, overt, Graces.  He is the Essence of Absolute Humility and in His Simplicity and Humility often works with and through what is very simple and most ordinary.  We see this ordinary progress, falls and failures, persistence in virtue, unshakable trust in The Lord, in the life of St Therese of Lisieux.  The saint of an ordinary life lived extraordinarily well.

 

I would also retain quite casual and good clothing, which I have already for occasions that might call for such.

 

.......well that rather big 'bump' is keeping this thread current..............and I hope until the Home Mass and Blessing is past tense.

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BarbaraTherese

Thank you too, AL, for the props - and for staying with me in this journey.  Prayers for you and your intentions and for all who are praying for me.  I'm scared.....Bipolar is letting me know it is still around and while somewhere deep down, I am confident with The Lord's help I will be the stronger, it does present a very uncomfortable and threatening time.  I'm hoping that tonight just might present some sort of real relief from ever present anxiety and threatening panic attack and temptations against Faith and trust - an invitation to despair.  I do realize that it is probably very difficult to impossible for someone who does not have a mental illness to understand thankfully.  And I do concur with my doctor that it is the fear I have of Bipolar that makes a life situation that could be handled probably quite easily, a far more difficult situation.  But it is quite scary to know that a Bipolar episode has that power to 'take one's mind' from one - a normal thinking mind anyway.  And once that normal thinking mind is gone coupled with the lack of understanding and confusion from others (and entirely understandable why) - Bipolar has the power to take one's life apart as it were and compromise, even end, relationships. I'm a scaredy cat! For nothing can take The Lord from me in Faith.  That so much Peace and Joy should be so suddenly plunged into all this through something that in the normal course I would handle with ease confuses even me but in very dark Faith I know that Jesus is with me and that He has reasons for permitting it to happen.

 

In a strange sort of way, I am happy that what I am dealing with has disturbed Bipolar and given me an opportunity to write about it as it happens (for myself and fellow sufferers) while the fear of the opinions of others travels along with me.  One works so hard to rebuild one's life and relationships while thinking is quite normal, and then suddenly it might all be in jeopardy.  Just a scaredy cat! 
The weirdest thing can be that quite suddenly the threat of Bipolar can all end like a light switch going off - and one has no idea why it all happened in the first place, but this is not a given - as the pendulum swings.

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BarbaraTherese

 My SD is not available and I was going through a mini hell and decided to have a talk with a priest last night.  Father, last night, was a true blessing and I did pray ardently that things would go well – later I spent some time at the Shrine of Our Lady giving thanks.  My trust in The Lord was under temptation as was my Faith and I felt totally unworthy of all that has happened re the Home Mass and Private Vows, even though I realized no one was worthy of any Gift from God.   I was having anxiety attacks threatening panic attacks. This seems to have been triggered by a life event that I would normally take in my stride, which I would rather not mention since it involves a person who should know better.  With the stress, Bipolar began to threaten.  I saw my psychiatrist Tuesday 18th Feb and she advised from a strictly medical point of view that I not go back into the past and previous Bipolar episodes and to not ‘wear’ the stigma people sometimes want to apply and likely caused by gossip from my previous parish.  Father last night agreed with my psychiatrist and told me to never ever go back into the past and I will leave stigma and the gossip as the other person’s problem not mine as hurtful as it can be.  Father also heard my Confession and assured me that I am in a state of Grace and returned to full baptismal innocence if there was any guilt – he put me into complete Peace of Soul once more.  He agreed with my doctor that I should not revisit previous Bipolar episodes, which after all are now 10 years in the past and failures the subject of a good Confession almost immediately after an episode ended and I was back to my normal self.

 

Result this morning: Bipolar no longer threatens and early warning signs absent - and if this perseveres I know I can handle this problematic to me person in my stride as the situation unfolds if it is The Lord's Will and with His Grace.

 

I rang diocesan offices before all the above trying to ascertain if our mental health chaplain was a priest or lay person.  No one seemed to know and the person who it was thought might know was in a meeting and would ring me back.  I have never received that call.  I sent an email to diocesan offices asking for an appointment with the mental health chaplain – no response.  This, to my assessment, is quite poor communication systems not deliberate actions.

 

Really desperate, I contacted the Jesuits asking if I could speak with a priest, this was refused me unless I attended Reconciliation at the normal time.  This would have been a week away when I rang. I did not exactly experience any sort of welcome understanding. 

 

So I resolved yesterday to jump into a taxi and go into The Cathedral to Reconciliation at 5pm and talk to a priest there.  I was outstandingly blest with a priest prepared to listen no matter the time it took and to give me every reassurance on all levels and spiritual advice. Fortunately, it seemed I was the last into the confessional with still some 20 minutes of Reconciliation time left.  I do plan to speak about it all to my SD when I next see him, although I am sad that it does involve a person who should know better -  and one who does not have a rightly informed and accurate attitude to mental illness and just may have heard inaccurate gossip from my previous parish– but now I know I can deal with that as it unfolds, content to let it all just unfold and handle things in my stride with The Lord’s unfailing help, who indeed with the prayers of others has brought me this far.  And my heartfelt thanks to those who have prayed with me - and been kind and generous enough to read these long posts.  They have been cathartic for me as writing can be in my case.

 

It is that insidious nature of Bipolar that I could go through serious major surgery without a blink almost and with Bipolar completely silent and then recover quickly in the same way.  In fact prior to surgery my surgeon was concerned that I was taking things so seemingly lightly.  I wasn’t really, I was just interiorly prepared for the worst of outcomes, which did not eventuate.  More thanksgiving due!  And then some nasty comments by an ill-informed person upset the applecart completely leaving an opening for temptation to get busy and also disturb Bipolar in a major way.  I had been not only in a state of disturbance but absolute confusion as well fighting to think straight and in a quiet logical manner (unsure if this was so until my psychiatrist reassured me :) ) while trying to prevent anxiety from becoming a panic attack.

 

But my psychiatrist is quite correct – I was doing it all to myself in taking nasty comments onboard as well as the temptations I was undergoing and allowing fear of Bipolar to almost consume me.  Taking such things onboard are probably the universal lot of those who suffer mental illness - we just have to learn, with the Lord on our side, to be bigger than it all.

 

But all is well that ends well and thanksgiving is in order.   All this is probably very difficult to impossible for a ‘normal mind’ to understand and I do understand and appreciate this.

 

As fond as I am of the word "journey", I see clearly now that up to the Home Mass itself is going to be a journey for me and with possible twists and turns, the unexpected and unanticipated - and forewarned can indeed be forearmed.

 

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TheresaThoma

BT I will pray for you. I am so excited for you, it sounds like things are moving  forward. 

I've never had to deal with any mental health issues but I did have to deal with epilepsy and I know how scary it can be when you don't know when it will happen next (in my case the worry and stress was one of my triggers so that made it worse). I know that God will see you through this and know that you have our support and prayers.

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BarbaraTherese

BT I will pray for you. I am so excited for you, it sounds like things are moving  forward. 

I've never had to deal with any mental health issues but I did have to deal with epilepsy and I know how scary it can be when you don't know when it will happen next (in my case the worry and stress was one of my triggers so that made it worse). I know that God will see you through this and know that you have our support and prayers.

 

 

Thank you very much.TT.   In my previous parish, I had a woman board with me for a while who suffered epilepsy and it is very scary not knowing when or where an epileptic seizure would occur and how to handle them and what to do if the seizure went on too long.  Very scary indeed.  May The Lord let you know He is close always in your own journey and guide you through your trials and sufferings with many consolations -  and thank you for your prayers for me - you will be in mine.

 

Now that things have moved on for me, I cannot understand at all why I had been so disturbed and confused yet I was.

I know that The Lord will indeed see me through to the Home Mass (now I am in a better/normal frame of mind), I just wasn't anticipating coming so close to 'the line' and one that scares the living daylights out of me!  The Lord knows what He is about, although not 24hrs ago or so I held that suspect too! :)  I never cease ever to wonder why when I am in Peace I think that I shall never leave Peace again - and when I am under stress and disturbance, I think that shall never leave stress and disturbance again.  Perhaps I had grown over-confident in Peace and Joy and needed shaking up and reminded.  Perhaps reliance on The Lord had become more confidence in self alone.  The Lord has His Reasons.

 

All shaken up and reminded, I am :wedgie:

 

 

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BarbaraTherese
 TheresaThoma: worry and stress was one of my triggers

 

 

Worry and stress is a major trigger for a Bipolar episode also - or at least these factors will sometimes onset early warning signs that Bipolar is very restless and about to flare into life.  It has been so many years since I have come so close to an episode (I think) as just recently that I think I forgot on some level somewhere that I do indeed suffer Bipolar Disorder still.

 

I hope that in your own journey, TT, insofar as might be possible you are able to avoid worry and stress. :)

 

My thoughts are that under more common or so called 'normal' circumstances, the brain (chemicals and firings) will come to the rescue of those experiencing worry and stress to help them deal with such situations - while with other people who have certain types of health problems, rather than help the person deal with worry and stress, the brain goes a little haywire and makes the situation worse triggering an episode of whatever the actual health problem might be.

 

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SilentJoy

BarbaraTherese, I wonder if you have heard of "Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach" (I'm sure you probably have - its been out there a while)? The author is a Sister with the Daughters of St. Paul who became bipolar later in life after suffering a stroke.

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BarbaraTherese

BarbaraTherese, I wonder if you have heard of "Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach" (I'm sure you probably have - its been out there a while)? The author is a Sister with the Daughters of St. Paul who became bipolar later in life after suffering a stroke.

 

No, I haven't heard of it, SJ - and thank you for the recommendation.  Actually, my brand of Bipolar is not expressed in depression, rather in mania - which in the past was classified as "psychosis".  I have only had Bipolar depression once in my now over 30 years journey and about 20yrs ago - and it was cruel.  It will be very interesting however to read a personal story by a religious related to MI.   Mental illness can take many forms and many degrees of -  but in order to survive it all probably takes the same sort of life skills.

I think it might be particularly difficult, however, to survive it all if one is in religious life.

 

When I first was diagnosed as Bipolar some six years after onset, I read everything I could available in the library on mental illness/Bipolar - and learnt that a little bit of knowledge could be a 'dangerous thing' and abandoned reading material. I don't mean at all to state that reading can be a 'dangerous thing' per se - rather that it was in my personal instance re my brand of Bipolar.  For many journeying with mental illness reading may be a real survival skill and a blessing.

 

My personal situation now has changed and reading about mental illness is helpful to me.

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SilentJoy

  It will be very interesting however to read a personal story by a religious related to MI.  

 

Well, she does mention her Bipolar struggles briefly in the book, but its mainly a guide for people dealing with depression in general. I'm sorry, I'm not sure if she has written anything more autobiographical or not. :(

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BarbaraTherese

Well, she does mention her Bipolar struggles briefly in the book, but its mainly a guide for people dealing with depression in general. I'm sorry, I'm not sure if she has written anything more autobiographical or not. :(

 

 At times I do come in contact with people experiencing depression including Bipolar depression (mentioning only two) so all comments and recommendations etc. re mental illness generally are helpful.  And it is really extremely helpful even if one learns only one thing one did not know before - affirmations of all kinds too are also extremely helpful.  I am putting your recommendation on my "To Get List" and eventually it will land read in my so called 'library'.  Thank you again for recommending the book.  My son recently announced his engagement and all pennies just now are going into my savings account. :)

 

It is not at all unusual for Bipolar to be associated with depression - as Bipolar is quite commonly thought of as a swing between depression and then mania when ill.  However, it can be only one or the other i.e. mania only or depression only and in my case in the latter years of Bipolar being active it was "psychotic mania" only - in other words, I could not connect with reality at all and was off 'into the clouds' (delusional thinking in my case) somewhere or other.  Between episodes, it is not uncommon for the sufferer to be completely 'normal' in common understanding and this has been my personal experience.  Such stretches of 'normality' can lead others to assume (if uneducated re mental illness) that the sufferer has only to 'pull themselves together'.  It is not recognized as an illness over which the sufferer has very little control or most often in cases of psychosis, no control whatsoever.

 

It can be and often is extremely difficult for a person in a quite 'normal' frame of mind to deal with a person suffering an episode of mental illness, especially if a psychotic episode as both are on completely different 'levels of thought'.  Mind you, much of my thoughts re mental illness are coming from my own experience and that of some others and as we reflect back.
 

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BarbaraTherese

Some time back, years back, in the Australia EJournal of Theology there was an excellent paper in parts, if some heavy reading, I think by Emma Pierce, about the importance of the input of what I think she called "the witness" or the actual sufferer of the MI and the importance of their input.  I did have it on my old computer but for some reason it has not transferred to this computer with the rest of my files.

 

For any interested, I was able to find it on Google - the short version is the Preface here:  http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/digitaltheses/public/adt-acuvp178.11112008/01front.pdf  The much longer entire Paper is here http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/digitaltheses/public/adt-acuvp178.11112008/02whole.pdf

 

  It was published through the Australian Catholic University Research Services and was submitted by Emma (a sufferer of MI herself) for a thesis in full requirement for a PhD, School of Theology Faculty of Arts and Sciences.  Australia.  "A Practical Theology of Mental Health - A Critical Conversation between Theology, Psychology, Pastoral Care and The Voice of The Witness".

 

I am always conscious that some simply read threads and do not contribute - and that Catholic Discussion Sites are open for anyone on the net to read - also with this Post I will put the documents into my files in my Favourites just in case needed in future.

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maximillion

The point of view and inclusion in ALL discussion re mental health by persons having a lived experience is essential.

 

A few years back the UK govt began paying for the time and effort put in by people with a lived experience and various projects began, especially the 'Let's Talk About Mental Health ' and Time to Change. Now that they are both off the ground the govt has said that this sort of inclusion is an example of good practice, but has stopped paying anyone for their input.

 

This has radically affected how many and what sort of people can manage to attend Commissioning Strategy meetings etc and has devastated the expert by experience input.

 

There is nothing like having it from the horses mouth..................

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