I NEED YOUR HELP


I am considering writing a book on pastors and depression (other volumes may follow). What would you want to see in such a book and why?

This is a project I’m very excited about (if someone on all the drugs I’m on can be excited). I want this to be a place of hope for pastors, as well as a resource for families, congregations, and the like. Those are my thoughts right now at least. What do you think?

-DMR

The Din (Children and Depression)

In my process of healing, I have reached the point where church things generally are coming easier. Thank God. It’s been a long road. I can handle being around my parishioners again, greeting people, even teaching bible class and preaching (although not weekly). This is all good, and a sign from all of you pastors, etc., who fear things can never change. They can, and with God’s mercy, they will. Don’t lose hope.

But this is my cross right now. I (and my therapist) call it “The Din”. My wife and I have several children under ten years old in our household. I love them all deeply, as well as my wife.

The problem is that being around then for any length of time is the hardest thing I do.

How can this be? How can it be that the very ones whom I love the most (other than my wife) are the very ones that are the barrier and roadblock in my recovery?

Well, this is how I think it works. The biggest thing for me right now is stimulation and energy. The more stimulation I have (noise particularly), the more my energy is sapped, and the more, uh, zombie-like I become. It used to be that any interaction with anyone would do this. Even a conversation in a car could lay me flat for hours. But now it has focused down to my children.

I’m not very happy about this. I love my children, and if I had my way, I would be able to “handle” them before anything else. But I am not in control, so things don’t work the way I want them to work. (This should not come as a surprise to anyone.)

It’ll take time, I know. It will come, I hope and expect. But it will not be according to my calendar.

What’s the lesson in all of this? I’m glad you asked:

  • You are not alone. Even if your children (or whomever) don’t understand what’s going on, they still love you and want you to get better. Sometimes we must give up what we love the most in order to receive later on. (That’s probably in the Bible somewhere.) Furthermore, there are pastors and others who suffer with you, even if you don’t know them. Trust me on that one.
  • The mind is not always predictable. Some things are going to be more difficult for one over another. In my case it’s my children. In someone else’s case it may be greeting after church, eating in restaurants, or dealing with class. This is not a judgment of any sort on how much you love your family, church, Panera, or whatever. It is the reality of this illness we call depression.
  • God is merciful. Along the way, for everything you can’t do, there will be two more you can. It comes. Medication, therapy, prayer, the support of a good pastor, your spouse and family, all of these things contribute. God has given us these things for our benefit, and He will use them as He sees fit to bring about healing and hope.

Be well, my friends.

In Christ,
-DMR

Mental Health and Disability 104: What happens if you're turned down?

There is one thing which is important to understand when it comes to insurance companies: money is what the point is. It doesn’t matter if it’s CPS or any of the other myriad of health insurance companies out there. They are there to make money.

So for them, disability is a very bad thing. (For the sick, it is a very good thing.)

What this means in English is that in all likelihood they will push you to get off of disability sooner than you are ready, just like they will try and force you to get off of non-generic drugs. Those are more expensive. So what they will do is come up with most any reason they can to take you off of disability. A slightly positive comment from your therapist or doctor. You saying in a phone interview “I really think I could work some”. They will glom on to anything possible.

I write this not to denigrate our healthcare system. The LCMS has one of the best healthcare programs in the country. I shudder to think of the hoops one might have to jump through with some of these others.

So in understanding these things, you need to know your rights. Here are at least some of them as I have come to understand it:

  1. You have the right to be sick. They can’t make you better on a piece of paper. Mental illness is real, painful, and debilitating. They cannot pretend this isn’t an illness.
  2. Your doctors and you determine when you need to go on disability, not them. Certainly there are requirements, etc, etc, etc. But the bottom line is that if your doctors say you are not ready to go back to work, then you’re not ready, and no “peer review” can trump an actual doctor’s professional opinion.
  3. Your goal is to get better, not to freeload off of “the system”. This may be obvious to you, but part of the reason why health care companies are so skittish about disability is it’s abuse. If you make it clear to them that you want to get back to work, that will be one of the things they want to hear.
  4. Disability is intended for healing, not heartache. Every time they make it more difficult for you to stay on disability, they are probably prolonging your sickness. This needs to be repeated to them over and over again. It is costing them money, they will be legally liable with any problems, and the like.
  5. God is merciful, and he will take care of you. Ok, that’s not a “right”, but it is a gift given to you in the waters of Holy Baptism. You may confidently trust that our Lord will take care of you through thick and thin, as he best sees fit.

So what am I missing, friends?

-DMR

Mental Health and Disability 104: What happens if you're turned down?

There is one thing which is important to understand when it comes to insurance companies: money is what the point is. It doesn’t matter if it’s CPS or any of the other myriad of health insurance companies out there. They are there to make money.

So for them, disability is a very bad thing. (For the sick, it is a very good thing.)

What this means in English is that in all likelihood they will push you to get off of disability sooner than you are ready, just like they will try and force you to get off of non-generic drugs. Those are more expensive. So what they will do is come up with most any reason they can to take you off of disability. A slightly positive comment from your therapist or doctor. You saying in a phone interview “I really think I could work some”. They will glom on to anything possible.

I write this not to denigrate our healthcare system. The LCMS has one of the best healthcare programs in the country. I shudder to think of the hoops one might have to jump through with some of these others.

So in understanding these things, you need to know your rights. Here are at least some of them as I have come to understand it:

  1. You have the right to be sick. They can’t make you better on a piece of paper. Mental illness is real, painful, and debilitating. They cannot pretend this isn’t an illness.
  2. Your doctors and you determine when you need to go on disability, not them. Certainly there are requirements, etc, etc, etc. But the bottom line is that if your doctors say you are not ready to go back to work, then you’re not ready, and no “peer review” can trump an actual doctor’s professional opinion.
  3. Your goal is to get better, not to freeload off of “the system”. This may be obvious to you, but part of the reason why health care companies are so skittish about disability is it’s abuse. If you make it clear to them that you want to get back to work, that will be one of the things they want to hear.
  4. Disability is intended for healing, not heartache. Every time they make it more difficult for you to stay on disability, they are probably prolonging your sickness. This needs to be repeated to them over and over again. It is costing them money, they will be legally liable with any problems, and the like.
  5. God is merciful, and he will take care of you. Ok, that’s not a “right”, but it is a gift given to you in the waters of Holy Baptism. You may confidently trust that our Lord will take care of you through thick and thin, as he best sees fit.

So what am I missing, friends?

-DMR