Tag Archives: children

I'm baack

A little camping…a little conferencing….all in all a good month thus far.  It’s been busier than usual, so of course the kids are channeling stress.  But despite that, things are going pretty well.  I’ll be back posting here in short order.


Fathers, Children and Depression

I ran across THIS LINK in my morning reads.  The study concludes that depression in fathers has an adverse affect on a child’s language development, because they spend less time with newborn children.

i haven’t found that to be the case (yet) in our family.  I suppose time will tell.

And for those who monitor my posting, I haven’t posted for a month.  I’m doing okay.  Just crazy busy right now.  I’ll get in the swing of things here soon.


Mental Retardation and Mental Illness: Who are we?


Yesterday I went to the local gym/family center type place with my wife and the kids. There isn’t anything really unusual about that, except the fact that I couldn’t have done it a year ago. But what struck me this time was that there was a group of mentally retarded young people (teens and twenties) there at the same time.Like most people, I am basically afraid of the mentally retarded. I see them, and while I may sympathize with them on a theoretical level, the absolute last thing I want is to interact with them. They are loud (or quiet), they say and behave in unpredictable ways (like children), and they look strange (like most of us in one way or another).

What was different this time was that one young man had his fingers stuck in his ears the whole time. he walked around the pool, looking, obviously uncomfortable or even afraid of the noise that went on around him. I am no expert, but I believe that one of the many common traits that often go with various forms of mental retardation is difficulty processing sights and sounds.

But this time I knew how he felt. Continue reading Mental Retardation and Mental Illness: Who are we?

The Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Writings, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is not what one would consider “normal” reading for Lutheran pastors. Ms. Gilman was a turn of the (20th) century proto-feminist, advocated group raising for children (“it takes a village”), and any number of peculiar to downright evil ideas.

She also had a brilliant insight into the mindset of depression and anxiety.

In the signature short story in the above book (The Yellow Wallpaper), the protagonist has been diagnosed with melancholy. Her husband is a doctor, and believes that the best thing for her is to be kept away from all human contact. Despite her ongoing objections, she is made a virtual prisoner in her own home, a cottage they have rented until she gets better.

Of course, she doesn’t get better.  She goes slowly mad, and becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in her upper room where she spends all her time.  The patterns in the paper become alive, she starts to see people on the other side of the paper.  It consumes her, until she finally cannot take it anymore and commits suicide.

Now the element of this story which I found so intriguing is the role of her husband.  He is a doctor, so he is an expert.  She cannot question his judgment, because that would be both unseemly and totally counterproductive.  So she is forced to accept his diagnosis even though everything within her says it is wrong.

The parallels between this and modern approaches to depression and other mental illnesses is striking.  What “camp” you fall into will determine your diagnosis.  Traditional medicine.  Homeopathy.  Good ole’ American willpower.  The “Luther” view of sing more hymns loud, drink more and be with people more (more on this little topic in another post).  Some will say drugs are the only way to go.  Therapy must be the answer.  Others will say that prayer is the only way.  Still others meditation, sunlight,  etc.  But it is surprising to me how completely exclusive these approaches can become.

The reality is that the mind is an incredibly complex thing, truly a wonder of God’s creation.  Just as there are many causes for depression, even so there may be many roads out of depression.  What we must be on guard against is presuming that one view or approach is the end all only way to come to a right way out.

In this path we walk, our Lord has given us many tools for healing.  God will see you through, no matter what path you may end up talking along the way.