August’s Archives 2020

In Preparing Turn to Him, (Posted August 2, 2020)

Today during my prayer time and in my readings I ran across this reading that has been attributed to Barnabas, a disciple of Christ, who was a great early Christian evangelizer. His letter’s theme was that “Hope of life is the beginning and end of our faith.” In this letter I would like to point out the following as has been my topic of some of my blogs, preparation of eternity.

“Thus, when we see prophecies fulfilled in their appointed order, we ought to grow more fully and deeply in awe of Him.” Now as it was for them so it is for us that certain things were and are still unfolding in the time of history itself. It will continue as we speed towards the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to remember as they unfold that “when evil days are upon us and the worker of malice gains power, we must attend to our own souls and seek to know the ways of the Lord.” We knew then and as we know now that being a Christian was not going to be easy in this world, but it is well worth it. Eternity with God, what an awesome thought!!

Turn towards Christ, seek out the Sacraments, seek out God in prayer and scripture, make your relationship with Him personal as you do with your best friend here on earth and know that all will be okay. Remember what Saint Paul said in his letter to the Romans, (Romans 8:35, 37-39), “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulations, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things to come, not powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Keep the faith, prepare as we should and know that He is always with us.

May God Bless you and your family.

Jim

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Mental Illness (Posted August 8, 2020)

Today I would like to write about a mental illness called bipolar disorder. This disorder is also known as manic-depressive disorder. It affects more 3 million cases per year in the U.S., common in ages 18-35, can last several years or a lifetime, and family history can increase the likelihood. There are four types of bi-polar disorder: 1.) Bipolar Disorder I, a person having a manic episode for at least seven days, 2.) Bipolar Disorder II, a person experiences a depressive state preceded or followed by a hypomanic state, 3.) Cyclothymic Disorder, a person displays many symptoms of mania and many symptoms of depression for over two years and one in children, however these symptoms do not meet the diagnosis criteria for Bi-polar Disorder, 4.) Unspecified bipolar disorder, a person experiences symptoms that do not fit the pattern of the other three categories.

I have recently seen several television shows with characters portraying this condition and even a movie. One had a good handle on the scenario where the others I question and even the humor about the subject was done in poor taste. This illness is no joke. It is harmful to the person and to the families of that person if not treated and even treated it is stressful for family members.

Why am I so passionate about this topic? It is because I have Bipolar Disorder Type II. I was diagnosed in the service where I was an alcoholic, (which is quite common for people with Bipolar Disorder), and my behavior was strange. I ended up seeing a psychiatrist where I was diagnosed with this illness. The next process was coming to terms with it and for the longest time I refused my medicine and put my family through pure hell. This refusal of medicine is a normal action as we all think we can handle this illness. With my diagnosed disorder I was manic and depressed or as I call it the rollercoaster effect at least 4 times a month or more. It was physically and mentally draining.

After my discharge from the service, (yes I was honorably discharged with a medical discharge having been hurt in the line of duty), I went into the VA system. After I came to grips with my disorder the next step was finding the right medicine to help me control the disorder. You see for me it will be a lifetime disorder. This medicine process took six years of trying many different types of medicines and mixture of medicines. We found it and I learned my triggers so I know when I am going to cycle into a manic state or depressive one. Does the medicine make it go away? No, but it helps me handle it and with the support of my wife and children it is manageable.

What does this have to do with the Catholic Church or Christianity in general? Everything! It falls under the topic of Social Justice. We are to look and take care of the poor, the desolate, the old and the sick. The sick includes those with mental illness; Bipolar, OCD, PTSD, Schizophrenia, Depression, etc. So often I have seen people find ways to not to talk to someone who seems to be too strange, is babbling or just not seem normal according to society, whatever that is. I have even seen where people have pulled out of the book of James how bipolar is seen as wrong in the bible. This is not so, for we are all children of God. We are all called to carry our crosses in our own way. We are made in the likeness of God but will take our own path to Him with our own trials and tribulations.

The next time you see someone you know that has a mental illness, a friend, family member, or even a stranger but you know that person has it, hug them, let them know that you care, that God loves them. Get involved in your parishes social justice programs, get involved with your communities programs that help those who are down. Go forth and evangelize with your love for your fellow man.

May God Bless you and your family,

Jim

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