Sunday, 20 October 2013

Elder Holland

What a breath of fresh air it was to hear from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the Saturday Afternoon session of General Conference. I was attempting to watch the session live. As I am in the UK, this session ran from 9:00pm. As I dosed, my wife pointed out that Elder Holland was addressing mental health issues. Having, half heartedly, tried to focus I realised I would need to revisit this talk. As I drove to work later in the week, I listened again. My interest was piqued right away. Elder Holland, as forceful as ever, spoke about mental health issues in black and white terms. It was liberating to hear emotional issues compared to some of the more socially acceptable physiological problems that can afflict us. I felt that it was a call not to lie down to mental health problems but to acknowledge and deal with things, as opposed to lying down to difficulties. It also meant that opportunities were given to priesthood leaders to see emotional issues as real. I'm grateful to the Lord for inspiring his servants to help so many sinking souls feel some hope.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

He Did Deliver Me from Bondage

If you are seeking for some good reading materials that will sharpen your focus on the Saviour, I would recommend 'He Did Deliver Me From Bondage' by Colleen Harrison. The book is a 12 step programme for addiction recovery, based on the 12 steps that are found in the Alcoholics Anonymous 'Big Book'. It also incorporates principles from the Book of Mormon to give a workbook that is designed to help people overcome addictive behaviours. The book has a wider application as it can be applied to all manner of issues and problems in a sense wider than addiction recovery. By following some basic (and correct) principles the book opens up a practical process that encourages a break away from independent self reliance and promotes a Saviour focused reliance that has application for many of life's troubles. The beginning of the whole process unfolds as we admit that we are wholly reliant on Him. Sister Harrison, herself, has struggled with addictive behaviours that caused her to re-evaluate her own life. Sometimes when struggling with poor emotional health it can be easy to seek solace from many of the world's enticements. Food, alcohol, drugs, pornography etc. can offer an alluring escape from reality. The problem comes as we proceed down these paths we are ensnared by the adversary and need rescuing. Conversely those in the grips of mental health difficulties need rescuing too. By steering clear of dangerous paths our rescue is more straightforward. At the heart of it all, Jesus Christ stands ready to rescue and deliver us, whatever path we have taken and I am utterly convinced that he will come to our aid.

When did I first notice I had OCD type issues?

I was always a worrier as a child. As I grew up and passed from adolescence and into adulthood the worries were worse than ever before. It seems to me that I just adapted to living with worries. It was only as I got older that my worries became more pronounced. For example I would worry about being ill, checking for unusual signs of illness. When i worked as a cook I would be too focused on cleaning up, a little scared that any left over food or associated dirt would cause illness. It seems from my reading that adolescence and early adulthood are the times when OCD and other mental health conditions can kick in. That was what happened to me. I was diagnosed in my early to mid twenties and since then I have develpoed an understanding that has seen me move forwards,

OCD Cleaning

I watched a show recently called "Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners". It is a show on Channel 4 (in the UK) which matches up members of the British public with an OCD person who is obsessed with cleaning. It is watchable but offers a few limited insights into OCD. A thought that I had relates to the public perception of OCD. For some it is viewed as a quirky little phenomenon that might drive people to having a tidy and clean home. You might hear the comment, "I'm a bit OCD about that", which is most likely directed to some issue related to order or sanitary housekeeping. Maybe this is true. Perhaps OCD is more of a spectrum of issues than a black and white condition. In other words maybe we're all "a bit OCD". The public might erroneously observe some value in OCD. In fact I once spoke with a doctor who suggested my issues might be helpful in getting things done. I don't suffer as much as some. I know that there are people for whom stable and comfortable living is impossible. Some individuals have compulsions that have taken over their lives. There is a good article on OCD-UK about this. It refers to the idea of being "a bit OCD" and draws comparison with some of the people who are struggling to cope.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

We all have a story to tell!

I'm glad that I've been created as a unique individual.

There are so many people around and each has a story to tell. I wish I could spend my days stopping to find out the depth and detail that others could share. Each life could yield a best seller. Even in the mundane, there are worthwhile, even special, moments.

Each stranger that we pass has hopes, fears, deep desires and disappointments that they carry with them.

I sit in traffic sometimes and depersonalise my neighbor drivers. They are suits and ties, office bound, with ledgers, action plans, meetings and sales targets in mind.

I barely notice the people as the cars edge past and forget that each of these souls has a story inside, perhaps buried deeply.

Sometimes it's easy to forget our own worth and value. Our own life experiences have created a unique set of circumstances for each of us. However, we step onto the treadmill of our lives and spend significant chunks of time going through the motions. Living through our days but often without vibrancy. Our creative strength dampened down by our fears and expectations for what we "should be doing".

My hope is to tell my story. I don't want to reach the end of this mortal phase with my story still inside.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

'The Doubting Disease' etc.

I spotted a book called 'The Doubting Disease' (Joseph W. Ciarrochi) which is designed to pick up on elements of OCD and suggests help. I've picked up some other good reads like 'Feel the Fear but Do It Anyway' (Susan Jeffers) and 'Feeling Good' (David W. Burns). I like some of the points but they, to me, are not exactly life changing (maybe I'm not using them right). I wonder that sometimes if it's having a spititual focus might be of more benefit. President Packer stated that; "True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." In addition sometimes diverting attention away from the issue has helped me to feel better than to become preoccupied with solving the problems.

Monday, 5 November 2012

What really drives OCD?

As an individual with OCD there are many areas of my attempts at Gospel living that can become confused. Let me be clear that the Gospel is real. It is true. God lives and He knows and loves us. As I lock in hard to my OCD version of Gospel living, problems can and do occur. I once was walking down the street outside a gas station and saw a razor blade on the street. What should I do? I picked it up and put in the trash, only after some deliberation. If I leave it, i thought, someone might get hurt and that would be my fault. After throwing it in the garbage can, I worried about the garbage person. They might get cut when they pull the bag from the can, which again would be my fault. Either way trying to do the "right thing" had caused me serious issues. I decided to tell the attendant about it. He listened, probably felt sorry for me and I felt better. As a home teacher it pained me to miss an appointment as this would be less than perfect service and I would feel guilty. I did not always have the needs of the saints in mind when i would leave to home teach, just the desire to not offend God and feel bad. These are examples of how I have been affected, but, all in all, as time passes I learn a little here and there that helps me. f you suffer from OCD type issues, have you ever considered what it is that drives your fear? When i need to go back to the office to check the PC is switched off and the staff kettle is turned off, what is that all about? I think it really relates to fear of getting into trouble. If, as my mind races through all the consequences, I really break it down it usually corresponds to fear of man. If I don't check and there is a fire, I will be responsible and in deep trouble along the way. Having made such a discovery, does it change my behaviour? Nope! It does help me know where I may need to change in time. I am on a healing journey. I will not lie down to feelings of despair and fear (I hope and pray that I won't at least). I hope my blog can help you know that healing is out there and that there are others who suffer too. Thanks for reading. Until next time..............