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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Depression and Spirituality

One of the many hats I wear is that of a psychiatric social worker, serving people with varying degrees of mental health issues and challenges.  I view these symptoms and the people who experience them in ways that are outside the realm of the medical model.  Rather than seeing pathology, I come from a strengths based perspective. I cringe when I hear the term ‘religiously pre-occupied’, as if taking about God, angels and spirituality is, in and of itself, a dynamic of mental illness. While I have experienced people being over the top in their expression, some with the belief that they alone are privvy to some special wisdom, I know just as surely, that having a spiritual practice can indeed be healing.

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I have never experienced clinical depression, but like most people on the planet, I have had those ‘dark nights of the soul’ during which I have wondered why I was stumbling around, bumping into walls when I could have turned on a symbolic as well as physical light. When faced with life challenges, such as I have had lately; I KNOW that my spiritual practice bolsters me and keeps me afloat. For me that includes: meditation, yoga, prayer, writing, drumming, dancing, crying, time in nature, immersing in visual art, chanting, time with loved ones, massage, creating vision boards and yes, even time on facebook, as silly as that may sound.  It is there that I have a sense of what goes on in the world, an open door into the lives of folks I may never meet face to face; a chance to offer love and prayers, good wishes and healing for another soul. An opportunity to receive that if I need it as well.

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I spoke with someone recently who was plagued with symptoms that terrified him. He was convinced that what he saw was ‘real’. Using meditation as a tool, surrounding himself in white light, he shared that although he still believes that those images exist, with his spiritual practice, “I am stronger than they are and they can’t hurt me.”

Take a moment to watch this video interview with actor Jim Carrey as he openly and with vulnerability, shares about the ways in which spirituality has been a source of strength in his own bouts with depression.

 http://youtu.be/KfWN5EW5eo4

 

*If you do experience mental health issues, I encourage you to seek support and professional guidance. For family members and friends, a good resource is called NAMI (NATIONAL ASSOCIATION ON MENTAL ILLNESS) 

 www.nami.org 

 

 

  • Liora Hill

    Edie,
    This is beautiful.
    Clean.
    Filled with authenticity and with Love.
    Thank you for this post.
    Love,
    Liora

    • http://www.liveinjoy.org Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW

      Thank YOU! Glad you liked it. Love heals. <3

  • http://www.practical-spiritual-healing-guide.com Rev Della

    I have a son who suffers from rapid cycling bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. The combination of these two disorders makes life very challenging for him. One of the things that helps him tremendously is his strong involvement in our spiritual community.
    I am a minister and when I drive him back and forth to Sunday services, we often discuss a spiritual approach to situations which come up in his life. He often asks me to pray for him and he knows that prayer can transform many situations.
    The people in our spiritual community love him. He is in charge of setting up the fellowship, which allows him to feel a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. This is very important for him because he is on disability due to his condition. He often talks to the people in our community about his successes and challenges. One of his greatest mentors is the pastor of our center. He confides in her often and she provides him with spiritual guidance in his life. He loves going to our center each week. It keeps him grounded in something very positive.
    Having a serious mental illness is incredibly difficult for any person. But feeling like you are connected to God or Spirit or the Divine or whatever you choose to call it, can be an anchor for someone who is struggling.
    I also agree that if you know of someone who is affected by mental illness in any way, that you should recommends NAMI. I am a member of the NJ chapter and they have been an invaluable source of support and education.

    • http://www.liveinjoy.org Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW

      So glad you and your son have support from your community. It makes such a difference. I have found in my work as a social worker, that for many, spiritual connection can be therapeutic. NAMI is a great resource…glad it is supporting you. <3

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