I absolutely do not feel any disapproval about your choice to retire on disability in this situation. I understand how you feel as I have a young friend who suffers in a similar situation.
My young friend has two points of similarity with you. As a child he couldn’t take direction. And this manifested itself as yours did – he refusal to do assignments. In addition, at the age of 9, he began resisting all efforts to get him to exercise. So now he is overweight, suffers from depression and an inability to get things done. He is a practicing Catholic and a sweet person. But – like you -- he also says that prayer doesn’t help, meaning that he prayed and prayed to be able to change his lazy habits and he couldn’t. I think people like him end up with this despair about prayer because they have mental problems, and you can’t pray your way out of mental problems and depression. When you get to that point, you need mental help.
Heavy Metal Poisoning: Criminals have itSometimes mental problems can have a physical component. Heavy metal poisoning is one possible cause of depression and emotional problems. I had mercury poisoning, it’s called Mad Hatter’s disease because the hat makers used to paint mercury on the hats, and they’d lick the brush with mercury on it, and then become as “mad as a hatter.” It was an occupational hazard. I was treated and I don’t have it anymore, but I was very short tempered when I did have it. I had the highest level of mercury the clinic (a famous one) had known. The second highest level was one young woman – age 27. She developed full-blown bi-polar symptoms from eating a lot of swordfish in one month (she already had a lot of mercury in her body from another source). Normally, bi-polar has an onset in puberty, but hers came on in her late 20s. So they tested her for heavy metals, and sure enough she had mercury poisoning, but less than mine! They cured her of a “mental” illness by chelating her mercury. That means they used natural means, food supplements, IVs, an antibiotic related to penicillin. Apparently, they have measured the heavy metal levels in people in prison, and they are very high. So heavy metal poisoning is something to look at. A naturopath specializing in heavy metal poisoning could help you.
Panic Attacks are Physical in OriginI have a family member, who had panic attacks upon leaving the house. So she never did, and she tried to force her poor daughters to stay home with her when they were adults because she was afraid to stay home alone. And so the oldest had to elope and the youngest cried all through her wedding ceremony because her mother was so stressed about her leaving home. Various other members of my family have panic attacks over other things – claustrophobia, fear of heights, social anxiety disorder, arachnophobia, fear of laughing because you’ll sound bad, you name it, we got it.
There is a physical component to panic attacks. They actually have food supplements to treat it. My relatives and I aren’t crazy. We are all handicapped.
Neurofeedback: Help for DepressionResearching what to do for one of my family members I came across http://www.aboutneurofeedback.com
My naturopath recommended it. It’s an alternative to drugs for conditions like depression. Now I have fibromyalgia, and they treat that with anti-depressants. But I refused that treatment, and got over it with physical therapy. I remember sitting in the fibromyalgia doctor’s office, and everyone in the room was hung over saying, “I’m so tired. I can’t get anything done.” They were almost asleep, and there I was bright-eyed and busy-tailed, “You should try food supplements and exercise!”
Anti-depressants can make you sick! But if you are on them, Bill, don’t change anything based on my advice! But if you are on antidepressants or other mood enhancing drugs, please know this can cause a person to have no desire to do anything. And a person in this condition is completely innocent.
So you could try neurofeedback and if it works – with your doctor’s permission -- you could get off anti-depressants, or other drugs they use to treat mental illness. Neurofeedback is offered at all the best medical facilities for psychiatric treatment, also at some naturopaths offices. So neurofeedback works for autism, social anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, addictions, post traumatic stress disorder, migraines and more.
Here the Neurofeedback website says, “Why do we need a new approach to medicating the brain?" Answer: "Pills don’t usually teach you how to change your own brain. Neurofeedback does. What are the implications of teaching people to "trust" their own brain to function better while reducing the reliance on medications?"
I’m no expert in this, but from what I read of this treatment our brains can get stuck in certain patterns. Certainly, my young friend got his brain stuck in the “no more exercise” slot when he was 9 years old with catastrophic results for this health when he’s 25. It seems like people with this kind of problem don’t “listen,” but I’m sure there’s something else wrong. If your mother was angry and yelling at you she was probably like my friend’s mother. My friend’s mother was frustrated beyond belief, because her son wouldn’t exercise, and wouldn’t complete his assignments. From the child’s point of view, the adult is a “monster.” But the child is not “normal” and the mother doesn’t realize the child needs mental help. She is ignorant. She can’t understand why she can’t get the child to do what really needs to be done. I apologize for your mother. I’m sorry you suffered with misunderstanding of your condition. Your mother does love you otherwise she would not have tried to get you to complete your assignments. She wanted you to succeed.
Your grade school teacher was frustrated too with your behavior, but it seems she handled it in a very immature and abusive manner. As an adult now, can’t you see she was very immature? And you don’t have to take seriously anything she said to you in the midst of her immature behavior. That was not what God wanted at all. I mean just because she was a Catholic nun, it does not mean that she was doing what God wanted. And Bill you really learned from that situation. You learned what NOT to do. You don’t act like the nun. With me, you have always been very, very polite. Your didn’t yell at me and say, “You idiot! Why do you hold those positions?!” So there was some good that came out of that awful situation. We Catholics, we would look at your suffering, and say "Thank you God. For you have brought great good (Bill's polite behavior) out of great evil (the nun's abusive behavior)."
Spiritual Healing of MemoriesSo forget your mother’s yelling and remember she loved you. She was only frustrated by your behavior. If you were Catholic, I’d suggest you go back to your memories of your mother, imagine that you are in the situation again, and ask Jesus to be present, and watch Him, and see what He does while it’s all going to hell in a hand basket. Talk to Him. Ask Him, “What am I supposed to learn from this situation?” You know even though you don’t believe in Him you could talk to him. I never ever feel like I love Jesus. I always say, “Jesus I wish I loved You.” But I know that I would not do what I do if I did not love Him, so I simply have to have faith that I do love Him based on my actions. So I am well familiar with not feeling things. The desire to know God is a decision of the will. It can be as cold as ice with no feeling.
Neurofeedback is non-invasive. It uses software to map your brain and its reaction to certain stimulation, and then it says, “Aha! We have a problem in Sector 56!” And so it designs a program of sound for your brain to unstick Sector 56. You watch a movie, any movie you like, neurofeedback changes the sound slightly, and over 20 sessions your brain is retrained. It’s like learning to ride a bike. You don’t forget the lesson once you are off the treatment.
Seen a Clinical Psychologist lately?Have you already tried the option of seeing a clinical psychologist? You know your wife is Catholic, and she’s probably registered in a parish. Most dioceses have a charitable psychiatric arm that charge you based on your income, dependents etc. My mother and another close family member have used this outlet very cheaply. And in my mother’s case it helped immensely.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and EMDRI was just cured from fibromyalgia by a physical therapist. He mostly just massaged my neck. But it caused me to begin jerking my feet and I felt pain leave my body through my feet and hands (this sounds weird I know). I actually ended up shaking like the Shakers and the Amish, groups that shook or jerked their shoulders while “praying.” While I shook I healed. I had this going twice a week for three months when suddenly I was in the middle of treatment, and I got horribly sick to my stomach. The pattern emerged that every time I got in the car to go to the physical therapist I got this stomach illness, and it lasted all day. Then it got worse, and I got in the car to go to a different doctor and I got violently ill to my stomach. Every doctor I saw I got ill. Finally, I came home one afternoon with the bellyache and I said to God, “Why am I sick?” And He reminded me of the moment when I was four years old and I was sitting in the back seat of the car, and my family had a car accident. Three days later, my father died.
At the time of the accident, I was looking at a comic book, and I was desperately carsick. I had motion sickness! Those are the symptoms I was experiencing when I went through this unusual and unique form of “physical therapy.” My physical therapist explained that our bodies take photographs of their symptoms during moments of high stress and that information is stored in our cells. I had emotionally worked through my father’s death, but my body had not come along. After this realization, my fibromyalgia went away. (I’d had it for 10 years. This cure was really unbelievable because I had felt like I was doomed to muscle pain the rest of my life.) My doctor said I had Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome from the experience of my father dying in the car accident 55 years before, and the fibromyalgia that appeared in my 50s was my body’s response! Believe me if I hadn’t gone through it, I wouldn’t believe it either. In connection with that they recommended I see a psychiatrist specializing in EMDR –-- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It’s for conditions like post traumatic stress syndrome. Here’s the Wikipedia Link explaining it: EMDR
Here’s the link to Dr. Francine Shapiro, who discovered the method for alleviating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. http://www.emdr.com
Dr Shapiro had terrible memories and she discovered that if she thought about them and then moved her eyes back and forth she could disconnect from the memory. I’m not explaining it very well, but it’s amazing to me what we can do for mental health other than take drugs and suffer unnecessarily. Look into a psychiatrist with experience in EMDR. Could you have post traumatic stress disorder? I’m no expert, but you have outlined enough personal pain for me to think it’s possible. I know I was absolutely astounded when I found out that I could have physical symptoms of fibromyalgia because of something that happened 55 years ago!
Demonic Possession and OppressionHowever, Bill, even if there is a physical cause, there could be a spiritual dimension to your depression. Demonic spirits can oppress a person. It’s one step short of possession. And they can make life miserable, very miserable. You can have thoughts that don’t originate with you, but come from an alien intelligence bent on evil, something totally other. The great saints sometimes would find themselves cussing in a manner that was not at all normal for them. I myself have had thoughts that don’t originate with me, were very critical and judgmental against a group that I knew so little about that I was not in a position to form a judgment! But the thought came to me, and unfortunately, I assented to it, and so I had to go to confession. Now this was just one incident. I don’t have a pattern of that kind of thinking. But a person suffering from oppression or possession may suffer chronically from a pattern of evil, complaining or depressing thoughts. Every diocese now should have an exorcist, and if you request an interview at the Chancery, they will set one up. The exorcist can determine if your problem is mental/physical (of the body) or of the spirit. Most of the time they determine it is of the body and then you simply go back to the things I mentioned before. But if it is of the spirit, then they can help you.
Even if you are not possessed, there is a spiritual component of almost every physical and mental illness. That’s why we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of the Sick in the Catholic Church. These things help our mental health, and our physical health.
The Healing of FamiliesThere’s another resource I am going to recommend called “The Healing of Families: How to pray effectively for those stubborn personal and familial problems” by Fr. Yozefu-Ssemakula available at www.healingoffamilies.com
I know you don’t believe in God, and I really don’t think it’s necessary for you to believe in Him in order to take advantage of this book. That is, you can simply go through the vocal prayers “The Healing of Families” recommends. It’s not a hypocritical thing to do. It’s perfectly okay. It’s a pretty straightforward vocal prayer, and then you can see if anything happens. My family has panic attack problems, and I discovered that came from my Finnish grandmother. I noticed her cousins in Finland had the same kind of panic attacks as we all do. That could be some kind of familial problem caused by one of our ancestors, who maybe stole land, or feared to lose land or something like that. They sort of invited a curse or an illness into our family. The Bible talks about a blessing lasting for 1,000 generations, but a curse for only four generations. Parents have authority, and they can make decisions for children that have negative consequences. These decisions can affect future generations. I have a friend who had a dream as a child that her parents were going to kill and bury her. She remembers her father was sad about it, but her mother said it had to be done. Later in life she found out that her parents had aborted one of her siblings. She suffered physically and emotionally from this decision of which she was totally innocent.
On my father’s side everyone is chronically constipated. My earliest memory of my grandmother is her offering me some laxative chocolate. I was cursed with that condition for 40 years, but as soon as I came home from that retreat, “The Healing of Families,” I wasn’t “cursed” with that condition any more. Try it, what could it hurt?
Eucharistic Adoration does help the Mentally IllLooking at your letter again, if you were a practicing Catholic, and not an atheist, I wouldn’t advise only prayer as a single solution, although Eucharistic Adoration combined with all these other avenues would be helpful. I know when they bring the Holy Eucharist into the mental hospital everyone is talking, talking, talking, but as soon as He arrives, they fall asleep. Sleep is a sign of healing.
Saying "Pray about it" is sometimes a cope outBut just saying, "Pray about it" is not the answer. Heavens, I have a cousin, who is a Soap Opera Star. A famous actor 40 years her senior asked her to marry him. She called her mother, and asked her advice, "Should I marry him?" My husband and I and my uncle were in the background, hissing, “Tell her not to marry him!”
My aunt answered, “I don’t know, honey, why don’t you pray about it?” That single piece of advice was a cope out.
I’ve always found that if God wanted me to be healed, and there was a practical earthly option for getting that healing, He would lead me in that direction. That doesn’t mean He hasn’t healed me the other way as well. And Bill even though you don’t believe in Him, if you are continuing to write to me, then what you are attracted to is God, not me.
Next time you have a bowel movement look in the toilet. That’s me. I am nothing. I am worse than nothing. But I am somebody because I have a relationship with God. I am the King’s kid. I am His Beloved. And everything good you read in the blog is from Him. The dumb stuff is from me.
God bless you. Susan