Mormon author talks about his mental illness and faith
Understanding panic disorder, agoraphobia and OCD
No small part of the suffering experienced by those with mental illness is the direct result of the ignorance, prejudice, and wrong-headed thinking of family members, friends, business associates, Church members and others. I firmly believe that as in other areas of life, conveying the truth is the key to banishing ignorance, stigma and prejudice that surround mental illness. Such truth will, I trust, encourage sufferers from mental disorders to seek appropriate and ecclesiastical and professional assistance, and help dispel their own debilitating fears, feelings of guilt, and self-doubt.
It's worth noting that even the most elect among us have been struck down by mental illness. Though not widely known and discussed, President George Albert Smith suffered from some undiagnosed condition likely a panic or anxiety disorder, or depression where even as prophet he often was unable to attend church services for months at a time. The Journal of Mormon History, by Mary Jane Woodger, details some of these problems:
[A] granddaughter, Shauna Lucy Stewart Larsen, who lived in George Albert's home for twelve years as a child, remembers that "when there was great, tremendous stress, mostly (of) an emotional kind, it took its toll and he would literally have to go to bed for several days." Grandson Robert Murray Stewart remembers, "There were problems associated with his mental health, just maintaining control of himself."
So what can be done about this? If mental illness is real and doctors and ecclesiastical leaders agree that it is then what can you and I do to relieve the suffering of those around us? I hate to bring up an even touchier subject than mental illness, but we can do our home teaching. I can't tell you the number of times I've wished we had regular home teachers to visit and understand us. I am in constant need of priesthood blessings, as is my wife, who has faced the brunt of this burden. For that matter, visiting teachers who really care and understand (and visit!) have been an enormous benefit for my wife.
And we can do as Elder Morrison suggests: Find ways to stamp out ignorance, act without prejudice, and correct the wrong-headed thinking that is so pervasive on this issue.
And in all of these solutions, the real key is obvious: Love unconditionally; seek to understand; act with kindness. It's the solution to dealing with those with mental illness, but it's the very core of the gospel itself.
- UTubers: Returned LDS missionary part of...
- LDS missionaries safe in Taiwan after earthquake
- Mormon Mentions: Adam Levine praises The...
- Mormon Taylor Swift look-alike draws national...
- After 3rd round of Hollywood Week on...
- 'Rich and fascinating': New online database...
- Maintaining faith during LDS Church meeting...
- 'A unique insight': Jermaine Sullivan shares...
- Defending the Faith: Why the question... 35
- Obama at prayer breakfast: 'Jesus is a... 24
- Obama's take on 3 key debates about... 13
- In Our Lovely Deseret: The courtship... 12
- Bernie Sanders disappoints some... 12
- Taylor Halverson: The Book of Mormon... 7
- 'A unique insight': Jermaine Sullivan... 7
- New Harmony: Reading the pope's words... 6