Mental illness in the frum community- take 2

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  • #594326
    happiest
    Member

    I am starting this thread again because I think that it was very helpful to me and I’m sure it was and will be helpful to others as well. Please can we refrain from fighting about everything under the sun?!

    Mental illness in the frum community is a lot more widespread then many people want to think. Let’s face it and do something about it.

    #732444
    TheGoq
    Participant

    i don’t think i have mental illness i just had some needs physical and otherwise that were not met by my parents and i needed several years of therapy just to realize i had any self worth

    #732446
    Pashuteh Yid
    Member

    Happiest, may you have a refuah shleima, and never have any more tzaar. Unfortunately, Olam Hazeh is so stressful at times, that it is a wonder that anybody can maintain his equanimity.

    #732447
    happiest
    Member

    Pashuteh Yid- thanks! It definitely is stressful, all the time. It is hard for me to manage but I’ve had a good couple of months so I’m hoping that I’m on the mend. Even if I’m not on the mend, atleast I got to enjoy a even just a couple months of my life.

    #732448
    TheGoq
    Participant

    pash you should never have to face the trials that i did please no moshuls about other people and their pekels, i dont fear going to gehinnom i have already experienced it

    #732449

    I agree with you Happiest. I wanted to know what everyone thinks about kids withADHD, is that counted as a mental issue? Or is it more behavioral? Anyway,what do you think about medicating children? Do it and hopefully the child gets a second chance at success,or don’t do it because of fears that the medicine is “dangerous” and also because of the stigma that a person in the family is on medicine and risk this child falling trough the cracks and not finding success in life,but at least we can tell the shadchanim that we are a perfect family?!

    #732450
    Porty
    Member

    My husband is a (mental health) therapist and sees a lot of issues in the frum community. He wants to help Yidden and has been very successful. There is no shame in getting help – it is actually a sign of strength that someone realizes that there is a problem and wants to get help for it. My husband has helped several people get married too.

    #732451
    happiest
    Member

    I think medicating children should be done when it is needed. I know that for myself I needed to be medicated way before I actually started it. I didn’t want to even go to a psychiatrist in the beginning because I was scared about what my family would say. I regret this so much right now. I don’t think my issues would have gotten to the extreme that they are at right now if I had gone to a psych earlier.

    Porty- how has your husband helped people get married?

    #732452
    Health
    Participant

    estherhamalka -ADHD/ADD is definitely a mental illness (behavioral problem is the same as mental illness in this case.) Once diagnosed the mainstay of treatment is CBT (therapy), with or without meds. The patient will not grow out of it without treatment and sometimes they won’t grow out of it with treatment.

    But treatment is the best bet.

    #732453
    Porty
    Member

    Happiest, he helped several people get over their anxiety, depression, etc. A lot of people also don’t want to be “seeing a therapist” when they date, but my husband has spoken to both sides and helped them see that someone who is getting help is someone who is doing the most to make their marriage successful and it is nothing to be ashamed of. There are some very grateful families out there. 🙂

    #732454

    happiest, you sound like you are on the road to recovery. You may have a bit of work ahead of you,but you are going in the right direction. The way you are open about things that are so sensitive shows that. Keep up the good work and good luck!

    Health-yes that was pretty much what i was thinking…

    #732455
    Pashuteh Yid
    Member

    The Goq, that is not what I meant. First of all, I wish you a refuah sheleima and may your life get back to normal with good health, parnasa and hatzlacha. Second of all, I am very close with someone who has such a disability, so I know first hand, and would never minimize it.

    My point is that sometimes stress pushes people over the edge, and can cause a breakdown is susceptible individuals. Unfortunately, some broke down during the holocaust, etc. Sometimes today people may feel they are going to have a break down because of an impending foreclosure or other tragedy.

    I am not at all implying that it is not organic, as it definitely is. However, I think that great stress or tragedy or fear can exacerbate it, and be the final factor that causes somebody to get sick.

    I think the message for the klal is to let people know that no matter what situation, we will be a safety net for you. One must always maintain contact and do whatever he can to help someone in trouble, as that can prevent him from going over the edge. The worst thing is if somebody feels his problem has no solution, and nobody will be there to help him out. Chessed can literally be a lifesaver.

    Imagine if instead of going on fancy vacations, those who are able to would donate enough money for an emergency fund to help those with severe parnasa problems who fear the lights may be turned off at any moment or they may be evicted. At least we can help in such situations.

    Unfortunately, I know of people with certain diseases who are in fear that their eyes may get worse to the point where they will not be able to see. Nobody has any clue how frightening this is to somebody. I wish we could help people with all types of sicknesses. But this requires years of research. I often wonder why research is not the number one focus of any baal chesed. Why are more frum people not going into science?

    Anyway I am getting off topic, but being able to be nosei b’ol with suffering people is the least we can do.

    #732456
    TheGoq
    Participant

    ty pash well said

    #732457
    happiest
    Member

    I second what The Goq said, well said Pashuteh Yid.

    Porty- your husband sounds like he is a miracle worker.

    Estherhamalka- I feel like I’m on the road to recovery, I have a way to go but so far so good!

    I just wonder how many people understand that people with a mental illness can be normal too. If you passed me on the street, you would never in a thousand years think that I am ill. I look and sound completely normal and just want to be treated normally too.

    #732458
    observanteen
    Member

    I wasn’t depressed, but had anxiety. Unfortunately, I hid it from my parents for fear that they won’t understand. B”H my mother detected that something was amiss and got it all out of me. She ordered the Attacking Anxiety & Depression program by the Midwest Center. It truly helped me overcome my anxiety. I am totally out of it now.

    Don’t be ashamed to get help! It’s totally okay. Being unhealthy is not okay. There are more people in the Heimishe community that suffer from mental illness than you think. You just keep going. Hatzlacha!!

    #732459
    watermelon
    Member

    We keep building “hospitals under the bridge”

    (Chelm story) instead of fixing the holes in the bridge

    causing people to fall in the water in the first place.

    Could it be due to any of the following?

    1.media over-emphasis on perfection;

    flawless nose,flawless toes,

    size 4 fitting like a 0,and XL sewn like a size 4,etc.

    2.ridiculous pressure in SOME schools,great for the average-bright,but torturous for those who must struggle

    3.Way too much hurtful yenting.Kids know exactly how they are doing socially!

    4.Parental alienation.

    An UNNECESSARY side-effect of divorce.

    You think every child doesn’t need a mother?

    If you convince them they don’t,they’ll buy it…and pay for it by having “issues” later.

    From all the depressed yidden who’ve posted here,I think this is a fairly accurate composite of factors.

    Feel free to set me straight if I have it wrong.

    #732460
    watermelon
    Member

    addendum to #4.And a responsible father.(responsible!)

    #732461
    watermelon
    Member

    Oh! One more thing.

    I feel VERY lucky that most of my kids are in excellent schools,ba”h.

    (midos,fine mechanchim,etc.)

    This was just a general synopsis.

    #732462
    watermelon
    Member

    Pashute Yid,you’re right.

    There are emotional stresses on ADULTS that I neglected to include,above.

    #732463
    watermelon
    Member

    MODS can I trouble you to post that in order? Thanks…sorry.

    #732464
    Porty
    Member

    happiest – I think he is! 🙂 It amazes me every day how much he cares about those that have mental illness.

    #732465
    observanteen
    Member

    watermelon – So true. I was obsessed w/ my weight while I suffered from anxiety (I had to be a size 0!). Interestingly enough, it disappeared along w/ my anxiety!

    #732466
    watermelon
    Member

    Ok,1 out of 4 ain’t bad…

    #732467

    Happiest, it took a lot of courage for you to compose this thread and i admire you for it.

    As for medications: They need to be used properly. However, I know several cases where medication was life changing.

    AD(H)D IS NOT a mental illness. It’s a style of brain; scientific evidence (those interested can email for journal references) shows that it is most likely due to having less of certain neurotransmitters. However, medication is not necessary and is often used like a splint, until the person is able to grow out of it.

    I know someone who took Ritalin for years, but as she got older she needed less and less and as an adult takes no medication at all. When she was younger she was a terrible student and alienated her friends when she didn’t have teh medication, but with the medication she grew up into a fine young woman.

    #732468
    Health
    Participant

    pascha bchochma- There are many theories of what the cause of ADHD is. In the US mental illness is defined by the DSM, not by anonymous bloggers. In the last edition of the DSM, ADHD is classified as a Mental Illness. It will also be classified as such in the next edition, but they might change some terminology.

    PB writes- “However, medication is not necessary”

    Please see my post above how to treat it. Medication can very well become necessary if the behavioral therapy can’t control the child.

    #732469
    Health
    Participant

    WM- “4.Parental alienation.

    An UNNECESSARY side-effect of divorce.

    You think every child doesn’t need a mother?”

    And every child needs his/her’s father. You need two parents to raise children.

    “And a responsible father.(responsible!)”

    You need a responsible mother also. It’s not one or the other, it’s both. Responsibility is shared, whether it’s both bringing in income, or whether it’s both doing chores or child-rearing.

    #732470

    Health is correct, ADHD is a mental illness as per the DSM. However, in the frum community, mental illness is far more stigmatized than learning issues, which is the primary problem with most ADHD kids. In that sense, it is not a mental illness as many people grow out of it – it is far more a developmental issue, some people have great focusing abilities, some struggle, and some never develop it and always need medication.

    Therefore, anyone who knows anything about ADD/ADHD would not worry too much about the genetics, as it is something that you cannot predict based on genetics and most children either grow out of it or find a way to cope without medication.

    So in terms of shidduchim, which the lady asked about, I would not categorize ADHD as a mental illness. Some people turn it to an advantage – I know someone who was valedictorian, in charge of several things in school, and no one would ever guess that their energy came from ADHD, and this person could be redt to your daughter as the TOP bachur in Lakewood, he no longer needs the medication and is just an amazing person.

    It’s like having many ear infections as a child. Some people need to be on antibiotics constantly, some lose some hearing although no one notices it until they’re older, and it’s slightly genetic, but no one discriminates in shidduchim about it.

    #732471
    Sacrilege
    Member

    pascha

    I think you are down playing it. Slightly.

    #732472
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I’m going to agree with pascha here.

    And besides, the DSM is a highly political publication. Inclusion and exclusion has more than a little to do with lobbying groups.

    Here for example, ADHD was probably lobbied to be included so that some government organization would be required to treat it.

    #732474
    happiest
    Member

    Watermelon, I think that some forms of mental illness can be caused by what you’ve said ie with the schools and media… mental illnesses like an eating disorder but not all forms are caused by that. Some mental illnesses are really caused by a chemical imbalance in the body, pressure from the outside world has nothing to do with some mental illnesses- for example bipolar or bpd (borderline personality disorder).

    Anyone agree with me?

    #732475

    i agree 🙂

    #732476
    happiest
    Member

    Does anyone agree with me? Curious if I’m totally off base here.

    #732477
    watermelon
    Member

    happiest,of course you’re correct.

    The person I know takes lithium for his depression

    because it is ROOTED in a chemical imbalance.

    Another person I know had an unexpected postpartum depression

    that changed her life completely…

    I guess I should have clarified that clinical depression is exacerbated by life’s stresses,but

    not necessarily caused by them.

    #732478
    Midwest2
    Participant

    There seems to be some confusion here. I checked my copy of DSM IV and nowhere does it use the term “mental illness.” The term was dropped years ago because it’s very imprecise and misleading, and very stigmatizing on top of it.

    DSM talks about “disorders.” Mood disorder with depressed affect, or attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity. Causes aren’t given – just lists of symptoms that can point to a useful therapy.

    Why? Because we really haven’t the foggiest about how to even classify these kinds of problems, let alone understand what causes them. Some are related to biochemical imbalances, some to parenting, some to a combination. We really don’t know for sure.

    The best thing to do is go to a good therapist – clinical social worker or psychologist, preferably frum, and get advice and treatment. Unfortunately, we’re still so hung up over the “stigma” that people are afraid to go.

    Don’t think of “illness” – think of problems in living. Who doesn’t have problems? And like most problems, there are at least partial solutions. Don’t feel badly about it and put yourself down – just get help.

    #732479
    Health
    Participant

    pascha bchochma & popa_bar_abba – “mental illness is far more stigmatized than learning issues,” “So in terms of shidduchim, which the lady asked about, I would not categorize ADHD as a mental illness.”

    What you are saying is -don’t call something what it really is, because the frum community will stigmatize you. This was the point of the topic that was closed -mental illness is very stigmatized in the frum community. Don’t you think by doing things like calling ADHD- a non-mental illness, you are fueling the fire of people who stigmatize mental illness?

    “Here for example, ADHD was probably lobbied to be included so that some government organization would be required to treat it.”

    This isn’t an example, this is part of your theory. It is true that they have removed something due to political correctness. This was homosexuality. I know of nothing else that was removed or put in due to lobbying. You can’t just knock a group of scientists because you disagree.

    #732480
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Yes, it is part of my theory, which is why I said “probably”.

    You seem to agree with my theory, since you concede that homosexuality was removed due to lobbying.

    #732481
    Health
    Participant

    Popa -only in that one case. If you bring me proof in another, I’ll consider it. But right now, that’s the only one. Because morality in America has reached the 50th level of Tuma, so they removed it.

    #732482
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Well, If they sell themselves once, I have no reason to think they don’t sell themselves twice.

    #732484

    Midwest:: Agreed.

    Health: Actually, several things have been added to the DSM through politics – such as binge eating and combining the sociopathic personality disorders into antisocial personality disorder in the next edition. PMS, a very real disorder which has plenty of scientific research to back it, is not in the DSM for political reasons. You can google for more.

    Whoever said that the DSM included ADD so that people could be paid for treating it is absolutely right, as that is the primary practical function of the DSM. Unlike its medical counterpart, the DSM is not “scientific” in the sense that the diseases do not correspond to biological conditions and therefore there is a lot of leeway in it to change diagnoses.

    So back to the issue, it makes most sense to present ADHD as a learning issue rather than a mental health issue. It’s more about whether the person found a niche wherein to use their abilities than whether the person has a problem. Many kids with ADD today, would have been great in the shtetl where they didn’t need to sit 12 hours a day learning.

    #732486
    Midwest2
    Participant

    Pascha – agree with you 95%. Thek other five percent – yes, maybe there are a small percentage of people with actual neurological problems with attention, and they don’t grow out of it.

    BUT – a lot of kids with the diagnosis don’t have it – they just, as you said, can’t sit still for 12 hours a day. I sure couldn’t. I ended up studying standing up with my book on top of a low bookcase. It worked. I even wrote computer programs on top of that bookcase :-). I now have a specially constructed shtender which is even better. And – a friend of mine who was doing research on the neurology of ADD screened me with an EEG (goopy electrodes and all). Guess what – no ADD. Just need lots of exercise.

    But I’m an adult. What about the kid who really needs exercise and gets stuck at a desk with half an hour recess a day? No wonder he/she drives the teacher crazy. And eventually gets expelled and goes OTD.

    I think sometimes that our yeshiva system is equivalent to a factory for the production of emotional and social problems (except for the lucky 10% who fit the “mold”).

    #732487
    Health
    Participant

    PB -Your theories are way off base. Binge eating was included in the last edition and will be included probably as a separate entity in the next.

    Also, “combining the sociopathic personality disorders into antisocial personality disorder” -I don’t know why you would say these reclassifications are because of politics. They still are called mental disorders.

    “PMS, a very real disorder which has plenty of scientific research to back it, is not in the DSM for political reasons.”

    The reason for this is because it’s not a Mental disorder, only a medical disorder. This has nothing to do with politics. There is a small subset of PMS called PMDD, which was classified in the last DSM as a subset of another mental disorder. The committee is considering removing it entirely, leaving it be or changing it to it’s own disorder. The reason they are thinking to remove it -is because it’s such a small subset, it can be just under the medical disorder of PMS, it doesn’t need it’s own mental classification. Even so, one expert doesn’t think they will go with this option. I see no logical reason for anyone to claim any of this has to do with politics. So the same for ADHD, if it fell under a medical disorder, they would leave it out. It’s Not a medical disorder. Also, you don’t put things in the DSM for insurance to cover things because they shell out much more freely if the disorder is medical as opposed to Mental!

    #732488
    happiest
    Member

    I’m going to ask my Dr about PMS- if he thinks that it’s a real disorder or not; if he thinks that it SHOULD be a real disorder or not.

    Just wondering what people here think about this. People say to me (not knowing that I suffer with one) that a person suffering with a physical illness is a lot worse off than a person suffering with a mental illness. In my opinion, I don’t think the two can be compared. I think that they are two totally different situations. Honestly, It could be that since I’m suffering from a mental illness myself I’m a little biased, but who knows?!

    #732489

    i know s/o who suffers from bipolar, adhd, and anxiety amongst other things, and i’d have to say imho this person is suffering just as much as someone with a physical illness. But the 2 can’t really be compared…. 🙂

    #732490
    observanteen
    Member

    I heard of someone who suffered from depression and also had cancer. She said that the depression was much harder on her for various reasons:

    1- When you suffer from a physical illness you’re understood by others.

    2- Your not embarrased to get help.

    3- People will try helping you out, whereas when you suffer from mental illness, people back off from you.

    May Hashem send a Refuah to all sick people.

    #732491
    happiest
    Member

    It’s so interesting how people on here act like they’re so caring. I wish people on the outside world would be that way too.

    #732492
    observanteen
    Member

    happiest: People on the outside are afraid of others. You wrote that if we meet you on the street you look perfectly okay. You don’t exactly wear a “I’m mentally ill” sign on your forehead. Therefore, people feel quite uneasy sharing their mental problems with other.

    #732493
    eclipse
    Member

    happiest,gr8 topic for an article!Why not write it?

    #732494
    happiest
    Member

    observanteen- you’re right. I didn’t think about it that way.

    Eclipse- I am not a very good writer, I don’t think I could do it but your welcome to help me with it if you’d like:) Who would I write an article for anyway?

    #732495
    eclipse
    Member

    Whichever paper you would want to see it in.You can write it and try it out on us!

    #732496
    happiest
    Member

    I’m not a very good writer so you probably won’t be seeing an article in a newspaper anytime soon.

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