The difference in private and public mental health treatment.

Many who read my blogs a social media posts would be well aware of my Bipolar. I was diagnosed in the public system when I was 40 I am 50 in may 2018. I was put on Lithium.

‘Lithium (EskalithLithobid) is one of the most widelyused and studied medications for treating bipolar disorder. Lithium helps reduce the severity and frequency of mania. It may also help relieve or prevent bipolar depression. Studies show that lithium can significantly reduce suicide risk’

I was also instructed to use Zyprexa

Zyprexa. Zyprexa (olanzapine) is an atypical antipsychoticmedication used to treat schizophrenia and manic episodes of bipolar disorder.

Both these medication increase weight. This was not discussed at all at the time. Actually, I don’t think the medical professionals care. They just want you safe on meds so you are no risk to your self and anyone else. I have always walked a lot, however, even being a walker and trained in gyms with an excellent diet I gained a considerable amount of weight. This was an inevitability, no escaping the outcome from these type of medications. I had consultations with public physiologist and psychiatrist. I am not saying I was not treated but I am saying I was not thoroughly investigated. Sure I have Bipolar but why?

Well, my current private psychiatrist had a hypothesis about my condition. A particular part of my brain had been damaged at birth due to my large head. ( I take second largest size in hats.) I asked my mother who confirmed a terribly long and painful birth. Lithium treats the chemical disorder and I never really felt well on it. I was better but far from well. I switched to Tegretol

Tegretol (carbamazepine) is an anticonvulsant used to treat seizures and nerve pain such as trigeminal neuralgia and diabetic neuropathy. Tegretol is also used to treat bipolar disorder.

This treats electrical issues which is more suited to the damaged parts of my brain from childbirth. I was feeling great in a couple days on this medications. It does not affect my weight and it is all I take these days. I have had a mild manic episode but have managed them easily. This medication has radically changed my life forever.

I can now meditate, once this was impossible and caused much distress when suggested. I meditate regularly and pray of course. I have been studying the ” Path to Enlightenment in Tibetan Buddhism” and applied for an M.A next year in Applied Buddhism. I am doing this for pleasure and my interest in eastern religions. I have a Bachelors in Theology and a Graduate Dipolar in Pastoral Care. I also have three postgraduate certificates in Clinical Pastoral Education and one is advanced.

My life and relationships have radically changed for the better. I am a different person than I was three to four months ago. I am a work in progress like all of us but I manage life far better these days with the right medication and care. IMG_0338

 

What do we do about death?

“The lifespan of beings in this world is not certain. Although we realise with certainty that eventually we will die, we have no idea when this will occur. It may well be twenty years from now, but equally, it could be next year or month. For all you know, our death could occur next week, tomorrow or even tonight. The time of death is dependent on cause and conditions. It is totally beyond our control and unless we have a very Death.pngadvanced clairvoyance, we have no way of knowing which day or hour will be the last of this life. If we did know exactly the date of our death, we could enter into our diary. It would be possible to draw up a schedule of times.”
– Path to Enlightenment in Tibetan Buddhism
p. 247

From my short amount of reading into the Buddhist teaching about meditating and considering your own death is a vital part of living and more importantly the appreciate of the present moment.

My Christian theological studies and my understanding are not so different in that every day is taught and understood as a blessing from God and should be considered a great gift and privilege.

The quotes in the picture below are from the “Path to Enlightenment in Tibetan Buddhism ” It is a worthwhile thing to consider your death and take your reflections serious in the context of your current reality.

This guy has some great insight too – Seldom do we ask “why” if we win the lottery, find a great love, or get a promotion at work. But when we experience a major financial reversal, undergo the death of a loved one, or are diagnosed with cancer, the “why” question often preoccupies us. It is interesting to note that we do not seem to be surprised when bad things happen to others. But when they happen to us or those we love, we are deeply distressed because it challenges our unspoken but unrealistic expectations about how life is supposed to operate. In other words, it challenges our system of meaning.

Benner PhD, David G.. Human Being and Becoming: Living the Adventure of Life and Love (p. 37). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I worked in a Cancer ward full time for nine months as a Spiritual care intern. I was confronted with death every day. It changed how I will live forever. How do you say?

  1. Take nothing for granted
  2. Never make assumptions about a sick person recovering.
  3. I will always be true to myself.
  4. I will live in the present moment ass much as possible without being irresponsible about my future of course.
  5. I will never hold a grudge against another person.
  6. I know anyone at any age can die within hours within out reason and expectation from the medical staff.
  7. Life is over death not death over life.
  8. We all have death in common and we all approach it differently.
  9. Religion does not stop fears around death.
  10. Some people are ignorant until the end concerning there actions and treatment of others.

Its possible to embrace Buddhist teaching and believe in God and not abandon your faith tradition.

How could a guy like me with a Bachelors in Theology and postgraduate studies in Pastoral Care embrace Buddist teaching and ways of living? Some faith traditions would ask have I abandoned my faith in Christ?

Well, let be assure you my faith in God and Christ has no way diminished in my practice and study of Buddhist principles. How could this type of philosophical and practical way of living be any harm or damage to my faith?

“Buddhism is a tolerant religion that places emphasis on practical methods for cultivating spiritual awareness and on the importance of finding the truth for oneself. It treasures loving-kindness, compassion, equanimity, clarity of mind, and wisdom. Its hope is to alleviate suffering and to create healing and transformation so that all beings may experience the highest peace (nirvana)”

For example, Christ’s example in the sermon on the mount.

Matthew 5-7. I love this scripture and always will. Its profound and moving and confronting all at the same time.

On the “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus states many concepts that would agree with many Buddhist traditions:

  • “Be humble
  • Be compassionate (a possible translation of sympathy through mourning)
  • Live simply (a possible translation of meek)
  • Be ethical (a possible translation of righteous)
  • Be merciful
  • Be pure of heart
  • Be a peacemaker
  • Do not live in fear to do what is right
  • Be an example to others (“the light of the world”)
  • Do not murder (the Buddhist First Precept)
  • Do not commit adultery (The Buddhist Third Precept)
  • Sin is not only found in action but in intention (the Buddhist concept of volitional action creating karma)
  • Keep your promises (The Buddhist Fourth Precept)
  • Turn the other cheek (The Buddhist concept of compassion or karuna)
  • Do charity because it is in your heart to do so (the concept of dana)
  • Do not judge ( The Buddhist concept of the three poisons: hatred, greed and delusion)
  • Always be seeking and questioning ( “seek and you will find .. “)
  • Beware of false prophets and judge them by the fruit they bare (the sutta of the Kalamas)”

Some of the simplest Buddhist quotes you see on the internet and in books are wonderful.

  • However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?
  • Peace comes from within.  Do not seek it without.
  • Three things can not hide for long: the Moon, the Sun and the Truth.
  • Buddhist quotes

The bible has Proverbs too which are simply wonderful and inspirational to read as well.

Proverbs 4:6-7

  • 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Proverbs 13:1

  • 1 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.

Good online bible

Excellent Christian book  Christianity is a Dangerous Idea

Excellent Buddhist book  Find the Buddha Within

 

On a personal note, the main appeal to the Buddhist teaching theme, how I understand, they take full responsibility for there actions and their lives.  They emphasize inner world work is the only way to find peace and looking to the external things for solutions to problems never works. They are not continually teaching that suffering is wrong and should not happen to good Holy people. Meditation has some scientific evidence supporting its benefits for our well being. Anyone can do meditation and practice Buddism teaching and feel better immediately. It is not a complicated thing to understand given the layers of nonsense in our Christian churches these days. I am referring to the amount of political non-sense tied up in the Christian mainstream denominations in general. Christ’s teaching, in essence, is simple like meditation, however, it is not so simple in mainstream Christian Australia.

People hear a lot about Buddhists and many other religious groups talking about the present moment. However, this old monk is a beautiful human being and explains it perfectly.

“To dwell in the here and now does not mean you never think about the past or responsibility plan for the future. The idea is simply not to allow yourself to get lost in regret about the past or worries about the future. If you are firmly grounded in the present moment, the past can be an object of inquiry, the object of your mindfulness and concentration. You can attain many insights by looking into the past. But you are still grounded in the present moment.”

– Thich Nhat Han.  Read more about him here he is 90 years old