Tuesday, January 8, 2013

We Pray to the Lord - Part 1: For Those Who Are Ill

Please know
that I thought once, twice, thrice
and even more
about posting this.
It’s very personal
and very painful.
But you know,
sometimes we just know
that it’s time to make a move.
it’s just time to speak out.
it’s just plain time.

And with what’s going on in the media lately,
I guess it really is just about time
that I quit holding on to these articles,
finish them up
and post them to my liturgy blog.

Liturgy is Life.
That is the premise of this blog.
Life needs to be a Liturgy.
If what we do and say at the Sacred Liturgy
doesn’t match what’s going in our lives,
then something is wrong.

But sometimes things don’t match
because people are afraid to speak out,
afraid to speak up
and say that a problem
or a situation exists.

Because if a problem exists
the liturgy will get messy,
and in turn,
our lives and our ministries will get messy.
We will need to change
how we view certain things,
how we do certain things.

So be it.
Maybe the change is necessary.
At least it is for me.
And so,
after thinking and re-thinking this blog post
(and the subjects of the posts that will follow)
I write about my experience,
what I have learned.
And I hope
this will help someone somewhere.

And so,
I begin with The Holy Mass,
the Sacred Liturgy itself.
I spend so much time there.
I attend or serve as a musician
for 2 or 3 parishes each week.

At most masses
during The Prayers of The Faithful
we tend to remember those who are ill.
we mention people by name
because they are in special need of God’s healing power.
And sometimes
the mass is specifically scheduled
for those who are ill
to receive the sacrament of anointing.

But what do we mean when we pray,
“for those who are ill, we pray to the Lord??”
It’s a good prayer,
and one that needs to be prayed.

. . .but sometimes I wonder
if we are just handing our needs over to God
and saying, “Daddy, fix this.”
Sometimes we have no alternative.
Sometimes only The Merciful One can heal.

But sometimes, I think,
we just don’t want to deal with things ourselves.
Sometimes, even,
we utter the words
so that we won’t have to do anything more.

Even more,
we make ourselves “busy” in prayer
with rosaries and novenas
so that it will look like
we are doing something about the situation.

don’t get me wrong.
I believe the prayers at mass
are good and necessary.
I believe that rosaries, novenas
and other prayers
said at home or in private
have the utmost value.
And I am in no way stating
that we should stop the prayers
for those who are ill.

this is the person
who oft has blogged about
the power of words spoken and written,
about The Power of The Word.

So please,
don’t get me wrong here.

But I must say I’m reminded of that hymn in Spanish,
Con Vosotros Esta. . . .

“Su nombre es el Señor y pasa hambre
Y clama por la boca del hambriento,
Y muchos que lo ven pasan de largo,
Acaso por llegar temprano al templo.”

(His name is the Lord and He is hungry
He calls to you from the mouths of the hungry
But many just pass him by
just so they can get to church early)
“Su nombre es el Señor y sed soporta
Y esta en quien de justicia esta sediento,
Y muchos que lo ven pasan de largo
A veces ocupados en sus rezos.”

(His name is the Lord and He is very thirsty
and He is all of those who thirst for justice
But many just pass Him by
too busy with their private prayers)

Sometimes we say the prayer
because it’s easier to take the time to pray
than to take the time and
going over and asking our neighbor
how we can help them
with the illness found in their household.

Let’s face it.
Sometimes saying the prayer with words
is easier
than being the prayer in action.

Let me say that again:
Sometimes saying the prayer with words
is easier
than being the prayer in action.

Am I making sense to anyone?
Or am I just venting?
Either way
I’ve got your attention.
Please read on.
Perhaps you’ll learn something.

In my extended family over the years
we’ve been challenged by asthma,
diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrom,
scleroderma, carpal tunnel
and ADHD.

There was even a time
where I, myself,
was hospitalized twice during the same year.
And the time
when I was walking with a cane,
which in the end turned out to be
a misdiagnosis.

My mother,
now in her eighties,
took a fall in the spring of last year
and had to have surgery
due to a broken shoulder.
Visits to the orthopedist
are now part of her regular medical care.

But none of the above
is what I intend to focus on in this blog
at this time. . .

. . there is one illness. . .
one illness that has forced me
to get educated. . .

. . .One illness
that has required much, much more from me
than a myriad of recited prayers,
though believe you me,
I’ve done more than my share.

Someone very close to me
was diagnosed
with Bipolar Disorder
in November of 2010.
At the time,
the diagnosis
came as a relief.
We finally understood
what was causing the problems.

Finding the right medication, however,
proved to be quite another cross to bear,
taking a year and a half
just to find the right meds,
meds that didn’t send things
into a further state of depression.
And we still aren’t quite there yet.
We’re close,
but not quite there yet with medication.

Still so much to learn,
so much to learn.

And while we are learning
and coping
the outside world continues,
the church continues to offer Her prayers,
for those who are ill.

But you know
I have never heard a prayer petition
in The Prayers of The Faithful
specifically asking for healing
for those with Bipolar Disorder,
though I have heard other illnesses mentioned.
I have NEVER heard a petition
for Bipolar Disorder.

And what’s more
few ask us about Bipolar
and how they can help.
At least two people
have asked me about aggressive behavior,
which I found to be so off the mark.
They obviously
don’t know or understand
Bipolar Disorder.

And so few ask
how they can help with Bipolar.

I think it may have a to do with
a fear of the unknown.
In all honesty,
I think it may have to do
with sheer ignorance.
People don’t ask
because they don’t know what to ask.
People don’t move from recited prayers
because they don’t know how.
People don’t move from recited prayers
because sometimes they just don’t want to.
To become the prayer, well,
that can get very messy.

It’s not an illness
that confines one to bed or hospital,
although at times it might.

It’s not an illness
that requires a cane or a wheelchair.

It’s not an illness
that requires IV therapy,
although at times it might.

In short,
bipolar disorder is not an illness
that one can see directly,
unless of course,
you are living with
or very close to a person with this disorder.
Bipolar Disorder
is an invisible disease.

But it is an illness
that requires much love and patience.
It requires persistence, perseverance
and insistence from medical personnel.

Bipolar Disorder
is an illness
that requires much time and attention
from those who care for those with this disorder.

yes, my friends,
it surely requires prayer.
And, I might add,
prayers recited
and prayers of action.

I will write more about bipolar disorder
in the weeks to come.
I will about what it is
and what it isn’t.
I will write about ways
that you can help those with Bipolar Disorder,
and how to help those
who care for those Bipolar Disorder.   

My friend, Marcy,
always states
that everything happens for a reason.
Perhaps one of the reasons
our family has been called
to live with Bipolar Disorder
is to help educate others about it,
to help others through it.
And so,
in the days/weeks to come
I will write a lot about the subject.

But for a now
a few things
that may surprise you.

There is a connection between ADHD
(Attention Deficit Hyperactivety Disorder)
and Bipolar Disorder.
(And if you think ADHD is only about
consuming excessive sugar,
you are really neanderthal in your thinking
and need to do some extensive reading.)

There is also a correlation
between seizures and Bipolar Disorder.
(For our family member

the bipolar progressed extremely rapidly
after a few seizures, which, at the time,
the doctors could not explain.)

Bipolar Disorder

affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans,
or about 2.6% of the U.S. population

age 18 and older every year.

83% of cases of Bipolar Disorder are classified as severe.

The median age of onset for Bipolar Disorder is 25 years.

Bipolar Disorder is the sixth leading cause

of disability in the world.

Some 20% of adolescents with major depression
develop Bipolar Disorder

within five years of the onset of depression.
(A friend of mine has a teenage son

who struggles with depression,
and I am writing these blog entries, in part, for her.)

Some with Bipolar Disorder develop a dual diagnosis.
They may start drinking or taking drugs
in an effort to numb the symptoms of their mental condition
and “even out” their bipolar state.
They aren’t drinking/taking drugs to get high,
but to experience what most of us call “normal,”
trying to get up and out of the black hole of depression
and “up” into a state of normalcy.
It is, for the most part,

an unconscious attempt to self-medicate.
But this, in turn,
brings on a whole slew of other problems
to be contended with.

Prison systems have a significant number
of dual diagnosis patients under lock and key.
Research has found that over 20%
of those currently residing in the United States prison system
could be classified as dual diagnosis.

The rate of suicides among people with Bipolar Disorder
is even higher than that for schizophrenics.
Some studies have come up with rates as high as 30%-50%.
Those with a dual diagnosis
have the highest risk of suicide.

Each year, over 30,000 people in the U.S.
take their own lives.
More than 90% of these people
are believed to have
a diagnosable mental disorder.

the next time you say a prayer for those who are ill
I ask you,
I beg you
to specifically say a prayer
for those who live with bipolar disorder.
And then,
if our Good and Gracious God calls you to it,
become the prayer in action.

For those with bipolar disorder,
We Pray to The Lord.

For doctors and medical personnel
who treat bipolar disorder,
We Pray to The Lord.

For those family and friends
and others who care for those
with bipolar disorder,
We Pray to the Lord.

St. Dymphna, Pray for us.

Our Lady of Good Health, Pray for us.

Dearest Jesus,
Please afford all those in need of healing
the ability to reach up
and touch the hem of your garment.

* * * * * *

* Part 1 - For Those Who are Ill

Part 2 - For A Better Understanding of Bipolar Disorder

Part 3 - For A Better Understanding Of The Medications Used To Treat Bipolar Disorder

Part 4 - To Get To Know Others With Bipolar Disorder

Part 5 -  For A Better Understanding Of The Different Types Of Bipolar Disorder

Part 6 - That We May Learn To Listen To Those With Bipolar Disorder

Part 7 - What Can I Do To Help Someone With Bipolar Disorder?

Part 8 - To Learn More About Bipolar Disorder

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