Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Perspective on Rethinking Depression: Early Release Missionaries

Domestic Goddess has left a new comment on a post "Rethinking Depression: Early Release Missionaries" that I put up a year ago. 
She makes some good points:

I realize its been nearly a year since you posted this but I still would like to leave a comment.

My daughter's boyfriend was released early due to a serious episode of bipolar 1. It was serious enough that he was in a hospital in severe delirium.

It has been nearly 10 months since he returned. He is doing well on medication though there have been some unpleasant side effects.

He is constantly thinking about going back and is now making the moves to make this happen. We are all very, very concerned.

It is very rare to find someone like this young man who not only has the desire to serve but also the talent, knowledge, preparation and disposition to become a fantastic missionary. So when he came home, it was earth-shattering in its scope.

I admit that in the past, when a missionary came home early, I questioned his faith and desire...until this young man returned early. That's when I realized what an ungrateful bunch of people we are. We send young boys of 19 to a life that is not even 'normal'. All their support systems is yanked from under them. We expect them to perform miracles, to teach people of all types, to learn a new language, to find their way around a new culture...all by themselves with a companion they barely know. And we expect that they will be able to do this without any problem because they should have faith that God will make everything good.

Well, sometimes that doesn't happen because the world is still what it is and these young boys are still humans. It would behoove us to be grateful for ANY time served. It would behoove us to love them, care for them, help them if they come home early. In my stake, I can't even think of any early release missionary whether they returned for good reason or for worthiness problems who isn't having a difficult time. They need our help, our love and our gratitude.

I hope that my daughter's missionary will stay and keep on being whole. But if he does, the stigma attached to his situation is acute. Add to that the pejorative implications that most of us have against mental disorders. Does he have a chance? I sure hope so.

And yet, if he is allowed to return, we are risking his future. Most of our priesthood leaders don't even know the first thing about his disorder.

It's scary world out there even within the missionary world. I served a mission. There were 2 sister missionaries who were already psychotic and were allowed to stay longer than they should have. I wish our leaders had more understanding or training to know about these real problems.
She makes some interesting points which I have never considered.

1 comment:

ApprenticeTeacher said...

I just found this site, while searching on the phrase: the iron curtain will shatter...

I am the first generation in my family to be diagnosed as bipolar; I first was diagnosed in 1992, and now use my doctors' visits to share the book of mormon with the doctors and patients...

Please consider that an infirmity can become our greatest blessing; a hidden gift that can reveal more about ourselves than we feel comfortable to share. I cannot hide anything when I am in the manic mode; I hope that the people I speak with will be understanding...I have to keep myself in a safe place, with people I can trust with my life and goods, because there are those times when I am in the mood, when I start to give away all I possess to KNOW HIM...if I am with people I can trust they will not take advantage of me or my words; they may ask if I have eaten or had adequate water for my overheated brain!

Hope this helps you to understand bipolar as a spiritual experience, which is different with every encounter, and can be triggered by a positive or negative feedback from a friend or coworker...thanks for taking the time to seek understanding.