Patricia Reynolds-Meade, MA, LAADC, M-RAS

Embracing Your Mood Disorder

While sitting in church, the prayer request booklet was being passed around. When opening it to record my personal prayer request, something emanated a coldness that left me shivering. There written in squiggly blue ink, on white paper, were words scribbled in an unsteady scrawl. Each word pulsated with pain; screamed in fear and was screaming HELP me. “Dear Lord, please stop my mood disorder symptoms from reoccurring. ‘Please let me come down from the hypomania without too much fuss. ‘Please keep my thoughts from racing, from having grandiose thoughts and to have more certainty. ‘If anyone else reads this, please say a few quick words for me. Please give me some peace.” People silently responded in awe and wondered who this was. They pondered the words, the accuracy in naming the clinical criterion of mood disorder. What struck them the most was his solicitation for peace from God. They felt the suffering, the urgency, and the helplessness the written words conveyed. The words saddened because they had all experienced, usually too often, the shortcomings of the medical community in treating people with mental disorders or what many may believe to be more akin to emotional spiritual sensitivity. They were well aware that all the medication management, life skills training, and therapeutic modalities are all but nothing of the healing that brings true peace.

The prayer could have been written by any client sitting before a psychiatrist suffering in silence, afraid of saying it aloud. Fearful they will be looked upon like a poisonous snake that was to be acknowledged quietly and to quickly scoot away from; gingerly so, before it strikes and risk infecting others. If only they were brave enough to say what strangles their speech and keeps them from reaching for relief. If they believed they could speak about it and have someone, show genuine empathy and not just ply them with sympathy, medication, and a follow-up appointment in a month. They might heal if someone said let me show you how to live. They might learn how to thrive if someone told them and then showed them another way. They might become better if someone had told them they did not have to be defined by their mood disorder symptoms or had to live with voices in their heads screaming nightmares that left them paralyzed with fear. Life Coaching with medication management offers that avenue to peace.

The person who lives with a mood disorder seems to suffer from a spiritual, mental, and emotional sensitivity to their environment. This subdued shame must be shaken off and allowed to come out from under the victim veil that society shrouds it with. The client must be instilled with the desire to live. Not minimally, as in a small way, but fully and in the largest way that they are capable of being. Then I would have a fighting chance to pull some people into recovery. Having a mental illness does not equate to someone being the consistency of porcelain; their pain simply etched in their bones. Their pain is much deeper; their constitution turned upside down, their sensitivity as finely tuned as a Steinway. But the innate intelligence, the creativity, and the spark to live is there waiting to be discovered and lit. With mental health treatment barely out of its infancy, we are still learning how to navigate the waters of a damaged professional psyche. The professionals are flaying about clamoring to understand something that we are not meant to understand. The realm of mental illness is a mystery, then again maybe not.

The psychology field has been flooded with data, therapies and treatments; but no paths that show direct hope beyond swallowing a thousand pretty little pills. No evidenced-based trails that blaze salvation from the madness of the mind exist. Society is still too afraid to look beyond the medical community and admit that with some exceptions, emotional spiritual sensitivity chaos comes from the soul’s agony at being disconnected from the heart. “I seek to unburden the soul and heal the heart of my clients instead of allowing fear to have me pass clients off to others seemingly more qualified. i want to see the stigma melt and the possibilities blossom. We need rich, accepting guidance that promotes healthy living for those who are diagnosed with mood disorders and who live with an emotional spiritual sensitivity. I am not proposing that you not seek or not use medical help; I am supposing that you may be coached back into stability with a combination of all. Since life is lived outside your therapist and psychiatrist office, Life Coaching fills that gap by providing practical tools that are needed to embrace your mental health symptoms. You are more than a symptom!”