The White Bear Problem

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
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dande48
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Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: The White Bear Problem

Post by dande48 » 06 Jan 2018, 00:48

LookingHard wrote:
05 Jan 2018, 11:13
That is me and most hymns, but I have never shaken it.
Lol. :clap: :clap: :clap:

I think one of the most basic principles in psychology, is when you tell someone NOT to do something (including yourself), EVEN IF you have a very good reason for doing so, that something becomes all the more seductive. I like to think of myself as a master, at not-thinking-about-white-bears. I "not-think-about" many things throughout the course of my day. The secret is, I don't even try.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: The White Bear Problem

Post by Roy » 08 Jan 2018, 10:53

The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior
I understand that sometimes not studying the problem and instead becoming busy with gospel items works.

However sometimes I get frustrated that we do not seem interested in understanding the root cause of the problem.

Suppose a guy had a problem calling phone sex 900 numbers when he was lonely, depressed, and/or stressed. By getting more involved at church maybe he would have more friends and social connections. Maybe he meets someone special and gets married and the problem largely goes away or at least lies dormant. Success! We think that the gospel is the perfect cure all panacea for all ills.

Another person has a different problem - they throw themselves into church participation and it does not seem to help. We collectively blame this person for doing it wrong, without "true desire or real intent".

Sometimes the church program works great but by only highlighting the success stories we are getting a lopsided perspective.

(P.S. I get that church leaders are not psychologists and I do not really want them delving into every diagnosis and problem. I suppose I would desire just a little more humility to the effect that our program might not be the best fit for all needs.)
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

AmyJ
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Re: The White Bear Problem

Post by AmyJ » 08 Jan 2018, 14:45

Roy wrote:
08 Jan 2018, 10:53
(P.S. I get that church leaders are not psychologists and I do not really want them delving into every diagnosis and problem. I suppose I would desire just a little more humility to the effect that our program might not be the best fit for all needs.)
Honestly, I think sometimes we are our own worst enemies. I have struggled with anxiety a lot over the last 2 years, and am coming across what caused it, what contributed to it, and what DIY solutions work for me after consulting with experts, doing my own research, and doing my own general testing/experimentation "this is what triggered it, this is what worked last time, this is what does not work.."

Some of the strongest support I have gotten was validation, followed by invitation. Some of "I hear how you struggled, and the struggle is real. I have been through similar problems and am happy to tell you what worked for me if you want me to" Or "Those sound like hard choices that you really struggled with. I am glad that you had the courage to make those hard choices."

Our R.S. President bore her testimony in R.S. in December, and I was touched by how she started off. She has been in a stressful place for the last 6 months (out-of-state dwelling son got married at home just before her mom lost some of her mental and physical resources - requiring more from the R.S. President). She said specifically how she had been in a "bad place" recently - she was stressed and burning out under the pressure. For her to acknowledge that simple fact - that "she had been in a bad place" in her head and was grateful for the experiences that pulled her into a different place - that was powerful to me.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: The White Bear Problem

Post by Curt Sunshine » 08 Jan 2018, 15:08

One of my favorite things about Elder Holland is his openness over the past few years to talk about his own depression and encourage people to seek professional help.

One of my favorite things about Utah is its high usage rate of antidepressants - since it shows that the overall culture is not dismissive of medication to help treat issues like depression.

We have a long way to go in that regard (seeking professional counseling and accepting medication for lots of issues), but we are nowhere near the back of the pack in that regard - or even the middle, when it comes to religious organizations.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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SamBee
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Re: The White Bear Problem

Post by SamBee » 10 Jan 2018, 06:21

Curt Sunshine wrote:
08 Jan 2018, 15:08
One of my favorite things about Elder Holland is his openness over the past few years to talk about his own depression and encourage people to seek professional help.

One of my favorite things about Utah is its high usage rate of antidepressants - since it shows that the overall culture is not dismissive of medication to help treat issues like depression.

We have a long way to go in that regard (seeking professional counseling and accepting medication for lots of issues), but we are nowhere near the back of the pack in that regard - or even the middle, when it comes to religious organizations.
I have said this elsewhere but is seems to be the thing in modern medicine to avoid discussing the external causes of mental illness. I think we favor doping people up over dealing with the environment or social setting.

A friend of mine is currently having massive mental health issues. He has had them his entire life, but to a big degree his external life has affected him. His mother treats him badly - witnessed it myself, and his work is always piling pressure on him. Now his wife has left him, taken the kids away and is threatening divorce. It's no wonder he has some issues - and putting him on pills won't get rid of any of these.

The USA is riddled with medication. It has probably been the best thing for stalling social change available.

Is it any wonder people turn to certain things to get away from this?
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: The White Bear Problem

Post by AmyJ » 10 Jan 2018, 07:16

Curt Sunshine wrote:
08 Jan 2018, 15:08
One of my favorite things about Elder Holland is his openness over the past few years to talk about his own depression and encourage people to seek professional help.

One of my favorite things about Utah is its high usage rate of antidepressants - since it shows that the overall culture is not dismissive of medication to help treat issues like depression.

We have a long way to go in that regard (seeking professional counseling and accepting medication for lots of issues), but we are nowhere near the back of the pack in that regard - or even the middle, when it comes to religious organizations.
I think it is a combination of openness to issues that those people have - but I am not entirely certain that there isn't a measure of culture being the "straw that broke the camel's back" - in this case, causing some of the stresses that lead to people requesting medication and/or counseling.
SamBee wrote:
10 Jan 2018, 06:21
I have said this elsewhere but is seems to be the thing in modern medicine to avoid discussing the external causes of mental illness. I think we favor doping people up over dealing with the environment or social setting.
I agree. It is cheaper to produce a pill to take (in terms of financial, emotional, and time resources) - and put the responsibility jointly into the hands of the person taking the medicine (or their caregiver) and the doctors (and sometimes pharmacists). Patients figure out how to pay for the pills, what the pills do to them (vs what the pills should do), and spend the time/mental resources researching outcomes, options, and evaluating what happened - but the doctor is spending very little, and any insurance support is spending as little as possible resource-wise. Therapy/Counseling/Coaching require a lot more time, emotional investment, and a variable amount of financial resources to show gain. Things are getting better with online support groups and email - you can more easily connect to people in similar situations and DIY solutions already pre-tested as it were.
The other problem is where and what do we standardize mental health education? Everyone gets a dose of it as a survival byproduct of high school and more in college. Do we make it mandatory to teach mental health along with driver's ed? Do we expect parents to teach this along with everything else (which is currently what theoretically happens - assuming the parents know the best practices to teach)? We don't have a great track record of having churches teach mental health (though progress is being made).

One of the things that gives me pause recently is we are finding all kinds of genetic correlations between mental illness and the brain - does that mean we are going to be researching ways to replace/pre-engineer/modify brain parts? I can see where that would give a measure of relief. However, where is the line drawn between "fixing" things so that the brain conforms to a standard, and prematurely taking away a person's agency/challenges/test for this existence?
SamBee wrote:
10 Jan 2018, 06:21
A friend of mine is currently having massive mental health issues. He has had them his entire life, but to a big degree his external life has affected him. His mother treats him badly - witnessed it myself, and his work is always piling pressure on him. Now his wife has left him, taken the kids away and is threatening divorce. It's no wonder he has some issues - and putting him on pills won't get rid of any of these.
I can relate. In the last 3 years when my responsibilities exceeded my capacity, I had issues. I started being able to do less without being overwhelmed, and dealing with actual physical anxiety attacks periodically. It wasn't just 1 thing - and it wasn't really my brain. Things have gotten better due to circumstances changing - some of them were choices I made (I did try anxiety medication which helped on some levels, I did work with a counselor for 4 sessions and learned a lot), some of them are re-framing my narrative (accepting that I get anxious now and acknowledging the resource drain), some of them are re-setting my expectations. However, a big part of how things got better is that time passed and my body returned to a more stable non-postpartum pregnancy state.
SamBee wrote:
10 Jan 2018, 06:21
The USA is riddled with medication. It has probably been the best thing for stalling social change available.

Is it any wonder people turn to certain things to get away from this?
I think people have always turned to specific things to get away from the situation. I think in some cases, medication is a good thing. My husband's stimulating ADHD medication has done worlds for us - it has helped him to increase his capacity as an individual and given him tools to succeed with. It stabilized a foundation for him to build from. I am super happy that his medication is regulated by experts to ensure purity of medication, and that he is accountable to a doctor every 3 months. And yes, the 1 day he did not have medicine to take was sheer hell for him and for us - and he is smart and responsible enough not to do that again (and yes, I provide support to ensure that as well). Side Note: The doctor had miscounted the number of pills we would need because he had been putting in prescriptions for 30 days, and we had had a consecutive number of 31 day months which threw off the count - which was not caught by my husband or myself in time to correct it.]

We are lucky - what if we didn't have the insurance to pay for the medication - would I be comfortable with him finding similar medication out on the street? Is the line between someone who takes medicine responsibly and a drug addict a label/description/diagnosis, piece of paper and a visit to a doctor?

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LookingHard
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Re: The White Bear Problem

Post by LookingHard » 10 Jan 2018, 08:14

My impression of the entire mental health situation is that it is slowly getting better and better.

Yes there are many situations where people (Dr's, parents, etc.) are way to quick to just "give a pill and we are done." There are also cases of severe mental illness where the major issue is people won't say on their meds (don't like the side effects or they just don't think they need them) when that gives them the best chance of the most mental stability. There are those that can't afford the meds they need.

I am in my 50's and when I was born, lobotomies were still being performed.

It is still a huge problem directly for millions of people and many more of the relatives/friends are effected also, but I see progress.

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SamBee
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Re: The White Bear Problem

Post by SamBee » 10 Jan 2018, 09:38

Western society is getting better at acknowledging mental health issues, but is still supplying many of the scenarios to create it.

What will happen, for example when all those self-driving cars Google etc are working on replace thousands of jobs? It's not going to be pretty. There will be many more depressed ex-drivers, but probably no solution offered up.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Curt Sunshine
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Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: The White Bear Problem

Post by Curt Sunshine » 10 Jan 2018, 12:59

Let me be crystal clear:

1) I agree completely that our modern Weatern culture relies too heavily on medication in too many situations. However, medicine often is the only short-term, immediate help available for lots of people, and it is a wonderful option to help while people work on other coping mechanisms.

2) Utah has the highest birth rate in the USA. Utah County's birth rate a couple of decades ago was twice the national average, and I'm sure it still is comparatively high. Post-partum depression is a serious issue. A big part of Utah's anti-depressant rate is tied directly to that issue. I have NO problem with that usage. My only concern is when women feel pressured to have more children, more quickly, than they would choose on their own - but post-partum depression hits first-time mothers just as hard.

3) If I had to choose between the acceptance of now and the rejection of when I was a child, I would choose today's acceptance in a heartbeat, every time.

4) We are arguing now from a position of privilege and luxury. We can afford to talk about the need to cut back, because we have the luxury of not losing the availability or general acceptance. Many people around the world, including in the dominant Weatern countries, don't have that luxury. I support making it so they have the privilege we enjoy, then talking about how to moderate properly.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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SamBee
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Re: The White Bear Problem

Post by SamBee » 10 Jan 2018, 17:14

I have heard elsewhere that high altitude can cause depression as well, and that Utah is actually high enough up to have this affect.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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