Lord, Abide With Me - R.S. Lesson on Depression/Anxiety and Stuff PART 1

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AmyJ
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Lord, Abide With Me - R.S. Lesson on Depression/Anxiety and Stuff PART 1

Post by AmyJ » 11 Nov 2019, 07:07

On Sunday I taught Part 1 of this general conference talk by Sister Aburto and I took quotes from President Holland's talk "Like a Broken Vessel".
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... o?lang=eng
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... l?lang=eng

Originally, I was going to try to focus the lesson on the entire talk by Sister Aburto, but when I hit about 20 quotes from her talk that I really couldn't cut out, I realized that to do the topic justice, I would have to break it into 2 parts.

PART 1 - The Scope of the Problem and What it Looks Like
PART 2 (Upcoming in 2 weeks) - Positive Solutions

WHY? - Because I can. <quasi-kidding>
1) I can teach on this talk because it is not impacted by where I am faith-wise.
2) It's important.
3) I think I can estimate my exposure and impact of mental health stuff to about 30 years of my life so far- some of it mine, some of it of family members. So I know a few things about the content, but I am also more sensitive and take seriously the charge to "do no harm" or be insensitive.

BACKGROUND:
  • Mental divergence and additional mental things are something we know about in our household and we work on managing it as we do our stuff. I try to give the message that there is no stigma in having a mental challenge - there is stigma in wallowing in it and doing nothing about it once the crisis period/angst has diminished.
  • Because I took this topic seriously, I had my mom and the 1st counselor in our R.S. Presidency look over my notes to make sure I wasn't missing anything or being unhelpful
  • My 10 year old knows about depression and has identified feeling it herself during periods of time. When I designed the lesson, I designed it assuming that she would be there listening. I made sure to point out that while mental health issues were a serious topic, there was hope and resources - and that I was going to devote an entire lesson to that hope and resources.
  • I still went into it with lots of butterflies in my stomach - I was really concerned that I might say something insensitive. I also managed to screw up getting the song queued up and getting the paper strips cut. [The joys of restroom runs before classes with toddlers...]
HIGHLIGHTS:
  • Love of Daughter - my daughter turned 10 on Saturday, and I texted some of our church friends asking them to make a big deal of it verbally when they saw her. One of those sisters asked me if they could sing to her if they saw her in R.S. The first counselor (my friend) also made an announcement in R.S. and they sang to her (and she loved it).
  • Minimal Derailment - Yes, talking about the scope of depression means dealing with the fact that people hurt themselves and attempt to end their lives. However, we didn't go down those paths too much and had solid conversations about the topic. I might have unwittingly set up the environment to go that route by having my daughter there. :thumbup:
  • Note Stealing Request - One of the sisters raised her hand and and asked for my notes directly during class.
  • Balanced Connection - Several of the sisters pointed out the importance of ministering and being sensitive to others - and being there. Not as an obligation - just as being a good friend.
  • Next Lesson Prep Mostly Done - I have about 80% of the next lesson already prepared because I divided and expanded the lessons.
NOTE: The actual text is in the next post.
Last edited by AmyJ on 11 Nov 2019, 07:22, edited 2 times in total.

AmyJ
Posts: 927
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Lord, Abide With Me - R.S. Lesson on Depression/Anxiety and Stuff PART 1

Post by AmyJ » 11 Nov 2019, 07:12

Thru Cloud and Sunshine, Lord, Abide with Me!
Reyna I. Aburto, October 2019 + President Holland October 2013 Conference Talks

Introduction
PART 1 LESSON Focusing on the impact on ourselves, others, and our relationship with God.
“One of our beloved hymns expresses the plea “Thru cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me!”
Play Hymn “Abide with Me”

Visualization Story
“I was once on a plane as it approached a large storm. Looking out the window, I could see a dense blanket of clouds below us. The rays of the setting sun reflected off the clouds, causing them to shine with intense brightness. Soon, the plane descended through the heavy clouds, and we were suddenly enveloped in a thick darkness that completely blinded us to the intense light we had witnessed just moments earlier.”

“Black clouds may also form in our lives, which can blind us to God’s light and even cause us to question if that light exists for us anymore. Some of those clouds are of depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental and emotional affliction. They can distort the way we perceive ourselves, others, and even God. Likewise damaging is the desensitizing cloud of skepticism that can affect others who have not experienced these challenges.”

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) reports that 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness each year.
1 in 6 youth (6-17) experience a mental health disorder each year.
* https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental- ... he-numbers

Sometimes this is temporary (a bad day), or mostly temporary (PMS). Sometimes unmanaged, temporarily undermanaged, or mis-managed, it becomes not temporary - but chronic. Knowing that there are differences in degree can generate hope and action. This lesson focuses more on the times when a mental health condition is unmanaged, temporarily undermanaged, and/or mis-managed.

Problem: Personal Judgement/Self Identity and Function
QUOTE 1 “But today I am speaking of something more serious, of an affliction so severe that it significantly restricts a person’s ability to function fully, a crater in the mind so deep that no one can responsibly suggest it would surely go away if those victims would just square their shoulders and think more positively—though I am a vigorous advocate of square shoulders and positive thinking!” – Jeffrey R. Holland, Like a Broken Vessel, October 2013 General Conference.

True/False Statement:
Personal Judgement leads to problems with the story we tell ourselves about ourselves, about others, and about God. This narratives determines our objectives, and our actions/reactions.

*Open Group Discussion*

Secondary Problem: Disconnection
QUOTE 2 “Untreated mental or emotional illness can lead to increased isolation, misunderstandings, broken relationships, self-harm, and even suicide.” – Reyna I. Aburto

QUOTE 3 “Sadly, many who suffer from severe depression distance themselves from their fellow Saints because they feel they do not fit some imaginary mold.” – Reyna I. Aburto

Do you feel that the cause for the disconnect is a depressed person pulling away, or a non-depressed person pushing the other away? Why?

• Why Me? / Conformity Culture Expectations/Stigma/Encountering Personal Limits

Secondary Problem: Fatigue
QUOTE 4 “As with your automobile, be alert to rising temperatures, excessive speed, or a tank low on fuel. When you face “depletion depression,” make the requisite adjustments. Fatigue is the common enemy of us all—so slow down, rest up, replenish, and refill. Physicians promise us that if we do not take time to be well, we most assuredly will take time later on to be ill.” – Jeffrey R. Holland, Like a Broken Vessel, October 2013 General Conference.

Mental Health issues cost more to do less and/or require additional startup resources to find ways to make things work.

Spoons Example

Caregiver Fatigue
QUOTE 5 “If you are the one afflicted or a caregiver to such, try not to be overwhelmed with the size of your task. Don’t assume you can fix everything but fix what you can. If those are only small victories, be grateful for them and be patient. Dozens of times in the scriptures, the Lord commands someone to “stand still” or “be still”—and wait. Patiently enduring some things is part of our mortal education.” – Jeffrey R. Holland, Like a Broken Vessel

What are some of those feelings?

What It Looks Like

Partner Work: What does it look like to you?

Impacts Everyone QUOTE 6 “No, this dark night of the mind and spirit is more than mere discouragement. I have seen it come to an absolutely angelic man when his beloved spouse of 50 years passed away. I have seen it in new mothers with what is euphemistically labeled “after-baby blues.” I have seen it strike anxious students, military veterans, and grandmothers worried about the well-being of their grown children. And I have seen it in young fathers trying to provide for their families.” – Jeffrey R. Holland, “Like a Broken Vessel”, October 2013 General Conference

Feeling Worthless QUOTE 7 “I always thought that sadness was something to be ashamed of, and that it was a sign of weakness. So I kept my sadness to myself. … I felt completely worthless.” – Reyna I. Aburto

Lost Hope QUOTE 8 “Since my early childhood, I have faced a constant battle with feelings of hopelessness, darkness, loneliness, and fear and the sense that I am broken or defective. I did everything to hide my pain and to never give the impression that I was anything but thriving and strong.” – Reyna I. Aburto

Open Group:
Why do we do this? Why do we tell ourselves these stories?

Story of the Broken Pot (Master had a pot that he took to get water in every day. This pot developed a leak through a break in the clay. The pot fretted and fretted about the break and all the water that was pouring out. The Master listened wisely and asked the pot to look at the path on the way back to the house. The pot looked and looked but could not see what the Master was talking about. The Master pointed out that there were rows of flowers on the side with the broken pot where there were not rows of flowers on the other side. The Master knew of the leak, and planted seeds that the broken pot watered every day on the journey back.

Final Thoughts
How do we change the stories we tell to ourselves about ourselves and about other people?

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Lord, Abide With Me - R.S. Lesson on Depression/Anxiety and Stuff PART 1

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Nov 2019, 09:13

It is impossible to express how much I love this lesson. Thank you!
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

Roy
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Re: Lord, Abide With Me - R.S. Lesson on Depression/Anxiety and Stuff PART 1

Post by Roy » 12 Nov 2019, 11:20

Wonderful. These are really great points. I love that some people in positions of LDS authority have spoken on this subject to give you quotes to use.

I would like to know more about the example with the spoons.

I remember reading about the widow of a deceased GA that said she portrayed a happy face to everyone but cried into her pillow everynight. The quote was given in the context of choosing to be positive. It made me sad in that by keeping up appearances, this widow was isolating herself and denying others from the ability to share the burden of her pain.
"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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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Lord, Abide With Me - R.S. Lesson on Depression/Anxiety and Stuff PART 1

Post by AmyJ » 12 Nov 2019, 11:57

It's a way to explain personal resource allocation using spoons. I first learned about it from some of my friends who face chronic health issues. I found this article from the actual person who started talking in this way.
https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles ... on-theory/

Let's say that the average person gets 20 spoons (random amount) representing the total resources they have (emotional, physical, stamina, mental), but not everyone gets 20 spoons. People with chronic challenges may get only 18 or 19 - or less. People spend spoons getting dressed, completing tasks, etc - whatever they need to do. As you have challenges (big or small - sleepless nights, caretaker burnout, seasonal depression, indigestion), the amount of spoons you start with is less and may make things harder to do (lack of sleep makes it harder to focus and complete executive functions for example). Conversely, taking care of yourself physically, mentally, or emotionally can help you start with the maximum number of spoons and/or replenish your supply to a certain degree mid-way through.

SIDE NOTE: We didn't actually get to talking about that specific example. But we didn't need to.

Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Lord, Abide With Me - R.S. Lesson on Depression/Anxiety and Stuff PART 1

Post by Roy » 12 Nov 2019, 12:55

Thank you. Sounds like a wonderful easy to understand example.

Often we lean too strongly on the "free agency or choice" side of things. This tends to manifest in the idea that everyone has equal choices and that those that are more successful make better choices. I like that in this spoon example, we do get to make some choices about how to allocate our spoons or how to care for ourselves to more fully access our spoon allotment - but we do not get to will ourselves into having more spoons and we may find ourselves in situations where the amount of spoons we have to give are not enough to cover our 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

Minyan Man
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Re: Lord, Abide With Me - R.S. Lesson on Depression/Anxiety and Stuff PART 1

Post by Minyan Man » 12 Nov 2019, 13:15

AmyJ, what a wonderful lesson. I wish it could be used in a PH class. My wife has been diagnosed with Depression, paranoia & possibly Bipolar
for the past 10+ years. If you talked to her at church one on one, you would think "this lady has it (her life) altogether". The professionals
treating her are reluctant to discuss her diagnosis or treatment because of Doctor Patient confidentiality.

The reality is, we are not the only ones going through it. I believe more in our wards & neighborhoods are experiencing issues like this.
I wish I could sit in your class.

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mom3
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Re: Lord, Abide With Me - R.S. Lesson on Depression/Anxiety and Stuff PART 1

Post by mom3 » 25 Nov 2019, 11:56

Sister you are golden.

My son has a hoodie and beanie about "Being Out of Spoons". It is an analogy we all now use. I am glad you shared it.

The hymn that this is taken from is one of my favorites.

I could spend hours discussing how our thoughts are things. And how those those thoughts shape reality. Everywhere. It has been the coolest learning of the past 6 months of my life. I knew about Positive Thinking. Looking for the best, etc. But the actual shaping has been a new road of thrilling discovery.

This is out of the park good. I have copied and pasted your notes.

Bless you for this. Can't wait for part 2.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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