How to reconcile agency with mental illness

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Ilovechrist77
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 15 Mar 2017, 02:07

This is a great discussion. I've been diagnosed with Autism, OCD, and a panic disorder. I sometimes wonder what I'm accountable for and what I'm not. It's affected me with keeping some jobs. Right now, according to my psychiatrist, I can't work. I'm just supposed to live on Social Security Disability. As people have mentioned in this discussion, I can still live my life the best I can.

Roy
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by Roy » 15 Mar 2017, 08:59

squarepeg wrote:
13 Mar 2017, 12:37
But I wonder how they each would respond to your Michael Phelps analogy.
I would hope that they would say that to compare ourselves to Michael Phelps is a mistake. We can only become the best version of ourselves. Best version as in whole, complete, or fully developed.

Unfortunately, I believe that most of them are adherents to the judgment by works interpretation of the gospel.

There is a more grace filled interpretation of LDS scriptures and doctrine. It is not the current "dominant narrative" but it is tenable.

The book Believing Christ is a good place to start as it lays out the basic concept of grace as found in the NT and BOM.
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=932&p=23048&hilit= ... sus#p23048

I also HIGHLY recommend checking out this old thread on mercy and grace. Especially page 3 where I found the following quote:
There is a judgment, a final judgment, and you will have been prepared to meet it successfully before you are presented at the veil. It is an individual presentation and you must have been taught everything that you need to know before arriving.
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2288&hilit=wins&start=20
"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

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SamBee
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by SamBee » 15 Mar 2017, 10:09

Ilovechrist77 wrote:
15 Mar 2017, 02:07
This is a great discussion. I've been diagnosed with Autism, OCD, and a panic disorder. I sometimes wonder what I'm accountable for and what I'm not. It's affected me with keeping some jobs. Right now, according to my psychiatrist, I can't work. I'm just supposed to live on Social Security Disability. As people have mentioned in this discussion, I can still live my life the best I can.
I've spoken about this before, but I really believe people's environments and the societies we live in have a massive effect on us. I feel that we have built soulless cities roundabout us, and that it really affects us. In this sense, it is not our will but someone else's which has done this to us.
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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Heber13
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by Heber13 » 15 Mar 2017, 11:17

SamBee wrote:
15 Mar 2017, 10:09
I've spoken about this before, but I really believe people's environments and the societies we live in have a massive effect on us. I feel that we have built soulless cities roundabout us, and that it really affects us. In this sense, it is not our will but someone else's which has done this to us.
I wonder about that too, Sambee...and think maybe I was trying to say the same thing about how sometimes these things are part of God's plan because we aren't in a vacuum by ourselves to figure things out. The environment has a massive effect. And...we should try to get the environment to be healthy enough to help each other, when some situations restrict personal accountability/agency. We're all in this together. Hence...church (to some degree for some things) and community.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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SamBee
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by SamBee » 15 Mar 2017, 14:04

I used to live in a house in the country - beautiful area, and something about it soothed my soul. Not perfect of course, but just moving to the city urgh... this is a nice city but my bit is so bland and ugly. I could name all my neighbors in the country for a mile or two around and used to visit them from time to time and vice versa, we knew the mailman - now I don't know anyone round here really well barely, lucky to see the same mailman twice... can't even sit in my garden without realizing the neighbors can see me - a combination of alienation and goldfish bowl.

I used to be able to go down to a small river and sit by it, listening to its sound, now the only thing like it I see near my home is a dismal ditch with trash in it.

When I have no car and I don't just now, this is my immediate environment. Did I mention the scary youths that hang around the station? It is depressing. With a short journey I can get to better places but it doesn't do my mental health much good.

When areas are tidied up and improved, invariably crime rates and vandalism go down (although there are other factors and repeat tidy ups may be required.)
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."

squarepeg
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by squarepeg » 15 Mar 2017, 20:20

Reuben wrote:
13 Mar 2017, 15:19
Also, in a recent 5th Sunday lesson here in Europe, one of our high priests remarked, uncontested, about how we all have exactly the same ability to choose. I suppose I could have contested it. Instead, I sought out and commiserated with the person I knew would be most negatively affected by such talk and the comments that followed: a single mother who has a few children on the autism spectrum that also have ADHD.
Nice move. I really need to do this after "bad" lessons - think of who else in the room may have been negatively affected and show them some love.

Heber13 wrote:
13 Mar 2017, 15:55
When behind closed doors and in private conversations with SPs and bishops...they have acknowledged to me that mental illness is a game changer...some things we don't have answers for.
My bishop has acknowledged this also, but it was privately, as well.

Ray DeGraw wrote:
13 Mar 2017, 20:13
Our Articles of Faith say there are many "great and important" things yet to be revealed.

Thus, I am fine with new light and knowledge contradicting previous scripture.
Makes sense. :)

nibbler wrote:
14 Mar 2017, 05:02
The people that were selected earlier in the day had more physical labor but less emotional labor, the people selected at the end of the day had less physical labor but more emotional labor. I think that relates in the case of mental illness or in cases where we each have our own unique weaknesses. If we had our choice in the matter we'd all want to be selected by the steward of the vineyard to have peace of mind to ensure that our meal ticket for the day was punched, but we don't get that choice. We're mostly stuck with our weaknesses.
I really like this interpretation - thanks.

Ilovechrist77 wrote:
15 Mar 2017, 02:07
I've been diagnosed with Autism, OCD, and a panic disorder.

As people have mentioned in this discussion, I can still live my life the best I can.
Amen. :clap: I'm starting to think that's kinda what it all comes down to, regardless of doctrine.

Roy wrote:
15 Mar 2017, 08:59
I also HIGHLY recommend checking out this old thread on mercy and grace. Especially page 3 where I found the following quote:
There is a judgment, a final judgment, and you will have been prepared to meet it successfully before you are presented at the veil. It is an individual presentation and you must have been taught everything that you need to know before arriving.
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2288&hilit=wins&start=20
This thread is incredible. I have NEVER heard that we can move up through kingdoms as we progress, so that one who is assigned initially to the Terrestrial Kingdom can make it to the Celestial. Is that for real? I am still reading through all those old quotations on pg. 4! Mind: blown. I so badly want that to be true. I don't want anyone left behind. "We're all in this together," like Heber13 said. What good is a Celestial glory that left some of us out? I would maybe prefer to be in a lower kingdom to help anyone who is confused or hurting.

SamBee wrote:
15 Mar 2017, 10:09
I feel that we have built soulless cities roundabout us, and that it really affects us. In this sense, it is not our will but someone else's which has done this to us.
If we have built the soulless cities, maybe we can put the soul back into them again?! Although I feel like it would take going out and talking to strangers and I have way too much social anxiety to do that on a daily basis. :lol: Ok, that's not funny, just frustrating, and perhaps yet another manifestation of subtle mental illness that affects Agency.

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nibbler
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by nibbler » 16 Mar 2017, 05:16

squarepeg wrote:
15 Mar 2017, 20:20
If we have built the soulless cities, maybe we can put the soul back into them again?! Although I feel like it would take going out and talking to strangers and I have way too much social anxiety to do that on a daily basis. :lol: Ok, that's not funny, just frustrating, and perhaps yet another manifestation of subtle mental illness that affects Agency.
This raises a question in my mind. What is "mental illness" and what is "normal"? There are all kinds of interpretations.

I don't mean to pick on you, honest, it's just that your post offers up an example that could help us see shades of gray in our interpretation of normal.

Is the ability to talk to strangers normal? If you feel social anxiety in those situations is that a sign of an illness, however mild? Can both be considered normal? Can both be considered a sign of an illness? :P

In that context do we consider something an illness when we view a desired behavior, talking to strangers, and recognize that there may be factors that limit our ability to develop said behavior, social anxiety. Normal becomes a trait we judge to be good and the things that serve as obstacles to developing that trait are the illnesses?

Could it be that we identify normal as what the majority does and identify what the minority does as an illness? What if 99 people out of 100 have too much social anxiety to comfortably talk to strangers regularly but one person out of 100 has no issues at all? In that scenario who is normal and who has the illness?

You mentioned social anxiety. This is me guessing about nature and evolution, there's no scientific basis to the comments I'm about to make, just me shooting from the hip. I imagine isolated tribes of homo erectus doing their thing. What could happen when an individual from the Ohio State homo erectus clan comes across an unknown individual from the Michigan clan? (or Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona for the non Americans among us) Who knows? It could be a friendly encounter were fire making secrets are shared or it could be club swingin' time (me guessing).

Animals and evolving humans were (and are) tribal and territorial. Could it be that evolution programmed us to be socially anxious as a survival mechanism? Approach a stranger, you could get your skull caved in. In time we're conditioned to avoid strangers.

Fast forward a hundred thousand years, give or take a million years. Toss boats, cars, and planes into the mix. Nationalism remains but our sense of safe territories (spaces) start to erode as we all come together. Tribes start to become non-visible things like beliefs and political leanings. If it's not skin color, race, or gender we can't tell who is in our tribe and who isn't based solely on appearance. Everyone that we don't recognize is not in our tribe. Is the human that feels uncomfortable around strangers considered normal because they're more responsive to a subconscious survival instinct? Is the person that's cavalier around strangers crazy because they went right up to that stranger, don't they know they could be clubbed?!?!?

As the years pass, as fewer and fewer humans club other humans (hopefully), is the person that's still responding to instinct, still experiencing disquiet around strangers considered mentally ill? Silly, no one is going to club you (physically anyway, emotionally - whole other ballgame). Someone that's still responding to a base instinct despite the passage of a few generations of non-physical clubbing. What's their problem?

I feel like I'm only clubbing the surface of social anxiety, and there are many, many mental illnesses that we haven't come close to understanding. I'm only trying to add shades of gray.

Switching gears.

Interpreting social anxiety as an illness that affects agency reminds me of another topic I could drone on and on about. ;) As an orthodox believer I equated extroversion with righteousness and introversion as a sin (of omission). Hand on Bible I feel it was the result of the teachings and emphasis we place on things as a church culture.

It set up a nice dynamic for me. Do the things that made me comfortable as an introvert, feel bad because I wasn't measuring up to the culture's standards. Try to measure up to the culture's standards, feel bad because as an introvert it made me extremely uncomfortable. There are many examples, home teaching is the low hanging fruit.

Don't do home teaching? Feel guilt. Do home teaching? Feel the need to retreat to a place of solitude to recharge... which meant no home teaching for a while... which meant more guilt.

IMO the church is a church for extroverts, by extroverts. Standing up and telling myself that it's okay to be me was a game changer. I might not earn all the gold stars in programs designed to reward extroverts but that's okay. I no longer feel like god is impatiently waiting for me to participate in programs that are better suited for people that are not like me.

So, is introversion an illness? I hope so.
Of course I don’t want to get knocked down. But the single and sole solution to that fear is to not go anywhere where I can be knocked down. And is that not already being knocked down?
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

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Heber13
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by Heber13 » 16 Mar 2017, 08:23

I would say...2 sigma levels is "normal"...however you can define that with behavior. :think:
Image
Bell Curve


While there is variation...I do think mental illness is when the behavior becomes extreme. There are guidelines professionals use to score "normal" behavior, but it is all based on interviews and answers by the patient.

For example...most people get down, even sometimes think about life being hard, maybe it wouldn't be too bad if it would be over so the suffering goes away. That can be a sliding scale on how far those thoughts go but stay within "normal" or "healthy" and manageable bounds where it isn't too bad or not too difficult to deal with and go on with a normal life.

Once a person goes too far...thinking about suicide on a regular basis, planning how to do it, planning on specific days, verbalizing it to people regularly...that is when it is too far to be "healthy" and needs some intervention from people and some resources. That kind of person should call 1-800-273-8255 for Suicide Prevention, or have a loved one call for them.

Perhaps all that is too technically specific to this thread (or it is all common sense and not adding value to the discussion)...but in general...to the topic nibbler brings up...I think we can generally get to seeing there are some behaviors that are not healthy, and are signs of mental illness depending on the specific situation. But there are clearly some people that have cognitive handicaps that impair their ability to think through choices to stay within normal parameters we expect to see...such as making safe choices, or choosing how to make money or spend money or provide, or how to treat others without harming them.

If the person can't think clearly and connect the dots on cause and effect...teachings on the plan of salvation are going to be very limited on them. It then becomes a measure of how those who can think through things clearly are going to choose to help the person or protect others from that person.

Am I right? Mental illness is a game changer when we put so much emphasis on "agency" and "choice" as the central part of God's plan.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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nibbler
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by nibbler » 16 Mar 2017, 08:34

Thanks. That's an important piece that was missing from what I wrote. Dealing with extremes.
Of course I don’t want to get knocked down. But the single and sole solution to that fear is to not go anywhere where I can be knocked down. And is that not already being knocked down?
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

Roy
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by Roy » 16 Mar 2017, 14:57

squarepeg wrote:
15 Mar 2017, 20:20
This thread is incredible. I have NEVER heard that we can move up through kingdoms as we progress, so that one who is assigned initially to the Terrestrial Kingdom can make it to the Celestial. Is that for real? I am still reading through all those old quotations on pg. 4! Mind: blown. I so badly want that to be true.
I think an important point to realize is that church doctrine and/or teachings have and do evolve over time. I believe that there was greater variation of belief or differences of opinion on gospel matters in the early days of the church. I do not know enough to claim that most members or leaders in the early Utah period believed in progression between kingdoms - but from the quotes provided it certainly seemed to be a common enough belief.

There are a few individuals that have had a larger than life impact on the evolution of modern church doctrine. I consider two biggest examples to be Joseph F. Smith with his "Answers to Gospel Questions" and then his Son in-law BRM with "Mormon Doctrine" and then his involvement the chapter headings, footnotes, and the bible dictionary in our modern scriptures. They had their opinions against progression between kingdoms. "Correlation" began in the late 60's and 70's and served to really consolidate and standardize what was taught in the church. Progression between kingdoms was one of the things that were squeezed out.

I like to imagine how our doctrine might have been different if different people had been influential during key transformative periods.
Is that for real?
For me, part of my quest to StayLDS has been to build bridges between my inner spirit on one side and my understanding of Mormonism on the other side.

A grace filled understanding of eternal progression (Ray has described it simply as progression at the pace that is right for you until you insist on stopping) IS one of those bridges for me. It is not part of the dominant narrative that I hear at church. It is not something that my SS teacher, EQP, or Bishop will validate for me. However, the ingredients for this belief are found in our scriptures and the concepts are just as well reasoned, beautiful, and inspiring as any other teaching you may find.

For me, the concept of progression between kingdoms is useful. It is a tether that anchors the kite of my personal beliefs to the monolithe of Mormonism. It helps to keep me from floating away. I hope that answers the question.
"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

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