Posted in mental illness

Mental Health Week – Anita Brougher

Today’s blog post was submitted by Anita Brougher who I connected with on Facebook through the Anne Rice fan page (we apparently share a passion for Gothic horror and spirituality.).  I have also witnessed in Anita her advocacy for those struggling with mental illness and I admire her willingnness to share.  Anita courageously shares her own experience with mental illness, including the challenge of finding an accurate diagnosis so that the illness could be treated properly.  I am especially grateful for Anita’s story because it illuminates what can happen when you are mis-diagnosed and how medications that are supposed to help can actually make things worse when the diagnosis is incorrect. Thank you Anita for sharing your story:

I am Anita Brougher a 37 year old mother and wife, and have been dealing with mental illness most of my life. At age 7 after the death of my brother, I suffered a psychotic break. After years of therapy, I did okay for awhile. In 1985 I had a bout with depression. In 1992 I experienced my first major depressive episode with suicidal thoughts. I coped by digging deep into my creativity; drawing, painting, ceramics, and other endeavors. I was stuck by another depression with intense anger in 1995 and was again in therapy and prescribed Zoloft. By ’97 Iknew it wasn’t working because I was angrier more often. In 2000 I tried Prozac but I became either very happy (manic) or intensely angry. In 2008 I was diagnosed with bipolar type 2 which explained why I had so much trouble on standard antidepressants. I know now that diet, excercise, spiritual grounding, and a creative outlet help me immensely to deal with my illness. Anyone who wants more information can find it on the web and facebook by typing “mental illness” or something more specific into the browser. One in 6 adults, 1 in 10 children suffer from a mental illness; chances are good you already know someone who could use your understanding and support.

Posted in mental illness

Support for Mental Illness

In the past several months, I have been witness to several individuals, about whom I care deeply, suffer what Western medicine would identify as a psychotic break.  To say that the effects of these experiences were devastating would be an understatement.  In fact, it initially felt as if the Universe had pulled the very ground from beneath my feet.  I have been quiet about these experiences until I could grasp the higher purpose.  I’m still uncovering what that purpose might be, but it felt like it was time to come out of the closet in support of practitioners, patients and family members who might be facing mental illness – either in themselves or in someone they care about.

There are several lessons that I have learned so far as a result of these experiences:

1)      There is a fine line between mysticism and psychosis and many are ill-equipped at identifying when that line has been crossed.

2)     The powerful role of denial and bargaining in those exhibiting symptoms of psychosis and in those who have already been diagnosed.

3)     The powerful role of denial and bargaining in those who have been diagnosed and even in those who have been effectively treated in the past.

4)     The lack of education and support (other than pharmaceuticals) for those who have been diagnosed.

5)     The COMPLETE lack of education and support for family members of those who are suffering psychosis or any other forms of mental illness.

6)     The potential danger alternative healing practices (especially those that can facilitate deeply meditative or other states of higher consciousness) can cause those who might be suffering with psychosis.

7)     The role alternative healing practices can play in enabling the denial, bargaining and delusions of those suffering with untreated psychosis and other forms of mental illness.

As a Spiritual Director and Reiki Practitioner, I do not have the tools, nor do I have the training to diagnosis or treat serious mental illness.  But, I know people who do.  As such, I am dubbing May 13 – May 19 Mental Health Week at Authentic Freedom Ministries.  I have invited the contribution of experts in the field, along with those who have either suffered with Mental Illness themselves or have witnessed the suffering of people they care about.

And….I am inviting your participation!  If you are an expert in the field of mental health, have experienced mental illness yourself or have accompanied someone who has, I am asking for your help.  Write an essay of less than 1000 words and submit it to  I want to hear what you have to say, and so do those who are in need of help and support.  And I will extend Mental Health Week as long as we need to in order to get the help and support out there that is needed.  And if you are a professional or provide a website or blog in support of those who are suffering or their families, please include your bio, website address and photo if you so desire.

Now, I wish I could say that these individuals that I have witnessed are receiving the help they need and are on the road to recovery….unfortunately, they are not.  Instead, they are still trapped within the prison of denial and they along with their families are suffering because of it.  It is for them and for others like them that I offer this week of education and support.  And I thank you for your participation in it.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom

PS:  Helpful links: