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Mental Illness

 You must always remember, no matter how much you or others may be afflicted with mental troubles . . . that your spirit is healthy, near to our Beloved, and will in the next world enjoy a happy and normal state of soul . . . But in this world such illness is truly a heavy burden to bear! (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 282)

Some studies suggest that nearly 1 in 5 adults (in the US) will experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their lifetime,[1] and yet, they remain largely invisible in our Bahá’í communities.  That’s why this quote is so helpful to those suffering from mental illness, as well as families, friends and community members, wanting to know how to reassure and support.

There is such a stigma around this issue, and so many misunderstandings.  I’ve had well-meaning Bahá’ís tell me that my problems are all because of a lack of faith, or past sins and mis-behaviours, or because of a lack of engagement.  Many of us have heard that we’re mentally ill because of some spiritual weakness or lack of willpower.  To overcome it, we don’t need counselling or therapy, we just have to take medication, “pray harder and have more faith”.  This is not helpful!

Mental illness truly IS a heavy burden to bear, and it’s so comforting to see a Central Figure of the Bahá’í Faith acknowledge this fact.  I appreciate Shoghi Effendi letting me know that this is a problem of this world only, and doesn’t affect my spirit or my soul!  Sometimes in the midst of my mental dis-ease, and severe mental tests, it’s hard to feel close to God, to want to pray or to Fast or to take care of my financial obligations to the Fund and the Right of God.  It is very reassuring to know my spirit is healthy and near my Beloved, even when I can’t take care of my obligations.

Trusting my spirit is healthy and near my Beloved, I can relax and be grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Fear into Faith:  Overcoming Anxiety

 

 

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[1] https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers

Apathy and Lethargy

. . . the apathy and lethargy that paralyze their spiritual facul­ties – these are among the formidable obstacles that stand in the path of every would-be warrior in the service of Bahá’u’lláh, obstacles which he must battle against and surmount in his crusade for the redemption of his own countrymen. (Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith. p. 149)

As someone addicted to keeping busy with work and service, I’d never recognized the experience of apathy and lethargy in myself until recently.  I’d seen it in others, of course, and just didn’t understand, particularly when Bahá’ís around me stopped coming to events and stopped caring about studying the current guidance and wanting to be part of the Institute process and Community Building.  When I started into burnout, though, it happened to me.

When I googled the causes, I discovered that they were all related to physical or mental illness.  No wonder these health issues paralyze us and are formidable obstacles to battle against and surmount.

I think it all goes back to service – we can’t serve if we’re apathetic. We can’t serve if we are trapped in the prison of self.  We’re utterly powerless!  Only the Grace of God, sometimes working through others and through medication, can help us rise above our natural inertia.

Apathy and lethargy is real for many people, including myself at times, and knowing that God doesn’t want me to stay stuck there, I am grateful!

 

What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Making Friends with Sin and Temptation

 

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How to Stop Being Driven

I’m Susan and I’m a workaholic.  My life has become unmanageable and exceeds the bounds of moderation.

I don’t think I’m alone, especially in the Baha’i community.

I’m driven to complete my goals.  I’m driven to please others.  I’m driven to being the best Baha’i I can be.  I’m driven to participate in the community building process.

The thesaurus lists the following synonyms related to being driven:

  • Ambitious
  • Determined
  • Single-minded
  • Obsessed
  • Motivated
  • Focused
  • Compelled
  • Pushed
  • Forced
  • Obliged
  • Manoeuvred

The problem with this addiction is that it’s praised in our materialistic society, and with employers more interested in the bottom line and maximizing profits at the expense of their employees, many of us are unwittingly caught up in this behaviour.

At the root of being driven is a mistaken belief that:

  • No one will love me for who I am.  I have to earn their love
  • Someone always has something better and I have to have what they have, and more
  • I have to find a solution to all my own problems
  • I have to take responsibility for things that aren’t mine to take on
  • I did something to deserve abuse, bullying, humiliation, rejection, disapproval etc.
  • I have to do everything right, all the time, to be number 1.  Nothing else is acceptable.
  • I have to be a “somebody” to be accepted.
  • The only way to survive a broken heart is to get busy.

Fear is at the root of it all.  In my case, it’s:

  • Fear of letting go – who will I be if I’m not driven?
  • Fear of poverty – who will I be if I’m fired or take time off for disability, or declare bankruptcy?
  • An overwhelming disappointment in this life and wanting to do everything in my power to earn “spiritual brownie points” so I can secure a better place in the next world
  • Feeling guilty for not doing enough for the Faith and being judged by the Institutions

I had to learn that being asked by representatives of the Institutions to do something is not necessarily the voice of God.  I could be driven towards people pleasing, wanting to be seen and judged by others as a “good Baha’i”.

God doesn’t want us to seek the approval of others, though.  ‘Abdu’l-Baha is reported to have said:

To be approved of God alone should be one’s aim.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 6, No. 6, p. 44)

. . . at all times seeking the approval of men is many times the cause of imperiling the approval of God.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, June 24, 1915)

Even if we let go of the need to seek the approval of others, there are pressures coming from the goals of the 5-Year plan, especially at a time when the workers are so few and we’re being called on to make a “herculean effort.”

I wonder if being driven is from God, though.  Somehow I doubt it.

Bahá’u’lláh tells us:

In all circumstances they should conduct themselves with moderation.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Lights of Guidance, p. 294)

Overstep not the bounds of moderation.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 235)

And even:

Whatsoever passeth beyond the limits of moderation will cease to exert a beneficial influence.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 216)

So what is moderation and how do we achieve it?  This is a question I’ve taken to the Writings.  Come along with me as I see what I can learn.

What I’ve Learned About Being Driven:

First of all, this quote got my attention!

Ambitions are an abomination before the Lord.  (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West –  4)

So not only are we NOT to push ourselves towards our goals, we aren’t to have ambitions in the first place!

Drivenness is a lack of awareness of God in that moment, and a belief that I have to push on with a task, regardless of the cost to self and family.  It’s easy in the Faith, at this period in history when the workers are so few and the tasks requiring a “herculean effort”, to give everything we’ve got and more, and to believe we can’t say no, when an Institution asks us to give even more.  Instead of asking God what He wants us to do, we assume we know the answer from reading the recent letters of the House of Justice.  The problem is, we may be applying the wrong remedy!  Although insulin and penicillin are both valuable medications, each has to be applied to the right ailment at the right time.

Many workaholics do tasks that are not necessarily theirs to do.  They may feel absolutely responsible for something, but inadequate to do it and/or unwilling or unable to delegate or ask for help.  They can be hard on themselves for not being able to do it all, or as well as they would like.  They blame themselves and feel guilty and ashamed and don’t know why, because in their minds, they believe they are doing all the right things.

The paradox is that we’re hard on ourselves because we know we have to follow the current guidance from the House of Justice, and when others aren’t stepping up to the plate, we do more and more and eventually burn out.

For example, here’s something I wrote about 3 years ago:

I totally understand and see the vision of the House of Justice, in which we do the core activities in our own neighborhoods as a way to build communities.  I want to be part of the process but my passion lies in researching the practical application of the Writings to everyday problems, and making this information available to others through books and my blog.  Even though I’m having several devotional gatherings with others over the phone; and tutoring 3 Ruhi Books over the phone, and supporting others who are animators and children’s class teachers, over the phone, I feel hugely guilty that I’m not doing it in my own cluster.  Surely God sees my efforts as “enough”, yet my guilt has driven me to do more.

Recently, a member of the Institute Board told me that community building was the role of the Institutions and not the responsibility of the individual.  It was a huge relief!

Also, God never asks us to carry anyone else’s responsibilities.  As the House of Justice said in its Ridvan Message of 2014:  “Everyone has a share in this enterprise; the contribution of each serves to enrich the whole.”

If I’m trying to fill someone else’s role because they are inactive, I don’t have time to fill my own.

Finding this quote really got my attention!

No good but only evil can come from taking the responsibility for the future of God’s Cause into our own hands and trying to force it into ways that we wish it to go regardless of the clear texts and our own limitations. It is His Cause. He has promised that its light will not fail. Our part is to cling tenaciously to the revealed word and to the institutions that He has created to preserve His Covenant.’  (Universal House of Justice, Quickeners of Mankind, p. 119)

YIKES!  “only evil can come from taking the responsibility for the future of God’s Cause into our own hands and trying to force it into ways that we wish it to go regardless of our own limitations”!  That’s exactly what I was doing!

But as a workaholic, it was one thing to leave the community building to the institutions and another to know what moderation looked like.  I had to ask myself – when working full time on my business, is tutoring 3 study circles; holding devotional gatherings and accompanying others  excessive?  Or is it applying a “herculean effort”?  I didn’t know, until I carefully studied the second half of this quote:  my job is to “cling tenaciously to the revealed word and to the institutions.”

Recently, I joined Workaholics Anonymous who gave me the 3 R’s as a standard:  In addition to working (and service), I need to spend equal amounts of time on Rest, Relaxation and Relationship Building.

So which “revealed word” can help shed some light on my need for rest, relaxation and relationship building?

Recently at a Baha’i Conference, we looked at this quote, where Shoghi Effendi told us:

…you should not neglect your health, but consider it the means which enables you to serve. It — the body . . . should be well cared for so it can do its work! You should certainly safeguard your nerves, and force yourself to take time, and not only for prayer and meditation, but for real rest and relaxation.  (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 297)

It was a real “aha” moment for me.  I felt that Shoghi Effendi really understood me, when he said I should “force myself to take time for real rest and relaxation”!  That’s what it will take!  A force of willpower and a herculean effort, because I don’t know when or how to stop the work and service I enjoy doing.

That takes care of 2 of the 3 R’s right there!  That’s a quote I can cling to tenaciously.

But how does an introvert like me go about building relationships when I have no ties to my biological family or a spouse?  Home visits and elevated conversations with like-minded people seem to be clues, but only if these activities aren’t coming from a place of “should” and only if they lead to real rest and relaxation.  I think that’s a topic for another day!

The good news is, even with a society that promotes workaholism, we can overcome it and not live in drivenness, constantly trying to measure up to someone else’s standard. God knows what we need and will provide everything we need, if only we remember to ask.

What’s your experience with drivenness?  Post your comments below.

Recovery From Low Self Esteem

Recently I was following a discussion on self-esteem on a Baha’i forum.  As someone who suffers from low self-esteem, I was particularly interested in the discussion, hoping to find a Baha’i-inspired way to overcome this problem.  I was disappointed to see the tone of the discussion, which was largely dismissive.

One contributor said:

The first thing that came to mind was ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s breakdown of the four different kinds of love:

  • God’s love for us
  • our love for God
  • God’s love towards Her Self
  • our love for our fellow human beings

At no time does The Master mention the spiritual validity or even the existence of a fifth kind of love, namely a human being’s love for oneself. Nonetheless, self-love has become an insanely successful commodity. Why?

This certainly made me think!

In the Secret of Divine Civilization (p.96-97), ‘Abdu’l-Baha tells us both:

…self-love is kneaded into the very clay of man ….

The heart is a divine trust; cleanse it from the stain of self-love.

All of this made me start to meditate on this question: Is there a healthy form of “self-love” from a Baha’i perspective?

Contributor 2 suggested:

  • There’s wisdom in knowing ourselves. And not just the Eternal, the Perfect, but also our flaws and foibles.

It reminded me of this quote:

The first Taraz and the first effulgence which hath dawned from the horizon  of the Mother Book is that man should know his own self and recognize that which leadeth unto loftiness or lowliness, glory or abasement, wealth or poverty.  (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 34)

Contributor 3 suggested:

  • One theory is that individuals who have been abused – particularly by someone in a position of authority – have a deep mistrust of this parent-like God who resides outside them. These abuses need not even be direct; simple exposure to the dysfunction of the crumbling Age may lead to the same kinds of fears. Arguably, in this Day of corrupt governments, sexually predatory clergy members and vile human rights abuses, it may be unrealistic to expect the majority of people not to be deeply suspicious of an authoritative God who expresses Her will via Institutions and Laws, no matter how lovingly She is characterised. Perhaps at this point in the process, self-esteem aids serve a vital purpose for those individuals who have been so damaged that their healing requires they learn how to love the God within before they can even conceive of obeying a God without.

This article elaborates on this theme a little more:

The Role of Parents in Training us to be Obedient

Contributor 4 suggested:

  • It would seem to me that the Baha’i Faith is encouraging us to focus on “God love” rather than “self-love”. The most effective and safest way to love ourselves is to love the image of God that is potentially reflected in the reality of our true identity which is the soul.

This reminded me of the Hidden Word which says:

All that is in heaven and earth I have ordained for thee, except the human heart, which I have made the habitation of My beauty and glory; yet thou didst give My home and dwelling to another than Me; and whenever the manifestation of My holiness sought His own abode, a stranger found He there, and, homeless, hastened unto the sanctuary of the Beloved. Notwithstanding I have concealed thy secret and desired not thy shame.  (Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words, 27)

Contributor 5 suggested:

  • The self-esteem industry consists of two broad streams: self-healing and self-improvement. Though it occasionally touches on notions of surrender and service, the latter tends to revolve around the cult of more; how to get more rich, more attractive, more employable, more…more. It’s the saddest kind of irony as studies upon studies have disproved the myth that acquiring more things equals acquiring more happiness – or as the ads imply, more ‘self-esteem.’ The first stream though, that of purchasable ‘healing,’ is the one that I believe offers the most insight to a Baha’i looking to assist a struggling brother or sister. What we need to ask ourselves is why. Why is this route so popular? Why do people feel more comfortable paying thousands of hard-earned dollars for guidance on how to commune with the Divine within, rather than acquiescing to a God found outside themselves (for example, in Holy Writings and Institutions), as well as within?

This got me thinking about our purpose of life, which is to know and worship God (not ourselves), and the best way to achieve that is to pray and read the Writings morning and night, and to participate in the core activities, which exposes us to the transformative Word of God, which can recreate us.

Contributor 6 suggested:

  • We really are powerless! In the short obligatory prayer, we remind ourselves daily: “I testify at this moment to my powerlessness and to Thy might”.  This frees us from the delusion that we’re any different from anyone else, specifically more damaged or less ‘spiritually evolved’ than anyone else.

Contributor 7 suggested:

  • My experience of America culture is that we are now living under a “self-esteem” regime where “feeling good” has become more important than “doing good”. The line between self-love and selfishness is not a bright and well-lit highway, but is more like a spider’s web in a dark attic.It reminded me of these quotes:

If man be imbued with all good qualities but be selfish, all the other virtues will fade or pass away and eventually he will grow worse.  (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v1, p. 136)

But if he show the slightest taint of selfish desires and self-love, his efforts will lead to nothing and he will be destroyed and left hopeless at the last. (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 71)

It may be helpful to understand the two ways that “self” or “ego” is understood in the Baha’i Writings as explained by Shoghi Effendi.

Regarding the questions you asked: self has really two meanings, or is used in two senses, in the Bahá’í writings; one is self, the identity of the individual created by God. This is the self mentioned in such passages as “he hath known God who hath known himself”, etc. The other self is the ego, the dark, animalistic heritage each one of us has, the lower nature that can develop into a monster of selfishness, brutality, lust and so on. It is this self we must struggle against, or this side of our natures, in order to strengthen and free the spirit within us and help it to attain perfection.

Contributor 8 suggested:

  • I’ve also noticed that having an ongoing negative mental conversation about one’s flaws, faults, and failings doesn’t seem to be conducive towards joy, kindness, appreciation, and treating others with love and serving humanity. Consequently, I’m starting to let go of excessive criticism of my own failures. And that seems to be leading towards an improvement in my overall ability to “live the life”.

It reminds me of this quote:

He urges you to persevere and add up your accomplishments, rather than to dwell on the dark side of things. Everyone’s life has both a dark and bright side. The Master said: turn your back to the darkness and your face to Me.  (Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha’i Community, p. 457)

Contributor 9 suggested:

  • I find it helpful to think of how ‘Abdu’l-Baha was. For Baha’is He is the perfect Exemplar of how we should be and live. His whole being was suffused with the love of God, so He was able to love all those He met without any hint of self-interest or self-love.

Summary

According to the Bahá’í Writings, self-love is kneaded into the very clay of our beings and we need to cleanse our hearts from its stain.  In order to do it we need to know ourselves well enough to recognize what leads us to loftiness or lowliness, glory or abasement, wealth or poverty.  The easiest way to do this is to make the love of God so strong in our hearts, that there is no room for anything else.

The negative mental conversations we have about our flaws, faults, and failings leads to our abasement.  If we want to be happy and joyful servants and teachers of the Faith, we need to treat ourselves with as much kindness, appreciation, and love as we would treat other people.  We need to turn our back on our failings and our face to God.

How do we do it?

  1. We remember that our purpose of life is to know and worship God (not ourselves). The best way to achieve that is to pray and read the Writings morning and night, and to participate in the core activities, which exposes us to the transformative Word of God, which can recreate us.
  1. Our parents have a role in educating us spiritually, but if we’ve been abused, it may be more difficult. Nevertheless, we remember we are all powerless.  In the short obligatory prayer, we remind ourselves daily: “I testify at this moment to my powerlessness and to Thy might”.  This frees us from the delusion that we’re any different from anyone else, specifically more damaged or less ‘spiritually evolved’ than anyone else.
  1. We follow the example of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, whose whole being was suffused with the love of God, so He was able to love all those He met without any hint of self-interest or self-love.

If we aren’t able to do this, our efforts will lead to nothing and we will be destroyed and left hopeless.

How has this helped you in your understanding of raising your self-esteem?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please post below.

Surviving Spiritual Depression

By Linda O’Neil

Mental health advocate and member of the Ottawa Baha’i Community

As someone diagnosed in 1980 with a mood disorder – and not very happy about it – developing a stronger spiritual orientation and relationship to God has been an important way of dealing with the effects of a mood disorder and stigma in my life. At the same time, I have to admit that my beliefs and my sense of faith, as well as my sense of self, have at times taken a beating from the challenge of living with a mental health problem. I call this condition “spiritual depression”.

What has helped me spiritually though the ups and downs of a mood disorder? Reducing the sense of isolation through involvement with a mental health support group, many of whose members have a profound understanding of human suffering and are deeply spiritual, has been essential. As well, being a Baha’i with an examined, chosen and evolving set of beliefs, a diverse spiritual community, and like-minded friends with whom to share my beliefs and values has been a wonderful gift. Using spiritual practices such as prayer or meditation, drawing inspiration from scriptures and other spiritual writings, sharing insights with others, attending spiritual gatherings and celebrations, and exploring spiritual concepts or challenges with others, have all been a source of spiritual growth and strengthening.

But as precious as this spiritual dimension of life is, it has been virtually out of reach whenever I’ve been clinically depressed and overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. This is a time when few people are able to pray or meditate, feel close to, or trust in God. It seems as though our spiritual senses have been deadened along with the physical ones, a time when sacred writings fail to inspire, or when the thought of going to services or gatherings and being more than a piece of deadwood seems impossible.

Serious depressions that have arisen between long periods of relative stability in my own life have at times given rise to fundamental and difficult spiritual questions and even doubts. If God really loved me, would He permit me to suffer in this way? Is there meaning and purpose in what I’m going through? Am I intended to experience this and grow by this experience, or is it simply bad luck, or the “changes and chances of this world?” How can I grow when I feel diminished? Should I set these questions aside till I feel better, and aim at simply getting through these rough times with as much dignity as I can muster, accepting the love and support of others as graciously as I can? Though no one can answer these questions for another person, I’ve found it helpful to talk them over with trusted friends. While I feel I have some answers, I find I keep revisiting them from time to time, in conversations with others, with my own heart, and with the Creator.

Just as surviving a serious depression requires patience and a belief that our emotions and lives will eventually get back to normal, surviving spiritual depression requires patience with our own souls, and faith that our spiritual susceptibilities will eventually be restored. It’s a time to ask for understanding, acceptance and support when we feel most vulnerable around other people and often least able to accept help. What are some of the things I’ve asked of friends? To pray for me, or even to come over to read to me when I felt unable to do this myself. To be patient with me and to try to understand how the wretchedness I feel overwhelms every aspect of my life, seemingly turning strengths into weaknesses, at least temporarily.

In my experience, a period of spiritual depression is not a time to conclude that one has lost one’s faith, or that God has vanished from one’s life. It may, however, be a time to acknowledge that under extraordinary circumstances it is natural, even predictable, to have spiritual doubts or painful questions for the Creator. Such doubts may be a sign that some spiritual development or evolution is needed on our part – a good project for when we feel better. But in my experience, spiritual doubts and worries often simply go away when I feel better, just as the anguish and despair at the centre of severe depression eventually fades away. I have found that I must simply make room for these experiences in my spiritual life, accept them, and accept myself when I’m going through them. I’ve come to see them as spiritual symptoms that affect me but are not my reality, just as the painful manifestations of clinical depression obscure my identity but do not destroy it, and eventually fade away, leaving me depleted but intact. And nothing can compare with the spiritual joy, as a friend described it, of “finding my faith secure in my heart again” and “being able to embrace it as an old friend.”

Presented at a panel discussion at the International Mental Health and Spirituality Conference, Ottawa, 2004.

Baha’is Should Fight the Stigma Of Mental Illness

By Linda O’Neil,

Mental health advocate and member of the Ottawa Baha’i Community

  The recent creation of the Canadian Mental Health Commission, an increasing number of well-researched articles and broadcasts on mental illness, celebrities speaking out about mental illness, ordinary people and their family members “coming out of the closet” to share personal experiences, more effective medical treatments, and the new focus on the concept of “recovery” – all are helping to raise the profile and reduce the stigma of mental illness. Almost everyone knows someone who has suffered from depression, anxiety, a mood disorder, schizophrenia or other mental illness, who has gone on sick leave, or has sought some form of treatment, including counselling, medication, or other therapies.

What is stigma?  When people are seen in a negative or stereotyped manner they are said to be stigmatized. Stigma is a reality for people with a mental illness, who report that how others judge them is one of their greatest barriers to a complete and satisfying life. Society still feels uncomfortable about mental illness. It is not seen like other illnesses such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes. Inaccuracies and misunderstandings have led many people to believe those who have mental illness have a weak character or may be dangerous. Although some symptoms are mental illness may be apparent at some stages in some disorders, mental illness has also been called an invisible illness. Often, the only way to know whether someone has been diagnosed with a mental illness is if they tell you. Most people are unaware of how many mentally ill people they know and encounter every day. Some statistics:

  • One in three people will experience some kind of emotional difficulty in their lives
  • One in five people in Ontario will experience a mental illness at some point in their lifetime.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, in all kinds of jobs and at all educational levels.1

Mental illnesses are present in the Baha’i community in the same proportion as in the community at large. The Baha’i teachings give us insight into how Baha’is should think about mental illness, and can help us share in the “stigma busting” efforts of mental health professionals, community mental health organizations, support groups and individuals. These include: .

  • To visit and pray for those who are ill
  • To be compassionate towards those who have a mental illness2
  • To remember that mental illness does not affect the spirit3
  • If we have a mental illness:
    • To seek medical treatment
    • To have faith that our difficulties can be overcome
    • To assist in our own recovery through prayer and personal effort4
    • To serve others
    • To teach the Faith5
  1. Based on a fact sheet from the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario division http://www.ontario.cmha.ca, “About Mental Health” section.
  1. Letters written on behalf of the Guardian stated that “his heart goes out to you in your fear and suffering…”, and acknowledged that “it is very hard to be subject to any illness, particularly a mental one”, and that “such illness is truly a heavy burden to bear”
  1. “…these illnesses have nothing to do with our spirit or our inner relation to God. No matter how much you or others may be afflicted with mental troubles…know that your spirit is healthy, near to our Beloved, and will in the next world enjoy a happy and normal state of soul…” (Letter written on behalf of the Guardian)
  1. “Such hindrances (i.e., illness and outer difficulties), no matter how severe and insuperable they may at first seem, can and should be effectively overcome through the combined and sustained power of prayer and of determined and continued effort.” (Letter written on behalf of the Guardian)
  1. “That effort can include the counsel of wise and experienced physicians, including psychiatrists. Working for the Faith, serving others who may need you, and giving of yourself can aid you in your struggle to overcome your sufferings. One helpful activity is, of course striving to teach the Cause in spite of personal feelings of shortcomings, thus allowing the healing words of the Cause to flood your mind with their grace and positive power.” (The Universal House of Justice).

These and other quotations on mental illness can be found in Lights of Guidance, sections 947-957.