Elizabeth: Under a Shadow

Posted by Barbara Comito, Marketing Director Sep 12, 2018 6:41:10 PM

I came to Anna Ogden Hall in May 2017, just so broken. I didn’t think I could get more broken. I was like no smile at all. I would cry all the time and triggers every five minutes. It was getting pretty ridiculous. I didn’t think this program was right for me at first. I would tell staff, “I don’t know. I think you got the wrong girl. I don’t have a substance addiction.”

My addiction was people pleasing. I became the queen of people pleasing, but even as I was pleasing and pleasing, it never felt good enough, and I was on this constant mission of trying to fix my family.

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Serious Mental Illness: Four Things UGM Can Do

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Mar 15, 2017 9:54:45 AM

Serious mental illness. It’s a tough topic. But when we exist to serve the homeless, we simply cannot ignore it.

As we mentioned in a previous post, a common estimate is that one-third of homeless people suffer from serious mental illness. A mental illness that is serious by definition results in “serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.” (NIMH)

There are too many reasons for this to explore here in depth. Strong correlations between drug abuse and mental illness, family conflict and breakdown from untreated disorders, deinstitutionalization – they all intertwine to fuel homelessness.

So, as a homeless shelter provider, what can Union Gospel Mission do in the difficult cases?

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My Personal Suicide Prevention Plan

Posted by Barbara Comito, Marketing Director Mar 9, 2017 4:48:05 PM

Editor's note: Barbara opened up about her struggle with depression in the last post. Here, she follows up with the practical ways she manages that struggle.

By Barbara Comito, Director of Marketing & Communications

Every September, I mean to write something for Suicide Prevention Month. Every time a celebrity suicide makes the news and the handful of times suicide has indirectly touched my life, I mean to speak out. I mean to break the silence, but it is harder than it seems like it should be. I know that silence is part of the problem, that it leaves hurting people in isolation, that its only benefit is to protect my image, and still, I hesitate. I feel ashamed.

Good Christians don’t toy with the idea of suicide.

Or do they?

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I Have a Mental Illness

Posted by Barbara Comito, Marketing Director Mar 7, 2017 4:22:02 PM

 By Barbara Comito, Director of Marketing & Communications

I once interviewed a teenager who described her depression as a “blanket on the brain.” The metaphor is nearly perfect as it relates to my experience. Depression is an oppressive, suffocating sort of blanket that blurs all the edges.

When my depression flares, rational thought becomes difficult. I cannot grasp what I know to be true, especially in the middle of the night. My faith, the love of my family, my multiple blessings … all seem lost in the darkness that threatens to swallow me. 

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The Paralyzing Nature of Anxiety

Posted by Barbara Comito, Marketing Director Mar 2, 2017 9:56:00 AM

Editor’s note: Recently we’ve been talking about mental struggles on the Impact Blog. From insomnia to trauma and addiction, there are many struggles that can’t be seen externally but still pose problems for those who suffer from them. For some, mental illness can lead to broken relationships, lost jobs and homelessness. Millions of people, however, manage their struggle from day to day while others have no idea what’s going on inside.

By Barbara Comito, Director of Marketing

“Sometimes anxiety feels like the world is ending and I can’t tell anybody. Sometimes it’s more like that feeling when your foot is just waking from being asleep and it’s not exactly painful but intensely uncomfortable and there’s nothing you can do to make it better, but mostly it’s like I drank a full pot of coffee on an empty stomach and am on a road trip: so much energy without an outlet, no escape, hopeless, helpless, powerless, just wanting everything to stop.” - Nora

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Mental Illness: An Obstacle for the Homeless – and Many Others

Posted by Barbara Comito, Marketing Director Mar 1, 2017 8:33:00 AM

It’s hard to talk about homelessness without talking about mental illness. An oft-quoted estimate suggests that as many as one-third of homeless individuals suffer from serious mental illness. But notice the qualifier “serious.”

What is mental illness? And when does it become “serious”?


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Dealing Faithfully with the Winter Blues

Posted by ugminlandnorthwest Feb 21, 2017 4:59:16 PM

 Several posts on the Impact Blog this month address some of the influences that can affect our mental state, such as lack of sleep or trauma. Particularly appropriate for the Inland Northwest in February is the “winter blues,” which local author Judy Palpant discusses here. Next week, we will look at clinical depression and how we can help our fellow Christians who struggle with it.

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Trauma Recovery

Posted by ugminlandnorthwest Feb 14, 2017 3:43:24 PM

This month on the Impact Blog, we’re looking at issues of the mind: sadness, depression, anxiety, mental illness, darkness vs. light. There’s a wide spectrum of struggles there, and we’re tapping UGM’s experts to provide helpful explanations – and hope! – for people who struggle with these on an ongoing basis. Here, John looks at how childhood trauma continues to affect victims in adulthood, and why LIFE Recovery takes a long-term approach to helping them.

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Combatting Sleeplessness

Posted by ugminlandnorthwest Feb 8, 2017 10:36:24 AM

Editor's Note: For the next month, we'll be looking at issues that seem particularly relevant during the gray, icy, short days of winter in the Inland Northwest - sadness, depression, anxiety, mental illness, darkness vs. light. While we'll definitely explore how those issues affect homelessness and addiction, we also want to acknowledge the wide spectrum of struggles within the mind and heart and offer what we hope will be words of comfort to every person for whom life is sometimes challenging. What better way to start this discussion than with a subject sure to have plagued most of us at one time or another.

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