The Importance of Spiritual Support and Understanding for True Mental
Life in America is spiraling out of control. From the unremitting stories of wars,
terrorism, and suffering, to the ongoing threat of worldwide economic collapse
and the clash of cultural ideologies at home, we are experiencing unprecedented
levels of psychological stress in our lives. Violence has become epidemic. 1
According to website Shooting Tracker.com, there were 372 mass shooting in the U.S.
in 2015, killing 475 and wounding 1,870. Just a few examples from last year’s survey
include 26-year- old Chris Harper-Mercer, who killed several people and wounded others
at a rural Oregon Community College before he died in a shootout with police. Reports
of those who survived say that Harper-Mercer asked the victims’ religion, shooting them
in the head if they responded “Christian”, while shooting those who stated another
religion, or didn’t answer, in the leg. In June, 2015, Dylann Roof, 21, massacred men
and women during a prayer meeting at one of the South’s most venerable black
churches. In May, 2014, after promising a “day of retribution” on YouTube, a heavily
armed, 22-year- old Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree near the University of
California. The list sadly continues to grow at an alarming rate…
According to news accounts, all of these individuals, realizing they were in serious
trouble, reached out for help before their shocking acts of violence occurred. All of them
were given drugs as a treatment. The prescribing psychotherapists, who were
monitoring their progress, failed them – as well as every shooting victim and their loved
ones -- at a terrible cost. Sadly, 2016 also has its own list of such tragedies. We owe it
to ourselves and future generations begin to transform our thinking.
It is clear that prescription medications are not a blanket solution to this problem. Too
many of our fellow humans are engaged in huge inner struggles with their soul, which
only escalate when they are not spiritually supported and guided.
Almost one in four adults suffers from a diagnosed mental disorder. Fortunately, not all
of these people are driven to the extreme violence of mass murderers. But in our
current society, psychological diagnoses are more common than not; anxiety,
depression, cutting, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress, attention-deficit disorders,
bipolar disorder, suicide, schizophrenia, plus an assortment of syndromes, phobias, and
personality problems abound. Use of antidepressants, sleeping aids, anti-anxiety, and
anti-psychotic medications has become the norm. According to the National Institute of
Mental Health (NIMH), in a given year there are over 57.7 million people affected.
In contrast with this evidence of cultural breakdown, a recent major survey by the
esteemed Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life revealed that 92% of Americans
believe in God. There is also widespread attention to the “spiritual” in popular culture.
Almost 1-in- 5 Americans call themselves “Spiritual but Not Religious.” There is a
desperate yearning for spiritual understanding in an increasingly-complex world. The
search for meaning, which is so crucial for psychological health, has lost its traditional
The mental health system seems to have forgotten that the term “psychology” derives
from the Greek and Latin word “psyche.” And psyche refers to the interaction of mind,
soul, and spirit. The mental-healthcare system seem to hold a worldview that only what
science can prove is real, and anything else should be medicated away. It does not
recognize the soul, the depth of human nature, or the Western sacred foundation of our
Judeo-Christian tradition. It is this foundation which explains that each human being
must differentiate between Godliness and destruction, between good and evil.
So, what can mental health professionals, and our society as a whole do, in lieu of
prescribing medication, to alleviate these spiritual conflicts and suffering, and keep our
society safer? First, we must realize that the angst experienced by everyday folks is a
serious societal problem in and of itself. But an even bigger problem is that almost all
mentally-ill persons -- including all of the mass murderers cited – have reported extreme
and overwhelming psychic or spiritual suffering to their psychotherapist…which is
tearing their souls apart.
What do those suffering these spiritual splits need from their caretakers?
The mental health system should not write off a person’s deepest conflicts
between good and evil, right and wrong, Light and Darkness, love and fear, as
“delusions,” “hallucinations,” and/or “religious ideation.”
They need to know that their pain is acknowledged and understood;
They need care givers to ask if, in fact, they are able to recognize and
understand that their soul is in terrible pain;
When a person decides to choose the good – the Light -- he needs help to
intentionally align his whole Self with the Light and bring it forth when the dark,
destructive voices or feelings come over him;
They need to also be encouraged to engage in an active practice like prayer or
meditation to help him remain with that Light;
They need a spiritual elder or guide to work with and support them; not a
psychiatrist with a prescription pad.
Evil is a real force, an immensely powerful and destructive force. It closes the human
heart. But Godliness – which is deep within each person’s soul – can transform such
darkness to Light. Psychiatry, Psychology, Religion, and our entire culture, must start to
fully acknowledge this timeless truth. We no longer have a choice.
What challenges we humans face; how complex we are – and so fragile at the same
time. Isn’t it time that we accept the difficulties and the mystery, and open to the
possibility that mental illness is not entirely what we think?
Parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims Center Survey, 2013; “Stress levels soar in America by 30% in
thirty years,” Research from Carnegie Mellon University analysis, reported in New York Daily News, June 12, 2012.
You wonder, “Is there a difference between the two?” When you are under stress, you
can have temporary feelings of fatigue, anxiousness, moodiness and restlessness.
These feelings can subside if the situation causing you stress is removed. But if these
feelings hang around day after day without an end in sight, you may be suffering from
Often we associate burn out with our jobs. Too many hours, too many days in a
row with intense deadlines. The feeling that someone is always looking over your
shoulder. The fear of a difficult boss, or the challenge of an annoying colleague.
Working for a company that has been going through turmoil. Maybe watching friends
getting laid off and wondering if you’re next. Not getting any vacation time in a long
time. Feeling powerless and frustrated. All of these things can lead to the stress
lingering for more than just a few days, and ending up in burn out.
It’s important to get a handle on it as soon as you notice it. Stress and burn out that
goes unchecked can have impact on your health and overall well-being. What are some
of the signs and symptoms?
Feeling tired and drained a lot of the time
Poor appetite, or the opposite, the desire to overeat to keep up your energy
Having a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep
Feeling undervalued or unmotivated at work
Headaches, back pain, or neck pain
Sense of failure and self-doubt
Negative outlook on job and life in general
Lack of feelings of accomplishment
What can you do about it?
Start your day off doing something that inspires you. You might meditate first
thing in the morning. Some people find doing so to soothing music refreshes
them. Or get up and go for a walk, or a run, or work out to an exercise CD to get
oxygen to your brain and know you’ve done something really good for yourself to
start your day.
You might take up writing in a journal or reading inspirational literature, or both.
You can do this first thing in the morning, or last thing at night before you go to
bed. Both help to put your mind at ease and in a more positive place. Writing
gratitudes before you go to bed can be so supportive.
Be more conscientious about what you eat. What we put in our bodies can
influence how we feel for the whole day. You might want to lower or eliminate the
amount of sugar you take in. Same thing for simple carbohydrates like white flour
and white rice. Go for whole grains, veggies and fruits. Drink plenty of water
throughout the day. It’s always good to stay well hydrated.
Start a creative project. Something that you haven’t done in a long time. Maybe
an art project, a knitting project, or a wood working project. Something you can
feel great about when you’re done. Exercising our creative juices is always good
for those happy hormones.
Make sure you get plenty of rest. Eight hours of sleep a night is very important for
everyone. Do your best to not stay up til the wee hours watching TV or spending
time on the internet. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but they can rob
you of precious needed sleep time. And take naps if you’re called to. Your body
is telling you something. Listen.
Mostly, tune into your body and listen to its needs. Indulge in self-nurturing
activities like baths or massages. Whatever will reduce the stress for you.
All of these things are important to do for yourself, and, if it seems appropriate, get the
help of a professional who can help you get to the bottom of your burn-out, and help you
on your way to finding better answers on your life’s journey.
Emotions and Transform Your Life” (Three Rivers Press, 2011) by Judith Orloff MD)
In my psychiatric practice I’ve seen how hard it is for my patients to break up with a partner
who’s a narcissist. Narcissists can make you fall in love with them so hard that it feels like you're
giving up a part of your heart to leave them. And they use every manipulation in the book to get
you to stay.
On the surface narcissists can seem charming, intelligent, caring—knowing how to entice and
lure their way back into your life. But once they reel you back then they revert to their egotistical
selves. Their motto will always be “Me First!” Everything’s all about them. They have a
grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement, crave admiration and attention. They can
also be highly intuitive, but use their intuition for self-interest and manipulation.
Narcissists are so dangerous because they lack empathy, have a limited capacity for
unconditional love. Sadly, their hearts either haven’t developed or have been shut down due to
early psychic trauma, such as being raised by narcissistic parents, a crippling handicap both
emotionally and spiritually. (The damage of narcissistic parenting is outstandingly detailed in
Alice Miller’s Drama of the Gifted Child). Hard as it may be to comprehend, these people have
little insight into their actions, nor do they regret them.
To find out if you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist, ask yourself the following questions
from my book on achieving emotional freedom.
QUIZ: HAVE I BEEN IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH A NARCISSIST?
Does the person act as if life revolves around him?
Do I have to compliment him to get his attention or approval?
Does he constantly steer the conversation back to himself?
Does he downplay my feelings or interests?
If I disagree, does he become cold or withholding?
If you answer “yes” to one or two questions, it’s likely you’re dealing with a narcissist.
Responding “yes” to three or more questions suggests that a narcissist is violating your
Narcissists are hard nuts to crack. With these patients, the best I can do is align with their
positive aspects and focus on behaviors that they agree aren’t working. Still, even if one wants to
change, progress is limited, with meager gains. My professional advice: Don’t fall in love with a
narcissist or entertain illusions they’re capable of the give and take necessary for intimacy. In
such relationships you’ll always be emotionally alone to some degree. If you have a withholding
narcissist spouse, beware of trying to win the nurturing you never got from your parents; it’s not
going to happen. Also, don’t expect to have your sensitivity honored. These people sour love
with all the hoops you must jump through to please them.
If you’re trying to break up with a narcissist, use these methods from my emotional freedom
book to get your power back.
Don’t Fall For Their Manipulations
They will use every trick in the book to get you back so be prepared. Narcissists are really
convincing. When you are ready to leave, stick to your convictions and move on to a more
positive future filled with real love.
Since narcissists have no empathy, nor can they really love, you must leave them cold turkey and
endure the pain. Set limits and say "no" to them and in your heart. Then gather all your strength
and keep walking into the unknown towards something better.
Focus on the Future
Once detached from a narcissist it is extremely important than you focus all your positive energy
and thoughts on doing good things for yourself and the world. Don't let your mind wander to the
past or to what he is doing.
Be Kind to Yourself
Treasure yourself. Be very kind to yourself and know that you deserve a loving relationship with
someone who can reciprocate that love.
My view on life is that every person we meet along the way, loving or not, is meant to help us
grow. Do not beat yourself up for getting involved with a narcissist. But please learn what you
can from it, including setting healthy boundaries and saying "no" to abuse, so you don't repeat
this lesson again. It is very emotionally freeing to heal any attraction to abusive people so you
can have more true love in your life.
Link to Video: Dealing with a Narcissist: Emotional Freedom in Action -
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Judith Orloff, MD is a psychiatrist, an empath, an intuitive healer and New York Times
bestselling author. This article is based upon her New York Times bestseller Emotional
Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Three
Rivers Press, 2011). Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge
knowledge of intuition and energy medicine. An Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at
UCLA, she passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom
to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. For more inspiration visit