Peculiar Minds

[ 10 ] Comments

by jendoop

This is the first essay in our 10-day series, Peculiar Minds.

conversation statue

When I started the adventure of bringing together this series, my excitement was tempered by the enormity of our undertaking and the knowledge that while what we are doing is immensely beneficial, it is a subject that most conversations veer away from uncomfortably.

This series focuses on Mental Disorders, as defined by the DSM-IV (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition), the guide that practitioners throughout America use to diagnose patients. It is filled with labels, titles that are typed on an insurance form with a little white box next to each one. When the doctor puts pen to paper and flicks his wrist just so to leave a check mark in that white box, a life is changed. A person has been handed the label mentally ill.

The specificity of these labels can range from Dementia to Borderline Personality Disorder, and around the world and back again to Depression and Asperger’s (many will be covered in this series). Rarely do people perfectly fit the labels that the DSM or medical professionals give them, and that is getting near the heart of this issue. These are individuals struggling through life with difficulties that are labeled. The label, whether fair, unfair, rude, or insensitive, is our starting point with this series. Our goal is to inform and educate our LDS community while supporting those who struggle with these labels and the difficulties associated.

Because of the stigma attached to the mentally ill, especially in our larger American culture where fear of the mentally ill is increased by mass killings, mothers whose innocent children are diagnosed with a learning disorder find it distasteful to have their child’s diagnosis lumped into the same category as the man who killed school children in Newtown. To aid in our discussion, and to get us to see these labels a little differently, the writers of Real Intent brainstormed a name for this series and through much passionate discussion came up with the label Peculiar Minds.

As a person whose little white box next to Chronic Depressive Disorder with Major Episodes has been check-marked, I like this title. Peculiar Minds makes clear that the connection between a learning disorder and a Personality Disorder is broad enough to include something simply being different in the mind. It could be large, small, permanent, temporary, debilitating, or just mildly annoying.

To LDS people the word peculiar has another connotation, beyond meaning unusual. We, as a people of faith, know that there is something different about us, that others view us differently than we view ourselves. Regardless of our oddity, we embrace it because peculiar has a meaning beyond this. The Bible Dictionary defines peculiar as: “the meaning of the saints’ being the Lord’s own special people or treasure.”


That is how we at Real Intent view the minds of those diagnosed with mental illness: they are unusual,  and also just as treasured by our Heavenly Father, just as worthy of Christ’s precious blood, as any other Latter-day Saint. After working with each of our guest writers, and reading their stories, I personally have no doubt of God’s love for them or his special concern for the battles that they face.  To you who suffer know that in every story of mental illness we can see a child of God, beloved and cherished. Hopefully, you will see this as you come to know these Peculiar Minds.

The Peculiar Minds series will run today, Feb 15th, through Feb 24th. Some of the posts you will read are of a more personal nature, writers simply sharing what it is like to live with their diagnosis. Other posts are more research-based, giving factual information. Some posts are a combination of the two. We will sometimes present several posts in one day that are similar in diagnosis; sharing them together highlights the diversity of experiences under the same label.

The Peculiar Minds series continues later today with a very important post on the resources that are available for those who suffer from mental disorders and the people who love them, a post worth bookmarking, as well as an essay on engaging in conscious miracles. Some issues will have their own day; others will be sprinkled liberally throughout the series. Monday, Feb 19th, will focus on depression. As one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders of the mind, and since it is often found in those who suffer from other mental illnesses, it is important for all of us to understand. We’ll hear from many guest writers, including author Robison Wells, blogger/crafter Tresa Edmunds (AKA Reese Dixon), professionals in the field, and others who face these issues daily.

We ask you to support these brave writers, who share their stories with us despite the stigma of mental illness. Please leave a comment, share on your Facebook page or retweet, follow our Facebook page or Twitter feed for updates, or send a link to someone you know who is struggling. Join us in our efforts to understand and support our brothers and sisters with Peculiar Minds.

Photo credits: Jesper Sachmann via Compfight,  horizontal.integration via Compfight


The Entire Series

About jendoop

Jen writes, reads, paints, walks, prays, eats and sleeps. Paul is her co-conspirator in teaching these skills to 4 children.

10 Responses to Peculiar Minds

  1. Paul says:

    Jen, thanks for the terrific kick-off. Can’t wait to read the whole series!

  2. misssrobin says:

    Thank you for this. It matters.

  3. readermom says:

    I am looking forward to reading everything. Thanks for doing this.

  4. jendoop says:

    Thank you for your comments and encouragement.

    Everything we say throughout the series may not sound right to you, and that’s okay. It’s important to not just put this information out, but also to talk about it. Please continue commenting!

  5. templegoer says:

    Respect to you my brothers and sisters. Sounds like the right thing at the right time in the right place.

  6. Angie says:

    great start Jen!

  7. Cheryl says:

    Such an important topic! I am so grateful you are discussing this!

  8. Jane says:

    Brilliant start. Looking forward to the rest of the posts.

  9. Jendoop says:

    Thanks for your comments. This is an important topic. The other day I was out with a group of 5 women and this series came up. Out of the 5, 2 of us face these issues personally and at least one more has two immediate family members that face mental illness. And those were only those of us who are willing to admit to it, too many others keep it as a dirty secret, as if it is a sin. Mental illness is not sin, but the stigma can make it feel that way. I hope this series opens hearts and minds and gives people hope in treatment- to know that receiving help means you’re strong, not bad.

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