All posts by Sarah Griffith Lund

About Sarah Griffith Lund

Leader, preacher and author of *Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Church and Family*

Invisible Hurricanes

Living on the east coast of Florida as a new bride in 2006, and then as a new mom in 2009, I paid extra close attention to any mention of a hurricane brewing offshore. We happily moved in 2014 back to the Midwest before any big ones hit our coastal home.

Yet, I’ve realized that hurricanes are all around us and they don’t care what coast you live on. Actually, the kind of hurricane I’m thinking about doesn’t really care where you live or that you live.

Hurricanes in the brain happen when thoughts get caught up in a death-bound spiral. Ever heard of a tropical depression? The process of a tropical storm turning into a category one hurricane reminds me of what it’s like to go from mild to moderate depression.

It’s when the hurricane categories skyrocket up and hit level five that severe depression can be deadly. The brain seems to have its own inner weather system.

As the loved one of those living with serious depression, sometimes all we can do is watch for signals telling us it’s time to evacuate our home. It’s time to go get help. Sandbags are not enough.

But how do you really know what will happen next? The track of the hurricane changes rapidly and can lose steam or strengthen or overnight.

You can go to bed with a tropical storm and wake up in the eye of a category three or four or five hurricane.

I wonder if there is a scientific method for tracking the brain’s weather system, a way to clearly communicate the level of depressive activity and level of risk for suicide. I wonder how lives might be saved if we knew the hurricane in the brain was coming. We could gather all the supplies. We could evacuate and get out alive.

We need more research on the brain. We need more mental health resources. We need more tools to help keep us and our loved ones alive. We need to do more to prevent suicide. We can start by teaching our children the warning signs and how to track the storm.

For my family, it’s after the storm. And we are safe. This time. We know that so many do not survive. And one death is one too many.

I thought I could move away from the hurricanes. I didn’t realize they were with me all along. Invisible hurricanes are all around us.

I am learning how to trust my own weather radar system. I am learning how to not be afraid of the storm. I am learning how to watch for it and how to prepare to survive.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Making America A Child Abuser

As a Christian, a mother, and a pastor, my conscience will not allow me to remain silent about such things. Upon deep reflection and prayer I have come to the regrettable conclusion that the 45th President of the United States of America fits the definition of a child abuser. I do not come to this conclusion lightly, but with a heavy heart about one of our nation’s most tragic moral failings in my lifetime.

The babies and children detained and separated from their families are the victims of the institutionalized child neglect and abuse orchestrated by the President’s policies. According to federal law, child neglect and abuse is, “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation” or “an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.” By definition, the President is leading a massive child abuse operation, funded by tax payers–by us.

This sounds impossible. How could a “great Christian nation” allow things to get this bad? Reports from detention centers tell of babies and children experiencing serious harm, both emotional and physical. One of the newest policies from the President seeks to remove limits on how long migrant families with children can be detained, increasing to indefinite length of time for babies and children to be exploited, abused, emotionally harmed, physically harmed, sexually harmed, and at risk of death.

Abusers commonly express concern for the pain their victims feel, but place the blame for this pain on the victims themselves. As the President recently said, “very much I have the children on my mind. It bothers me very greatly.”

It is also common for abusers to state that their actions are intended to teach a lesson and prevent future behavior that displeases them. Again, the President said, “many people will be saved” by neglecting and abusing those currently detained.

We must hold the President and those following his commands accountable for the long-term harm caused to babies and children. We must exercise our power to stop the neglect and abuse as soon as possible.

The American Psychological Association issued a statement that the President’s child abuse causes detained babies and children to continue to suffer from trauma and mental health challenges.

It is emphatically immoral that the President’s child abuse is the official strategy of the White House. He neglects and abuses innocent children as a matter of policy. A vote to re-elect this President is a vote to support the world’s most powerful serial child abuser.

As people of faith, we must speak out for the abused babies and children who have no voice. We must take action to ensure that those elected into positions of power will protect the value and dignity of all humans.

We cannot keep a serial child abuser in the White House. If we do, then we will embolden and empower future neglect and abuse of human beings that is more horrific than we can possibly imagine.