Thursday, May 17, 2018

Borderline Personality Disorder, What is it?

Rev. Steve Bloem, B.A. M.M. is a certified DBT therapist.  He and his team were trained by Dr. Marsha Linehan at the University of  Washington in the years 1996 and 1997.  Steve and another team member started and administered one of the first DBT programs in the Community Mental Health System. in the U.S.A.He is now in private practice in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Image result for borderline personality disorder

In the past, people thought that someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) was “on the borderline” between psychosis and neurosis (anxiety/depression). Today, we know much more about BPD, and there is more research on BPD than any other personality disorder.

But there is a lot of stigma around personality disorders. People living with borderline personality disorder may be given hurtful labels. But no one is ever just their diagnosis, whether they’re living with a personality disorder or any other mental illness. There is hope and there is help

Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that affects the way to relate to other people and the way you relate to yourself. If you’re living with borderline personality disorder, you might feel like there’s something fundamentally wrong with who you are or you might feel ‘flawed’ or worthless, or you might not even have a good sense of who you are as a person. Your moods might be extreme and change all the time, and you might have a hard time controlling impulses or urges. You may have a hard time trusting others and you may be very scared of being abandoned or alone.

BPD is made up of five groups of symptoms: unstable behavior, unstable emotions, unstable relationships, unstable sense of identity and awareness problems.

Unstable behavior means that you often act on impulses or urges, even when they hurt you or other people. Some examples of impulse control problems are:
  • Thinking about or attempting suicide
  • Hurting yourself on purpose, such as cutting or burning your skin (self-harm)
  • Risky behaviors like spending a lot of money, binge eating or problematic substance use
Unstable emotions mean that your moods can be extreme and change very quickly. Some examples of unstable emotions are:
  • Extreme depression, anxiety or irritability that might last for only a few hours or days, usually in response to a stressful event
  • Intense anger or difficulty controlling anger
  • Intense boredom
Unstable relationships mean that you have a hard time maintaining relationships with other people. Some example of relationship problems are:
  • Doing anything you can to avoid being abandoned or alone
  • Feeling like you don’t know yourself or having very unstable sense of who you are and how you feel about yourself
  • Intense relationships where you often impulsively shift between seeing the other person as ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’
Unstable sense of identity means that you don’t have a good sense of who you are as a person. Some examples of an unstable sense of identity include:
  • Feeling like you don’t know yourself
  • Having a very unstable sense of who you are and how you feel about yourself
  • Feeling “empty” much of the time
Awareness problems mean that, from time to time only and often in response to a stressful event, you experience sensations or feelings that aren’t based in reality. Some examples of awareness problems are:
  • Feeling like you’re separated from your mind or body (dissociative symptoms) or losing track of time.
There are many different combinations of symptoms, so BPD can look very different among people with the illness. To diagnose BPD, mental health clinicians look for patterns of behavior that last for a long time and have caused distress or problems with relationships or other areas of life, such as work.

From Kregel Publications

Christians dealing with mental illness often first look to their pastors for help. Few pastors, however, are trained to recognize and deal with mental illness, and they can unintentionally give advice that is ineffective or even dangerous.

Counselor Steve Bloem fills this void by equipping pastors and other church leaders to identify the symptoms of common mental disorders, to offer biblical encouragement and comfort to those suffering from them, and to decide when to refer them to mental-health professionals.

Bloem makes a foundational biblical case for the reality and treatment of mental illnesses, and he dispels a number of myths about those who suffer from them. Drawing on extensive counseling and pastoral experience, he provides essential tools and advice for those in ministry to help people battling depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, and other mental illnesses. Pastors, counselors, and seminary students will find this handbook to be an indispensable guide for these important issues. 
Please contact me by phone or email. You need only to go to:

Monday, May 14, 2018

Pastor is beheaded, many more killed in the Central African Republic

The story of Daniel's three friends is quite popular especially with children in Sunday School.The story has proven to be highly instructive for the  persecuted church. Born again, Christians across the globe are ordered to stop living for Christ.  This was the case with Daniel's friends!

Daniel 3 states , "There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up."  

Image result for shadrach meshach and abednego

Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego;      before him   Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach an
 Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up?  "Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, very well. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?" 

 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter."If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king."
"But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up" (Daniel 3:12-16, NASB).

The Holy Record tells us that a miracle happened.  They did not die. The LORD God of Israel performed a miracle. However, these godly Jews were ready to give their lives  for His glory. 
Please read the story below


May. 10, 2018 | India
Pastor Abraham leaves behind a wife and children. (Credit: World Watch Monitor)
Pastor Abraham leaves behind a wife and children. (Credit: World Watch Monitor)

A pastor serving one of India’s minority tribal groups was murdered last week by suspected Maoists. On the evening of May 2, about 25 masked men abducted Pastor Abraham Topno from a taxi he was riding in, and the pastor’s beheaded body was found hours later along with a note signed by a communist rebel group operating in nearby Odisha state. According to a longtime friend of the pastor, he specifically chose to serve among the minority tribal group, despite the dangerous and challenging environment. His church had recently grown in number to about 60 believers. Pray for the pastor’s family and for Christians in the area

About 60,000 Christians in southeastern Central African Republic (CAR) have been forced to flee their towns after a series of attacks by local Muslims. 
Sseveral months after joint U.S. and Ugandan forces pulled out of the region last year, area Muslims launched a campaign to drive 
Christians out by razing Christian-majority towns and villages. On Nov. 20, villagers in Dembia were awakened by gunfire at 4 a.m. as local Muslims attacked without warning. The Christians ran from their village in a heavy downpour, wearing only the clothes in which they were sleeping, and took cover in the bush. Their village was completely destroyed over the next three days. During the attack, village elderly were reportedly gathered in a building and burned alive. Although the total number of killed is unknown, since villagers dispersed and have been unable to return, one believer who survived the attack knew of at    least forty six people who were killed. The Christian towns that were attacked have either been destroyed completely or remain under the  control of local Muslims and jihadist allies. Pray that these Christians 
 will be able to return to their villages.This is  from The Voice of Martyrs.

My  new book is coming out soon. The Pastoral Handbook of Mental Illness
A Guide for Training & Reference. Kregel Publications, June, 2018

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Depression is nothing new. Consider the English poet William Cowper

Steve Bloem, Broken Minds, my pictures copyright- Kregel publications  2005

Cowper and Providence
Image result for william cowper biography

S.B. As the dark veil descended over my mind the second time, I knew my ideas of how I would serve the Lord were beyond my reach for the time being. At this moment, the Holy Spirit applied the truths of William Cowper’s poetry to help me persevere.

Some historians delight to use available evidence to psychoanalyze historical figures. They argue endlessly over their conclusions. About Cowper, though, there is seldom disagreement. The English poet demonstrated classic symptoms of bipolar disorder. So I have taken great comfort, and I have
 learned much about the dark Providences of God about which Cowper's poems and songs.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.

Cowper was a timid and fearful individual, with a nervous constitution. That gives poignant meaning to the second verse of this favorite hymn of the church:

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

The clouds here are dark, frowning Providences. Cowper knew fear. He knew that when he was in the grip of his melancholy he should not interpret God’s present workings as anger toward him.
At one of my lowest moments, when concentration on anything seemed impossible, the third verse still was able to hold my attention:

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace,
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
Finally, he says;
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain,
God is His own interpreter
And He will make it plain.

S.B.  My circumstances and disappointments, my very brain storm , were saying to me, “God is frowning on you.” The day was dark . . . very dark. But God was working out His plan, His sovereign will. As Jacob said when he could not be comforted over the reported death of his son Joseph, “All these things are against me” (Gen. 42:36). His heart and his circumstances gave him this analysis of his situation. Like many saints through the ages, Jacob was learning an important lesson about God as our Comfort in the midst of pain we cannot understand.

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Romans 8:28
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.

God Delays: God’s Power
Again the Word of the Lord states in 1 Peter 5:10–11: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen” (emphasis added).
Suffering seems to go on forever, but when it is over, God often gives us some view of the purposes He has accomplished. The words of A. B. Simpson (1843–1919) have been very instructive:

The pressure of hard places makes us value life. Every time our life is given back to us from such a trial, it is like a new beginning, and we learn better how much it is worth and make more of it for God and man. The pressure helps us to understand the trials of others, and fits us to help and sympathize with them.

There is a shallow, superficial nature, that gets hold of a theory or a promise lightly, and talks very glibly about the distrust of those who shrink from every trial; but the man or woman who has suffered much never does this, but is very tender and gentle, and knows what suffering really means. This is what Paul meant when he said “Death worketh in you.”


 My weakness . . . my feelings of panic and depression . . . my bewilderment at what I was becoming and what was to become of us. . . . Somehow, in a way I could not appreciate, all of it was part of the plan of a loving almighty Father. I praise Him every day!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Steve Bloem has written a new, informative, Handbook about mental illness

Steve has a new book, published by Kregel Publications of Grand Rapids, MI. The name of it is, The Pastoral Hand book of Mental illness a Guide for Training and Reference.

This book is not for sale yet, but you can get on our waiting  list by going to our email,, and write, "I want to be notified when your new book comes out." Your request will mean that we will notify you as soon as it comes out.  You will be able to get a signed copy for $19.00. It is not just for pastors, but everyone who wants to learn about mental illness, and grasp the mental health  system and services. I was a clinical case manager for the mentally ill, if this book had come out then; I would have bought it a second.

It would also be helpful to Christian psychiatrists and psychologists, especially  in helping them understand the differences between, spiritual and biological depression 
Our website

People who have a mental illness often describe it as  “darkening of the mind.” Some have likened it to being in a pit. King David said, “He (God) brought me up also out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings” Psalm 40:2 (NASB).

One of the helpful admonitions to people who are mentally ill is found in Isaiah 50:10, “who is among you that fears the LORD that obeys the voice of His servant, which walks in darkness ,and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God” (Is. 50:10  NASB).

You can be in “soul darkness” but still fear the LORD. In this case the prophet tells us that the one in the dark, who is walking in darkness, needs to trust in the name of LORD (Jehovah) God (see Exodus 3:13-16). A person’s name stands for one’s character, honor and personhood. If you know Christ
God will never desert you.

Who and What is Involved?

Mental Illness is a disease that begs for community. This Biblical-based support group material includes a Leader’s Guide and Student's Guide. These guides will help create cohesion, and mutual support among those who are born again and affected by these horrible diseases of body, mind and mood.

Depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, panic disorder,  and obsessive  compulsive disorder, are some of the most painful of all disorders in this cursed world. Many mentally ill Christians have experienced what we call “shaming,” from their own brothers and sisters in Christ, causing, further and unnecessary suffering. Much of the church of Jesus Christ not only misunderstands the mentally ill, she also provides no ministry for  them.  Our books will teach how to comfort,and validate mentally ill Christians. They will also trin leaders to run related support groups.

A CAMI (Christians Afflicted with Mental illness) support group will have a facilitator who has put his or her faith in Jesus Christ the Lord. . Others in the group who have come out of the darkness of depression/mental illness etc., will be able to share stories of God’s faithfulness with those who are currently suffering. This encouraging of tottering, trembling believers is very biblical. It is commanded by the Apostle Paul, who in I Thessalonians 5:14, states, “we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient with everyone.” (NASB).

Steve and Robyn Bloem have helped start many support groups  for those who have mental illness.
If you would like to have curriculum for a CAMI Support Group, you can purchase  our "tested materials." They  consist of  our Leader's Guide and Student's Guide. If you buy our workbooks, we have a  team of counselors,who will start a dialogue with you about how to start and keep going a CAMI Group. This communication will be of no charge. 

These two volumes explain clearly how to start a support group step by step. The material is   copyrighted (2010). You cannot legally, run pages off and use them. You can pay by pay pal in most every country. But shipping is more in Canada and other countries. On our Heartfelt counseling website look for the pricing next to "buy now." You may have to scroll down the page.

Don't forget our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It.  It was nominated by Foreword Magazine for the best non- fiction of the year that it was published.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A man comes to understand what being a man really is through his own depression

NAMI All rights reserved April 2018

No one ever told me it's ok to cry. 
Be strong!”
“Toughen up!” 
“Don’t cry!” 
Never did someone stand over me as a kid and yell, “Let it out! It’s okay to cry! It’s human to hurt!” From my football coaches to my own father, it seems as though the social norm for men is to be some kind of impenetrable mountain of muscle that feels no pain and has no emotion. If we’re not hunting or fighting or eating a bloody, rare steak, then we’re not men. As a kid, I idolized the manly behemoths on TV. From Arnold Schwarzenegger to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, I wanted to be just like them. 

I wanted to mimic my heroes physical appearance and be happy.

And I didn’t only want to mimic their physical appearance, but I wanted to be as happy and carefree as they seemed.
Our culture depicts men as heroes and symbols of strength and popularity, almost to the point of being invincible. Every little boy wants to be invincible. When my parents fought—yelling and breaking things in the house—all I wanted to be was invincible against how sad they made me feel. I wanted to be invincible against the feelings I had when that girl I had a crush on in 5th grade said, “No thanks, you’re too fat for me” after I finally worked up the courage to ask her to be my girlfriend; instead, I ran away and cried in the boy’s bathroom during second period. I wanted to be invincible when my youth football coach called me a “pussy” because I got hit and I said it hurt; insteadAll these feelings, emotions and a twisted view of masculinity had a hold on me. Rather than accept and process my emotions, I learned to ignore and compartmentalize them. I kept my issues and pains to myself and tried my hardest to push them down as deep and far away from the surface as I could.

The Flood Came
Then, the day came when the flood couldn’t be held back any longer and the levees broke. For so long I had hidden my pain, my confusion, my depression and I had become good at pretending to be “okay” with everything life was throwing at me. But one day it was not “okay” anymore. My mental illness had been ignored for so long and it would not be quieted any longer.

Courage and Strength were not there for me.
I couldn’t find any more strength or courage or fight just to keep those around me from finding out how bad I truly felt. I was so conditioned to “man up” that when the pain, sorrow and thoughts of suicide ran through my mind, I had no answer. I couldn’t yell or puff my chest at depression. Depression didn’t care how much I could lift or what car I drove or how many girls I had been with. Depression knew the real me. It knew the little boy who could never face his real problems head-on because the society in which he grew up wouldn’t let him. He was too busy pretending to be strong, too busy pretending to be a “man” to admit he lived with depression.

After I tried to commit suicide, I  acknowledged my weakness and pain.
After my attempted suicide and rehabilitation, things started to become
 clearer. I learned that pain, sorrow, anger and sadness are a part of life—emotions don’t care if you are a man or woman or household pet. For the first time, I could accept and acknowledge my weaknesses and my pain. Finally, I found myself and have never felt stronger or more of a man. 

 Facing my emotions fills me with more manly strength, I am no longer ashamed.
Coming out about my depression was one of the most freeing and courageous things I have ever 
done. No longer am I silent or fearful about who I really am. I am comfortable and confident enough in myself to accept and face my demons. I’m no longer ashamed of my depression. And being self-aware and brave enough to face my emotions fills me with more manly strength and pride than any action hero ever did. 
I can now step in front of my mental illness and accept it as a part of me, instead of always living in its shadow. And I’m here to tell you fellas to be bold and fearless about who you are. Be strong enough to admit your pains. Be courageous to acknowledge your struggles—regardless of how “un-manly” they may seem. 
Depression affects 6 million men per year. So, next time you’re in the locker room talking, I hope that the conversation becomes deeper than football plays and girls. For being a man is what we men make it. 
Rob “Roro” Asmar is a chef and restaurateur in the DC area. He passionately advocates for mental health through his volunteer and awareness raising efforts and seeks to break the stigma surrounding mental health & men. His open and positive attitude are expressed through his social me

Monday, April 23, 2018

Meet a true bondservant of Jesus Christ

When I was doing my undergraduate study, I got a hold of a copy of the book by Elisabeth Elliot who was Jim Elliot's wife, and the name of the book was, In the Shadow of the Almighty.  She used many of his writings, Below is a quote from him that was used to encourage me to know God,and to serve Him alone.

The night spread black and blossomed brilliantly with stars.  I walked out to the hill just now.  It is exalting, delicious to stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at you coat tails and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and to give oneself again to God.  What more could a man ask? 
"Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth.  I care not if I ever raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him.  May hap in mercy He shall give me a host of children that I may lead through the vast star fields, to explore His delicacies, whose  finger-ends set them to burning.  But if not, if only I may see Him, touch His garments, and smile into my Lover's eyes--ah then, not stars, nor children shall matter-- only Himself." 

 Elisabeth Elliot also wrote a book that challenged young and old and young  to live for God and spread His word. (Ed. I have not received any money for recommending either of these books. SB)
Through Gates of Splendor is the true story of five young missionaries who were savagely killed while trying to establish communication with the Auca Indians of Ecuador. The story is told through the eyes of Elisabeth Elliot, the wife of one of the young men who was killed..

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Pastors need to be equipped for helping those with mental illness.. I have a new book coming soon, The Pastoral Handbook of Mental Illness

A good number of years ago, I received a letter from a young woman who wrote about needing help with her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and her Major Depression. Recurrent. 
 She said “You talk about Hell; I had OCD in high school and did not know it. I had never heard of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and the form I had wasn’t the textbook type. It took the form of scrupulosity where I obsessed about how self-absorbed and sinful and evil I was. I was a Christian but not a strong one. My pastor even came out and met with my parents and me, but he did not recognize that I had an illness and he was totally out of his element.He absolved me through confession and talked a little but it did not help. That’s why I really think that church professionals need to be aware of mental illness and trained in how to help people who have it.  I could have found relief and avoid years of suffering if my pastor was familiar with mental illness. God bless him; he was a wonderful pastor, but he couldn’t meet my needs because he hadn’t been equipped for it. That’s why I think what you are doing is important. Well, thanks for the encouragement. "

Your book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, has made me decide to try again at finding the right medicine for depression because I have been trying to “change my own brain chemistry.”And it is just too big of a boulder to push on my own.  Trying to change biological depression, is like trying to empty and sand box with tweezers. What do you think about Lexipro? It has cured my OCD but left me with depression, and no other antidepressant has helped me with OCD. So I need something for depression. Speaking of which, the sun is out and I better get outdoors.” Anon.

Here is a review from a pastor who has read the book
which will be coming out soon. It too is published by Kregel Publication, Grand Rapids, MI. I applaud Steve’s courage and professionalism in coming forward with this much needed book. The church is made up of everyday, real people and mental illness is a real problem that cannot be swept under the rug. As God gave us doctors to help us with heart attacks, back surgeries, and diabetes, he also gave us doctors to help us with mental illness. Of course God can heal somebody immediately of any disease or illness, but oftentimes he uses doctors, medicine, and other tools to help. In that regard, I believe Steve’s book is a godsend. It gives pastors the knowledge, information, and tools they need to successfully and confidently address this critical issue with those they oversee. God bless you Steve for having the courage to come out of the darkness and shine a light on your own experience so that others may be helped, healed, blessed, and God glorified throughout. Steve Bloem delivers the  information in a way that will help pastors and impact
the kingdom of God today and in the ages to come. God has used Steve’s personal journey mightily to help him understand the tragedy,effects, trauma, solutions, and                                                                              answers for dealing with mental illness. This book is a
                                                                      must read for every pastor and I believe should be taught                                                                         as a course in every seminary.”

                                                                        Jack Alan Levine,Executive Pastor,
                                                                        Purpose ChurchOrlando, Florida
                                                                        Our website is