Derailed and Changed (an excerpt from my book Always the Fight)

Compassionate Love:Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2014 Nancy Virden

As I am traveling, it seems best to give you a peek into Always the Fight. A Living Testimony of What Only God Can Do. Sharing my story with audiences made up of struggling people is an honor and a direct result of my recovery. I’m proof that for each of us, there is always purpose; there is always hope. 

My toast to this new year [December 31, 2011] will be “Let’s raise our (eye) glasses… May the clarity of hindsight be catalyst for change, our present focus an exercise in hope, and our visions for the future unveil opportunities to live out faith. May next year be better than the last. Happy New Year!”

Each time my life has been derailed by Major Depression renewal has included significant lifestyle changes. Getting married; leaving the workforce to be a stay-at-home mom; and going back to school and finishing my degree are products of recoveries. Although this episode’s symptoms were the most severe, the result is similar in that a new career has been launched.

Writing is a way, hopefully an effective one, of battling the stigma of mental illness in the church through education, and of offering hope to others who suffer. Based on the many stories people have shared with me and personal experience, I have determined Christians in America as a whole need to step up their game in the ‘love your neighbor’ department.

Too many of us go unaided, unaccompanied through life’s battles because potential helpers are afraid to get involved. My goal is to invite people to look a little deeper into possibilities. That requires facing my greatest fear—openness and vulnerability.

It is significant to me that I was assigned January 15, 2012, as one of the teaching dates. On the first anniversary of the day I decided the pain of living was not worth any good I could accomplish or experience, about fifty people will be hearing ideas on how to better connect with each other and the hurting among them.

One year. A year I did not want to see, a year of change. For me, many of the situations existent twelve months ago remain. Concerns regarding the future are intact. However, now there are potential friendships, thinking patterns and false negative beliefs are challenged, and I am learning skills for coping no one had taught me before. Most importantly, I am not trying to do life on my own.

Old-familiar threatens to overtake this growth. It is still so very easy to hide in a crowd. I envy open people, admire their courage, and wish I could emulate them. Only one cure for that envy exists. Just talk.

Not one for New Year’s Resolutions, this time the challenge is obvious. What have I tried before that has not worked? Hiding. What have I not tried that might work? Openness. What kind of person am I? The kind who remains guarded and never gets too close to anyone. What kind of person would I rather be? Honest. Real.

-Nancy Virden (c) 2013

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline   1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

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