Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness
(c)2016 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
The last two weeks have been frustrating, maddening, throw-my-hands-in-the-air defeating, and included some of the best days of my life.
My radio show had a rough start. I thought I was ready, but the level of nervousness I felt surprised me. I’ve done public speaking and singing to crowds upwards of 2000 people. Microphones do not scare me, and coming up with things to say is generally not difficult. I’ve even interviewed people in the past for a variety of writings and presentations. Still, my first show nearly unraveled me.
The audio was a headache too. I spent days and money trying to get it right. Then when it seemed to work, I interviewed my first guest. No success. Thank God she is a friend, because Danita agreed to three interviews until the sound came out ok!
In the meantime, my life went on hold as I mostly stared at my screen for days on end. Final edits developed over a 36-hour straight marathon. I was frazzled.
You know, as a reader of this blog, that my first priority is my mental health. With Major Depression Recurrent Severe, it is imperative that self-care and breaking duties down to manageable chunks take precedence. That is what did not happen the first two weeks of this show.
Then came last Thursday night. The second guest’s sound issues were also difficult. After spending two days on editing and correcting volume issues, I lost the file. Gone.
My aunt from Tennessee had come in the night before. Because of work, I missed spending time with her and my sons. We were to leave on Friday morning for Chicago, and I hadn’t packed. When that file disappeared I knew that unless God did some miracle, I would not have a show this week. (Edits are due on Sundays).
As I laid my head on my pillow, I gave up in the best way possible. Therapy had taught me what is known as “radical acceptance.” This was put into practice as I stopped striving, focused on the next day, and asked God to take care of the rest.
Friday afternoon was one of the highlights of the year – the opportunity to speak to residents of the treatment center where I once stayed. I shared where I had once been – in utter hopelessness and feeling trapped beyond tolerance. I told them how the treatment center had played a huge role in setting me free. They heard more details, laughed, and asked questions.
Afterward, I met with some other ex-residents and one agreed to an interview! Right there, we recorded the second show. A few brief edits later, it was ready to go by Sunday. The coordinator of these speaking events was also an eager interview, while others expressed interest to do so in the future. On Tuesday, it was a privilege to speak with a second group of women and answer their questions. I was on cloud 9.
In the meantime, two young women I met as a resident three years ago met with me. One is doing well, is in school, and learning to cope with life’s challenges. She struggles to find healthy friends. Please pray for B. The other is still using, living in cheap motels or staying with whoever will take her in. Please pray for T, and for her family as they watch helplessly while she destroys her brain and future.
Recovery is not a guarantee. Ever. It is through learning new coping skills and by surrounding oneself with healthy supports that recovery happens. That is why I go to speak at the rehabilitation center. They need to know that escape to a better life is far superior than the temporary escapes we achieve through the abuse of our bodies. They also need to know we are all worth saving.
My frustrating weeks could have, theoretically, led to relapse. They did not because I know how to address the temptations when they are strong. It is humbling that by God’s grace I am a voice for recovery. This is why I’ll keep on plugging away at this show, trying to adjust the audio, and hopefully soon it will be easier.
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with 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 is yours.
– picture from Kozzi.com