Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness
(c)2016 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
Even Rusty believes, but hopefully not.
Nila lost her temper on the job in an occupation where losing control is especially frowned upon. Consequently, she was sent to anger management classes and therapy for depression. It was in the latter that I heard her speak of her troubles and desire for peace.
Something was missing, though. It seemed that week after week for months, her story remained the same. She mentioned a painful, difficult relationship that grew worse when she yelled. Any suggestion she stop yelling was met with agreement, followed by no change.
Change is hard. We all struggle with it. Nila’s experience was not unusual in that it was complex – fixing her relationship was not her job alone. Nevertheless, her lack of movement was not because there was nowhere to go. I witnessed her unwillingness to try.
Kyrian is spending his life in front of his television. His opportunities include higher education, social circles that want him, and a decent job that pays the bills. Yet he avoids school and friends, choosing instead a pattern of work, TV, sleep, and repeat. Occasionally Kyrian expresses dissatisfaction.
Social anxiety and Generalized Anxiety Disorder are not simple nervousness or unwillingness to reach beyond shyness. They are in fact characterized by episodes of paralyzing fear. Overcoming them is to reject everything one’s body and brain are saying. Fight, Flight, or Freeze become daily choices.
Kyrian used to say he wants more for his life. He has defeated many fears in the past. Lately though, he says he is content. I believe he is tired of stretching his limits.
Rusty’s eyes barely lifted. He was ashamed and humiliated by his father who abused him with vicious words. At the time I knew him, Rusty was a child who still had a little light in his eyes. Years later, I wonder about adult Rusty and whether he is ever able to see himself in the mirror without hearing his father’s lies. I hope he has learned his value is not defined by a bitter man.
Nila believes she is a victim. It has become her identity. Kyrian believes he is defeated by anxiety. Rusty may believe he is a nothing. I hope not.
The line between “stuck” and “growth” is drawn at the point of decision. Will we be teachable? Will we accept responsibility for our own wellness? Will we crucify the lies and search for the truth?
Therapy is only as effective as the client’s decision to participate in healing. It may be a slow process, however each step forward is a positive choice.
It was not until I was in my early fifties that I understood God loves me as the perfect Father who cherishes his daughter. Prior to that I believed I was a disappointment, and that God only loved me out of pity. I had interpreted Scriptures that speak of God’s unfailing love through a lens of fear.
Finally, from the bottom of the darkest pit of hopelessness, I had to look up and admit maybe I didn’t know everything. People were able to teach me the truth because I decided to learn.
No one has to stay stuck.
Today’s Helpful Word
All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse.
To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge.
Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.
-Wisdom of Jesus
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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