Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
My son walked into the living room and I jumped. Nevermind I knew he was due home. Nevermind I heard the door open and close when he arrived. What mattered was his steps were quiet. He went from unseen to seen in an instant, without precise warning.
That is one way PTSD affects my daily life. Jumpy. No matter how much I mentally prepare for certain predictables, they manage to unnerve me. I breathe in sharply, shriek a little, and jump. Clarity is immediate as I observe my surroundings. Adrenaline turns into controlled anger. PTSD has rescued me from attack because of that anger reflex. It has helped me protect others as well.
With my sons, it is not true anger. Usually they hear something like, “Oh you sneaker!” while my heart calms and breathing returns to normal. We laugh, and on the day goes as if it is normal to shriek in fear when a loved one shows up.
Prepare and observe
It is normal to feel anger after trauma and senseless violence. We see that happening around us with people casting blame and looking to “fixes” such as classifying whole groups of people as dangerous. Jimmy Kimmel did that this week when he assumed the shooter in Las Vegas must have been mentally ill.
The Las Vegas shooting is a big deal. In the US, hurricanes, massive wildfires, a flu epidemic, and other issues have us all a little jumpy. One article written by a determined soul stated he would not stop going to concerts because he refused to live in fear. What of you and me? Will we stop living?
That depends on how we observe our surroundings. If we begin to perceive potential crisis in every corner, we will likely remain angry. If we fixate on “solutions,” blame will result. How about we focus on preparedness?
Practical ideas can be wise, such as a man in the Tampa area who invested in hurricane-proof windows. However, to keep level heads, something unshakeable must be our foundation. To feel secure, we need to rely on the unchangeable.
There are no catastrophes
A psychologist who follows Jesus Christ touts this philosophy, “There are no catastrophes.” In light of the obvious – he meets with traumatized people every day – this idea may seem off-kilter. He explains that in the face of grave loss, we can know we will be ok. This is not because we get to bypass sorrow, but because we can be unafraid of death. He said he is certain where he is going after this life. He knows in whom he trusts.
“In God we trust.” Whether you think that phrase belongs on a coin or not, for millions of us, it is reality. A lifetime of trials has grown my faith. I have seen God’s power and faithfulness in my surroundings. Of all the therapeutic strategies that help, knowing Jesus as Savior and obeying him as Lord is my overarching banner of peaceful assurance.
As stated, my head is not in the clouds untouched by pain or anxiety. It is simple – I know God holds me know matter what. Offering hope and insights to those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse is a joy as long as God has me here. At the same time, I look forward to being with him for eternity. It’s a win-win.
And that feels good.
Today’s Helpful Word
Hebrews 6:18, 19
“Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.”
Comments are always welcome (see tab below). 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 can be yours.
- anchor pic by TACLUDA on rgbstock.com; sky pic from kozzi.com