Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c) 2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
This week in America we mourn the loss of yet more people, teenagers this time, due to mass violence. We are in grief as a nation, not only because of the school shooting in Florida. There is a heightening atmosphere of fear, anger, and anxiety across our communities.
We grieve the loss of peace.
There are countries who have known little of the comforts and calm we have been privileged to experience. There are people groups within our borders who could argue that those blessings bypassed them. Regardless the source of emotional pain, humanity tends to be more the same than different. Grief affects us all.
Education helps us in our grief, seriously!
1) Understanding the characteristics of grief helps us to know we are not alone in our feelings. Five “stages” of grief, even though they do not necessarily occur in order and often intermingle, have been identified*.
1 – Denial 2 – Anger 3 – Bargaining 4 – Depression 5 – Acceptance.
It makes sense to recognize how a nation struggles with grief. Millions of individuals are in varying stages of our collective grief. This is one reason we have people questioning the reaction of others in light of tragedy. How dare “they” pretend nothing matters? Why are so many citizens angry? For some, ‘thoughts and prayers’ may be attempts to bargain with God, while depression and suicide rates skyrocket.
2) Discovering guidance is a relief. Thank God for the internet when it is used to enhance life! There are reputable sources of information about surviving terrible grief. Since I speak only English, these links lead to English-speaking sites.
3) Finding local specialists is more personal. Perhaps most of the time we only need someone to listen, a chance to vent and to exchange sympathies. In these cases, friends and family, church leaders, and even internet chat rooms may suffice. However, all too often we underestimate powerful emotions. Sitting with a person trained in grief and trauma can be the difference between overcoming and being overcome.
A few of the best resources for finding professionals or support groups in your area:
Cruse Bereavement Care (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
A local organization near where I live is Cornerstone of Hope (Northeast Ohio). They specialize in walking people and families through the grieving process. Adult Support includes Young Adults; General Loss ; Perinatal/Infant Loss; Lost a Loved one to Murder; Lost a Loved one to Suicide; Lost a Loved one to Accidental Overdose; TAPS (A group for those who have lost a loved one serving in the military). They have help for teens, children, and families as well.
With a search on the internet, or by reaching out to one of sources above, you too may find the help you need for coping in a changing world.
God is still God, yes He is!
A final word: The God of the BIble, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is still everywhere and his love is still unfailing. He too is grieved by the pain that sin and evil causes. I invite you to get to know him and the peace he offers to those who believe. Jesus is the cornerstone of hope.
Today’s Helpful Word
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
**********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.
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 are yours.
*Based on the Grief Cycle model first published in On Death & Dying, Elisabeth KüblerRoss, 1969.