Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness, addiction, or abuse (c) 2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
The freedom to live by your values is not out of reach!
Secrets and shame equal silence
Emotional struggles, mental illness, addiction, and abuse tend to embrace secrets and shame. We who live with them may feel voiceless and unknown.
Silence no more! You can, with help, release those chains and stand up for yourself. There are three obstacles to overcome first. They are covered in this and the next two posts.
Obstacle #1: False beliefs
My almost complete silence about experiences that were slowly destroying me, was based on false hope. Unaware of facts, emotions, or my role, I scrutinized truth under a misaligned perspective. I believed the wrong people, and did not trust my instincts. False beliefs had no strong challenger, and served to enable abusers and prolong my shame.
This is not unique.
False Belief – “My story is unimportant.”
This idea holds back many if not most of those who suffer. One’s experience is held up in comparison to all the evils in the world, and judged unworthy of attention.
Truth is, we all have a genuine basic need for validation. This means simply having someone believe us, agree our pain is real, and respond in a way that proves our experiences matter.
By dismissing our story as unimportant, we essentially deny ourselves a solution. One therapist told me, “I have never really seen anyone move forward without validation.”
Crisis workers, helpline volunteers, and professionals in the fields of mental illness, addiction, or abuse, may be better suited to meet this need than well-meaning friends, family, or clergy. That is not disrespect. It is acknowledging that significant supports do not always know how to give quality validation under circumstances they are not trained to understand.
I found this safety in therapists – your experience may be different. Keep looking until you are heard.
False Belief – “I do not matter” or “It is selfish to waste time on myself”
Perhaps your sense of personal value is shaky. Remember that any of us who have moved out of silence and gone on to help our families and other people, had to first invest in ourselves.
Self-doubt is powerful. Continue learning. Listen to positive feedback, and do not dismiss it. Collect affirmations on a list. Ask people you trust why you matter to them!
Believe in God’s love and your inherent value. You can start to grow this faith by reading first the New Testament Book of John in the Bible.
Finally, please consider the messengers who filled you with your sense of worthlessness, helplessness, and fear. If they are liars, haters, narcissists, self-protective at all costs, emotionally immature, or stuck in their own false beliefs, they could be wrong, couldn’t they? What if all those negative messages are false? That changes everything!
Stay tuned for a discussion on obstacle #2, fear of what might happen if we speak up.
Today’s Helpful Word
Proverbs 2: 6-10
For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.
******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, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.
Pics: Climber by COLUMBINE ; Raised hands by COSTIQ , both of rgbstock.com