Category Archives: Depression

To Show Emotional Support, Remember this 1 Vital Phrase

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

photo-24819922-angry-woman-with-his-husband

Try to explain the difference between anxiety and fear or worry. Can you?

I’ve had difficulty describing anxiety to friends, family, and even therapists. That is because each person experiences it in his or her own way.

Most people equate anxiety with worry as if they are interchangeable terms. For me, anxiety is more of a physical sensation than a thought war. It is a vague tension that seems to almost vibrate from my core.  It can make me lethargic, sick, and sleepless even if otherwise I feel calm.

Depression too shares common symptoms across the population. However, their intensity, duration, and how a person perceives them at any given moment will not be an exact match to anyone else. 

For example, self-pity is distinguishable from depression when I feel either of them.  Contrary to stigma, they do not always show up hand-in-hand. Depression is not always preceded by self-pity. This is not everyone’s experience. 

It is hard to choose one or two most important points about offering support when a loved one struggles with anxiety or depression.  This CompassionateLove Blog has much to say on the matterThere is one theme running through it all.  

The most vital phrase for supports to remember is: 

“No one else is like me.”

That is right. Your experiences with depression and anxiety are your own. How you manage, what treatments work or do not work, how long it takes to return to normalcy  – none of these are measures for anyone else’s struggle. 

I will go so far as to say, as well as you think you know someone, do not assume what they feel today is what they have shared with you in the past. Moods are flexible, thoughts come and go. 

No one else is like you. Please do not judge and expect the same results.

Today’s Helpful Word   

Proverbs 14:10 

“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  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.

Dear 2018, You Tried to Sting Me Like a Bee, but I’m Still Floating Like Butterfly!

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

woman wearing purple boxing gloves
Photo by Ambar Simpang on Pexels.com

Dear 2018,

You old pest. You waved your gloved fists for 365 days, managing to body punch and intimidate me. I bruised, but you are the one KO’d. This fighter is standing tall and victorious! 

On your first day, joy had me floating like a butterfly.  I admit, your sucker punch of cancer and surgery in the second round was disorienting. You were good at the old one-two. Round five – a thrown back.  Round seven – shingles. Round nine – a triple punch combo.  

Maybe you hoped emotional blows would force me to take a dive. Round two left hook –  betrayal and humiliation. Round three jab – family member missing for two weeks. Round four upper cut – oldest son moved to another part of the state. Round six foul – ex-husband remarried.

Counterpunches of hope, faith, and gratitude weakened you. Despite my almost home-bound existence, patience and positivity scored.  Not once did you overpower me, 2018!

Your round nine triple punch combination came close.

The first blow fouled below the belt. Bed bugs? Really? This Ohio epidemic endangered what scant social interactions remained. Between that and your second hit, severe  anemia,  I was almost totally isolated for months.          

I staggered. Your third punch tossed me to the ropes. Anxiety swelled, accompanied by undeniable early signs of depression.   

If you stuck out your chest to boast, you underestimated how much fight boils in my blood!. Upon recognizing my old mental nemeses, I rose inspired, powerful, and defiant.  

Not only did you lose twelve rounds, it was JOY that knocked you out for good in your last wheezing weeks. You see, I know something you do not. God gave you to me. God turns everything out for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:26-28). 

Too bad for you, 2018. You stung like a bee, but God grounded this butterfly in his love. 

Hello 2019! You may yet turn out to be a ringer, but I know Who holds me and will never let me go.  

Check out the score!

  1. JOY √ A neighbor came to Christ
  2. JOY √ A second member of the neighborhood Bible study came to Christ
  3. JOY √ One neighbor started bringing her grandchildren over for their very own “God class.” 
  4. YIPPEE! √ I won my very first IRS tax-exemption status without using a lawyer! 
  5. JOY √ The bugs forced a healthy household purge, and brought by an exterminator who needed encouragement.  
  6. FUN √ I hosted Thanksgiving reuniting long-lost relatives.   
  7. JOY √ Anemia keeps me home most days, so offering support is more of an inside job. (fostering a cat for a woman in transition, and sorting papers for someone with depression.) Occasionally, people drop by who need a listening ear. The neighborhood Bible study continues.
  8. JOY √ My church’s new associate pastor is allowing me to teach short-term classes.
  9. YAY √ Finally, I began formal (online) schooling for certification as a Life Coach. This workable compromise opens a virtually unlimited field as one can grow and specialize. 
  10. JOY √ I was able to speak to the women in recovery at Timberline Knolls in Chicago

          Today’s Helpful Word

     Romans 8:38-39 

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  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.

 

Whispered Guarantee: Shelter and Rest in 2019

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

p0iKbQU

This week I spent three days at my son’s beautiful apartment over Christmas. He cooked all the meals, cleaned everything, and served me like a special guest. It was fabulous and restful, a perfect shelter.

Christmas night I had to leave for the two-hour drive home. In transit, I longed for another shelter – my house, and my bed. 

Shelters come in various forms. Houses, finances, portfolios, and reputations give us a sense of security.  We rest in family and friends. Often, hope centers on the immediate, the latest sure thing, or escape.

Problem is, each of the above is temporary and comes with no guarantee. 

A friend once had a dream. In it, there was a terrific storm. She entered a shelter, finding Jesus and many people inside. It was safe there. All was calm while the storm outside whirled about. 

Noticing the storm had quieted, my friend thought, “It is alright to go out now.” She left, only to be caught up again in massive winds. A hand grasped her, pulling her back inside.

It was Jesus. He said, “Did I tell you it was safe to leave my shelter? Stay here.”

The next morning, my friend confessed the dream had led her to a spiritual decision. She said, “I will never leave his shelter again. Never.”

Anxiety, a seemingly ever-present enemy of rest, shouts its threats. Booming rages and disasters in the world demand our attention. Depression and other disorders try to claim our minds. Yet there is a whispered guarantee. The shelter of the Most High is our place of safety. 

This shelter is not built by human hands. It is the Lord Jesus Christ, himself. In the quiet of trusting, yielding, and worshiping prayer, he whispers his love. Reading, comprehending, and living by God’s Word (the Holy Bible), raises our faith. Fear, guilt, shame, doubt, a sense of worthlessness or hopelessness – all dissolve and heal over time in the presence of Jesus, our refuge.

God’s promise to anyone who chooses to set up home in his shelter, is rest.  Under the shadow of the Almighty, we can know peace. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 91:1-2

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'”

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  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.

 

9 Ways to Place Yourself in Mental Health “Intensive Care”

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

2dRXCHI

A time of reprieve and emotional healing follows difficult struggles with depression.  It is as if God is saying, “Come now child. I know you were just beat up. Let’s sit awhile, I will bandage you, and we can talk. Only rest and know you are safe.”

Ah, the tender heart of the Almighty.

I have learned that when I feel most like giving up – whether it be hopelessness, money concerns, schooling, or  burn out in some other area, the answer comes right after a sense of defeat. 

Repeated experience has taught me to respond differently. When my mind screams. “I can’t,” now I add,”You (God) can.”  When life is too much to bear, I recall that I have survived the worst.  When emotions are too much to handle, relief and healing begin in the embrace of the Heavenly Father.

You have probably heard that it is okay to not be okay. That is true! At difficult times, we may need to put ourselves into mental or emotional health intensive care.

For me, this means stopping everything and focusing on repairing my thought processes.  From simply praying in my home, to therapy and even psychiatric hospitalization, taking care of myself is the primary means of restoration. 

9 ways to practice intensive care

  1. Take a break for awhile. If you feel as if everything is closing in around you, step back and rest.
  2. Call on God for wisdom.
  3. Seek professional diagnosis if these struggles interfere with daily functioning, especially if it has been going on for a few weeks.
  4. Struggles that seem insurmountable can ease up by reaching out for support and hearing a new perspective.
  5. Eat right
  6. Sleep right
  7. Breathe.
  8. Putting yourself in mental or emotional intensive care is more than taking a mental health day. You may need several.
  9. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, for safety and health go to the actual Emergency Room. 

Trust that sometimes hope hides behind pain. It does not disappear. To find it again, consider paying vital attention to your well-being. Place yourself in mental health intensive care.

Today’s Helpful Word

Zephaniah 3:17 

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  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.

 

Struggle is Normal. Overcoming is Normal Too

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

woman with yellow backpack standing on hanging bridge with trees
Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

It is normal to struggle. 

It is normal to struggle. 

Say that to yourself, and then say it to others.  Not everyone knows this truth. 

Recognize Normalcy

I’ve spoken well of previous therapists who helped to move me from suicidal despair to a life of hope and joy.  I was encouraged to change unhealthy thinking patterns and habits.

Due to my temperament and life experiences, much of what I felt in this process was a sense of failure at life. Had I known how normal my struggles were, how they are so common they have names in the psychology books, I would have felt less shame. 

Since that time, my research relating to advocacy has uncovered the truth. It is extremely beneficial to learn that much of how I’d been responding to life’s challenges was normal, even predictable, under the circumstances I’d been given.

Explore your possibilities 

If you equate struggle with shame, let it go. Humans have more in common than many of us realize.

Stress will produce anxiety. Ask, “What is known to help the myriad of people who overcome anxiety?” 

Depression is caused by many factors. It is appropriate to find out, “What works for the millions who recover every year?” 

Being an abuse survivor has some predictable outcomes. Your best question is, “What have others done to overcome horrible lies and victimization and to live to the fullest degree of joy?”  

Within our struggles, God offers good gifts:

  • The help of others
  • Opportunity to rely on Him 
  • Chances to refocus on new purposes

You see, overcoming is normal too. It happens all the time.

Stick to living, taking one day at a time. Allow yourself the privilege of humanness. Take advantage of God’s gifts. You will join the throng of people who make it through.  

 

Today’s Helpful Word

Hebrews 13: 5b-6

For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with  confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  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.

*  crossing the bridge- Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

Will Has No Power

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries  

Today’s guest post is by Tom Whitesel, pastor and host of the 24Today podcast. You can read and listen to more of his work at 24Today.org.

was at a Convenience Store, standing in line, waiting to pay for gas. As a part of the “convenience experience”, a Hershey candy bar (with almonds) was beautifully displayed and easily within my reach.

I find these bars amazing. For starters, it is amazing when the maker of the candy bar actually takes the time to print their name on the bar. That’s amazing! This very fact alone, says that a Hershey’s bar deserves some consideration. And I have considered plenty of them over the years.


As I studied this work of art, I said to myself, “I haven’t had one of those for a long, long time. You know what would taste good right about now? A Hershey candy bar with almonds!”


I have a wonderful friend inside of me. His name is “Will”.

Will reminded me that if I make the decision to fully consider a Hershey candy bar (with almonds)... I also will add 210 calories and 26g’s of carbs to my body.

Will is smart that way.


Will can also be strategic.

Will convinced me to re-focus my eyes on the Beef Jerky (also conveniently placed on the counter). I’m not a fan of Beef Jerky, so I could look at that stuff all day long and not be tempted.


Before I new it, I had paid for my gasoline and was back in my car. And the Hershey bar (with almonds)remained conveniently in the store.

Will had won!


Last week was a rough week. For a reason unknown to me, my old foe (DEPRESSION) came calling.

For the first four days, I did what I do by nature. I relied on Will to get me out of it.

Will wasn’t strong enough on Monday or on Tuesday. Will lost on Wednesday and Thursday also.

On Friday morning, God taught me three truths about Will:

  1. Will can be smart.
  2. Will can be strategic.
  3. Will isn’t very strong.

So [still on Friday morning] I desperately began to plead to God for help. I said, “Father, I don’t have it in me to be able to defeat DEPRESSION today. I have tried every day this week. but I have lost each time. I am COMPLETELY helpless. I surrender this battle to You. I’m asking You to defeat DEPRESSION today.”

I followed that prayer with continuing my YouVersion Bible App daily reading. Miraculously, in about 10 minutes, the depression fog began to lift.

Next, I strategically asked God to replace DEPRESSION with His fruit (Galatians 5:22-25):

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfullness
  • Gentleness
  • Self Control

Will was back at work, doing some strategic thinking.

But the POWER came from Jesus.


Now, four days later, I continue to be out of the fog of depression. And I am still pleading every day with Jesus. “Just get me through this 24 hour period,” I say.

And He has. One day at a time!


I still like Will and need his help. But Jesus is where strength comes from.


You also have things in your life which Will can’t get you through.

Is it fear? Is it doubt? Is it loneliness?

If you are like me, you have more than one.


Summarizing…

  • Will can’t give you power.
  • Surrender the battle to Jesus.
  • Until you get to the level in which you actually plead to Jesus for help, you might not really want it bad enough. You might be asking Jesus to help Will. But, it has to be the OTHER WAY AROUND. It’s Jesus first. Then Will can help Jesus.
  • Will has no power.
  • Jesus has the power

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

From Nancy:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  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.

Your Value and Hope are Not Decided By Holiday Circumstances

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

ngaw2pGCircumstances cannot choose for us how we think about ourselves. What I mean is, whatever is going on in life is not powerful enough to decide for us how to interpret our value or hope. 

That is because we are complex beings maneuvering through complicated lives. There is no all-this or all-that perception of the world that actually works. 

Wouldn’t it be easy if it did? Imagine if everything was categorized into right/wrong, healthy/unhealthy, and wise/foolish. What if all decisions were a simple matter of looking in a textbook? 

I don’t know. Sounds boring. It certainly takes the joy of freedom of thought out of the equation. One such freedom is the ability to choose how to perceive our value and hope and the value and hope of others. 

In answering a podcast host’s question today, I mentioned that the measure of our value and hope never changes. God’s love is constant, and his eternal promise is for all who believe on his Son Jesus. What flexes is our beliefs about ourselves, God, and the world around us.

Three questions

Here’s a challenge I try to do and invite you to join me.  When confronted with a sense of failure or lesser worth, or when hope begins to fades from view,  ask 3 questions:

Who is speaking this message to my brain? If it is a person, seriously, what is their problem? They are wrong. If the culprit is negative self-talk,  challenge the message. 

What is the meat of the message?  Is the worthless feeling coming from loss? Is the lack of hope coming from fear?  Knowing and focusing on the root issue helps us find ways of dealing with it. 

Is this who I want to be?  I was asked once if I wanted to be valued for being depressed or for finding something worthwhile to offer the world. Awareness of the choices we have – how to see ourselves, others, and God; who we want to be, and what steps we will take toward becoming that person – gives us power. Change is a possibility. Will we go for it? 

What is happening to us or around us cannot determine our value or hope. Value is inherent. Hope is always present.  Believe it. 

p3sR2m0Today’s Helpful Word

Lamentations 3:21-23

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  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.

 

*forest path pic by MIMICA; autumn sky by TACLUDA: both  on rgbstock.com

For more on today’s topic, see  How to Gain and Maintain a Mindset of Hope 

“My house,” she said. “It’s all I got.”

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

pXewBwOA woman who stayed with her home during one of the devastating wildfires in California, surprised her friends and neighbors by her survival. When asked why she stayed behind instead of evacuating, she replied, “My house. It’s all I got.”

Occasionally, any of us may feel as if what we value is slipping away. Efforts to prevent loss demand our attention. In a similar way, when we suffer a severe episode of any  mental health challenge such as major depression, anxiety, or panic attacks, among others, we may fall in to a place of desperation.

Rationally,  it doesn’t make sense to give up one’s life for a house.  Still, the woman who risked her life is not alone. A year ago, during a massive hurricane, one interviewed citizen was choosing to stay behind to take care of someone else’s possessions! The end of that story is unknown. 

I do not think either of these people were calm and collected. Not knowing them, it seems they did what anyone would do who valued something or someone above themselves. Whether desperation lasts one minute or months, temporarily it is difficult to make well-reasoned choices based on what is true. Instead, our minds tell us our perceptions of danger, loss, or hopelessness are the sum of reality.

In those moments, what we value most will rise to the surface. For me, major depression  (later) exposed the fact that I treasured the evasive love of my husband more than life itself. This had to change, and it was hard work. Transferring my hope to a permanent foundation has changed everything in my life. 

God used several tools to open my heart to his unfailing love. Some of it was therapy, and a renewing of my thought processes. Some of it was scripture (I view the Holy Bible as his unerring Word to us). Some of it was prayer. The end result is a whole person, a woman who values and relies on his love. 

I no longer need a person or material possessions to define my worth. Having never been in a natural disaster, I believe now it would be a no-brainer to leave everything behind. Reality is, God loves me. He sent his Son Jesus to die and resurrect so I could be with him forever. My hope lies there – in the unchanging, unending love of God the Father.

njQuGuk

Today’s Helpful Word

Matthew 6:19-21  

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  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.

 

*house fire pic by XYMONAU ; streams of light by MICROMOTH: both  on rgbstock.com

 

A Visit to Rehab: The Greatest of These is Love

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

This past Sunday, I drove to Chicago.  The director of alumni events at a rehabilitation center had invited me to speak with residents on Monday. 

Morning came early. While much of the U.S.A. was arising and heading to work or school, these women  continued the fight  to gain recovery from addiction, eating disorders, mental health challenges, or all three. Excited and a little nervous, I left the hotel to join them.

Women in the rehab program advance in liberties as they progress. This time, my audience consisted of women in the process of learning to make healthier choices without constant supervision.  They are well on their way to going home, clean and sober. In fact, a few of them  graduated that day!

Most people in recovery have been told numerous times they are worthless, many since childhood. As part of my story,  I shared the reality of God’s love and message. I added, “I am a Christian, born-again, a follower of Jesus. But those are only words. Hopefully, my life reflects who he is.” Everyone nodded. 

America today hears much rhetoric about Christians, evangelicals in particular, and the mix of religion with politics as if faith in Jesus and a certain political party are one and the same.  It is difficult for those who do not know, to grasp who Jesus actually is. 

In some ways, the standard for Christians is raised. Show me you mean it. Show me you do not hate or despise me. Match your choices to your words. Prove your faith by your love. In extending love and compassion, and sincere non-critical acceptance to people in all stages of their journey, we represent God as the Bible reveals him.*

Mental health treatment in this country is greatly lacking. It is not available everywhere,  and is expensive for most.  Parity in the insurance realm is inconsistent. There are few standards by which to measure how long a patient should stay in a hospital.

In my opinion, stigma and lack of knowledge are the primary reasons we do not take care of mentally ill and emotionally unstable people. There is judgment – “I do not believe in mental health disability, I just don’t.”  “Depression is not an illness,  with enough faith (or strength) anyone can snap out of it.” “You are adopting the principles of the world if you give psychology any merit.” 

All these have been said to me, about me, plus many more accusations of failure. If I could describe  the beauty of joy and hope in the faces of the women I met on Monday,  perhaps more could see the value of mental (some call it behavioral) healthcare.  Maybe  God could get some credit for knowing what he is doing in each person’s life! 

Meanwhile, it is tremendous joy being vulnerable and open with people in the middle of the struggle. They, as do we all, respond to love.

Today’s Helpful Word

Mark 10:46-52

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  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.

-woman pic by LUSI on rgbstock.com; Jesus pic from freebibleimages.org

*This does not imply avoidance of the topic of sin. As seen in my work s a whole, my emphasis is how we approach people. Are we interested in gaining insight into another person’s struggle? Jesus showed sincere non-critical acceptance to hurting people, and in the context of meeting their needs, taught them to know him.   

Don’t Ask. Do Tell

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

The ‘source of all truth’, or the internet as some people call it, arms arguments with substantiated and unsubstantiated statistics and claims. 

“Don’t Ask. Do Tell” is a mindset where opinions rank above questions.  This form of non-critical thinking seems to have taken control over social media.  Memes abound with sound bites and comments taken out of context. Credit is given for quotes to people who never said them. Opinions, not journalism, reign over much of what we find to read. It is our responsibility to check facts before spreading finely spun tales.

Asking questions takes time and energy, I know.  For example, Don’t ask, don’t tell’ was a military policy regarding gay rights instituted in the 1990s in the USA.  Maybe it took some reading to realize this post is not about that.

It is simpler to rest a weary body and mind and take in what people who agree with us say. Yet asking what is true, and searching opposing arguments does not threaten truth.

Truth will rise to the top if we use critical thinking skills. What is the evidence? What were the words a person actually used? What is the context? What is the person repeating this statement or claim gaining by doing so? We can never know anyone’s motive without their direct explanation. Never. No, not ever.

Do ask before telling.  

By accepting only what those who agree with us have to say, we stay small and uninformed. By filtering everything through cynicism, we remain trapped in doubt. By assuming anything at all about another person, we react in ignorance. 

Critical thinking will support our mental health. Commonly, when we struggle with a mood disorder such as depression, our outlook is negative. One of the strategies we can use to help ourselves is to ask deeper questions. Did so-n-so say exactly what we feel they meant? Could a person hurt another by acting out of fear or confusion? Are we mind-reading? These are bare minimum questions, and can begin your trek to discovery. 

As supports of someone with a mood disorder, we ask this: Was the character of this person different when he or she was well? What is the evidence that mood disorders respond well to treatment? Does it make sense that someone would choose to experience depression?

Do ask. And once you have the reasonable truth, decide what to tell.

Today’s Helpful Word

Proverbs 10: 18-20

To hide hatred is to be a liar; to slander is to be a fool.  Don’t talk so much. You keep putting your foot in your mouth. Be sensible and turn off the flow!  When a good man speaks, he is worth listening to, but the words of fools are a dime a dozen.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  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.

*text pic by XYMONAU; punctuation by STARISOB, both of rgbstock.com