Tag Archives: america

Shame Prevents Your Independence Day

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

photo of fireworks during nighttime
Photo by Miguel Acosta on Pexels.com

Negative self-talk destroys and paralyzes dreams.  Period. That is all it accomplishes.

Have you ever credited daily guilt and shame with pushing you to success? Not likely! Most of us can probably remember a time when those negative thoughts held us back. I fueled self-doubt and fear for decades by using words born out of shame. 

Shame can keep us from creating or achieving. Dreams die on the altar of negative self-focus.  I’ve heard the theory “fear of success” used to describe why a person with skills may not pursue higher goals.  How many of us fear moving forward due to shame?

It seems a type of dependence on people’s approval was actually a perceived need for permission to accomplish anything despite the shame I felt.  Anger was the superficial emotion, fear lay under that, and shame was apparently the real culprit.  It whispered each night, “You do not deserve anything good.”

I met a plumber who noticed a symbol of Jesus in my house. He asked about it, and when I explained Jesus’ loving plan for humankind he said, “I was a sniper in the Army. And good at it. There’s no forgiveness for me.”  Guessing by his age, he may have been in Vietnam. 

Self-inflicted wounds were bleeding this veteran dry of hope. I said, “The ground is even at the foot of the cross.” I meant that not one of us deserves forgiveness from Jesus and he does not ask us to become worthy of it.  His grace is a free gift. God looks beyond our false guilt and true guilt to embrace the person who comes in faith to him in the present. 

The plumber said with a sigh, “Yeah, that’s what my son keeps trying to tell me.” Then he left. 

Did you catch that? 

Read his last statement again. The only reason his son had to try to convince his dad of the best news of his life is that the truth disagreed with the man’s negative self-talk. Years earlier he had bought the lie that his actions made him unworthy.  

What we believe and whisper to ourselves is a strong chain when negative. As long as we are bound we are not free to enjoy relationships or pursue dreams.  We will not get over the past.  Today’s troubles will only add to painful memories and disappointments.

Is that what you want?  If not, do you need an independence day of your own?     

Independence Day is here for America. I want freedom too!  Fear of success, aka shame, has been holding me back again. It’s time to challenge negative self-talk and march forward.  

Today’s Helpful Word  

Jeremiah 29:13,14

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are 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. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Love Got to Do With It? Expressing Memorial Day Gratitude

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

We toss around the term “love” easily enough. We love baseball, hot dogs, and good movies. We love music, Fridays, shopping, and our phones. Yet we use the same word to describe our feelings toward romance, our families, and God.  

Strange word. Let us consider what love has to do with Memorial Day. 

Love is action, not always feelings

With regard to those who gave up their lives for our freedoms and safety, it is safe to say they died for love.  It is impossible that they had warm feelings for each person they never met. However, their sacrifices still benefit us. They loved their country, and that is enough.

Love is not only feelings, but actions

Army nurse Jennifer Moreno was killed in action in Afghanistan when she chose to reach her wounded comrades despite the danger from mines.  Moving toward the soldiers with medical aid, she gave her life when a mine detonated. 

Feelings for her injured brothers-in-arms were obviously strong. Backed by an unselfish decision, we see that her love was proven by her action.  

Love beyond feelings of gratitude

This weekend every year in the United States,  we take some time to honor those who died in combat. Without a doubt, their ultimate gifts deserve our gratitude. One way we can express our thanks is to advance our understanding and care for those wounded veterans who survived.

PTSD, physical disabilities, mood disorders, homelessness, family needs – it all calls for our attention. Love that takes action and faces these societal issues is showing the gratitude that living men and women veterans earned. Those who died would not want their comrades forgotten.

That’s what love has to do with it.  Think about that.

Have a Meaningful Memorial Day

 

 

**********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, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

 

 

Is Laughter the Best Medicine for America’s National Mood Disorder? Part 1

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries  

War and rumors of war.  This is a heavy news day for America, and tensions are high.  Even if conversations are not concentrated on the Eastern and Middle Eastern dramas,  we feel the apprehension.

Jimmy Kimmel spoke about the day his newborn faced open-heart surgery. Jimmy’s cousins brought laughter to the moment, however this did not lessen the new dad’s and mom’s  concerns for their son.  

Laughter as  effective therapy

Most of us can experience apprehension and function at the same time. For some, a little tension can set off disabling anxiety, depression, or other mental illness episodes.  Stress is a huge factor in unstable mental health. 

That is probably why laughter is a great coping mechanism. Everyone knows it is possible to cry through laughter and smile through tears.  Levity does not fix anything other than our ability to move along. That is what counts, is it not? 

In the arena of mental health care and advocacy, the aim is to help persons advance from dysfunction to function to satisfaction. Laughter’s role is significant.

It was interesting to watch as suicidal and severely depressed persons like myself  found reasons to laugh together in an intensive therapy support group in 2011. Personally, an instant change in mood was not forthcoming (overcoming a mental health crisis does not work that way!).  However, we each experienced proof of that joy is possible. Laughter, if accepted as such, is a catalyst for hope.

America’s hope

America is not in a great mood today. Many are angry, bitter, vile, and hateful. This comes from both conservatives and liberals if we will be completely honest and admit it. Comic relief from people like Jimmy Kimmel is a break from fake and bad news.  It is not a cure for anxiety, depression, or despair.  

Our best laughter comes from a sense of security and freedom from fear knowing absolutely nothing can destroy us. 

My hope is not in America’s President or any world leader. It is not in Republicans or Democrats, conservative or liberal ideology, or in any governing body whatsoever. 

My hope is in the One who never changes, whose love is passionate for His daughter, and whose plans stand firm forever. The Lord “watches over those who fear (revere and live in awe of) him,  those who rely (place all their hope) on his unfailing love.”  The best read perhaps for America’s national anxiety is Psalm 33.

God’s promises help me respond to apprehension like a woman described in Proverbs 31. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” While anxiety and depression often knock on my door, it is hope that brings me laughter, and the other way around.  

Today’s Helpful Word

Proverbs 17:22  

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

 

**********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 is yours.

*fear pic from Kozzi.com, woman smiling by COLONIERA on rgbstock.com

 

America the Beautiful: Not Everyone Sees What You See

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

Not everyone sees what you see. America, the United States, this land that stretches from shining sea to an even larger shining sea, is rich with beauty. Ask members of different people groups and you will hear contrary descriptions.

A child growing up in the country will speak of countless stars and a sky that is rarely plain. In the city, sighting stars is rare, and then only the closest and brightest. Desert-dwellers find beauty in the sand, cacti, and vast sky. In colder climates, people have trouble imagining spending much time where trees and lakes are scarce. Here in Ohio, visiting the ocean is often a once in a lifetime experience. On the East Coast, I noticed most people never visit the Great Lakes.

Abuse and discrimination mar some racial, cultural, and religious histories in this nation. You know that stigma, stereotype, and subsequent prejudice are based in lack of knowledge and rampant in our society’s psyche. Stigma doesn’t stop at social differences.

Stigma around mental illness and suicide interferes with people receiving effective treatment due to shame and fear. This is unnecessary and perpetuated in part by careless reporting. I read an unfortunate article this week listing celebrities who allegedly died by suicide. In said article: 

  1. Celebrities are the focus which automatically creates an aura of glamour around suicide. Copycat suicide is a common event.
  2.  This rambling report describes methods of suicide. It is basically a how-to.
  3. The repeated phrase “committed suicide” adds to the shame factor because it is accusation of evil intent. “Died by suicide” is preferrable because it pointedly describes the true cause of a harsh reality.
  4. Several stories on this list are about admittedly accidental deaths.
  5. The writer quotes people’s last words adding to the morbid curiosity factor. Why this matters is that sufferers of suicidal thinking are likely obsessing over death.

Like the physical beauty, complicated history, and social divides of America, knowledge and experience shape each person’s point of view. Only those who have been through suicidal thinking, depression, and mental illness can know how it feels. 

How we talk about mental illness, matters; so does how we listen to different points of view.

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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 is yours.

 

Revealing One’s True Self

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2013 Nancy Virden

american flag on the pole

The closet in which I confined myself was named “Privacy” and “Image.” It is a popular type of closet.

Few people recognize when someone else is in a closet, and most never know when they’ve made a home of one for themselves. The nature of a closet is darkness. It’s tough to see or hear once inside.

From the outside, an onlooker may see a pristine showpiece; light on the inside is assumed. The closet-dweller’s eyes have grown accustomed to the dark, and he or she fails to understand the reality of the situation.  What are people hoping no one else will discover?

For me, privacy and image were so important I rarely allowed honest emotions to show. In fact, I didn’t know them myself. In the last twelve months, I inched my way out of that closet.

America too is, at least on the surface, becoming more aware and willing to talk about mental illness. A few old stereotypes are failing to hold up under increasing scrutiny. Stigma is rampant, however, and a high percentage of those who struggle do so behind closed doors.

This past week, I heard from a few readers of my second book who each stated their appreciation for my honesty and openness. Me? Open? That is flabbergasting, but I can look back and see my old closet is further behind me than even a few months ago. My desire to remain free has so far counteracted  a continuing temptation to return to safety.

Until we open our doors to listen to, learn from, and invest in those who are different from us, our country, schools, and churches will be shrouded in misunderstanding, polarization, stigma, and denied blindness. Compassionate love leaves its closets behind, shining its light of vulnerable realness in order for everyone to be encouraged.

Here’s to being free in America. Happy Independence Day!

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NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my 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 if you are concerned about someone who is,  please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*photo from qualitystockphotos.com