Tag Archives: art

If Only …. Then I Would Be Happy

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

adult art awakening black and white
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

An unfortunate belief helps feed negativity and lack of productivity. It is simply this: something external must happen to make positivity possible.  

  • If only someone believed in me and supported my efforts – I’d finish a project.
  • If I won a million dollars – everything would be great.
  • If hiring managers recognized potential – I’d have a good job.
  • If only my parents had pushed me – I could be somebody.
  • If someone paid off my school loans – I’d have options.
  • If friends came around more I wouldn’t feel so isolated.

Reality is that rescue and strong support don’t come around often. Rarely do generous souls offer to pay off a person’s debts. Hiring managers generally want educated applicants, and when childhood is past there is no reason to linger on what might have been.

Most importantly, no one can read another’s mind. It is helpful to say what is needed.

I told my son I needed someone with whom to talk it through before daring to focus on art and trying to sell my work. He volunteered and had wise advice. Afterwards I expressed a need for motivation because I was paralyzed with doubt. He asked if his personal investment would be motive enough to begin.  It was, and two months later my apron is covered in paint and adhesive.

Anyone who wants change can speak of needs and wants.  Perhaps a supporter or two will respond. 

An isolated person can call friends and ask them to come over. 

School loans are difficult. However, there are second jobs, paying a little extra each month, or creating something to sell. 

The point is that we are in charge of our attitudes and responsibilities. External events cannot supply what is needed, and waiting for them is equal to setting life aside.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Proverbs 9:12

You are the one who will profit if you have wisdom, and if you reject it, you are the one who will suffer.

**** 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Passion

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2014 Nancy Virden

Teacher's postcardOf the many scriptures that speak to how much God cherishes each of us, it is the dual concepts of being his artwork and child that stir my spirit the most. Perhaps it is because I am both a parent and a creative person.  

Whether in writing, collage, designing newsletters, or planning community events, I comprehend the intensity behind seeing the big picture and paying close attention to details. 

Both visions and practicalities play out here; otherwise, there is no goal, no strategy. In the development stage of any project, anticipating the future is necessary. Then preparing specific elements is what brings the dream to fulfillment.  Pouring my personality, uniqueness, priorities, and imagination into any original work makes it my own. 

In child rearing, there is also a principle of investment.  Teaching my sons to become mature was motivation to set an example they could follow.  Their joys and pains carried my emotions from the heights to the depths.  Arranging time and money around their well-being became a way of life.  Loving parents know the joy of sacrifice in helping sons and daughters become all they can.

Despite the immense love I have for my sons, I did not have opportunity to choose them.  They were handed to me at birth where we met for the first time.  Their design was not mine to figure out. 

This is where being God’s work of art and his child unfolds, exposing a beautiful pattern.  He not only claims me as his child, but also continues to pour every ounce of his enthusiasm into my details. He planned me, and planned for me.

He saw the whole story and chose to take this project into production.  Since he began my existence, he has not stopped loving or investing in me.  He promises to see me to completion. 

I am his workmanship and his child.  There is no greater passion than that.

*******

Today’s blog is an excerpt from my book Always the Fight (c)2013, 2015, 2017

Ephesians 2:10   John 1:12 are the verses that speak of being God’s child and his art.

***********

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences 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.

 

 

 

The “Sleepwalker” Statue and a “Lively Conversation”

Compassionate Love:Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2014 Nancy Virden

Art is art, so they say, and freedom of speech is, well, free. We Americans like these premises most of the time. 

Years ago, in Cleveland, Ohio there was a KKK rally held downtown.  Close to that time a Cleveland-area suburban black family woke to a burning cross on their front yard. What do you think the reactions of the children from that home, now grown, might be to a statue of a KKK member placed near where they live?

At Wellesley College, an all women school in Massachusetts, an artist designed and built a life-like statue of a man wearing only his underwear, stumbling across the lawn with his arms outstretched. Sleepwalker.

Students are protesting and asking for its removal because it is frightening and a reminder of the threat of assault.  Wellesley’s President likes the ensuing controversy because it has caused “lively conversation.”

In both cases, I believe we are talking about something more damaging than political incorrectness.  

Due to a variety of flaws in our data collecting process, and the fact most victims of sexual abuse do not report it,  statistics on these crimes are incomplete. With the more consistent statistics we do have, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has concluded that 1 in 4 girls are victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18:

“In addition to low self-esteem; sense of worthlessness; abnormal view of sex; mistrust; anxiety and depression that many of these girls may carry into adulthood, young people who were raped or endured an attempted rape as adolescents are over 10% more likely to experience the same in their first year of college.” **

Is it possible that a quarter of Wellesley’s students have been sexually abused as minors? Absolutely. It is not just victims of prior assaults who are reminded of very real fears by Sleepwalker. 

I believe Sleepwalker is significantly offensive and makes light of the power of image to incite fear and traumatization. 

***

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences 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.

picture from Kozzi.com

*Sexual Violence on College Campuses, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center website, Resources section, retrieved from http://www.clevelandrapecrisis.org/resources/statistics/sexual-violence-on-college-campuses on February 9, 2014

*U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2011). Child Maltreatment 2010. Available from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/research-data-technology/statisti…
*Statistics About Child Sexual Abuse, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center Resources section, retrieved from http://www.clevelandrapecrisis.org/resources/statistics/about-child-sexual-abuse on February 9, 2014
 

I’ve Already Attempted Suicide. Now What?

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

Once dead emotionally, it is difficult at best to rise again. Chattering voices and stone silence, pleading eyes and cold stares, feeling loved and then unloved – all of these and more are part of what challenges us as we  float through recovery trying to reconcile living to the battle in our brain. 

At least some of what brought us to the point of  following through on our death-wish remains a part of our lives. Ambivalence is important when we flirt with the idea of death, because we are also flirting with a desire for life.

Our first step is to choose to believe for hope. Maybe it is out there in great measure to be grasped. As we look to mental health care professionals, we can hear the hope in their voices, and see it in their compassionate eyes.  Maybe we are worth something after all; maybe life is a gift.  It is an option to cling to their hope when we have none. It is always a choice to decide, this is not going to be the end of my story.

If the past could be changed, what would we modify? Each of us can dream of absence of pain, nonexistent guilt, and no trauma. If we had a magic wand I suspect many of us would heal relationships and forgive ourselves. We would be more confident, better-looking, successful, and dare we say it – happy.

An architect has the privilege of walking inside his or her art. Think about it, the creativity, time, personality, skills, training – everything that has been poured into his or her craft – is now existent. It is not just on canvas, but real and touchable. City planners can also walk down streets that were once a dream and observe people responding in real-time to their designs. I would love to walk into one of my collages one day, surrounded by the colors, and actually feel my art.

We all create moments, conversations, and relationships. Even when they seem out of our control, we design our responses. It is our art, our craft to make our lives worthwhile.

Do we need help? Absolutely. Support is not a temporary lift, either. It has to be built into our structures, woven in the cloth. I look to Jesus, my ultimate designer, to help me know where to lay the bricks, what colors to apply, and when to add more details.

In striving for completion and wholeness, it is important to me to know this life is not all there is. I have hope that these limited years will matter for eternity.

We are walking inside our art.  It is up to us to dismantle thoughts that bring us to despair, to reshape our emotional framework, and to learn how to add little touches to make our lives beautiful. This is difficult and doable. Scary and promising. Unimaginable, yet… what if?

When suicide ends a creation in progress, the art remains unfinished and short of what could have been an amazing gift to loved ones, friends, and the world.

Resurrection from despair is possible. This next moment is ours to design.

****************

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