Tag Archives: change

Realists, Be Realistic!

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

people doing marathon
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Positive thinking and denial relate to our mental health in much the same way. 

Before a big race, a positive thinker says, “I’ve already won the trophy because I believe I have.”  A denier says, “I don’t have to run. I will win.”

Who of these two earns the trophy?  Of course, neither receive anything because they do not put in the work.  In this way, both positive thinking and denial share the same result. They thrive in delusion. 

Denial has never served me well. It holds me in stuck mode, neither moving forward or back. Positive thinking keeps me stagnant as I wait for good things to fall in my lap. 

Meanwhile, a realist runs the race and to his surprise, crosses the finish line first!  He says, “Odds are I will not win again.” So the next year he does not run.

A defense for negativity is often, “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist.” However if joy exists,  why can’t realists say, “Tomorrow could be better than today”?

Some of us struggle with mental conditions that help to make life challenging. Significant others may disappoint.  Emotional scars from past injury weigh us down.  A win seems afar off, impossible, or not worth chasing. 

It is in these times that paying close attention to whatever beauty is around us trains our mind to refocus on the possibilities of hope.

You have heard people who are emotionally revived speak. I am one of them. Words I choose tell of newfound peace, gratitude, and strength for the fight.  

How do people in chronic struggle with pain or illness go about living?  I am one of them too.  The key is doing what I love. The joy of participation in life overcomes defeat.  

These stories are every bit as real as troubles we face. 

Let’s not wish pain away. Let’s not deny pain exists. Instead, let’s be genuine realists who understand the power of change.  

Today’s Helpful Word  

2 Corinthians 5:17-18  (AMP)

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].  But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ …”

**** 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 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.

 

 

 

Love, Circumstances, Regret, Eternity: 4 Contexts Where Accepting Life on Life’s Terms Changes Everything

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

What’s sadly amusing is that people (let’s be honest, it is each of us) who need to learn life lessons often do not believe they have a problem.

I heard a notorious complainer and backbiter announce that she had once attended a conference on negativity.  One man struggled with coping and  refused therapy. He had never entered a professional mental healthcare office, yet claimed it would not help.

Accepting life on life’s terms is tricky. Instead, we often try to control circumstances or other people, and strive for comfort.   

Personal Power

Reputations, health, and safety are subject to events outside our control. No matter the wisdom or lack of sense behind our choices, good  and not-so-good will result. Jesus said God sends rain on the just and on the unjust*.  Life’s terms are reality.

Nonetheless, we have control over our behavior and responses. That is powerful!

I switched from railing against difficulties and fighting to improve the past, to focusing on changing me. Now a matured worldview, attitude, and belief system provide a deep sense of hope and purpose that eluded me before.

Do you see how far you’ve come since one to ten years ago? Change happens in truth. Honest introspection is not difficult. Simply by asking, “Why do I feel/believe/behave this way? Am I the person I want to be?”,  your escape from endless cycles begins. 

Life’s terms 

Relationships:   No human loves unconditionally and no one stays forever. These are not true because people are uncaring, rather it is that we are fallible, and incapable of perfectly meeting another’s needs. These are life’s terms.

Accepting these terms allows for rejoicing at how many people care sincerely and imperfectly.  Shared happiness and pain create a sense of community and personal fulfillment. This replaces the anguish of manipulating or insisting relationships match our design. Grace and freedom reign.

Circumstances:  Events outside ourselves are often confusing and seem to have trajectories of their own. It is impossible to slam on the brakes and stop all the nonsense. These are life’s terms. 

Accepting life’s terms means no set of circumstances has to complete our story. Looking for  options and focusing on what is next, spares us from paralyzing fear and hopelessness. We can create, share ideas, pray, and involve ourselves in a message of hope.   

Personal history:  The past is full of regrets and “can’t believe I did that”.  Consequences of poorer choices are not always avoidable. These are life’s terms. 

Accepting those terms allows us to make needed amends, and jumpstart the present.  How many of us would spend days hiding if we constantly stared at all our mistakes? Knowing the past cannot be fixed, we transfer energy toward influencing today for the good of humankind. 

Salvation:  No past choices determine our eternal future. Zero.  Starting now, putting faith in Jesus means we can believe our gifts, strengths, and weaknesses have purpose in the hands of a sovereign God. He sees his beloved (if somewhat confused) children through eyes of forgiveness and delight.

These are His terms, for which we can feel relief and gladness. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Proverbs 19:21 

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,  but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

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.

*https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+5&version=ESV

3 Steps to Setting Goals that Fit

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

photo-24758449-illustrated-image-of-question-mark-sign.Most people live according to their circumstances. You may want to rise above that trap but not know how to start. These 3 steps will put you on your way.

Set aside time for this exploration.  Unless you are living by yourself, your home is full of the busyness of other people coming and going, and asking for your time. Of course, our homes have all the other distractions too – that table piled with things to do, cleaning and errands that call our name, escape mechanisms and entertainment, and more.

You’ve heard of the concept of the urgent taking over the important. Our mental and spiritual health can take a back seat to the clamor about us.  Get away from the noise and other obligations for a designated length of time. Take a weekend retreat, have a friend hold your phone for a day, or take a picnic to a secluded spot. However you accomplish this, do it alone.

During this time, think about the patterns of your life. When have you been at your happiest? What tends to bring you peace of mind? What are you doing when you feel the most like yourself?

We may feel joy around a special person or wish for certain circumstances, however we have no control over other people’s choices or external events. Focus on your inner experiences and not on what may or may not happen around you. The point is not to erase relationships from this process, but rather to discover who you are apart from them.

Ask for insight. People who know you well and care about your future are helpful resources. Ask them what patterns they have observed. When have they seen you at your happiest? Is there something important they see you neglecting for the sake of the urgent? What aspect of your persona do they believe is most genuine?

Have a deep conversation with God. Don’t know how? Acknowledge he exists and is sovereign. We are his works of art and he is deeply invested in who we are.  This is a relationship. He deeply desires to show us his unfailing love, and made a way for us to connect with him through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus. Start there. Then ask God to show you who you are at your core.

Write it down! Mark a piece of paper with three columns. In the first column list your current commitments. Family, friends, making a living, mental health, recovery, relationship with God, 8 hours of sleep per night, healthy eating and behaviors, and whatever else you know is necessary to your wellbeing will go in this column.

In the second column, write what you learned about yourself while doing steps 1 and 2. Who are you deep inside? What brings you joy?

The third column is for answering the question, “What is ‘extra’ in my life (not in the first two columns)?”  Only list them without placing judgment.

Finally, you are on your way to setting those goals that fit!  You get to choose what kind of person you want to be and what steps you can take toward becoming that person.  Blockades to what you want may include changing how you make your living.  Tough relationships may need counseling, or maybe it’s time to say ‘no more’. Long and short-term goals chosen according to these steps will benefit your relationships, increase your productivity, lessen your stress, and give you the most you can get out of life.

One Final Note: Avoid using pre-determined definitions of success and measures of productivity. Your goals are custom-made.

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 32:8
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you.”

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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.

*picture from Kozzi.com

 

Make TAWG Your Spiritual Connection to Mental Health. Part 2

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

photo-25949488-printToday I finished editing the audio of my first internet radio show (I’m the host). It took three tries, and by that I mean my guest had to repeat her story three times. (Note to self: always start new projects with a friend).

I’ve been in training for this for the last five of some of the busiest weeks I’ve known to date. The pile of to-dos has been emotionally exhausting too, added in with a divorce and settlement. Needless to say, some of the details went unattended until the last-minute – hence, three tries.  It always pays to do the homework.

We can change only if knowledge of a need for change, instruction how to change, and some understanding of what to change to is available. My situation with the radio show is simplistic. We all know life is full of complexities.

Some of us have been lied to since childhood. We have believed those lies because we do not know they are untrue. We walk in fear – of being unlovable, worthless, and devalued by everyone important to us.

We may pause each day for Time Alone With God (TAWG), know in our heads it is true God loves us, yet deep inside see his love as pity and not as passion for his child. Our worry centers on whether we are spending time enough to satisfy him, or doing TAWG right. We walk around in the cold dark, unaware of perfectly warm light, until something or someone pries open our eyelids.

Once we see a need for change, we may be clueless how it can happen, or what our required participation level is. Is TAWG simply a matter of spending 5, 15, 30 minutes longer in prayer? Is it reading more verses or chapters in the Bible each day?

How does TAWG become personally meaningful?

When negative, false core beliefs such as “God’s love is only pity,” go unchallenged, how we interpret what we are reading is tainted. If we believe we are never good enough for example,  much of scripture nay come across as condemning. If the necessity of a deeper relationship with God escapes us, we won’t know what to do to begin to care about it.

We hear sermons, read blogs, and listen as Christian believers talk about TAWG. As long as we are not learning how to change our mindset, these messages will go unheeded. TAWG will remain a last resort and less effective as the ultimate change agent we need.

***** COMMENTS 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 are yours.

*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com

 

It Can Take a Long Time to Change

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

It’s funny. In going through my draft file of potential posts, I ran across this title. The memory of writing out “It Can Take a Long Time to Change” is still clear. I was convinced my metamorphosis from depressed, relationship-challenged, scared, and confused gal to joyful, surrounded by friends, fearless and wise woman was taking much too long. I believed my goals (or fancies) had to be reached soon, or else.  

Or else? Others said I was being much too hard on myself. Therapists said I was actually improving at a significant pace. This did little to lessen my negative self-view. I remember a sense of doom, a guarantee of utter failure if this process would not speed-up.

That was a full three years ago.  An addict in treatment once said, “I want the crazies to stop now. Somehow I thought that one morning I would wake up and be a different person.”  

If only. Change is hard, and it takes much effort to swap out a worldview. Self-esteem is not going to hop up and grab us; we have to build it.  Wishes do not make dreams come true – hard work does. 

“But it’s not fast enough! I want my problems resolved now! Why can I not be a normal (aka: perfect) person right away?”  This frustration is common among those suffering with the symptoms and fallout of major depression. We do not want anyone kicking us when we are down yet are so willing to do it to ourselves. It’s counter-productive. If our goal is to be up and running, self-affirmation is more helpful.

For me, healing was slow with extreme mood swings. A woman on a crisis line told me I was flirting with death, but also flirting with life. She was right, and months of ambivalence caused more heartache.  This was one massive, burly major depressive episode, and it  took me 16 months until I was able to thank my psychologist for the phone call that saved my life.

Time was necessary to practice new ways of thinking, to grasp uneasy truth, and to learn to walk within my evolving  worldview.  There were many significant forward steps, a few missteps, then a fall back to old behaviors followed by try, try again.

It was worth it.

I was in a treatment Center once with about 35 other women, many of  whom were trying to  recover from eating disorders. Some of these brave women suffered from Body Dysmorphic Disorder which is a fancy term for what you see is not what you get.  Whether gaunt, obese, or anything in-between, women with BDD saw something different from reality in the mirror.

The treatment center had funny mirrors in each room, like the ones you find in fun houses.  No image was true to form, so in this way those obsessing over their weight could take a break.  This allowed therapists an opportunity to teach truth to clearer minds.

Perhaps you too want your paycheck, children, friends, function, and anything else mental illness has taken, returned NOW! 

Purpose to ask each day, “What kind of person do I want to be? What steps will I take today toward becoming that person?” Remember, slow progress is progress. Your stride will get longer, steps more frequent, and you will accomplish the unexpected. 

And that’s good enough in any stage of recovery and healing.

*******

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.

  – Pictures from Kozzi.com

A Toast to 2016

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness, Addiction, and Abuse   (c)2016 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Let’s raise our glasses!

mhylgrkMay courage accompany change, endurance meet enthusiasm, and integrity lead inquiry. For truthfulness and hard work carry hope, but choice shapes character. May next year be better than the last! 

Happy New Year!

 

 

New Year toasts have been a CompassionateLove Blog tradition for six years. 

2011    2012    2013    2014    2015