Tag Archives: fear

Have You Learned to Not Trust Relationships? Here are 5 Other Ways to Look at It

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

woman with yellow backpack standing on hanging bridge with trees
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Distrust in relationships is comparable to the experience of a man who has no interest in daring exploits and yet receives a gift certificate for a free bungee jumping course.

He feels some obligation to the giver and does not want to disappoint. Consequently, the wary recruit slowly makes his way to the site while the question to undertake the exercise or not lingers unresolved in his mind.

Each tentative step is agonizing. His natural inclination is to run away, however his original motive and a desire to deny his fear compels him forward.

Conversations with regular jumpers and trained professionals draw assurances it is safe. They show off the equipment as the unlikely participant handles it, tugging, and feeling its strength. It seems it might be secure.

He watches as others jump successfully and listens attentively to the experts who seem to know their sport. Only now, it is his turn. Strapped tightly to the bungee cord, he daringly allows his feet to leave solid ground.

That is when it hits him.

He is now in mid-air, his fate completely dependent on the honesty and knowledge of the people above. He might mumble an expletive under his breath at this point or scream loudly. He possibly thinks, This cord might break, or they may walk away and leave me dangling here, and it will be my fault for trusting.

Allowing built-in fears to override current reality is similar to that scenario, except that those conditioned to doubt people and fear relationships experience the walk to the bungee jump site each time they have an opportunity to trust.

Past poor judgment calls have left them sore and more apprehensive than ever. Not only do they struggle to have faith in other people, the terror of having confidence in oneself is the shaky base underneath it all.

Can this change? I say yes.

5 ways to look at trust

  1. Caution is wisdom. The first time someone reveals to you that he or she is  untrustworthy – believe it.
  2. Reconsider what you learned about trust. Is trust really all or nothing? Is everyone a liar except you?
  3. Reconsider the ones who taught you to distrust. Were they emotionally capable of trust themselves?  Were they bitter?  Are they narcissistic?
  4. Build a support system of safe people. Take your time, but do not stall out.
  5. Trust is easier once we experience it. Over the years, my trust in God’s goodness has grown. There is much more to know about his character than what some people say in reaction to difficulties. Like a beginner bungee jumper, trusting enough to take the first step toward God will open your worldview.

That first step is sincerely reaching out to his Son, Jesus.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Psalm 33: 2-5

Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.

 

***** 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Anxiety and Fear Do Not Hold All the Power!

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

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Fear and anxiety dressed up as self-doubt is frustrating.  

Saul was a young man who stood by and watched the stoning death of the first Christian martyr, Stephen. One sentence in Saul’s story tells what we need to know about his heart. 

“And Saul approved of their killing him” (Acts 8:1).

Saul’s name was changed to Paul after an encounter with the risen Jesus.  He then became who we now know as Saint Paul, a Christian preacher and church planter of the first century AD, who wrote much of the New Testament under the inspiration of God.

Paul admitted to a “thorn” in his flesh – that is, something that bugged him and made life more difficult. His issue was not clarified for the readers, so we are left to guess.

Could it have been self-doubt?

He had been a religiously proud and zealous man, a leader once admired.  Is it possible then, that without the trappings of a Pharisee and the power of that religious order behind him he may have felt weaker?

He helped to murder early followers of Jesus. How might any one of us deal with trying to teach the families and co-believers of our victims?

Maybe Paul wondered every day what he was doing- maybe he had to start out each morning in faith, trusting that his weakness was the very thing that kept him humble and productive for God’s work.

I do not know, theologians do not know what Paul meant by “a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me…”. all we have are hints. For example, the context of this story is Paul answering an accusation of cowardice.  

He wrote,” You are judging by appearances…  I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing” (2 Corinthians 10:7, 9-10).

In another letter, this one to a new pastor, Paul wrote, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Could he have known that truth due to personal experience? 

It makes sense that he may have fought self-doubt when face to face with those he once sought to kill. These types of struggles are real, and daily. In person and in his letters, Paul stood up for what is true. Maybe he was a bit quiet and shy (I do not know), but he did not fail to say it like it is.  That would be the Spirit of God at work in him. 

I am writing to myself today because anxiety plays a large role in how far I push my potential. It frustrates and badgers me until I submit much too much of the time. 

No, self-doubt, timidity, anxiety, and fear are not from the Spirit of God. He promises us power when we feel powerless, love for others when we are self-absorbed, and self-discipline when fear threatens to paralyze our every good intention. Overcoming negative emotions is not always a quick work.  Sometimes, our thorn remains, and we have to keep walking anyway.

It is because of his power that I speak the truth about my past and current weaknesses when I would rather hide. It is his love that motivates me to share publicly so other hurting people will know hope.  Jesus was and is the way where there seems to be no other way.  

Wherever I am, it is Jesus I desire most to honor. Whatever Paul’s thorn, he said the same.  

Today’s Helpful Word  

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

-St. Paul

 

***** 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.

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.

5 Uncontrollable Things We Try to Control (and Make a Mess of It)

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

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We like control. That’s not weird.

Control is good. We want to control our toddlers because they do not know how to be safe. We must control our cars or people will be hurt. Controlled tempers keep us out of fights and jail. Self-control is wise.

Focusing on what is within our control helps keep us sane. It is when we try to force influence over uncontrollable things and situations that we and those around us suffer.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) lists “Accept that you cannot control everything” as the number one way to deal with stress and anxiety.* The following are, I believe, common fuels for anxiety and possibly depression.

Five uncontrollable things we wish to control 

Other adults. We have zero control over the choices of others. Efforts at gaining control leave us frustrated and angry. Abuse is an obvious attempt at control, but so is political  vitriol. I know of a daughter and mother who rarely speak to one another because of disagreement over politics. No one in this scenario will change her mind, so what is the silent treatment for? 

Other drivers.  Yesterday on a local freeway, a driver weaved dangerously close between cars at about 85 miles per hour. It is amusing that my travel at a legal pace landed us at the same spot about five miles later. Trying to own the road makes a fool of an impatient driver. No one admires the person whose road-rage so easily overpowers good sense.

People groups. Whether the group is different by race or gender, age or belief system, pointing and accusing will not change anyone. One talk show host pointed to the TV camera and said, “Jesus was just a man.” In the same breath she condemned  believers who value sharing their faith. This hypocritical attempt at control (it is okay for me to share my beliefs but not okay for you to do so) will not enlighten a person, let alone a society. 

The future. No doubt this sums up all the rest. If designing the future was up to us, we would not suffer or experience disappointment. As it is, the doctor may have difficult news, a future spouse’s parents may not like his or her choice in a mate, relationships end, and sometimes we fail. Trying to control any of this will leave us fearful of facing the next day.

God. God is the king of the unknown. I claim Jesus as my Savior and worship God the Father as the one in Sovereign control. He has never let me down, so shouldn’t it be easy to let go and let God? Trust is difficult when my focus is on fear of potentially unhappy circumstances rather than his goodness. 

I suspect this is the same reason many try to design their own gods. By controlling one’s object of worship, this god cannot demand what one does not want to give. Trust and a sense of God’s love are absent. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 34:4
I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

***** 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.

 

*https://adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress

For One of the Least of These: Helping The Stranger

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

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Dehumanizing a person in our thoughts or speech makes it easier to fear and hate. Dehumanizing a people group works the same way. Equating a race or gender with animals is one way in which society has dehumanized people. Another form of such dehumanization occurs when struggles with mental health are demonized or wrapped up in one word- crazy. 

Fear of people with histories of mental illness is reaching new extremes. Reporting on the very few violent types carelessly connects mental illness with murder. Truth is, the vast majority of people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence. Those who have attempted suicide are not going to “go off” and attack others. 

We need to better understand what brings a person to the point they are homicidal. Mental illness may be a factor, but is not a predictor. 

For example, a recent mass shooter was reported to have seen a psychiatrist. I believe the article said he had visited this doctor one time. The story implied that because he had seen a psychiatrist he must be crazy, and therefore ended up killing people. Here is another way of looking at it. He saw a psychiatrist only once, and did not follow through with treatment, hence did not accept the help offered to him. 

By equating “he saw a psychiatrist” with murderous behavior, stigma is encouraged. People who will benefit from psychiatric care may feel shamed into not going. 

Beyond mass shooters and other criminals are millions of people who for one reason or another struggle with mental illness to varying degrees. Instead of being knowledgeable and learning to practice healthy boundaries, we run away or ignore them.

We have each been a stranger. For whatever reason, we have each been judged. It has never benefited us to feel misunderstood. In this way, we can relate to those who are ostracized because of their mental health history. 

Here is today’s invitation. If you know someone with a past of mental illness, say hello.  This website offers information on how to be supportive. Simple internet searches will lead you to such information as well.

Be wise. I am not suggesting we ignore one’s history of violent behavior and invite them to hang out with our families. I am simply inviting you to avoid dehumanizing someone based on a history of mental illness. Let’s drop the negative assumptions and fear. Let’s drop the hate and “lock ’em all up” attitude which is growing in the U.S.

Today’s Helpful Word

Matthew 25: 37

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers (and sisters), you did it 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.

 

Too Angry to Hurt?

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

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Anger is a protective emotion. A slow burn or a flash of rage can both serve the same purpose – to cover hurt. I’m not putting anger in a box and saying this is all it is. Nevertheless, anger as a type of self- protection occurs all the time.

We misplace anger too. You’ve witnessed this. Someone goes off on a meaningless slight, leaving everyone wondering what made him or her snap. By trying to avoid the pain or discomfort of respectful confrontation, perhaps we allow anger to build until it has to release itself.

What are those hurts angry people try to avoid? That is anyone’s guess. The person who is angry may not know.  I remember being so angry I thought it would kill me. It was a direct result of a painful marriage and a victim mindset. Realizing this was an impossible load to carry, I ran to God in prayer and said, “Please change me. This anger has to let up.”

Within a few days, it did let up. Issues I had ignored or blamed others for  were drawn to my attention. I changed, and that protected me better than any anger ever could.

Fear can set off anger too. Rather than face our fears, we yell or stew or react violently at them. Road rage may sometimes be one of these types of anger. Fearing loss of control over one’s life, a driver tries to own the road.  We see this fear in our politics, religions, and fights for rights. Dialogue seems too hard, and open-minded thinking too great a challenge. Most, or at least the loudest voices, would rather argue.

I’ve realized again today that fear is making me angry.  I sat down with my Bible and asked God to reason with me (that is, to help me see his perspective).  He showed me the root cause of my anger and self-pity.  It is because of not facing again  my greatest fear- fear of never being loved or accepted. He showed me how my fear has caused me to shut out friendships (I’ll leave them before they can leave me), and has held me in defeat (how dare I try, I’ll make a fool of myself).

Rising from that Bible study and prayer time, I immediately faced three situations that had me afraid and angry.  This blog post is the fourth.  For reasons I no longer understand, writing on this topic scared me. So here it is.

My hope and prayer is that this reaches you and helps you overcome some of your anger, too.

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Today’s Helpful Word

James 4:4, 6-7a

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? …  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God.

***** 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are We Serious, Folks? Insecure People Allow Opposing Beliefs to Determine Their Treatment of Others

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

Female Student Talking To High School CounselorC’mon! It is bad enough that unstable individuals carry out their hatred in acts of violence. It is terrible when people groups are systematically discriminated against due to lack of understanding or tolerance. All of this is painful to watch. 

What is difficult to comprehend is when supposedly normal, generally intelligent people decide they cannot be in the presence of those with opposing views. Of course we will not enjoy the company of everyone, and differing ideologies can cause friction. It makes sense one might not choose to spend the weekend with Uncle Harry who is obnoxiously pro-whatever one is against. 

It is a different situation when someone in one’s circle expresses a point of view, using respectful tones. Suddenly, Ed from accounting is no longer welcome to sit with the crowd in the lunchroom? Without explanation, members of a church group stop attending? I cannot figure out for the life of me how a point of view is so threatening!

Insecurity

Insecurity seems to swell in those relationships that dissolve because of disagreement over issues that cannot possibly be fixed over dinner or a game of golf. An insecure person cannot remain at the table when everyone does not share his or her opinion.

Here are three reasons we can and should stay in touch with people who do not think like we do. 

  1. No one knows everything perfectly. We are wrong and right often in the same moment. Do we deserve to be heard? If so, why not someone else?
  2. Truth can hold up to scrutiny. Is insecurity the result of a shaky premise? Is that why people shut down communication rather than pursue it?
  3. It is immature to walk away. Grown-ups stay in the room and talk. They work past vocal tones and disagreements and work out the relationship. Then, in a stroke of maturity, they agree to disagree and go on with their lives. 

Stay

As an imperfect and occasionally opinionated person, I fully appreciate when another adult (even an opinionated one) will stay for a whole conversation. Listening to other viewpoints does not mean we have to end up agreeing.  Asking and answering sincere questions is fun.

Picture two people who agree to discuss an issue. They start out reasonably. First person states their opinion, second person counters, first person counters with a new thought, second person walks out. Nothing accomplished, nothing learned. Only frustration remains because the second person never actually wanted anything short of an “you’re right, of course.”  

I know my opinions are not golden no matter how right they may be on occasion. No one else’s opinion is golden either. We share space on this planet. An opposing point of view is never enough reason to treat another person as dirt.  

WINCHILDrgbToday’s Helpful Word

James 3:17 

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere

***** 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.

 

 

 

 

Part 2 Silence No More: Go from Voiceless to Heard by Overcoming Fear

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

Secrets and shame lead to silence. Whether your story is about emotional struggles, mental illness, addiction, or abuse,  you may feel voiceless.  

Silence no more!  You can speak up and be heard.  Three obstacles likely stand in the way.  The first is false beliefs,  discussed in part one of this series. This post and the next cover the other two.  

Obstacle # 2 : Fear of what will happen once you speak

Let’s face it. Silence has its pay-offs. Status quo is familiar, and familiarity is comfortable.  

We also know that fear is paralyzing, and interrupts our joy.  Same-old is tiresome, and possibly dangerous.  Continuing to make the same choices that never worked, or ceased  benefitting us, will keep us stuck. 

Needed: Support

Asking for help means admitting to your challenge.  That’s okay. You are not alone. There are systems already in place. Whether you need to escape abuse, find recovery, or deal with mental health issues, trust those systems.

We are fearful of change, and do not know what these organizations or people can do to help. They are the experts, who gladly answer these questions.  We have to trust safe people who have devoted their lives to helping.

Domestic violence shelters are led by trained personnel, able to guide you safely through the uncertainty of child care, finances, work, and legal issues.

Mental health professionals are ready to help  with troublesome thoughts and emotions.  If you are in crisis, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. 

Rehabilitation Treatment Centers require some proof that you are investing in your recovery. Go through those hoops and take it seriously.  Once in, follow the advice of worthy men and women who know what works. 

Who to contact

If you can find no help in your area, search online for reputable sites.  (Be careful, do not  offer identifying information).  On my resource pages, you will find  emergency numbers  and links to sites offering the information you need.

The Truth About Abuse       Addiction Recovery          If You Are Depressed or Anxious 

What to Do/Say When a Loved One is Depressed

Needed: Back-up

It is a good idea to have that initial support in place before you broaden the scope of your voice.  Chances are, like most of us, you set-up a façade in the past. The false image that all is well has helped you cope. Taking the mask off will surprise those who know you.

Some people will not believe your story.  Others may walk away.  Be prepared.  

If you can, practice using your voice with those who  relate and are non-judgmental.  In support groups, group therapy,  and anonymous 12-step groups,  you will find non-critical acceptance.  If these are scarce in your area,  perhaps a healthy online service is an option. (Again, be careful.  Do not use your real name.)  

With support from people who build you up on an ongoing basis,  your voice will grow strong.   

Next 

Stay tuned for a solution to obstacle #3, procrastination.  

 Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 121: 1,2   (A song for pilgrims)

 I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!

    

******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: Climbers top by AYLA87; Climbers bottom  by MIMICA,  both of rgbstock.com

 

How the Best Supports Can Help You With Depression and Anxiety

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

One week after exiting the hospital for a major  depressive episode,  anxiety grew to irrational caution.  It was 2005, and I waited outside a familiar door in my church,  afraid of familiar people.  Finally, loneliness trumped fear.

As one woman walked by to enter the foreboding room,  I whispered.  At  first, she  did  not hear.

“Marge.” I said her name a second time.

“Nancy? What did you say?” She came closer.

 “If I come in there, may I sit in the back? I don’t think I can face everyone…”  A mouse-like voice returned. 

The tone of her voice grew my confidence. “Nancy, just come and be with us. You can sit wherever  you like.” 

Such acceptance and love.

My behavior was abnormal in general, and maybe especially for me, as typically friendliness and smiles portray my greetings. Marge may have thought it best to leave me alone. By speaking out my needs, her graciousness could calm some of  my fears.

The other option was to sit in the hall. 

Telling people our precise needs is the most effective way of reaching out.  It is difficult to answer when family and friends ask,  “What can I do for you?” We might feel it is selfish to ask for much, or too risky.  Would-be-supports are sometimes afraid. They often do not know how to help or are concerned they might worsen a situation.. 

Keeping a list nearby with ideas such as , “I need non-critical acceptance” and “I need someone to sit with me.” gives them solid  information. Both you and they will feel relief.

Demanding is different from informing others of our needs. Demand shows up in our tone of voice,  expectations, and negative reactions when disappointed.  

About therapists involved in my care, I added to my journal:  “Truth  is, it is God who will get me through  life victoriously, not happily all the time.. People he has brought to help in the happiness department will sometimes let me down. This does not mean I should write them off.”

What then do the best supports look like? They exercise boundaries, and believe for us through better and not-so great circumstances.  (This does not mean they approve of  all we do!) They trust God’s process, and do not try to control the situation.

They are safe, do not abuse or take advantage in any way, and try to meet us where we are. They listen to what we say instead of assuming, proactively trying to grasp our meanings by asking good questions. They know if understanding and the ability to relate is elusive, they can continue to be  supportive. 

The best supports are human, and never perfect at any of the above. 

We can choose to help them help us. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Proverbs 16:24 

Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

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.

Saving Baby Moses – Don’t Let Fear Stop You from Doing What is Right

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

This excerpt from They Were Real is inspired by Exodus 1:22–2:10

This moment will change the future for a young protective sister, her small Jewish family, a princess, a nation, all of Egypt, and ultimately the Middle East as we know it. 

A five-minute walk to the Nile River is the catalyst for one man’s rise to fame, exile, and eventual return as leader of their people. He will be the one to free the Jews from slavery and lead them to the land God promised to Abraham, their founding father.

Today is the day God begins to change the world. Of course,  twelve-year-old Miriam and her mother know none of  that.

Miriam can still hear the wails of mothers as their young sons were killed. Even louder is the deathly silence of those whose babies are under threat. Pharaoh, ruler of Egypt, fears the growing slave population and demands the deaths of all newborn Jewish boys.

She tries to keep her eyes off the silent load balancing on the top of her mother’s head. They regularly carry laundry to wash in the river as do most young girls and women of her town. Today’s basket is new and pitched with tar; it is waterproof.

Two days ago, in a type of dress rehearsal, her parents filled this particular basket with rocks close to the weight of today’s cargo. Miriam placed it in the water to test if it would stay afloat, and it did. Today there is no laundry, and no rocks. It is filled with homespun wool topped with a three-month-old baby boy.

He is Miriam’s little brother, Moses.

Both Miriam and her mother do their best to appear nonchalant as they make their way down this well-traveled path. Sounds and voices coming from the river grow in volume. Instead of drawing closer, the pair duck deep into shoreline reeds. Low water erases evidence of footprints in the mud. 

Shoving aside tall slender stalks with one hand, Miriam’s mother walks carefully, slowed by pauses to listen. With Miriam close behind, she nears the area her husband had agreed was best. It is private, around the bend and upstream from chaotic laundering and other water traffic. More importantly, Pharaoh’s daughter bathes here at about this time each day. Soon the princess will arrive with several attendants.

Miriam sobs silently, fearful for her baby brother’s life and overcome by enormous pressure to play out her role to the end.  She watches their mother’s joyless face as she lowers her tiny son into the water. Lifting the painstakingly woven lid and staring into his eyes for what she knows may be the last time,  the woman playfully touches a finger to the tip of her nose, and then to his.

Moses smiles, unconcerned about her tears falling on his face. For one paralyzed moment, it appears she is unable to let him go. Then, more stooped than Miriam has seen her before,  their mother backs away slowly, eyes fixed on the basket containing her heart.

Miriam’s heart pounds. She is alone with crucial business to finish. Moses coos, fascinated by swaying reeds against the sky. 

As he entered the world, it was she who fetched whatever the midwife needed. Her hands rubbed his belly when he cried. Her arms hugged him tight as she ran at the alarming news that murdering soldiers were near. This is her one last chance to protect him. She prays the plan will work. 

Kissing him on his forehead, forgoing the urge to grab him and escape once more,  she lowers the lid and gives the basket a slight shove. “I’ll miss you.”  Her voice trembles.  Moses whimpers.

Back on shore, it seems surreal watching the tiny boat loaded with such priceless treasure floating in those dangerous waters. Her timing is vital.  Her lungs  seem to stop and simultaneously exit her body, leaving an empty cavern in their place.  

Chattering!  The princess is on her way! Miriam feels helpless as the basket edges out from between reeds. Moses is in a full-blown cry.  Hurry, hurry. Please, no one but the princess hear him!   

The small entourage of handmaidens surrounding the princess suddenly stops as she focuses  on  something  in  the  water. All Miriam’s efforts at appearing casual fail.  Staring, she sees Pharaoh’s daughter wave her arm toward the object.

An attendant  slips into the river. Miriam’s hope renews as the young woman pulls the basket back to shore.  Breathless, she sees it lifted out of the river. The woman with power to choose life for baby Moses or to toss him to crocodiles, motions for someone to open the top.

Reaching with her royal hands, she picks up the infant and holds him to her chest. She smiles!  Miriam suddenly remembers her mission and stumbles her way to the commotion surrounding her brother.

“E-E-Excuse me, princess. I know a woman who can n-n-nurse the baby for you.”

Barely glancing up, the princess waves her hand in Miriam’s direction. “Get her, and tell her she’ll be paid,” she said.

There is nothing casual about Miriam’s race toward home. Slowing only a little as she enters a clearing, her hopes are that no one will notice she no longer has her laundry!

She laughs. What does it matter now? Relief and joy carry her across the threshold to face her anxious parents.

“Mother,” she pants, “you’ve been hired by the princess to care for her new son!”

 

 **********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.