Tag Archives: fear

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

woman riding on black vehicle
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

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

woman in black long sleeved shirt
Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

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

rear view of a boy sitting on grassland
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

beautiful blonde downstairs facial expression
Photo by Nikolay Draganov on Pexels.com

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.

Had I Known – A Poem for the Fearful

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

Whether a  dream, goal, friendship, treatment plan, or any other relationship or effort will end in disappointment is something we cannot know.  We are certainly guaranteed to stay stuck if we do not take a risk.

Had I Known

Had I known…

I would have run

kept quiet

hid

secrets would be secret

bravery, silenced

 

Had I known…

my spirit would still be caged

 

What are few to thousands more who…

reject

fear

avoid

lie

dismiss?

Had I known…

I would have embraced few’s misery

and escaped “freedom’s” disappointments

 

Yes, I would not have cared to fight

and not won

 

It is good God holds a mysterious future!

Because I did not know, I…

took a risk 

believed you

gave it my best

Now I know…

taking a chance was worth it

because life grew from intolerable

to hopeful

to promising

to fulfilling

 

I would not have tried – had I known

So glad I did not know…

that you would  break and run

and leave in silence 

Today’s Helpful Word

Deuteronomy 31:8 

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

 **********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 are yours.

Is Anxiety or Depression a Choice? It Depends…

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

Is anxiety or depression a choice? It depends. We can purposely replay the past, or focus on all the negative what-ifs because we like doing so.  However, obsessive or racing thoughts about personal histories may occur because we do not have the tools to process them. 
Perhaps we find some reward in playing the victim.  Excessive destructive self-talk is more likely based in false core beliefs of which one may be unaware.
 
Fear of the future, rejection, or failure may not be resolved for some people by only thinking positive thoughts or shaking it off.  Peaceful options are more easily attained by those who experience nervousness or blue days once in awhile instead of anxiety or depression. 
 
While nearly everyone in existence is capable of throwing the occasional pity party,  those who fight to manage chronic anxiety and depression are practicing the opposite of self-pity and bitterness. Each day, people with these disorders function as best they can despite their brain telling them they cannot and should not. Management is a deliberate, purposeful decision to pursue honesty and healthy thinking. 
 
Time is wasted on judging how well a person is doing by what is seen on the outside. We do not know anyone else’s battles. If you believe you have chronic anxiety or depression, or are concerned for someone who might, seek professional help until you find what works.

 Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 18:13
“Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.”

 

 

**********

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 qualitystockphotos.com

3 Ways to Make Joy Your Realistic Attitude

CompassionateLove Blog: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle With Mental Illness  (c)2016 Nancy Virden

Collage with hands and blue cloudy sky

Two of Kimberly’s children died – one due to murder – and her mother also died within a period of 15 months.

Only a few weeks after she’d lost her second daughter, she was excitedly pregnant.  As her mentor at the time, I walked her through months of fresh hope and dreams, aware there was no change in her demeanor.

“Are you sad?” I asked.

“I was, but now I have this baby to care for,” she said with a smile. “Everything happens for a reason.”

Kimberly’s reality included trauma, tragedy, and coping challenges. Nothing, certainly not grief and violence, resolves easily, and she had healing work to do. Still, she turned her focus to her son, and he was a bright spot in her darkened world.

To Kimberly, hope is also reality.

We all have sad stories and memories we would rather forget. No one goes untouched by suffering. This is news only to those who prefer to live steeped in denial. We’ve been hurt, we’ve hurt other people, and this is what we call life.

One often-repeated phrase these days is, “The world has gone crazy.” That is how many perceive reality. Without hope, all the violence and bad news causes fear to rise up in people, and that displays itself in anger. Are you finding more anger in homes, workplaces, and the world now?

Three years ago I read on Facebook, “Talking about our pain is our greatest addiction – let’s talk about our joy.”* I don’t know if I agree with that summarily, however talking about our joy is usually a good idea. Let’s start where Kimberly did.

Refocus. Try to not think of the color red. Careful now, do not think about red! Can you do it? Trying to stop a thought is counterproductive. What actually helps is if we replace that unwanted thought by refocusing on something we want to think about.

Accept reality as multi-faceted.  Kimberly has plenty to grieve and process, and for which to rejoice. At the time of her son’s birth, she looked at both the harsh and beautiful facts, and acknowledged them as equally real.

Compare evidence. We have witnessed resurrections of the human spirit. We have seen ourselves and our loved ones spared. We have known the miraculous, and hope has filtered through the fog of our sufferings. We have each received second, and third chances.

Which list is reality – troubles or blessings? People who want to defend their negativity will say, “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist.” But if joy is real, then why don’t we say, “I’m a realist, and I believe tomorrow could be better than today”?

Some of us struggle with emotional challenges that help to make coping hard. Scars of inner or outer trauma may meet us every day in the mirror.  When the ache of daily sorrow reminds us of our losses, and hope seems impossible to obtain or not worth chasing, paying close attention to whatever beauty is around us this Christmas will help to refocus our thoughts, however intermittently, on the possibility there is hope.

I’m a realist. Perhaps because of my closeness to the world of emotionally harmed people, I see pain everywhere I look. I also hear stories of recovery, treatment plans that work, and lives that change from the inside out through surrender to the perfect will and love of Jesus. These experiences are every bit as realistic as bad news.

Today’s Helpful Word

John 16:33 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – Jesus  

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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.