Tag Archives: friendship

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.

People Always Leave. Loneliness and Faith

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

nj6wqm4Ever kick yourself for opening up, trusting another person only to have them leave your life? If so, you are not alone.

Eight years ago, the director of a Cleveland, Ohio city-wide ministry told me, “People come and go.  For a time they may speak into your life and then God will move them on. People always leave, and you should expect that.”

I reacted in shock and disbelief. No, friends are supposed to stay together forever. Family is forever. Those who say they care are to stick by you. It could not be true that people always leave.

Interesting that I would have that point of view considering my family of origin splintered years earlier. However, within twelve months of her warning, I had moved to Philadelphia leaving many people behind. Connections in the East did not follow me back to Ohio.

People always leave.

In support groups and conversations with those who are struggling, a common theme is loneliness. Vulnerability comes hard sometimes, especially when one is used to rejection or abandonment. Trust can take years while all the tiptoeing and testing repeatedly provide evidence whether a person is staying or going.

Acute loneliness though, can block healthy reactions to red flags. This is why sometimes people end up abused, trusting the wrong person, or failing to understand parameters in a professional relationship. It is also why some people  kill themselves.

Wise counselors ought to be aware of this. When they are not, havoc can ensue. It would be nice if all of us grasped it and treated each other with more kindness.

There is One who stays. He said, “Even if your father and mother abandon you, I never will.”* In what could seem like contradiction, he did physically leave those who walked alongside him for three years. However, on his way out he repeated the promise, “I am with you even to the end of the world.”**

Unlike people who go away, he left behind his presence in the form of a Spirit.  I am talking about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I long for Jesus to be here in body form because I want a hug or to see his eyes looking at me. Truth is, if he was limited to muscles, skin, and bones he would not be available for everyone all the time.

As painful as it is to regret trusting a human who betrays that trust or just disappears from one’s life, that agony does not compare to the peace found in Jesus’ presence.  I have not felt all of my struggles go away just because I pray. There is relief, though. By spending time with him I know I am loved by God, can believe my life still matters, and willingness to reach out again for support is renewed.

The director was right. People always leave. Even if they do not literally turn away, humans still have to leave the room, go to the store, interact with other people, go to work, and so on. We cannot be a 24-hour presence for anyone else.

On my worst days, when loneliness, major depression, and grief due to loss of relationship coincide, I can cry out to Jesus. Even if all I can pray is, “help,” I know he does. There is comfort in knowing him as my Savior and being his disciple.

You see why, don’t you? He is a promise keeper.

He never leaves.

msnkhksToday’s Helpful Word

John 16:7

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” -Jesus (‘Helper’ is the Holy Spirit).

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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.

– Looking out to sea pic from SCOTTMLIDDELL at rgbstock.com

-praying hands pic by XYMONAU at rgbstock.com

*Psalm 27:10

**Matthew 28:20

A Mutual Cause for the New Year

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2012 Nancy Virden

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe love of two people is unconstrained by social norms. One is a king’s son, heir to the throne, and the other has been chosen to replace him. 

These friends, whose deep, rich love causes them to weep at parting,  are soldiers. They are warriors of renown, tough-guys who stand at each other’s side and watch each other’s back.

Their connection is spiritual and noble, forged over years of subterfuge, great victory, and escape. They are brothers in arms, a tightly knit union. They are Jonathan and David, of about 1020 BC. One is the assumed next in line for kingship over Israel, and the other a musician in King Saul’s palace.

Ultimately, only David survives the onslaught against the two of them. King Saul kills himself. As the new King, David pledges to take care of Jonathan’s descendants. These short soundbites make the story simpler than it actually was; David’s and Jonathan’s lives were complex, their situation, dire. 

When my son was born in an emergency situation, a paramedic gave him a teddy bear. I sat it on display as a remembrance. Years later, Tim had not played with the teddy bear.  Every now and then I would pull it out and tell him why it was special, then put it away again. Now, it is carefully preserved, untouched by a child’s imagination, unsoiled by love. Tim does not care about that bear as he has no memories of it other than as a showpiece.

Truth is, we tend to not care about people with whom we have no connection. Unless, like David and Jonathan, our relationships include time spent together, a mutual cause, and trust, we will remain distant. Tim and his teddy bear essentially remained strangers while other stuffed animals were cherished by my son. 

This is why our communities fragment, why our nation polarizes. In our church groups, at work, in our homes, people are looking at each other as if staring at display pieces with no sentimental value.  Connection is missing. How can we love a person we do not know? Chances are, we will not.

The answer to this plight is simple: talk, ask questions, listen. Gain knowledge. What emerges out of the stranger you didn’t care to know will be a surprise. You will uncover commonalities you never suspected.

Your mutual cause?  Might I suggest connecting with lonely people? Discover joy, hope, stability, and love together.

Compassionate Love reaches out in a new year. God bless.

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NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

Compassionate Boundaries: Friendship (First of Series)

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2013  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry 

Once upon a time, I had a friend.  It is only once upon a time because while I was ill and very needy, she drew few boundaries and burned-out. Then she was gone. 

Today I have another friend. I have this friend because though I have been ill and very needy in the past, she drew boundaries that included saying no to me.  She did not burn-out, and I still have a friend.

Boundaries are what we decide to do or not do. We cannot control another person. If Jane Doe asks to meet me and I say no, she could potentially show up at my door anyway. While I cannot stop her from standing there or being upset, my freedom is refusing to allow her lack of boundaries to change mine.  

By meeting with her because of her insistence, something else has to go undone. Assuming my initial no was based on priorities, resentment may rise at the change of plans. What if I meet with her each time she stops by? Soon, my no will have to be permanent. Jane likely will not understand the rejection. Her feelings become truly hurt. 

It is kindness to draw boundaries.  Helping too much prevents loved ones or friends from learning how to cope. A call-me-if-you-need-me approach almost discourages them from finding support elsewhere. Without coping or support-finding skills, they truly are alone if burnout drives us away.

Boundaries are honest. Clearly, no one enjoys playing doormat, crushed by another person’s whims and commands. Yet we create our doormat status through dishonesty. Clarity about boundaries keeps people in the light. They know what to expect from us. This preserves dignity for an emotionally needy person because he or she knows to ask only what is possible. It keeps us safe from pretending, and ultimately saves the relationship.

Boundaries are invaluable. You see, once upon a time I too was a friend.  It is only once upon a time because while she was ill and very needy, I drew few boundaries and burned-out. Then I was gone.  

I want to be a better friend. Do you? The next few blogs will address how to draw and recognize healthy boundaries, and share practical ideas for how to say no.

Stay tuned.

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Other posts in this series:  God’s Example (2) ; Values and Family (3) ; Self-Care (4) ;  How to Say No (5) ; Motives Beware! (6)Refuse Blame (7) ; Refer to Experts (8) ; How to say yes (9)

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BookThis Practical Seminar: How to Help Hurting People without Hurting Yourself

This seminar is designed to shed insight into depression and anxiety,  show practical ways supports do help, and provide necessary tools for healthy boundaries which protect everyone concerned.   
  • Analogies and stories
  • Interactive 
  • Practical answers to common questions 
  • Factual responses to stigmas and myths 

Please email Nancy at NancyVirden.hope@gmail.com, or use this convenient form.   For more information follow these links:   Testimonials      Bio       

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***** 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.