Tag Archives: hope

Are Ego-centrism and Selfishness the True Causes of Depression and Suicide Attempts?

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

Depression prevents one from being himself or herself.

Optimistic, giving, loving people will turn inward and may on the surface seem selfish. Truth is, from what I have seen, the true nature of a person is not changed when they struggle with even severe depression.

This explains in part why some suicides are shockingly surprising. A funny person’s humor, or a caring person’s compassion may continue, albeit with less fervor and energy, despite growing despair. At my worst point, a fellow member of a therapy group said it seemed as if I could laugh easily.  I am naturally energized by people. In the moment, perhaps that showed. What she could not see was the cavern of emptiness on the inside.

It is a symptom

The point of this is that a generally less self-absorbed person in emotional distress may become ego-centric.  A typically ego-centric person may express exaggerated selfishness.  That is depression at work. 

Thinking excessively about oneself, seeming to ignore everyone else, interpreting what others say in negative ways, or demanding attention are a few of the ways people in depression may act.  It is ego-centrism, no doubt. It is also a symptom of the condition.

Suicide attempts

Suicide attempts are definitely a cry for help... unless they are not!  That is why it is important to take each one seriously. Many sufferers actually try to die, and survive for myriad reasons. 

The accusation that such a person was “only looking for attention” is one of the most – forgive me – ignorant responses. Obviously, one who attempts suicide needs attention, and lots of it!  Thank God if even multiple attempts are cries for help.  Perhaps the only way this person knows how to make anyone listen is by creating distress.  One who never receives that attention may go on to suffer longer and more deeply.  Or die. 

Respond with patience

Frankly, recovering from depression requires hard work. While it is ultimately not healthy to remain self-absorbed, ego-centrism may hang around for an extended time. Taking one tiny step, then two, then three may take all the self-focus and energy one can muster.

And that’s ok. Pushing too hard can make hopelessness worse.

Today’s Helpful Word

Romans 15:5

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.

***** 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.

*pics by  COBRASOFT of rgbstock.com

 

This Hope I Share:  It Is Real

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

When I speak of hope, my intention is to reach those who have trouble believing in it.  Lately, absence of old thinking patterns draws me to gratitude.  The daily barrage of self-doubt and nearly constant guilt are gone. I’m 57 years old! To think this freedom escaped me until recent years  could be sad.  However, I spend zero time in the past.  How precious is the gift of joy now!

A dream

“Who, me?” Turning to see whom Jesus was inviting to come closer, I realized he was beckoning to me. Surrounded by a mass of people spreading over green hills and mountains, he sat on table rock, holding children on his lap.

In reality, I was twenty-four years old. In this dream I was five. It was nearly impossible to comprehend he would choose me out of this crowd. Hesitantly I walked toward him, uncertain he would not change his mind.

His eyes were welcoming, piercing straight into my hurting heart. Crawling up on his lap, suddenly I was able to understand that he was holding every individual assembled there simultaneously, loving each equally with all his being.

What a peaceful wonder on which to focus.

God’s love in action

Once,  I tried to describe to a pastor the daily dread and hopelessness I felt. “I feel like I  am  standing  in  the  middle  of the road, a semi-truck barreling down on me, and my only escape is to jump aside. Lining  the  side  of  the road  are  snarling  dogs,  hungrily  watching my every move. God is above, waiting to see what choice I will make.”

“Nancy, where you are wrong is that God has jumped in front of that truck with you and is going to carry you to safety,” he said.

Considering my suicide attempt six years later, it may appear that God forgot to rescue me from the truck. However,  sometimes it is in the deepest pits we learn our most meaningful lessons.

Today I know joy. Today I know peace.  The love of Jesus’ embrace gives me rest.    

This hope is what I want to share with those who struggle to believe it exists.  It is real.

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 33:20-22

We wait in hope for the Lordhe is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lordeven as we put our hope in you.

***** 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.

*blue sky by TACLUDA ;  yellow sky by mzacha on rgbstock.com

Free Indeed

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

Freedom is the resounding word in the U.S.A. this week.  Freedom means choice.  Without choices, no one is free.

Of course, our American government makes laws with which some of us disagree.  Citizens cannot make choices outside the law.  Murderous attacks like the one at a newspaper company a few days ago happen when people ignore the law.  That is anarchy.  Anarchy leaves no one free.

Freedom 

Freedom is not absence of absolutes. It is the ability to choose what, and whom to believe.

I started working for a locally headquartered non-profit earlier this year. This corporation’s mission is to teach Christian principles of faith to the public-at-large.  Within the laws of freedom in this country is the right to free speech.  The Wisdom of God Corp. wants to talk about our concept of God. 

The first billboard goes up for one month beginning tomorrow.  The website offers compelling and gentle answers to heavy questions such as, “Who is God?” and “Are questions of morality answerable without existence of a spiritual world?” 

As for idealism, the billboard says someone is offering true freedom.  Who is doing the promising?  What does “Free Indeed” mean?

Jesus said it

Too often, Jesus is misquoted, misrepresented, and shoved into a cloud of mystery.  His message was quite simple and clear.

He said he is God’s Son:  John 10:36  “Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?…” 

John 10:24,25  “‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’  Jesus answered,  ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe.'”

We are free to choose between believing Jesus or those who argue he was merely a man.

He said he is the way to God:  John 14: 6,7 “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.'”

We are free to repent and enjoy  the relationship we can have with God because of the  death and resurrection of His Son.

He promised peace in a divisive world:  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.”

We are free to trust in the unfailing character of a good God,  or to return to temporary “solutions” that fail us repeatedly. 

He promised to come back and take believers with him: John 14:1  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me… I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. “

We are free to choose where to place our hope – in the here and now, in fallible people, or in the promises of eternal life with Jesus. 

Freedom means choices.  Free Indeed is the guarantee that comes with choosing  Christ Jesus, the Savior and redeemer of our souls.  

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.

Bourdain, Spade, and a soaring suicide rate: We are patching a massive rip with fraying string

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

Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, and a soaring suicide rate. We are patching a massive rip with fraying string.

Patching

We have observed the increase in public discussion about suicide over the last five years. There is minimal, yet growing understanding and acceptance of depression and anxiety as deserving of treatment and not ridicule. The conversation has begun, and that in itself is good.

CNN today suggested medications and therapy as routes to self-protection from suicidal thoughts. This too is helpful because professional treatment saves lives and helps to improve old thought patterns.

Still, there is something missing, isn’t there? What about that fraying string? Depression recurs and now what? The standard answer is to change meds and increase therapy. This is great when the person in pain is able to try. And THAT is the question.

External aids do not bring about the permanent hope we need to try and try again. The greatest indicator of potential death by suicide is a previous suicide attempt. Why? We start losing the fight, that’s why. Patches help but do not provide the soul-deep sense of peace we need.

Faith

Faith is demeaned by loud voices, yet they have no answer to despair other than “perk up and hold on!” Where is one supposed to find purpose in holding on when every part of his or her being is aching to die? When depression has boggled the mind for the second or tenth time, and hope is ripped from its bearings, what promise exists in “try, try again’?

Faith that God is in charge and decides matters of life and death, faith that he knows what is best, faith that he is good and his love never fails despite the harshest emotional exhaustion – this is the thread that mends, not patches, horrific wounds.

In reality, I would not be here without faith in the above. Despite weighty darkness that can overtake my thoughts, there is always the light of hope found in surrender to God’s plan. Quite simply, I know it is not up to me to choose. God has me breathing. God is good. My hope lies there.

For all the Anthony Bourdains, Kate Spades, and businessmen and women, teenagers, moms and dad, and everyone else whose fight is too long and weary, think on this testimony found in the Bible. It is my story as well, and can be yours:

“Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Psalm 94:17-19) .

Please stay alive.

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.

 

An Honest Letter to Anyone Thinking About Suicide

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

Of utmost importance:  If you are suicidal with a plan or intent, go immediately to your nearest Emergency Room or call 911. 

A group of about seven people seemed stunned. The therapist choked up with tears in his eyes. It was April 30, 2012, and while attending my regular depression support group, I blurted that if I’d had a gun a day earlier I would have killed myself.  Sadly, I meant it.

My life didn’t matter to me. Mixed up thinking that led to a suicide attempt over a year earlier still carried a powerful emotional pull. Nevermind I’d written a book chronicling recovery from major depression. Ignore that my faith ran deep and worldview was improving.  Honestly, I was stuck,  pivoting in indecision.

With all my heart I wanted to honor God and not hurt other people. Somehow,  the lie that suicide could be appropriate had not been fully erased.  Every day, many times a day I had tried to rid myself of it. Prayer helped. Therapy helped. It was confusing and messy. 

The strong reactions of others that night shocked me to the core. Their faces and words will never be forgotten.  You see, when one does not recognize her value, it is very difficult to perceive that others do. 

Keyword: Deliberate

The next day I made a deliberate decision to throw away self-annihilation of any kind, and to learn how to enjoy life. Why this was such a quandary in the first place is complex.  For one, I no longer believed enjoying life to be possible. Yet now instead of looking at two choices, there was only one. I cannot overemphasize how powerful was that leap of faith.  

Without it, today’s contentment and fulfillment would be evasive.  Unnecessary suffering would have extended indefinitely. Despite recent challenges, I know joy to be real. This is contrary to an old belief system, and gladly accepted!  

Keyword: Learn

If you are thinking about taking your life, I invite you to choose instead to learn with me what enjoying life means.  I did not understand the following statements were true or did not believe they could  ever be so for me.  I was wrong. They are true for you as well.  

  • Your value is not defined by the behavior or decisions of others. Your worth is inherent. You can learn to know and live in real love.  
  • The only perfect and unending love is from God. His love is not pity, but is truly from his heart. He expressed this love through his Son Jesus, and still does.
  • Power to change unwanted emotions belongs to the one feeling them.
  • We are responsible for saving our own lives. 
  • Victim status does not have to last forever.
  • If you are abused, stopping  the abuse is the only way to heal.  There are people who understand what is happening and offer guidance.  See The Truth About Abuse page. 
  • Trust those who say you are needed, wanted, and who hope the best for you.  Rely on the faith of others in you when you doubt your worth.   
  • Spare yourself more suffering by avoiding bitterness and blame. 
  • Friends and family often do not know how to offer support in the exact way you need. This inability is not lack of love. People can care deeply and still disappoint.  Embracing this fact creates space for believing you are loved and lovable.
  • You can learn little by little to grasp what is beautiful and good.
  • There are survivors all over this world who have stood where you are, thinking the same thoughts of despair. So many have become advocates for hope.  We speak to audiences, write books, or whisper our stories at bedsides and in hospitals. You can join our ranks. Your life matters.

Keyword: Truth

I am glad you are alive and will say a prayer tonight that you stay with us.  Please do not become a statistic. Truth is, you deserve a better legacy.

 

Palm Sunday: Looking Beyond the What Is to the Will Be

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

Jesus never claimed to be the political or militant leader that would break the Roman Empire’s hold over his people.  Many hoped he would, some believed that was his purpose, and together these crowds cheered him into Jerusalem. 

Today is Palm Sunday, the day Christians celebrate the beginning of Holy Week. In about 28 AD, thirty-three year-old Jesus rode into town on a formerly unridden donkey colt. People threw cloaks and palm branches on the ground to mark a hero’s entrance. Similar to our red carpets today, this was an act of celebration and even devotion. 

What most did not understand, even some of his closest disciples, was that he came to free his people from sin and death, not Roman rule. 

The What IS

How often do we miss the best for the seems-good? Life is full of tyrants like cancer, poverty, loneliness, and injustice. Struggles are part of everyone’s existence. We naturally want rescue from calamity and pain.  If our worship of God is dependent on him making hurt disappear, we will grow angry and turn away from him when life hurts anyway. 

I’m sitting in my office recovering from surgery for cancer diagnosed a few weeks ago. I do not feel well, however I am able to think, write, and complete basic functions. Not everyone following surgery can say the same. I’m grateful for my health.

Yesterday I found out my income is taking a deep cut. This is not the first time lack of money has threatened my wellbeing.  I have kept a list of occasions God has provided for me in unexpected and unusual ways during financially hopeless times. I’m grateful God doesn’t let go.

My cousin’s daughter went missing March 10. My heart hurts for my baby cousin and his family. Anxiety over this has made me physically ill, yet I know who holds the future.  I’m grateful H. is not out of her heavenly Father’s sight.

The What WILL BE

Yes, we may feel as if unhappy news pins us down. We could rail against a God who  allows bad things to happen.  We might demand he answer our prayers the way we dictate.

Another possibility is to turn our faces to notice Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem.

He knew he would be hung on a cross by the end of that week. He was aware which voices shouted in joy for his coming and which ones whispered hate, plotting his murder.  He was able to run away, and chose instead to complete his mission. He saw beyond the immediate injustice and agony to the day  you and I have an option to believe and be set free permanently. Because of Jesus, we can enjoy close relationship with God. 

I do not like pain, anxiety, difficulty, and the like. I do pray for God to take it away. However my faith is in the One who knows the rest of the story. 

May my life and yours point to Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life for all who do not know hope.

Today’s Helpful Word

  **********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.

Palm branches from rgbstock.com; Jesus on donkey from http://www.LumoProject.com

Find Joy: 5 More Building Blocks for Rebuilding On Your Ruins

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

Find Joy: You Can Rebuild on Your Ruins -part 1

Find Joy: 5 Building Blocks for Rebuilding on Your Ruins  -part 2

Warsaw

Ancient Jerusalem is not the only city built on its ruins. Another example is how the people of Warsaw, Poland responded when their metropolis was destroyed by WWII. To rebuild, city planners used historical paintings as guides. Citizens collected tons of rubble to mold into usable brick. They even incorporated ruins from other destroyed towns.*

What great inspiration! Abuse, addiction, and mental health challenges do not have to define you today.  You too can use your ruins to rebuild.

5 more building blocks for the precious rebuild of your life.

6. Embrace a greater purpose.  Ruins brought me to despair until I realized hope thrives beyond circumstance.  Hardship can grow emotional muscle. Your life struggles are worthwhile when the part of you that survives emerges from the rubble carrying new tools. With these you build a stronger faith,  a wiser mind, and insight so you can meaningfully help others. 

7. Live by your values. Too often, pain from brokenness seems to take control over a person’s ability to make choices. While memories, scars, and disability do affect how we face life, they are not dictators. 

You are in control – you decide how you want to respond. Write down what character traits, relationships, and goals are most important to you.  Ask, “What kind of person do I want to be? What steps will I take today toward becoming that person?”

 8. Accept your humanity.  Life is full of struggles. We each experience loss. At the root of common confusion and hurt is this one factor: we are human. 

Accept that as a fallible human being you are supposed to feel weak at times. It is normal. Needing support is reasonable.  Guidance from a mental health care professional or trusted mentor may be vitally helpful.  Allow yourself the right to take only one step at a time. Slow progress is progress after all!  Allow mistakes, failures, and strong emotions. Yet also embrace your triumphs no matter how small. As a human, overcoming tough challenges is amazing. Be kind to yourself.

9. Accept the HIghest Power.  On the other hand, as a mere mortal, you cannot hold the wisdom of the ages. Tomorrow is a mystery. Guidance and peace come from a relationship with the Creator of wisdom.  As the christian story goes,  God’s love redeems your past. You are why he sent his one and only birth son Jesus to die on a cross. Jesus rose again so you can have connection with him forever.  That is  love worth considering.

10. Appreciate the present season.  Urgent or painful circumstances may pressure you to adjust long-term goals, and you can feel as if life is out of your hands.  Truth is, life passes in seasons.  

Remember, this too will pass. Moods change.  Situations change. Time proves that most of what we worry about never happens. Try to focus on the present and not be in too big a rush.  Patience is peaceful.  

 You, yes you, are able to rise

You may believe that abuse, addiction, or mental illness has destroyed you.  You have  given up on the coulda-beens. I have felt hopeless and victimized by people, circumstances, and depression. This list of ten building blocks came from that destruction. 

Struggles teach.  With willingness to take the first step, you too will rebuild on your ruins.  

Today’s Helpful Word

Jerusalem

Philippians 3:12-14 

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

 **********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.

*From Story of cities #28: how postwar Warsaw was rebuilt using 18th century paintings, retrieved March 9, 2018 from https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/apr/22/story-cities-warsaw-rebuilt-18th-century-paintings

Warsaw pic by MZACHA on rgbstock.com; Jerusalem by MICROMOTH on rgbstock.com

Find Joy: You Can Rebuild On Your Ruins

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

In trying to regain mental health, often we try to get rid of our pasts. We see what is broken and try to throw it out. Perhaps we believe we can only begin again if we clear out the ruins. 

Our nation has many ruins right now  – natural disasters have flattened businesses and homes.  Social issues and crime have broken dreams, scattered families, and taken lives.  There is sorrow.  There is also a rallying cry.  Peppered throughout the news you will hear,  “we will begin again,  we will rebuild”.

Ancient Jerusalem suffered too.  Overtaken by a foreign army, houses and properties burned down, leaders were killed, and residents marched off as prisoners. It was disastrous.  I was glancing through the Bible book of Jeremiah which records this history, and ran across this sentence, “Jerusalem will be rebuilt on its ruins.”  (Jeremiah 30:18)

That caught my breath for a moment because the promise God gave those people was not that he would sweep away all the ugly ruins and start over with an unscarred city. He gave value to what lay in the dust, a purpose for the pain.

My past with all its shame and despair is part of what made me who I am today.  Strengths grow out of weakness, change is born of necessity. By accepting brokenness and allowing it to teach me,  I found deep joy far surpassing the superficial.  I have been and continue to be rebuilt on my ruins.   

And so it is with you.  Whatever the crisis or struggle,  you can embrace your experiences. You can rebuild on your ruins of abuse, addiction, or mental health challenges.

In the next blog, I will give you several building blocks for doing just that.

Today’s Helpful Word

Jeremiah 30:18 

This is what the Lord says: “When I bring Israel home again from captivity and restore their fortunes, Jerusalem will be rebuilt on its ruins, and the palace reconstructed as before.

 

 

 

 **********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.

ruins pic by TOME213 on rgbstock.com; glass floor pic by BABYKRUL

Why My Hope Is Eternal

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle With Mental Illness  (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry


Framed degrees and rows of scholarly books cluttered his office,  betraying a long history of study, school loans, difficult exams, sweat, and tears. Who can tell how much fret went into deciding on a college major and choosing to commit his life to a helping profession? The investment paid-off, and a doctoral certificate with honors loomed over the rest: Doctor of Psychology. Psy.D.

My visit to his office followed a hospital admission  due to a suicide attempt. It was challenging to understand why I was seeing him when every nerve in my body furiously commanded me to run. Hope was not within reach.   

Yet a minute perception, a scintilla of cognition, sparked in the back of my clouded mind. Maybe with all his training and experience this doctor knew something I did not. He had worked with many suicidal people, so perhaps his hope for me held substance. 

A different client, intimidated by the busy wall of honors and graduate degrees, left the program. Each of us needed hope and searched in the same place for it.  Only one found it there.

Search for hope

It seems America often goes over the edge trying to find a leader, any leader, to solve all its problems. Some look to Democrats, others to Republicans. Third parties gain some attention, while many citizens do not vote.

Young adults and teens are turning their backs on the church in record numbers preferring instead to hope in humanity’s possibilities. Church attendees hunger for mega-size programs more than for God’s Word.

Financial security is on the minds of poor and rich alike as the means to happiness. Education and science serve as safe harbor to differing people. Celebrities and other gods of our design hold our focus. Beauty, fame, and power are landing sites for flights of fancy. Millions anticipate the day romance will make them whole.

Shifting Sand

Problem is, we cannot control outcomes. Hope placed in the temporary and unstable will evaporate. 

A move out-of-state ended my interactions with the doctor whose degrees offered promise. Governments rise and fall.   Money comes and goes. Present understanding of science and history will change. Fame is dependant on rumor and  spin. Beauty, power, and other gods we create are mirages because in the end they fade, and none of them prevent us from death. 

Temporary hope exists where we place it.  Until one day, it doesn’t.  In 2011, although christian faith was a major part of daily living,  my hope was bound up in what would never be. Pretending my marriage was working hadn’t helped. When realization of the truth caused false hope to die, I chose to also.

Since that time of darkness, my eyes have adjusted to the light of reality. This world and everything in it is like shifting sand. Change is inevitable. There is no person who will remain forever because it is impossible. Humans fail, humans move on, humans die.  

Unchanging hope

I have to place my hope in what does not change. Steadfast, faithful, unfailing – these are the foundations on which to build or else why bother? Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection, and yes, his promised return, are more substantive in my thinking than before. The Bible says he is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  

We like to limit the authority of whom or what we worship. We like to decide how and when this object of worship serves us. God is often perceived as  a villain or genie.  Nonetheless, he is love.

He doesn’t throw me away when I’m stubborn and turn to something or someone less deserving. He never stops inviting me back.

God is there when I hurt, fear, and laugh. Peace and strength waver when I neglect spending time with him through Bible study and prayer. Sometimes I walk away – God never does.

Recently, a woman struggling with suicidal thoughts asked the reason I stay alive when major depression challenges my thinking.  The answer is simple: because God has me breathing. I surrender to the One who knows what I do not.

No need for framed proof of his wisdom  – nature advertises his accomplishments. His words hang on walls in my home and are hidden in my heart.  I believe his purpose and plans for each of us are exactly right.

In him lives eternal  hope. 

Today’s Helpful Word

1 Peter 1 : 3-5 The Message

images (4)

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven – and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all – life healed and whole.

*******

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;  picture of books by ZELA on rgbstock.com
 

A Thought Is Just a Thought: You Can Survive Suicidal Thinking

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness, Addiction, and Abuse   (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Trigger warning: If you are currently struggling with suicidal thinking, the following post may include some triggers. If you are considering suicide,  call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.  

The scene:  A small room intended for about fifteen people, and a crowd of twenty-five or more  scrambling for chairs.  One can hear repeatedly amid the squeezing,   “Excuse me,” and “Is anyone sitting here?”

Most are strangers to each other, and everyone is alone. Chatting voices expose individuals lost in self-absorption.  “I’m headed for rehab.”  “I just got back.”  “I’m going to lose my job if I miss any more work.”

The silent ones stare at the floor.

A single therapist manages to find space at the front of the room and calls everyone to quiet. He apologizes for the unusually crowded conditions, mentioning it is a tough time of year for many people. It is February 2011.

One by one, people offer a number between 1-5, rating the power of their suicidal thinking on this day.  For some, saying it aloud gives them strength to endure. To others,  the system forces them to consider safety despite impulsive thoughts otherwise.  Most rate their suicidal thoughts low; a few with higher numbers are challenged to offer specific plans for  staying safe; one is sent to the hospital.

On this day, I said, “4” which is in the danger zone. I promised to focus on art over the next 24 hours and to call for help if my already powerful thoughts became overwhelming.

Then a woman spoke. “A thought is just a thought. I guess we do not have to act on it.”

It was so simple and yet profound to a brain wrapped up in confusion and raging mood swings.  A thought is just a thought. Did she mean I have control after all?

Years later, I remain grateful for this woman who shared out of her own pain, what she was discovering. She likely knew it would be a lightbulb moment for me and others in the room. 

Some readers of this blog post may find her statement obvious, a lesson for juveniles. If that is you, please look deeper. Have you never been, or have you forgotten where the world is narrow and dark, and one is accompanied only by overbearing emotional pain? There, in fragility of a severe major depressive episode, random thoughts carry weight and authority.

Remembering that a thought, even a suicidal one, can be tamed, is freeing.

Imagine standing alone in a dark, empty alley. All you hear is the roar of  a fierce and hungry lion, his voice bouncing off brick walls and filling the air.  Then you see him, crouching, preparing to eat you alive. Your only exit is to climb the wall behind you which is laced with electric barbed wire.

That is a tiny bit how it feels to be suicidal. One does not see hope, only a means to the lesser of two evils.  The question becomes, “Will I stay and allow the lion (life) to tear me to bits as slowly and tortuously as it wishes? Or will I climb the wall and escape via a quick death?”

To hear at that point that the lion does not have claws or teeth,  or its ultimate threat may not exist, can be life saving.  He is after all, only a thought.

If you are considering suicide,  call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.  Remember on your way, that your thoughts do not own you.  You have the power to manage them.

Take it from me please, there is hope. You can stay alive and thrive. That is a thought backed by truth.

Today’s Helpful Word