Tag Archives: Major depressive disorder

Full Circle: A Week of Miracles Part Two

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

Law and justice concept gavel

A week ago today I was in a courthouse watching my marriage of 35 years come to a final close.

Our separation began in September of 2013 following 2 1/2 years of marriage counseling. In the nearly three years since, my husband filed for divorce, and settlement and support discussions and hearings ensued. Last Thursday ended all that with our signatures on a decree stating the division of assets. Now we wait for the final paperwork.

Today’s blog will state nothing negative about either my husband or the Pennsylvania court system. As in any dispute, there are two sides to the story.  Instead, I want to share with you miracles of provision and peace that culminated last week.

It probably does not need mentioning that this process has been an emotional one. There were times of great fear concerning my future. You see, I have multiple doctors and a therapist stating I have a disability due to Major Depression Recurrent and Anxiety Disorder. In their opinions I cannot hold a regular job. One went so far as to say this is permanent.  A quick look  through my work history testifies to this as well depending on one’s point of view.

I do not want to believe disability prevents me from working a steady job. It is an uncomfortable prognosis. However, I have watched these professionals closely for over five years and not once seen them backtrack or deceive. Their personal as well as professional lives are ones of integrity. Each of them have thirty-plus years of experience. I have to take them seriously.

Most of all perhaps, I know they care about me. None of them would twist the truth for a court hearing because that would hurt me! Almost beside the point is the fact they stand to lose their careers if they throw out willy-nilly professional opinions. My husband’s lawyer is an ex-therapist and knows each of these people personally. He told me he would not dispute the disability factor because he knows they do not lie!

Long before anyone used the term “disability”,  I approached Always the Fight Ministries (begun in 2012, officially named last February) with caution. Over the years there have been times I could barely function. These episodes also prove my need to take it slow. The amount of promoting one needs to invest for entrepreneurial success has suffered because of these limitations. Attempts at seeking regular help have not borne much fruit although all along the way God has provided people on occasion when needed.  Usually I feel overwhelmed and unproductive.

Yet here I am. Despite all the above, speaking and writing is bringing in more earnings. A new radio show begins in August. Nervousness comes and goes because what if I cannot manage all this? What if a crash and major depression result again? What if I am disabled?  That is why moments like last Thursday are so poignant.

Entering the courthouse as a self-representative, I knew Who was my lawyer.¹   With face turned down so as not to appear mocking, low-key smiles broke out periodically at the visual of mere mortals, including myself, trying to negotiate justice. I knew Who gave each of us our mouths to speak.²  Any authority practiced in that room was from Him.³ As such, I had to smile. It was actually fun to watch Him at work, and all the more when I kept silent. (see qualification below)

Finally, I saw the fruitlessness of this particular discussion and asked for 30 seconds to prepare an answer. Bowing my head, I asked my Heavenly Father who has never once let me down, what to say. As I gave my offer, I sensed a shift in attitude in the room. If I am correct about that, it may have been because there was no gouging or attempt at revenge. I asked for what I believe God told me was right. It is not even enough to pay my bills.

Disabled. Not capable of regular work. No stable income. Not enough money to live. Sound bleak?

I know who holds my future! As I see it, God has a plan that is fun to watch unfold. Parts of it are revealed already. Instead of the negative what-ifs, I am asking new questions. Certain God led me to ask for the amount I did, I am equally positive there is a reason. What if I can? What if I have no more crashes that take me out of the game? What if I am no longer disabled? Most importantly, what if I cannot and God accomplishes everything through me anyway?

What is the miracle referred to in today’s title? Peace. Whether things seem to go poorly or splendidly, I KNOW there is a purpose.

I am not afraid.

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COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

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

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

– picture from Kozzi.com

Qualification on noted comment – This is not a theological statement intended as a right or wrong way of defending oneself in court. No offense or judgment is intended toward any readers who have been through the court system, work in the legal field, or advise others to use the court system. This was my experience alone. It was a moment of clarity for me personally as I learned once again to let go and let God. I had already stated my case. It is important for justice to take place that people have a voice.

¹ From  Jeremiah 51: 36. “…I [God] will be your lawyer…”

² From Exodus 4:11. “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak…? Is it not I, the LORD?”

³ From Romans 13:1  “…all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”

 

 

It Can Take a Long Time to Change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was worth it.

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

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

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

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

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

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below) NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

  – Pictures from Kozzi.com

I’m Depressed and Can’t Get Out of Bed. What Am I to Do?

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

photo-25664611-1-29-14-travel-and-vacation-icons-4-06Your covers wrap around your body as tight as you had the energy to make them. Except for a small space between your nose and air, you are separate and safe from the rest of the world. 

If only intrusive thoughts and percolating memories would go away; they do not. Numbness, agony, emptiness, and desperation are familiar terms, yet you do not actually know how you feel. Your lungs strain against an inflexible wall of pain. Sleep comes and goes. The calls of nature pull you out from under your homemade cloaking device. When you return to it, there is no small debate as to whether the air hole is necessary.

This depression you are feeling cannot compare to the blues or a bad day. Everyone wants you out of bed – all are clamoring for you to be yourself again. “Come, be normal!” 

You are aware that what they say makes sense to them. It is not so easy for you, however.  You fall into an empty cavern deep inside your torso, and there guilt crucifies you for failing to be who others need.

Dear suffering soul, take a deep breath and read on. You are not a loser. 

  1. If you are in danger of harming yourself, go to your local emergency room or call 911. I’ve done this and so can you! Ask someone to stay with you until help comes.
  2. Allow yourself to be weak. Present limitations do not define you, your character, or your future. It’s ok to be unable to do today what you wish you could. It’s ok to need help.
  3. Set your own goals to challenge depression and isolation. Today may be the day you sit up on the edge of the bed for a few minutes. If you are afraid to leave your room, perhaps you could stand outside your door awhile. Do the noises of family life irritate you? You can choose to sit in the living room where people are.
  4. Praise yourself for every accomplishment. You read this post? You sat up? You ate? Good for you! I know each of the tiniest moves are hard and cost you. One foot hit the floor this morning? You are thinking about setting a goal? You are being brave, go ahead and appreciate your efforts.
  5. Reach out for support from people who “get it”.  Make plans to talk to a mental health specialist. allow a psychiatrist to determine if you would benefit from meds. Seek out a therapist. Support groups have helped many people. If one group or professional does not seem a good fit, feel free to find someone else.  This is all about you.  
  6. Pace yourself. I’ve made the mistake of beating myself up because I wasn’t becoming “normal” fast enough. Just do what you can at this moment. Tomorrow and next week you can reevaluate and set new goals.
  7. Involve God.  He is already involved, so cry out to him. In my worst moments my prayers were , “Help”, and “Please use this for good.” I knew Jesus was with me throughout the healing process.

You will get better! The road to recovery can be long and arduous, but it leads out of the forest of fear, helplessness, stabbing pain, and loss of hope. The weight holding you to your bed now is temporary. You WILL rise.

Practical strategies: How to Gain and Maintain a Mindset of Hope

mjyze9qToday’s Helpful Word

Psalm 34:18

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
**********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 in the U. S. the  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*picture  a from qualitystockphotos.com

*picture b from rgbstock.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Begging You to Hear Me! Please, I’m Dying Here

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2015 Nancy Virdenphoto-24714726-young-man

Hold it all together. Don’t let anyone see you cry. 

Everyone seems happy, I wish I could be one of those people.
I’m different and no one knows.

I’m alone. Don’t know if I can hold on for much longer.

My screams are ignored, nobody hears me.  Now I see who really cares – no one. They’d be better off without me.  My life doesn’t matter.

Smile a little- can’t let anyone see you cry.

High school students hear a heartfelt message

One week ago today, three volunteers representing the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention stood in front of about fifty high schoolers and talked about depression and suicide. As one of those volunteers I had a few minutes to share my story and some typical thoughts anyone who is majorly depressed may have.

Our audience was exceptionally well-behaved (military boarding school), and fresh from saying goodbye to their families and friends back home. Everyone heard the message, it is OK to ask for help when you hurt.

But will they?

Two suicides and a threat 

Today, three of us offered a second presentation, this time to college-age students.  I introduced myself as a suicide attempt survivor, something never easy to admit.

A therapist reported that a friend’s family member died by suicide in the past week. A student-leader who works with school counselors to prevent suicide, said he would be attending his buddy’s funeral this afternoon- another suicide.   

I didn’t tell them how I’ve been locked in conversations with a suicidal loved one this whole week, trying to save a life.

Every 13 seconds, someone dies by suicide. Here in Pennsylvania, there are more suicides than homicides. Suicide is on the rise, and it’s main cause is untreated major depression.

Yet stigma remains intact, keeping us silent and ashamed, unhearing and uninformed, and dying for no good reason.

Hold it all together. Don’t let anyone see you cry. 

I’m alone. No one hears me. No one cares. 

No, no more screaming.

Don’t know if I will hold on much longer.

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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 can be yours.

-pictures from Qualitystockphotos.com

 

 

 

 

Are Faith and Despair Opposites? A Christian’s Experience With Suicide

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2015 Nancy Virden

photo-25180003-exterior-stock-image-of-churchI had reached the end of my life. Breathing seemed a strain while emotional pain consumed my lungs and took control of my mind.

In despair, I knew that whatever I might have offered to the world or my family was worthless.  No reason to hope for change remained.  I fully accepted that continuing to exist meant only more loss.  Thoughts had recently circled less around a fight for survival, and more on the ultimate escape.

I wanted out. 

Major depression had for months challenged rationale. Impulsivity rose while judgment declined. My once hard-fought battle against suicidal thoughts was over.  I questioned not if, but how.  Depression continued to limit my cognitive abilities as I worked to reason out a plan.

Only one hesitation stopped me – my deep wish to honor God.  I did not want to hurt him or my eternal chances.  My goal was to join my Heavenly Father, and Savior Jesus Christ.

I needed his approval before I could end my life.

Moments before follow-through, I said, “God, is it time yet?” It seemed he said “Come home,” and great calm filled my spirit. 

The suicide attempt landed me in the hospital with full medical care for body and mind. Doubt and sensibility began to peek through the cloud of misery and irrationality. Had it actually been ok with God for me to kill myself? Is he the one who said “Come home?”photo-24803711-praying-hands

Christians who have major depression are often advised to read the Bible and pray more. Some form of “just give it to God and he will meet you and give you peace and joy” is the most common sentiment I have heard.

Yet I had poured hours per day into Bible reading and prayer while despair crept ever closer.  Communication with God was dear and intimate.  After the attempt,  acute grief broke my heart because I feared that misunderstanding his permission meant I could not recognize his voice anymore.

We Christians can believe wholeheartedly in Jesus Christ, his cross, and resurrection. We can know in our hearts that he has conquered death, and fully understand he is above all the trials of this earth.  Nonetheless, a shroud of major depression may steal our positive emotions.  We can begin to feel we have lost touch with the God we love and desperately miss.

Major depression and its accompanying despair and negative thinking are not loss of faith. They are not denial of the power and presence of Christ! If these issues are present in a believer’s life, depression is not the proof of it.  

Recovery from major depression and the suicide attempt took years. For sixteen months despite a death wish, I yielded to God’s will each day when I got out of bed and stayed alive. Another year passed before a renewed vision of purpose grew. 

From the outside maybe it looked as if I did not believe in God’s goodness, when in reality I was counting on it.  Church folks could have assumed I wept during services out of sadness. Truth is, God’s grace was overwhelming.

I am a Christian with Major Depression Recurrent.  I know who is King of Kings.  My hope clings to the truth of his Word and in one day being with him for eternity.

In his time.

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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 can be yours.

-pictures from Qualitystockphotos.com

When is a Person Serious About Suicide?

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

My personal experiences have led to meeting many people who have attempted or heavily contemplated suicide. To choose only three of their stories to tell here is difficult. However, let me introduce “Everett,” “Diamond,” and “Bruce.”

Everett.  Suicide Attempt

Everett is retired, having left his career behind due to a desire for rest. He has dealt with Major Depression for as long as he can remember.

His second marriage is struggling. He tells of the challenges he has living with his wife and mother-in-law, how they urge him everyday to get out of the house and find something to do. He confesses he is sphoto-24757858-old-man-with-crossed-armspending his time watching TV and little else. However Everett’s concerns did not start or end with his home situation.

A month before I met him, Everett had slashed his wrists. He was tired of living as an unhappy person, and felt useless since leaving his job. Following three weeks in the hospital, he returned to daily life where he continued to feel as if he was just waiting to die.

The best predictor of future death by suicide is a previous attempt. Someone who has this background is to be taken seriously when talk turns to, “No one will miss me,” “You’ll be better off when I am dead,” and other similar statements. 

Everett is doing better than many who share his mental health history because he wants change, is looking for part-time jobs and volunteer options, and attends marriage counseling with his wife. These are not permanent “cures” for Major Depression, and he may have to face it again.

Diamond. Repeated Suicidal Gestures

photo-24779100-frowning-womanDiamond is a public speaker on the issue of clinical Depression, has a husband, two adolescent children, and abuse in her past. Her parents did not beat her when she was a child, nevertheless they did not interfere when her ten older siblings did, repeatedly.

Her suicide gestures began in her early teens, and did not end for nearly ten years. She would take an overdose of pills, wait to be rescued, and then recuperate in a hospital. 

She still feels most of the time that she would rather be dead, yet has surrounded herself with friends to whom she reports daily. They hold her accountable and in this way, she is saving herself from future suicidal behaviors.

Why should someone like Diamond be taken seriously? Because she is desperate for help. Thank God she is calling out sooner than Everett did. To respond to her cry, as  overly dramatic as it may seem, is to invest in her life.

People who hurt themselves on purpose at all are in great emotional pain.  Until appropriate help is received, this risky behavior will likely continue until one day, the suicide gesture will not be stopped in time.

Bruce.  Suicidal Ideation

photo-24774846-a-mans-face-looking-awayBruce was the father of two young children. As Father’s Day approached, he had been growing increasingly despondent and withdrawn. He started to make insinuations that scared his young wife.  One afternoon, as he was declaring he had no reason to live, she asked him, “What am I, what are our children to you?” His answer, “Not enough.”

On Father’s Day, Bruce said, “I figured out a way to make suicide look like an accident.” Then he walked out the door, drove away in the car, and was gone for four hours. When he returned he simply said, “I don’t have the courage to do that,” and went to bed.

Suicide ideation, or thinking about committing suicide, is how every gesture and attempt begins. Ideation can grow over time and lead to a lethal act. People like Bruce have to be taken seriously because the seed of suicide has been planted. Like most  seeds, unless its sprout is plucked it tends to grow.

The simple rule of compassionate love, is when anyone  starts talking about dying or suicide, pay attention. No matter how many times this subject or threat has come up before, it is best to seek help for the hurting before action backs up despairing words.

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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.

*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com

 

My Depressed Loved One Won’t Get Out of Bed- What Am I to Say?

CompassionateLove Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness, addiction, and abuse    (c)2015  Nancy Virden

photo-25664611-1-29-14-travel-and-vacation-icons-4-06

Depression, whether triggered by circumstances we can see or not, is a place of pain. We may experience it to some level or another, but when a person won’t get out of bed you can bet she or he is hurting badly.

I know it is hard to take care of someone who is sick. It challenges our agendas and causes us to sacrifice more time and energy. Depression is especially painful to watch when we love who is suffering. Often we feel helpless, though this is not exactly true! 

Each person with depression experiences it differently.   Commonalities, such as a few predictable symptoms,  do not mean one-solution-fits-all.   If circumstances could be exactly replicated, individuals will still have unique reactions. It is tempting to think others “ought” to respond or feel as we do. 

Consider this:  Is it reasonable to assume millions of people each year would choose to have their lives interrupted in such a way? It makes more sense that your loved one prefers laughter, meaningful relationships, and accomplishment, does it not? If a person you care about seems unwilling to move, out of sheer stubbornness, laziness, or self-pity, remember no one wants to be depressed.

Your loved-one needs love and affection, non-critical acceptance, and patience. Emotions are raw. Pain may be so intense that his or her body cannot keep up. Major depression reroutes best intentions into days staring at the walls.  Every joint can move as if in slow motion. This daily fight creates a hero with each small step forward.

Despair and a sense of helplessness continued to hold my focus for over a year following a suicide attempt. I was considered treatment-resistant, a problem for some. Baby steps of self-care slowly led to more, then eventually to more. Sixteen months later,  I was able to decide to learn what enjoying life means.

“Well, of course!” you might say. “So why doesn’t my depressed loved one do that too?”

Your loved one may not know how.  Losses and disappointments can interfere with human thinking processes. Issues, both known and unknown, may hold a person hostage for a time. Stress, betrayal, shock, trauma, and abuse are only a few triggers of depression. Sometimes, we do not have an answer to ‘why?’ 

It helps to know what to expect from professional help. Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MD, DO).  They prescribe medication; rarely do they offer therapy. Psychologists are experts in human behavior and are often therapists (PhD, PsyD). They do not prescribe medication. Licensed therapists are trained to help clients cope in healthy ways. Many professionals specialize, such as trauma counselors and family therapists.

It is of utmost importance you recognize your loved one’s mental health is a complex mix of factors. We are body, mind, and spirit.  Addressing all three spheres is wise. 

You would not say to a cancer patient, “Quit having cancer!” Yet many are quick to tell a person with major depression to snap out of it. Blaming, accusing, scolding, or shaming will not make it go away any faster.

What is it you can say or do to show support?

Avoid mind-reading and assuming you know what is happening.  Ask, “Are you safe? Are you thinking about killing yourself?”  In the U.S., you can  contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK for advice.  In a crisis,  call 911 or take your loved one to the nearest emergency room.  Do not leave a suicidal person alone. Remove all lethal items from the home. 

Show your depressed loved one you care. In the depths of an episode, he or she may not believe “I love you.” Say it anyway. Promising, “I’m here for you,” may seem more substantial, however you must keep your word in practical ways. Broken promises reinforce a sense of rejection and worthlessness.

Help to combat your friend’s or relative’s sense of aloneness. “I’m going to work, but I’ll check on you when I get home” offers a positive look toward the future and a reminder that your concern is not temporary. “Would you like your friend to come over? I’ll call her” is a valuable service because major depression makes even tiny decisions challenging.

Set-up or offer to go with your loved one to the first appointment with a mental health professional.  Do not assume this will be a quick-fix solution, and instead accept that you both may be in for a long haul. Just as there are less helpful, and better equipped professionals in any walk of life, mental health professionals do not connect with every client. If your loved one is not satisfied, help find someone else.   

Avoid some common reactionary mistakes. These include: “You are neglecting your family”; “Quit being so morose, it’s not good for you”; “Just go to work already”; “You’re lazy”. Comments like these are most likely attempts to change a situation to make it more comfortable. They are not helpful.

Place emphasis on the value of the person instead of on disappointments.  Say, “I am glad you are alive.” “Stay with me, we’ll get through this together,” may be met with a blank stare. Nonetheless, this type of encouragement matters. It is like water on desert soil. 

Above all else, be there. Sit by that bed and do not say anything. Read a book, do your homework, banking, or research on your laptop. Get on Facebook or Twitter and enjoy your friends while your majorly depressed loved one lays next to you. It is ok to laugh, cry, or share a story from your day. Keep your expectations for responses low, and just be there.

Today’s Helpful Word

1 Corinthians 13:4,5

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…”  -Saint Paul 

To learn how a relationship with Jesus creates eternal hope, click here

***** COMMENTS 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.

*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com

For more on what to say or do for a depressed loved one,click on this link.

Nancy Virden, compassionate writer and speaker, brings her experience of brokenness and healing to the table, offering insights as only one who has been there can.

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Sometimes I’m Sad

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2014 Nancy Virden

Yeah, so what? Everyone gets sad from time to time.

A woman grieves. A child’s friend moves away. A mother’s heart breaks. A husband struggles watching his wife grow sicker.

I know, everyone feels sad once in a while. There are bad days, blue moods, and grief. Burn-out exhausts us. 

Then there is Major Depression.

The depression and sad emotions most people experience cannot be fairly compared to the feelings of one with Major Depression. It’s a matter of intensity and duration.

To be diagnosed with Major (Clinical) Depression, one has to meet certain criteria over a minimum period of weeks. Functioning must be significantly impaired.

Major Depression for me has shown up most often in an extreme lethargy mixed with  a sense of hopelessness. Not only do I lose sight of what I want, but no longer believe those aspirations exist or matter. It is important to interupt the depressive cycle before it goes that far. 

Many people seem to believe there is a disconnect between spirit, body, and mind. There is no separation. We are complex creatures. Simplifying Major Depression into only one of the three categories may sound like, “Just pray.”  “Snap out of it!”  “Get more sleep.” While suffering persons may want to comply and emerge happy and free, they cannot. I cannot.

Certain thoughts, behaviors, and negative beliefs trigger my depression. It is my responsibility to avoid those. I’m not claiming helplessness. What I am saying is that sometimes I’m sad- and don’t get over it like other people do.

First, I have to double-check whether I’ve remembered to take my medications. That is because my kind of sadness tells me to not bother.  If my mood darkens,  I will talk to my psychiatrist. Once in a while I have to go through a medication change. 

I have to proactively review specific coping strategies.  These include examining the evidence of what is real. Do family and friends love me? Check. Am I believeing lies about my worth? Check.  Once aware of the thoughts that triggered this episode. they are challenged.   

It may be hours or days before I remember I am worth all this self-care and begin. This sadness swallows up time. It is tempting to isolate. God never fails to call to my spirit. When I respond, he never fails to push me back out into society.  

Sometimes I’m sad and have to follow a process to prevent the familiar downward slide that has become overwhelming in the past. This is life with remitting major depression.  If you have it, do not let anyone tell you it isn’t real.

***** COMMENTS 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.

*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com

More on what Not to Say to a Majorly Depressed Person

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   Nancy Virden (c)2013

Assuming our intention is to help and not hurt, here are some messages we would do best to avoid sending to a majorly depressed person.

photo-24710174-neon-pink-girl-points“I’ll come and visit/ call tomorrow/ meet you there…” (If you won’t follow through)    Broken promises are hurtful in any setting, however for the majorly depressed they are poison. A hopeless, lonely, and extraordinarily sensitive to rejection person is cut through the heart by broken assurances of support.  We must think before we blurt out good intentions or even devious ones. Will we visit/call/meet up with that person?

“You’ve been doing this stuff for years.” Accusations of game-playing or manipulating for personal gain is unfair. Each of us has a hard enough time understanding our own motives; questioning those of someone who is confused, not in their right mind, and irrational is to assume information we do not have.

“I’m determined to fix you.”  This may not be verbalized as much as expressed through attitude, demeanor, other comments, and demands. This is condescending, and while we hate it when anyone treats us like they are superior, so does the majorly depressed person. The hurting adult is not a child regardless of any one else’s opinion.

“My problems are because you are depressed/bi-polar/unstable…”  No one is a diagnosis. When referring to a disease we say someone has it. Shifting blame is a temptation for most of us at some point or another because we like feeling good about our choices and to not always face our mistakes.

Truth is, we have problems because of our decisions. Can another individual’s struggles make life more difficult for us?  Of course.  We retain some control over how we deal with it. At the very least, blaming the sick is not helpful.

“Don’t you pull the suicide card on me!”  Talk of suicide is serious. No one thinks about killing herself when all is well and the mind is whole. People who say something about it are in deep pain. We cannot judge who means it and who does not, that’s why emergency professional mental health care workers exist.

“You’re too much of a bother.”  Dismissal is harsh, I don’t care who or in what situation it takes place. I’ve observed that no one who is struggling appreciates being dismissed. Validation of our experiences and emotions concerning them is vital to recovery.

If anyone is uncertain how to remain involved in the life of a majorly depressed individual without being overcome, read my series of  blogs on Boundaries*. There are kind ways to express, “I’ve had enough.”

*( Boundaries Series Part One )

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. 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.

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 can be yours.

*picture from qualityphotos.com