Tag Archives: safety

62 Plus 1 Reasons to Overcome Fear

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

img_20160929_141746

This afternoon, dozens of birds landed in my city-size backyard. They were different types; I saw a bluejay, robins, a downy woodpecker, sparrows, brown thrashers, what I think was a brown-headed cowbird, and grackles. My yard must be a buffet of worms and bugs following yesterday’s rain. They also seemed to enjoy the berry bush, especially the robins, who lingered long after the party was over, cautiously dangling from its flimsy branches.

The 62

I stopped counting at sixty-two. They were jittery. One wrong sound and they scattered as a mass in every direction. There was no actual danger, just what seemed a birdie panic following one bird’s flighty reaction to fear.

Fear weakens us. It may on the outside be covered up with pride, bravado, or confidence. Life seems manageable. We can often live in relative strength, not understanding how deeply fear affects us.

Then someone nearby says the sky is falling, and we flee, emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually along with the panicking crowd. What we thought were our values fall by the wayside in the pursuit of survival. We leave loved ones behind for the sake of escape. Escape!

Society-at-large is pandering to fear right now. Some are screaming for laws and regulations to protect us. Others are shouting for politicians to step up to the plate. A few loud mouths resort to bullying as they promote themselves as ultimate power. The world is noisy. Some men, women, and children hide.

Fight or Flight is a human response to fear. (And sometime Freeze). Fear weakens us. Look around and watch how susceptible we are to following what is popular or loudest. In a moment of panic we may just follow the crowd off a cliff.

And the 1?

After the birds’ great exodus, one young deer ventured into the yard. It saw the berry bush close to the house and dove into red, lush pleasures. Branch after branch, the reckless deer munched, oblivious to how far he had wandered from the safety of the woods.

It too was jittery, and now and then the deer’s whole body shook. Instinctively, it knows the answer to danger is to run. I have no idea what it heard, thought it saw, or smelled that caused those legs to jump, change direction mid-air, and sprint so fast from the berry bush. It’s too bad, because no one would hurt the deer in my backyard. Everything inside his being told him to flee.

He missed out on a great dinner with seconds and dessert. How many times fear interrupts our joy, too! We love only to a point, receive love cautiously, trust at arms’ length, and believe we are always in danger of a broken heart. So we run before we can experience the best parts of life.

62 plus 1 reasons to challenge and overcome our fears. Look around and inside yourself. Observe. Ask God to show you what are your fears and the way out of them. You can know inner solidity and deep peace.

1muxnjToday’s Helpful Word

Isaiah 41:10 NKJV

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

*********

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.

 

 

 

 

I Care About Someone With a Troubled Past. What Can I Do to Help?

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

Closeup portrait of two attractive middle-aged female friends chatting in the park in a healthy lifestyle concept

Love

Honesty

Safety

Common sense

These terms no doubt mean something to you. Perhaps they draw up comfortable and happy memories. Maybe they remind you of what you never had. These are motivating words representing goals most of us like the idea of reaching. They are also concepts beyond reality for some people .

The Challenge: When we speak of love, our intentions fall within a range from the trite (“I love tacos”) to near impossible-to-describe profoundness (“I love my child”).

What if you had never seen displayed, or received family love? Emotionally or otherwise neglected children need help learning how to relate and trust. Without that help, and no framework to identify healthy relationships, it is quite possible a good-hearted adult will miss out.

How to Support this Person: Be an example of unconditional love. This does not mean allowing unsettling behaviors to go unaddressed. In fact, love this person enough to have boundaries. Through gentle communication, show the beauty of love – that it does not abuse, take advantage, play the doormat, or endorse bad behavior. Instead, it builds up, hopes for the best, and has the other person’s best interests at heart.

The Challenge: Just how is one who has been dealt dishonesty throughout childhood or beyond supposed to recognize trustworthiness? Kind people may try to invest in victims who have been lied to or betrayed most of their life, but positive messages fall short. This is because the languages of truth and trust are not understood.

How to Support this Person: Be faithful. Have boundaries. Never lie. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Carefully avoid making foolish promises. Give it time, even years.

The Challenge: We often hear during send-offs or even in therapeutic situations the concerned sentiment, “Be safe.” It means different things in varying contexts. If a formally abused individual does not know safety exists, how is she or he supposed to self-protect in practical ways?

How to Support this Person: Teach them in word and by example that safety is our right and often our responsibility. While we cannot predict every scenario, we can be basically prepared.  Teach this person to take his or her time in choosing emotionally safe friends. Provide information on how to draw healthy, not fear-producing, physical and emotional protections in relationships and situations. If you need help with this, ask for it.

The Challenge: Common sense may be elusive when a person has not been taught healthy ways of thinking, is emotionally incapable of moving beyond chaos, or whose circumstances have typically been manipulated on the vicarious whims of others.

How to Support this Person: Instead of pointing fingers and judging, try something constructive. You may help to change a life. First, set an example. Then gently encourage critical thinking. For instance, “What will be the result if you do such ‘n such?” “What do you want? Will this decision take you closer to your goal?” “What kind of person do you want to be, and what decisions today will help you be that kind of person?”  “Has this [behavior] worked in the past to help you or hurt you?”

None of us knows what we do not know. Everything we know has been at some point, taught to us. Investing in the future of another person looks different from self-righteousness, criticism, or superior assumptions of our knowledge.

Instead, change comes when we humbly accept the fact we are all learning. With this attitude we will change within, and become the kind of people able to lift others.

********

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

Don’t Do This When Your Loved One is Depressed

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

On a good day, how do you like it when...photo-24786491-old-man-seriously-pointing

  • Your boss says, “You could work faster, you’re just lazy” 
  • Your spouse slams a door, and hollers. 
  • Your friend makes his point repeatedly to coerce you to think as he does ?

On a good day, where do your thoughts go when…

photo-24710174-neon-pink-girl-points

  • Your friends do not include you in their plans
  • Your spouse does not respond when you are sick
  • People try to “fix” you
  • Your character is attacked

Imagine then, how all this is not helpful in a struggling person’s depression.

At present I’m disappointed in a friend. I thought he was above badgering, refusing to listen, and falsely accusing.

An emotionally  fragile young man struggled with suicidal thinking. My friend told him his depression was the result of sin. The young man told him the accusation was making him feel more hopeless.  

As my friend sent text after text to the man in distress, he was unaware I was on the phone listening to the young man’s growing hurt and despair. When I confronted my friend on his carelessness at a dangerous time, he turned on me. He said I was selfish, and unwilling to help the young man (for money nonetheless, but that’s another story!).

photo-24723911-tensed-businessman-sitting-on-chair.

Why would we assume a depressed person wants to hear our quick-fix opinions?

Most of us are not mental health professionals, and none of us have all the answers no matter how much we think we know.  It is inappropriate to diagnose and offer cures when we do not understand the complexities of another person’s brain and issues.

At the very least, we can withhold judgment and a berating tone. Listening to what a depressed person says they need is important.

Compassionate love, as well as common sense,  places safety above opinions.  

*********

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.

Abuse in “Safe” Places (Like Church)

 Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2015  Nancy Virden
 photo-24742109-joy-full-family

A situation in a church I once attended arose because there were no safety measures in place. The result was a young man falsely accused of hurting a little girl. He was shamed, and I wonder if he attends church anywhere now.

The product of another church’s lack of safety precautions is a woman who talked of her struggle with God. Why would he send a “man of God” to rape her? This man was called by God to ministry, was he not? I told her the man was not a man of God, that he was evil, a wolf in a sheep pen. Something seemed to click in her mind and she cried with relief.

If church leaders are truly focused on the spiritual health of each member of the flock, they will do all that is possible to keep anyone from being spiritually destroyed in and by their church. The spiritual destruction that comes as a result of abuse is misunderstood. Too often, it is considered the victim’s responsibility to be spiritually healthy, when in fact it is our job to prevent the damage in the first place.

In my opinion, people in general tend to think “That is [the victim’s] problem” or, God forbid, “[The victim] made that up.” Abuse is our problem. Abusers get away with all kinds of things in “safe” places because we are overwhelmed by the logistics of providing true safety. It is also easier to remain blissfully ignorant and avoid the hard work of paying attention.

Yet another church is recovering from abuse and subsequent imprisonment of one of its volunteers. Supposedly, this church has safety measures in place but abusers creep in anyhow. There I observed a lax or non-existent vetting system of volunteers and staff, where going through the motions of safety fell woefully short of protecting. In speaking with one of the leaders about this, confirmation of his naiveté became apparent.

Abuse is progressive. Focusing most of our energies on bringing an abuser to repentance is misguided because we would do much better to invest in safety. Abusers are charming, know how to testify and cry and play the game, and will seemingly in true sorrow admit their sin. Put them back into the situation where they once had power and they will return to old behaviors and worse. That is who they are.

Oh, but God can change anyone! Yes, of course if they are willing. Do a cursory study on profiles of abusers and it will be clear these are generally not the people who want change. They want, or say they want, salvation, God’s love, and all the trappings of Christianity. Nonetheless, they love their sin. How is a person who believes himself entitled, supposed to come to true repentance? 

If we will not keep our eyes open for the sake of potential victims, what about confronting abusers? This lack of willingness is confusing to me and actually causes me to doubt spiritual leaders. If we are unwilling to call sin out, is that because we are hiding the same sin?

An enormous number of people, especially wives and children, suffer abuse via neglect, verbal cruelty, physical and sexual attack, and spiritual threat by family members who may or may not hold high positions in organizations or at least carry good reputations. What about pointing out hypocricy?

Too often, the victim is deemed “bitter” or “unsupportive” if she complains or leaves. She must be exaggerating, right? After all, we didn’t see the behavior she claims, and the poor guy says he’s sorry! 

Pornography and the progressive sexual addiction that comes with it, has often been dismissed as “every man’s problem.” I didn’t read the book by that title so do not know the author’s approach. On the surface, and in my experiences with church leaders, it seems as if an attitude of “Oh well, we’re just guys and we struggle through” reigns above the courage to root out and dispose of hypocrisy and abuse in the church.

In the meantime, wrongfully-considered-harmless “oops” ventures into pornography produce addicts who are increasingly less satisfied with their spouses and sinking deeper into their secret world of power and control. Taking a stand against abuse can rightfully start with being honest about porn.

As long as excuses are made for not engaging in the challenging fight against abuse, there will be victims. “It’s just porn” and “he made a mistake” won’t cut it.  An interview process that sounds like “I met him (or her) and am impressed,” or “I ran a background check – it was clear,” are footholds to begin, but not sufficient.

Safe places have to be surrounded by diligence to make and preserve actual safety, and to protect vulnerable people from being emotionally and spiritually destroyed.

If you need support or proof what I am saying is right, invite a representative from your local rape crisis center or women’s shelter to come speak to your group or staff. Advocates against abuse would love to share the facts with you.

The website, http://cryingoutforjustice.com/ is a well-written and fully documented center of information about abuse in the church answering,  what does abuse look like, who is doing the abusing, why do victims wait so long to report it or escape?  

Our challenge does not have to be overwhelming – safety is possible. Compassionate love invests in finding out how.

*******

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 qualitystockphotos.com