Tag Archives: support system

Have You Learned to Not Trust Relationships? Here are 5 Other Ways to Look at It

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

woman with yellow backpack standing on hanging bridge with trees
Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

Distrust in relationships is comparable to the experience of a man who has no interest in daring exploits and yet receives a gift certificate for a free bungee jumping course.

He feels some obligation to the giver and does not want to disappoint. Consequently, the wary recruit slowly makes his way to the site while the question to undertake the exercise or not lingers unresolved in his mind.

Each tentative step is agonizing. His natural inclination is to run away, however his original motive and a desire to deny his fear compels him forward.

Conversations with regular jumpers and trained professionals draw assurances it is safe. They show off the equipment as the unlikely participant handles it, tugging, and feeling its strength. It seems it might be secure.

He watches as others jump successfully and listens attentively to the experts who seem to know their sport. Only now, it is his turn. Strapped tightly to the bungee cord, he daringly allows his feet to leave solid ground.

That is when it hits him.

He is now in mid-air, his fate completely dependent on the honesty and knowledge of the people above. He might mumble an expletive under his breath at this point or scream loudly. He possibly thinks, This cord might break, or they may walk away and leave me dangling here, and it will be my fault for trusting.

Allowing built-in fears to override current reality is similar to that scenario, except that those conditioned to doubt people and fear relationships experience the walk to the bungee jump site each time they have an opportunity to trust.

Past poor judgment calls have left them sore and more apprehensive than ever. Not only do they struggle to have faith in other people, the terror of having confidence in oneself is the shaky base underneath it all.

Can this change? I say yes.

5 ways to look at trust

  1. Caution is wisdom. The first time someone reveals to you that he or she is  untrustworthy – believe it.
  2. Reconsider what you learned about trust. Is trust really all or nothing? Is everyone a liar except you?
  3. Reconsider the ones who taught you to distrust. Were they emotionally capable of trust themselves?  Were they bitter?  Are they narcissistic?
  4. Build a support system of safe people. Take your time, but do not stall out.
  5. Trust is easier once we experience it. Over the years, my trust in God’s goodness has grown. There is much more to know about his character than what some people say in reaction to difficulties. Like a beginner bungee jumper, trusting enough to take the first step toward God will open your worldview.

That first step is sincerely reaching out to his Son, Jesus.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Psalm 33: 2-5

Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.

 

***** 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.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Most Common Responses When I Tell People My History Includes Attempted Suicide

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

Whenever I tell my story of recovery after attempted suicide, I have learned to expect one or more of the following responses.

photo-24768393-old-man-raising-his-eye-brow1. “My (insert loved one- son, mother, friend, etc.) killed himself (or herself).” 

Often, the speaker leans away or makes some movement indicating discomfort and distrust. Once he or she realizes I am interested and not judgmental, the torrent starts.

I learn about the day their loved one died, what warning signs were left before the suicide, and memories of the victim. Always, the suicide was unexpected. Without fail, the survivor suffers guilt.

Many of these suicides were in the far past. Decades and even generations later, suicide continues to hurt those left behind.  

2. “I have been there.”

I hear this at every official event and in most casual gatherings where my story is shared whether the topic was advertised ahead of time or not. The sheer number of people who have experienced such severe depression and hopelessness is staggering.

3. “How can I help my friend (or family member) who  is depressed?”

With worried faces and often desperation in their voices, people want to know how to “fix” others who struggle with depression. Sometimes the plea for normalcy is an angry one. They are disappointed that life has become so hard because a loved one is dysfunctional.

Usually, when I reply that none of us can fix anyone else and the best support is non-judgmental, people remain upset or worried and leave with a difficult understanding. Others hear hope and immediately embrace learning more practical ideas. 

4. “No one understands.”

A psychologist attended a conference with others in his field. Their overwhelming consensus was that the number one hardship for patients is a lack of effective support at home.

Generally, in American society we are clueless how to handle one another’s suffering. The reason is fear based in lack of know-how. Mental illness is especially challenging to understand because we have been and continue to be falsely indoctrinated that people who live with it are scary and possibly violent.

Normalizing mental health issues is an important part of saving lives and treating those who live with mental illness.

5. “I help those who live with mental illness.”

Volunteers, religious leaders, school principals and teachers, professional counselors and therapists, nurses and doctors of nearly every specialty, and others want me to know they are in the fight too. Sometimes they have questions.

Interestingly, psychologists and psychiatrists whom I’ve never met before, want to know what type of therapy I receive, medicines I take, and how I feel now. It is slightly amusing when they assume an automatic right to examine my recovery. It is also nice to see that these caretakers are passionate about their profession. I openly and freely answer most inquiries because if I can help by sharing what works, that is what I want to do.

A stigma surrounding suicide is that those left behind ought somehow be ashamed. Even the topic is taboo. People express gratitude when I listen without advising or overreacting because so often they are not heard.

neqg3zyToday’s Helpful Word

Psalm 10:17

You [God] listen to the longings of those who suffer.
You offer them hope, and you pay attention
    to their cries for help.

 

 **********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 is yours.

Short and Sweet: What Do the Best Supports Look Like?

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2013 Nancy Virden (Today’s blog is excerpted from my book Always the Fight: A Living Testimony of What Only God Can Do, 1st edition)

At one point several years ago, my pastor at the time asked me to regularly attend his weeknight class for the express purpose of my not being home alone with dark thoughts.

The first few evenings I sat outside the classroom, terrified to enter. Major depression had interrupted healthy reasoning, and imaginations of abuse and hatred from the other students kept me at a distance.

Finally, courage rose. Loneliness trumped fear. As one woman made her way to join the talking and laughing others who had gathered,  I spoke up quietly. At first, she did not hear.

“Sharon.” Her name was called out the second time more forcefully.

“Nancy? What did you say?” She came closer.

“If I come in there, may I sit in the back? I don’t think I can face everyone…” My volume had returned to mouse-like.

The tone of her voice grew my confidence. “Nancy, just come and be with us. You can sit wherever you like.” Such acceptance and love.

I have been asked, “What can I do for you?” and it is difficult to answer. Maybe it seems too selfish to ask for much, or too risky. Blaming, judging, and disbelieving those who care for me camouflages that they too are afraid, do not know how to help, are concerned they might make my situation worse, and do not want to upset me.

Still, I agree with a man who said if his major depressive episode, “The only thing I wanted was someone to care—a note, an email.”

What then do the best supports look like? They exercise personal boundaries, believe for the best (does not mean they approve of all I do), trust God’s process in my life, and do not try to control me. They offer reasonable support and do not enable my excuses.

They are safe, do not abuse or take advantage in any way, and they try to meet me where I am emotionally. They listen to what I say I need instead of assuming. They try to understand the situation by asking good questions (not interrogating), and accept that if they cannot understand they can continue to be supportive.

They are human and never perfect at any of the above.

God bless you as you offer or search for and receive strong support.

*****

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

*photo from qualitystockphotos.com