Tag Archives: truth

6 Steps to Overcoming False, Negative Messages About You

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

person pulling travel luggage
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Some baggage from messages learned in childhood is severely heavy, others less. Even the kindest parents were imperfect. In our childish minds we may have misinterpreted what was meant to be helpful.

Society failed to teach us emotional safety or the truth about the inherent value of human life. The church failed to present a pure gospel devoid of man-made rules. Other individuals disappointed us in myriad ways, because this is a fallen world. 

Regardless the source or reason, some negative messages became false core beliefs. 

Message: “You never get anything right”   

Experience: You make a mistake

Repetitious self-talk: “I knew it. I never get anything right.”

A belief starts with a message. Experience has to back it up whether it is only our perception or reality. Then we have to repeat the message to ourselves. That is how a belief starts; otherwise the message remains only a thought.

These beliefs, often buried deep inside and out of sight, strongly affect our decisions.  Meanwhile, we are responsible for what we do with what we have been given and taught. 

6 steps to overcoming false, negative core beliefs

1. Ask, “What do I believe about myself that is negative?” Write it down.

2. Question the messages. “Were they true?”  Reconsider using terms like “always” or “never”.  If you believe you never do anything right, look about you and write down all you have accomplished in the last 48 hours. No matter how small you think the accomplishment, it is evidence to the contrary of “never”.

In the case of any belief, evidence will crumble on the false side.  It may feel more comfortable to stick to familiar beliefs. That does not make them true. 

3. List all the evidence that defies negative beliefs about yourself.

4. Ask, “Do I know who taught me these negative messages?”   Y/N    Name them. 

5. Question the messengers. Are they mature and responsible? Are they liars? Narcissistic? Are they emotionally capable of realistic insight?  Maybe they are repeating unchallenged false, negative core beliefs of their own. 

What if they were wrong? That changes everything, doesn’t it?

6. I invite you to find God’s evidence of the truth about you. In the Bible are many passages proclaiming his unending love, and the sacrifices he made to have YOU with him forever if you will so choose.  

Today’s Helpful Word  

Proverbs 20:5

“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,

but one who has insight draws them out.”

 

***** 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.

 

 

A Toast to 2019

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

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Here’s to starting over!

Placing one searching foot in front of the other, may we find stability on Truth’s solid ground. Daring to ask and learn beyond familiar knowledge is a rare and precious trait.

May our flailing hearts steel themselves with eternal hope. Advancing against negative odds and uncertainty requires courage from the Highest Power. 

Let our words burst forth in constructive thought. Wisdom deplores hate and vain arguing. It speaks peace,  love, and possibility.   

May this next year be better than the last!

Happy New Year! 

New Year toasts have been a CompassionateLove Blog tradition for nine years. 

 2011    2012    2013    2014    2015   2016   2017    2018 

A Helpful Word for 2019:

What Do You Want, Positive Thinking or Positive Change? Know the Significant Difference. Part 2

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

When positive thinking is denial’s cousin, it is not helpful.

Denial is believing your spouse means  “I love you,” while treating you like dirt. Denial is unnecessarily gaining weight and telling yourself you are still healthy. Denial points out another’s mistake, the same mistake you have made a dozen times. 

Rain is real  

Members of a depression support group,  many of us fresh out of the hospital,  watched as gray merged with silver droplets, creating a panel of sleet over the window.  Someone complained about the weather.

The therapist’s response sounded confusing.  He said, “Look for the positives.”

I asked, “What’s the difference between denial and looking for the positives?” 

“Denial is saying, ‘there is no rain’,”  he said. “Looking for positives accepts the rain,  then deliberately chooses to focus on what is going well.”

Is,  as in “is going well,”  drove the point.  He did not use wish or claim.  Instead, he suggested hope for change comes from noticing what is positive about reality.  

Later he said, “I’m not telling you to just think positive.  I’m not that guy.” 

Rain is wet

Positive thinking tries to convince us the rain is meaningless. Perhaps one admits to the storm, yet summarily dismisses it with, “it’s not wet!”  

Children’s  the-little-train-that-could had positive thoughts. “I think I can, I think I can” motivated it to chug its way over a mountain.  If that little train did not have wheels, no amount of positive thinking was going to carry it. 

Positive thinking is different from positive change in that it has no inherent honesty. Trying to pump up a languishing spirit by embracing fantasy is a temporary feel-good solution at best. 

Denial’s cousin

While denial calls addiction a bad habit,  positive thinking recognizes addiction and tries to wish away the consequences.  Denial says “I’m ok” when nothing is ok. Positive thinking  says, “I’m not ok,  but everything will be perfect tomorrow!”  

Certain times may call for rah-rahs for rah-rahs’ sake. However, there is more power in truth. It is amazing what we can face and accomplish in the realm of our mental health if what we genuinely want is positive change. 

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 Ancient Lesson for Today’s Mental Health

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

Once there was a fellow sitting in prison awaiting his fate. His name was Barabas. He was a murderer, an insurrectionist against Rome at a time the Roman Empire occupied  Jerusalem. 

One day, he heard shouts outside his prison walls. “Barabas! Crucify him! Crucify him!” Naturally, this must have frightened him. However, Barabas was taking these words out of context.

You see, the trial of Jesus Christ was occurring at that moment. The governor asked the crowd,  “Who do want me to hand over to you – Barabas or Jesus?” 

The crowd shouted, “Barabas!”

The next question was, “What do you want me to do with this man (referring to Jesus)? 

The crowd shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Does not out-of-context language affect us today? The loudest voices in the media are heard regardless what anyone else is trying to say.  Social media hollers rumors while many people gladly repeat them. We must be careful to dig deeper for those answers that will actually reveal the whole story.

Mental health in context

Yesterday I was in a group where one person expressed concern for a relative who is struggling with depression. This person was offering advice to their loved one saying, “I don’t want you to go to some doctor. They will just throw meds at you.” 

My gentle suggestion that depression can be serious was met with a louder, snappier, “They will just throw drugs at the situation.”  Most likely, at one time this person heard or witnessed a story when mental health medications did not help.

Facts, out of context. 

Medications do not always help for a variety of complex reasons. For more information see my blog 3 Reasons Why Medication Does Not Always Help. Yet this is only one area of mental health treatment that is misunderstood.

People go without treatment because loud stigma rings in their ears. Suffering lasts longer and occurs more frequently in cases of untreated or undertreated depression. Typical treatment  does not always involve meds, yet often does. I urge you to take the time to proactively learn more. 

Context  matters

Barabas was actually set free the day he heard, “Barabas! Crucify him!”  Regardless if it’s about Christian beliefs, politics, someone’s reputation, or any other issue, the truth is in the whole story. Soundbites and stigma help no one. 

If you want to know more about Barabas and Jesus’ trial, click here.

Today’s Helpful Word

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise
brings healing. 

 **********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.

 

#MeToo. Be Careful, Sisters. Not All Who Charm Tell the Truth

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

A  vile man in Hollywood is receiving national attention for his sexual assaults on women.  Former co-workers and employees are exposing his character en masse.

A creepy man lives quietly and voyeuristically, a peeping Tom protecting his fragile reputation and delusion of respectability.  He thinks no one knows. 

A rapist hides among his brothers as they cover for him and set each other up with unsuspecting women.  Victims leave that family home ashamed, convinced the assaults are their fault. 

Two male college students scope out a party for the most desirable prey.  They chat with her while one distracts and the other slips something in her drink.

Internationally, bodies are sold, raped in so-called acts of war, and used without regard to the priceless souls within. 

And on it goes…

Don’t listen to lies

While terrible sexual abuses happen to both male and female targets, we have to admit that to some men, children, women, and even life outside their own is not sacred. 

Corrupt men in high and powerful places who regard women as pawns in their grand schemes of self-satisfaction,  are difficult to identify on the surface.  Poorer and less influential abusers are often equally masked.  To their targets, the message is clear – I have power, you do not. I am entitled to your body,  you are mine.  I deserve to have my needs met, you have no needs that matter. I am worthy, you are valueless.

Know the truth

A reader of this blog sent me his disturbing arguments FOR objectifying women in relationships and through pornography by incorrectly asserting, “From a biblical perspective women were created to be sexual objects for man’s enjoyment and pleasure [sic] … and that’s the bottom line”.

Be smart. If someone is willing to write off half the human race as objects for the other half’s enjoyment, he is probably not the one you want interpreting the BIble for you.  He twisted 1 Corinthians 11:9 and Proverbs 5:19 to support his views.

It’s a shame the Bible is misused this way, but also nothing new. Taking passages out of their grammatical or historical context, and ignoring original social and cultural realities for the original audience, opens the door to any-ol’ misapplication. Also,  pretending that other biblical passages contradicting false claims do not exist  is convenient.  The reader’s comment saddens, but does not surprise me.  

The Corinthian verse,  “Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man,” is conveniently removed from its context about appropriate public dress and worship in first century AD. Only two verses later, the intended biblical message ends with, “For just as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.” That sounds to me like equal responsibility and dependence under God, not ownership of one over the other. 

Then there is the Proverbs verse. This is beautiful.  A full chapter of a father teaching his son to be faithful to his wife and to avoid lust and adultery, is the context out of which the blog reader pulled support for his case!

Be aware

It’s this type of ridiculous rationalizing that fuel sexual harassment and sexual assault. Winking at it is also culprit.  It is silence of non-victims who see what is happening, and complicity of those who refuse to look, that enables cruel and criminal actions against women. 

Be careful, sisters. Not all who charm tell the truth.

Today’s Helpful Word

2 Corinthians 4:2

But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

 

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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 can be yours.

 

 

In Political Turmoil Love is a Moral Value

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2015 Nancy Virden

politics, heartsSo how did politics slip into a blog on mental health? Our values guide us and our politics. Even in political turmoil, love is a moral value. and we all know that without it we cannot be whole.

First, a definition of love

Love is action. It is caring enough about a person or nation to sacrifice for their wellbeing. When a war veteran says he or she loves America, it means something different than corrupt leader’s glib, “Gotta love America” as he or she rakes money into their greedy arms.

Love is superior to romance.  Romance is often only lust and warm fuzzy feelings. These are focused on one’s pleasure.  Romance matures when love is the overseer and leads to kindness, patience, acceptance, honesty, and consideration of each other’s feelings and needs. 

Love is a choice. In minor interactions as well as deeper connections, it is our decision whom to love.  We can treat waiters and cashiers as persons worthy of respect or as nonentities. It is up to us to forgive family members or retaliate. Applying effort to know someone is an option as is making superficial judgments. 

Politics and love

Valuing love will guide political opinions and votes. Of course I have political opinions but am much more concerned about how Jesus’ words, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”  are ignored in this world.

Plenty of self-love is evident from political leaders to the average citizen. For example, why does a populace vote on economics rather than moral character or skill? Why are innocent people in prison in the era of DNA testing? Why is there homelessness in this affluent country? 

Love is not voiceless and demands I stand up against injustice whenever possible. Nonetheless, while speaking out, my job as a follower of Jesus is to accept those who disagree and to refuse hate. Love tops politics every time.

Love and Learn

Respectful dialogue is vital. Truth on either side of an issue can withstand scrutiny. Hollering, arguing, and stubborn close-mindedness drive people further apart until no progress can occur. Learning from each other does not change the truth, it teaches us how to love each other as we love ourselves.

 Today’s Helpful Word

Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT)

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

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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 can be yours.

 *picture by LUSI from rgbstock.com

 

To Anyone Who Thinks About Suicide

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

Your feelings are real and deserve to be accepted as such. Your experience with despair is yours and not anyone else’s. You have the right to feel great pain without a bunch of people telling you your emotions are wrong.

Yes, your thoughts and feelings are actually happening. Let’s use caution, though. Not everything we feel so intensely makes all of our thoughts rational or true.  For example, you may actually be lonely. It may be difficult to find someone to care. Your thought that this situation can never change is not based in truth.

Support does not always come from where we wish it would. Significant people such as family and friends can often manage to make us feel worse even while they try to fix us or our pain. This is sad and frustrating, however the thought that we can never find the love and acceptance we need is not based in truth.

Loss hurts. Loss hurts so very much! We lose family through abandonment, divorce, rejection, and death.  Abuse and other traumas change our brain and we struggle to have a “normal” feeling or thought. Addiction chains us to guilt and self-loathing.  Although we move forward it does not seem fast or good enough.  Listen to me anyway!

Your life is not over even though your mind and heart are telling you it is. That worthlessness you feel is temporary. Hopelessness is a lie. Yes, some situations are not meant to continue and changes are necessary. Nonetheless, it is not your entire existence that must be wiped away.

At one point I felt strongly I was supposed to die. Since it did not happen, God had time to slowly teach me that it was actually my old and unhealthy ways of perceiving the world that needed to be put to death. That path out of darkness was the most profound challenge of my life, yet it was doable despite how I felt.

When Jesus died at his crucifixion and then came back to life to live in heaven with God, he made a permanent way for us to know Light and to not live in darkness anymore. Yes, we will suffer loss, depression, anger, loneliness, and fear. People will not always understand and may expect us to stop hurting. Yet once we have yielded to Jesus as our Savior from sin and eternal condemnation, we always have him to turn to with our doubts and strong emotions.

Perhaps the bravest thing you will ever do is stay alive when everything within you is pointing to suicide. You can be that brave, though. Find people who get it. We are out here, listening, and glad to help see you through. We are in hospitals, intensive outpatient programs, and support groups. We are on the internet, and sitting next to you at work. You will find us, we are here.

If you haven’t already, ask Jesus to forgive your sins, whatever they may be. Then stay tuned to this website, find professional help, and wait for what you think is impossible but is not – a more satisfying, purpose-filled life.

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 33: 20 – 22 

“We put our hope in the LORD . He is our help and our shield.  In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.”

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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.

 

 

Why and How Would I Forgive that %&*$# ? Part Two

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2015 Nancy Virden

photo-26058297In my opinion, the most difficult person to forgive is the one who is currently and repeatedly causing harm. Frustration can be insurmountable trying to deal with an offender who ignores our voice or pleas to stop. It may be appropriate to use the term “abuser” to describe this person who is operating under the assumption of power and control.

Someone once said to me that the first step toward recovery and healing from abuse is to stop the abuse. When physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, spiritual, or financial abuse is occurring, it must be stopped.

How are we supposed to forgive a person like that? Should we?

We have examples of such amazing spirit in the lives and deaths of people who suffered while forgiving those who brought them harm. One hundred years ago, minutes before her death, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna prayed for those who were about to kill her. Earlier she had forgiven the murderer of her husband.*

What about now? Photos of Hutus and Tutsis, the two warring cultures whose acts of genocide killed millions of people in Rwanda, show survivors from both sides standing together 20 years later forming a new interdependent society. Pascale Kavanaugh began to care for her abuser in 2010 after the woman suffered strokes that left her helpless. Pascale sat by her mother, her enemy, and read to her. Through this experience, Pascale’s hatred changed to love and forgiveness.**

This type of struggle is familiar to me. Because my family of origin was unhealthy, I have had to address this position of forgiving while being hurt. Of course your issues are unknown to me. What I can point out is what I have learned in the process.

  1. It is sometimes necessary to leave. No one can tell another when it is time to end a relationship. I had to learn my value before I could say goodbye to toxic people. However, abuse is never ok, and you can seek help from a number of community and religious organizations.
  2. It can help to see the offender as human.  Jesus is the epitome of understanding this as he asked God to forgive those who were killing him, “because they do not know what they were doing.” ***
  3. It can help to accept that this person may not change. Much of my pain in harmful relationships has been caused by a lingering hope that tomorrow or next month, or after some event, the offender will soften. These pipe dreams kept me stuck in damaging holding patterns.
  4. It is helpful to let go of the woulda-couldas.  If only the past would change, I thought, then everything would be okay. But it won’t. Harm has been done, pain is reality, thinking about regrets only injures us more. Today’s option is moving forward. We know who and where we once were, but do we know who we want to be? We can go for what we want.
  5. It is a relief to believe that God  is the offender’s judge and we can leave behind any desire for revenge or vindication.
  6. It is important to forgive the right person. I have found it impossible to forgive someone who hurt me when deep inside I was actually blaming myself.
  7. Return good for evil. This does not mean to become or perpetrate an attitude of passive slave or door mat! However, by practicing kindness with boundaries, I have felt my heart become free of resentment. Jesus said to pray for our enemies.

Why forgive? Because it empties our hearts of bitterness. How to forgive? By extending kindness and mercy. No one promises this is easy.

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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 can be yours.

-pictures from qualitystockphotos.com

*A Russian Orthodox Church Website Orthodox Christianity and the World http://www.pravmir.com Great Examples of Forgiveness file:///C:/Users/nancy/Downloads/great-examples-of-forgiveness%20(1).pdf

**By Jane Claire Hervey http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/extreme-forgiveness/ A Mending Feud   and The Unexpected Caregiver

“She Would Never Leave Her Boys” Oregon Mom Dies By Suicide

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

photo-24783806-sad-face-of-beautiful-young-ladyShocking.

Unbelievable.

A good mom would never leave her children, right?

If only the story of the young Oregon mom, who was missing for two weeks before being found dead, a victim of suicide, fit those descriptions. Truth is, a more applicable response might be, “Again?” 

Good men and women can suffer with major depression. Loving parents can complete suicide. I know, because I was once like that Oregon mom.

A common sentiment among those who have not experienced major depression seems to be dismissal, almost a refusal to believe it exists. With the growth of medicine and technology we in this century have experienced, it seems we would be more open to possibilities. We know that what is little understood today may one become household knowledge. Why then do we often insist that mental diseases must be exaggerated or matters of character defect?

Why would a mother of two leave her boys? Wasn’t she just selfish, weak, ego-centric, lazy, mean, stupid, and rebellious against God? No.

Severe depression had me convinced my children would be better off without me, that they would not care. I believed I would be loving them by getting out of their way. Of course I was flat wrong, but I was not in my right mind. Not in my right mind.

I doubt this Oregon mom would, in her right mind, ever leave her sons. I’m suggesting an illness in her brain made her act out against who she was in her heart.

Let’s bury assumptions, guesswork, and close-minded interpretations of what we do not know (That’s the media’s job.) You and I can be smarter, and accept there is much we do not yet understand about diseases in general, and mental illnesses especially. By reaching out to support those who are left behind,  we can refuse to criticize and instead come alongside as empathetic friends.

Pray for the Oregon Mom’s family. If she felt unimportant as I suspect she did, how amazed would she be to see the impact her suicide has had on a nation?

Compassionate love accepts and helps those who suffer.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Lonely Irrationality. Will We Succumb to Social False Advertising?

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

two people making money dealWendy was a customer service representative I met upon moving to the Philadelphia area. We knew each other briefly before she left her job.

The story told to me after she moved on was that she fell in love with a Russian man she met on the internet. He satisfied her loneliness and promised happiness-ever-after. There was one contingent; he wanted $19,000. Because of lonely desperation, she ignored the obvious and sent him the money so he could travel to the U.S. 

The online lover may have been Russian, and perhaps a man. What Wendy now knows is that this person was a liar.  Why was she so eager to believe the schemer?  When I met her, she seemed chatty and full of spirit. She’d returned to school and was studying hard to move into a professional field.

Loneliness in its most acute stages does not have to look the part. We are ready to believe what others present to us. “He seems happy.” “She is lucky. ” “They have the best life.”  We may be great at acting, however so is everyone. We are easily led by perceptions unless we try hard to avoid it.

Rationality comes from recognizing what is true. Wendy did not realize that loneliness cn be overcome. She is now ashamed, embarrassed, wounded, even more lonely, and minus $19,000.

What it is we are or have willingly given up due to lonely irrationality? 

We have the resources to build safer support systems. We can and must reach out in real-time to people who are with us physically. Social sites like Facebook are dumbing us to believe everything superficial. We are giving away to strangers hours and days spent communicating through soundbites and memes.

It’s harder and more rewarding to ask hard questions in person. Let people see us cry. Allow empathy for the pain others feel.  Laugh genuinely with friends who think our humor is endearing and who will trust us with their silliness. This takes time, and sturdy willingness.

The payoff is priceless. Avoid the false, and Invest in real life.

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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.