Tag Archives: well-being

Jesus Offers Safety in the World of Emotions and Vulnerability

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

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When emotions are stifled as a child, you never learn how to use or regulate them.

Adult friends have said over the years, “You are open to a point, and then no one can cross that line;” or “You seem unapproachable. Above all the rest of us.”

What friends did not know is the guilt I carried and the continuous reel of tongue lashings I gave myself every day for feeling, let alone sharing any of those feelings whether happy or not-so happy. Vulnerability was downright threatening because of what I would do to myself.

I wasn’t honest about that. God knows I needed help, lots of it, but it seemed too much to ask.

I didn’t want to burden anyone with it and didn’t know what to say anyway. Yet that led to crashes that did burden people in big ways. Rarely reaching out or reaching out in ways that would not actually lead to help, kept me stuck.

Oh believe me, I kept begging – for someone, anyone – to meet my needs. Desperately screaming all my life- does anyone care? I hurt, I’m sad, I’m lost! Angrily demanding, why aren’t you rescuing me?

No one heard because I didn’t scream out loud.

Vulnerability for Wellness

When we come out of unloving or abusive families, it is common to feel different from everyone else, like we are on the outside of a huge secret. We may not know how or where to find emotional safety – or even believe it exists.

In Christ, we are amazingly safe to be vulnerable with people. He led me to wise counselors and then helped me to lower my shield. Learning openness and honesty has not only been freeing, but it helps other people to come out from the shadows.

Vulnerability is hard. We fear jumping off that proverbial cliff of trust – what if no one is there to respond in meaningful or healthy ways? We are afraid that rejection or apathy or even betrayal will leave us in a crumpled heap at the bottom.

It could happen – from the human standpoint.

In Christ though, we have safety. He is our enduring Catcher. Vulnerability with others is important for mental health and well-being. Landing in the tender clutch of Jesus makes jumping worth the risk.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on [Jesus] because he cares for you.

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

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

If you are 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. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours.

5 Ways to Refer People Who Hurt to Professional Mental Healthcare

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

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A sixty year old woman had two grown sons in their late twenties still living at home. They stole food, borrowed the car without asking, and paid no rent. The mother grew severely depressed over this, as every line she drew, her husband erased.

“I don’t think I can take much more”, she said. “I need someone to hear me, talk with me, and help me make it through another day.”

Occasionally we may run into someone whose mood appears deeper than most. It is short-sighted, and indeed dangerous to play diagnostician. Unless we are highly trained in psychology and therapeutic processes (at least a Master’s degree), we cannot claim to know what anyone needs. Our experience alone is not an accurate measure of the pain, disorder, or mental health of someone else. 

How can we suggest a troubled person see a professional? 

A general fear of making such a suggestion is that the person may become angry or upset. The key to any kind of diplomacy is calm, respect, and truth. 

Option 1:  “I care about your well-being. Your needs are greater than I can meet. How about seeing a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, to find out if more can be done medically or through therapy?”

At that point, you may offer to find such a doctor or drive to the first appointment. If the person you are referring prefers to start with his or her General Practitioner, help to compile a thorough list of symptoms to take to the doctor’s office. 

Option 2:  “Many people who have felt hopeless have found greater satisfaction and well-being through a combination of medication and therapy. I’d like to see that happen for you.”

You may offer them a list of resources, and perhaps make the calls. 

Option 3:  “All this may seem hopeless to you now, but situations and people can change. Do you think your family would agree to family counseling? Even so, you deserve to focus on yourself until you regain a sense of control over your well-being. A therapist could teach you how to cope more easily.”

Option 4:  I’m concerned about your mood. Let me take you to the ER for an assessment. They will give you appropriate recommendations. I’m uncertain about your safety.” 

Smile with a non-judgmental attitude. Show you care through sincere, non-critical acceptance.

Option 5:  In an extreme case of suicidal threats, say,  “What you are telling me is important. I will take you to the hospital now or call 911. Which do you prefer?”

Every one I have met who has lost someone to suicide still struggles with the question, “why?” Many carry false guilt wondering, “What should I have done differently?” 

I try to remember I’d rather have someone mad at me than dead. A loved one I forced to go to the hospital was angry for years. The loaded shotgun found laying openly on the floor by his bed resolved any regret I may have momentarily felt. 

It is hard to confront people this way sometimes. It is worth it to see them healthy and whole.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Corinthians 13:7 

Love … It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

 

***** 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.

Is Your Skin Hungry?

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

Happy National Hugging Day!

free hugsA fellow college student once said to me many years ago, “Sometimes I need a simple touch or a hug. My skin gets hungry. You know what I mean?”

We feed out tummies readily enough. Some days we feed our minds. If we feed our souls at all, it is often a limited effort. When do we feed our skin?

Babies who receive hugs thrive better than those who do not. There is standard agreement on this point all around the world. Volunteers who hold babies born addicted to drugs or alcohol do a great service, perhaps improving that child’s whole life. Mothers and fathers who touch their children and hug them also are investing in their offsprings’ overall emotional and physical health.

While physical touch benefits our emotions, they also can bring us better health. For instance, cardiomyopathy and heart attacks can be induced by broken hearts.* Stress hormones lower when we receive and offer hugs.**  Want to feel better? Feeding your skin may be part of your overall answer.

I don’t know about you, but I feel more secure when someone holds me. I love it when my sons give me hugs. It boosts my morale and lowers stress levels. This is common among adults. Kind physical touch induces  a sense of well-being, connection, and even trust. It is about our basic need for belonging, which when met can lead to positive feelings, even happiness. Hugs make us feel less lonely.

Of course, this involves brain chemicals and hormones which in some relationships can lead to lovely romantic experiences. However, “skin-hunger” is not about sex. Sad stories that have come my way include people searching desperately for a loving touch, selling out to the lowest bidder in hopes of finding that permanent security. Destruction and regret follow such choices.

Simply for the sake of clarity, allow me to mention the grave seriousness of unwanted touch. Abuse is about power and control. Hugging against a person’s resistance is a breach of private space. It is a violation. Physical touch is a matter of choice and respecting another’s right to choose. Humans who experience skin-hunger want it fed and to experience safety in the process.

Well, today’s the day! Reach out to someone near you, and with their permission give them a gentle squeeze. You could add happiness to each of you at a deeper level than perhaps you imagined.

**********

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.

*Andrea F. Polard Psy.D.A Unified Theory of Happiness 4 Benefits of Hugs, for Mind and Body. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/heart-411/201201/can-you-really-die-broken-heart

**Marc Gillinov M.D.Heart 411 Can You Really Die of a Broken Heart? Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/unified-theory-happiness/201406/4-benefits-hugs-mind-and-body