Psalm 41:9 - Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.
When other people find out we suffer from a mental illness sometimes they want to pretend it doesn’t exist so they pull away.
It’s easier that way, or so it seems. Or is it? But you don’t know what’s going on in their life.
Mental illness takes its hands and wraps them around the throat of the one suffering. It reaches inside and grabs a hold of our hearts. And when we see our friend pulling away, it can feel like the last straw. The last bit of hope is gone. The last chance to turn the corner and feel human again has slipped away.
You see, mental illness can also make you feel like a monster. Sometimes it causes you to act in ways that you wouldn’t normally. And when we feel this way, it isn’t our friend who pulls away from us; it’s us pulling away from all of the people who care about us.
How do we stop relationships pulling apart when we have a mental illness? Nami.org posts the article, “How to Love Someone With A Mental Illness,” in which they suggest to resist the urge to say, “Try harder.” If someone is having an asthma attack you don’t tell them to try harder to breathe. Also, let go of your time table as to how long it could take to find wholeness.
In addition to the suggestions in the article above, realize that the one suffering from mental illness could share much insight into what life is like for them, and provide help to others who are coping with the hard things in life that may turn into mental illness. By allowing them the opportunity to share their life, you can toss out your fears and let in the light of understanding. Then you’ll be giving them the chance to once again become your close friend. Someone they can trust with the difficulties of living with mental illness.
Psalm 102:6-7 - I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins. I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof.
Whether it be due to chronic pain, illness, emotional pain or loss our pasts will often cast a shadow on our future. Plans. Habits. Time. All affected by our actions and those of others around us.
We’ve been used to doing things the same way and then the train of life crashes and that life will never be the same. Now that accident consumes our days and nights.
“If only,” seems to fly onto the screen of our minds.
But just because our pasts remind us of the train crash, it doesn’t mean that our futures can’t be fulfilling. It’s all about choice. Do you want to see yourself as a victim of your circumstances? A victim is someone who allows another person or life event to rob us of today. It pulls us away from what could’ve been, and forces us to live amongst the rubble scattered around our lives.
Now that we’ve established that I think the train crash has made my future seem impossible, how do I clear away the rubble and move on with my life? Lifehack.org in their article, “11 Things to Remember With Sudden Life Changes,” gives us some ideas. For one thing, feeling confused and upset is normal. Some people may make you feel bad because you feel that way. Don’t listen to them. Also, the haze you are in now will eventually lift.
So what am I going to do? I’m going to ask God to clear away the rubble I’ve been living amongst, and get on a new train. And this time it’s on its way to the land of hope. I will no longer feel like the owl, alone and ruined mentioned in the Bible verse above. So come join me and see how your future can be brighter even if you’ve gone through a train wreck.
How Far Do You Go to Help Someone?
You see a friend heading in the wrong direction. If they continue on this course of action they’ll get hurt. But will you risk hurting your relationship with them if you try to stop them?
Each day we all make choices:
Some are good.
Some are bad.
Some make a difference.
Some don’t make much of a difference.
Some make people happy.
Some make them angry.
You get the gist. But what if while we’re walking down our path of life we run into someone who is headed for a cliff? You start walking toward them. They increase their pace. You increase yours. They’re almost to the edge. You shout out, “Stop! You’re going to fall!”
But they ignore you.
And as you run towards them, they jump.
This may be a drastic example, but it can happen. It may be that they’ve been altering figures in the accounting department a friend works in, but no one’s noticed, so they keep doing it. But truthfully, someone has noticed. You. You sit down with them and explain that they may not only lose their job, but they could end up in jail.
But they don’t listen.
Do you risk your friendship, by threatening to tell the boss what you’re friend’s doing? After all, you could be in trouble too because you know what they’ve been doing and haven’t reported it yet.
Your friend may have told you recently that their doctor told them to stop eating fried foods and sugar because their arteries are clogged. They’re heading fast toward a heart attack. You sit down with them after their appointment, and try to help them by showing them some diet and exercise changes that they can make. You tell them you’re with them all the way, and they can count on your help.
But they don’t listen.
Once again, do you risk your friendship by telling their wife how bad it is? Your friend doesn’t want you to, because he knows she’ll be furious with him and make him go on a diet. But isn’t saving their life more important than losing your friendship?
In both of these examples, it’s a matter of how far you are willing to go to help a friend. Cnn.com posts the article, “Self-destructive Friends – What to do?” The article discusses roots of self-destructive behavior, setting boundaries and helping someone for the wrong reasons. They also discuss one way to finding a balance in helping someone is to set expectations, but don’t make demands.
When wanting to stop a friend before they jump off a cliff, it’s important to think about how far you are willing to go to help someone. If they are in mortal danger, by all means help them or get them the help they need. Remember, if you think someone is in such a bad place that they’re talking about killing themselves dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.
It’s important to be the kind of friend who will help another when they fall down, but be careful. Your friendship may be at stake, and your life may be affected in a negative way if you go too far when helping a friend. Find some balance, and ask God to give you the wisdom to know what to do.
Luke 12:29 - And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.
We’ve just passed through the holiday season and are now heading into the New Year. Many people make New Year’s resolutions centering on an area of their life that they are seeking to change.
But for some, their New Year’s resolutions aren’t just to improve their financial or career goals, but to gain back some of the control that they lost during the past year.
What I’m talking about is loss of control due to an addiction. Addictions can wrap chains around our ankles making it almost impossible to break free from its control over their lives.
The most common addictions are tobacco, alcohol and drugs, but the kind of addiction I’m thinking of is an addiction to food. Yes, many peoples’ New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. That’s a good goal. And with the new diets, like the Mediterranean or Keto diet, they provide a pretty good chance of success.
I’m not here to judge the benefits of one diet over the other. But I’m talking about something that has a stronger pull on us – a food addiction. I want my readers to believe they can break free from habits that control them. Loss of control can cause you to feel that you can’t live without a certain food such as sugar or chocolate.
To many this problem can seem trivial. But to those of us who are constantly thinking about food, it can affect all areas of our lives. The problem with a food addiction is that it can point to a much deeper problem. Here are some examples:
Whatever the reason that you feel you’ve lost control over your addiction to food there is hope. Myfitnesspal.com in their article, “5 Steps to Take Control of Food Addiction,” provides a plan of action. Some examples are following a structured meal plan because it can help you set safe boundaries with food; and, learn healthy coping strategies which can include finding out your reasons for overeating.
Thoughts of food have visited your mind almost all of the time, and you didn’t develop your food addiction over night. Breaking your addiction will also not happen without time and working at it. As you begin to use some of the suggestions in the article above and with God’s help, you will begin to stop worrying about what you eat and how much of it. I know this all may seem impossible, but it is possible to overcome your addiction to food.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.