Ephesians 3:20 - Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.
You’re expecting company from out of town. They are driving from out of state to see you. You’re excited to have them arrive, but they are almost an hour late. You worry that they’ve been in a traffic accident, when in truth; they are only late due to road construction.
A family member is having a routine physical exam today, but even though it’s a yearly visit you worry that they might find something life-threatening. Yet, the doctor doesn’t find anything major wrong, just that they have to watch their salt intake.
You receive a call from your office manager asking you to come to his office. You automatically kick your thoughts into high gear believing this could be it, and you’re going to be fired. But in fact, the manager has called you in because you’re in line for a promotion.
Good news – bad news.
That’s how we live our lives. We can always believe the worst in a situation instead of looking for the best. Life is full of serious and possibly worst case scenarios, but for the most part, life is full of the best you could even imagine.
Which do you lean towards? Do you believe that the absolute worst in a situation is going to happen? It’s easy to travel down a slippery slope of thinking nothing good can come out of a situation. But all that worry is taxing on your mind and body. And not only that, people who are around you may begin to shut you down, because they don’t want to be around a person who always thinks the worst of a situation instead of believing the best.
Some people just seem to naturally look at the best in everything while there are others who are constantly catastrophizing every situation. Catastrophizing, if left on its own may spiral out of control and can turn into a mental disorder called cognitive distortion. This condition, if left unchecked, can affect all areas of our lives.
What can we do to help this condition? Medicalnewstoday.com posts the article, “How to Stop Catastrophizing.” The article provides us with the causes, related psychiatric conditions, pain catastrophizing and medical treatments. It also provides steps to manage catastrophic thinking such as recognizing when thoughts are irrational, and telling your mind to stop at the first signs of this line of thinking.
When you are tempted to think the worst is going to happen, remember that God has in store for us more good than we could ever imagine. Cling to that hope when things are tough, and cling to them when the best is just over the horizon.
Psalm 55:1-2 - For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil of David. Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught.
Having fun with friends or loved ones enriches our lives. While being with them you may be enjoying yourself so much that time seems to speed up, and before you know it, it’s time to head home.
There’s another way to lose track of time. This can happen at work. You get so involved with a task that when you look at the clock, you’re day is almost over. This can be a difficult if you haven’t finished your work for the day, but it can be good when your job is boring or takes a lot of energy to do.
A less important way to lose time is when you become so involved with the TV show you’re watching that, you look at the clock and are amazed it’s almost time to go to bed.
These three examples are positive ways of losing track of time. But there’s another way to lose track of time.
Living with a mental illness such as depression or anxiety disorder can be so overwhelming that you forget parts of your day, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t remember what happened.
Being forgetful of chunks of your day is common with diseases of dementia. But this isn’t dementia. This is your brain being in so much pain from what’s happening in your life that you automatically hit the overload button and a section of your day is simply not there anymore.
Losing track of time can be a scary thing; especially when you already have things that are causing you to be mentally worn out. Healthyplace.com, in their article, “Depression and Memory Loss: Causes, Effects, Treatment,” tells us how some parts of the brain associated with memory are physically impaired in depression. This can be rather scary to the person losing track of time. The article also provides some of the effects such as forgetting a certain word he or she wants to use, or forgetting the content of a conversation you had the day before. But it also provides hope by describing some of the treatments for the memory loss.
Another way to find hope is to look at what the Bible verses above. David, who was the king of Israel, called upon God because he was distraught and his thoughts troubled him. God did answer David’s plea and he will hear you and answer yours as well. God is concerned about all areas of your life including when you lose track of time.
Job 12:13 - To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.
Many times, as we sit in a doctor’s office waiting for the doctor to come in, we feel anxious. We become unsure if what we’re experiencing is bad enough to see a doctor.
Having self-respect with others is an important part of who we are. We may seek out those who will tell us the truth, but do it in such a way that we won’t feel we are less of a person.
These things can also be true of your relationship with your doctor:
And that’s where the rub is – our self-respect as a patient is a fragile thing. It’s easy to break off the bird’s wing leaving it unable to soar once more.
Try to remember, you aren’t just taking up a physician’s time. They are paid to see us not the other way around. We are in affect the employer and they are the employee. Rise up and find respect in the fact that their job is to help us become well.
These situations are not only for the one who is seeking a medical doctor’s help, but also for our mental health. Sometimes mental health is more difficult to treat than an injury or illness we’re seeking relief from.
Though you may be seeing a mental health doctor for referral to a therapist, or are there for medication review, it can sometimes make you feel your issues aren’t that important.
What if it’s something big like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or a bipolar condition? It’s important that we convey our symptoms and ask for help. So how do we approach an appointment and still keep our self-respect?
Mentalhealth.fitness posts an article titled, “Bringing it up: 13 Tips for Talking with Your Physician About Depression.” The article contains suggestions when talking to your physician about mental health issues such as recognize that, although you may feel uncomfortable, you are sharing a legitimate medical concern to get the help you need.
It’s important that you remind yourself when speaking to your primary physician that you are worth their time, and taking this step, though it may be difficult, will make all the difference in your self-respect as a patient and your healing journey.
One more thing, God will give you the wisdom that you need to express your needs to a doctor and can give the doctor that same wisdom and the understanding that you need as their patient.
Exodus 4:14 - Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you.
Do you ever have a day when everything you say comes out wrong? No matter how hard you try, it turns upside down.
Let’s put out a scenario – Your son is supposed to come over to help you clean up your yard and promises he will be there, but he doesn’t show up.
All of these scenarios can be true, but are they in this case?
It’s time for you to get ready for bed and still you haven’t received a phone call from your son. Do you try to call him and find out if he’s okay? Or do you just leave it for the next day and see if he contacts you.
This kind of situation, in some form, has happened to all of us. It could be a friend that let you down, or a co-worker who was supposed to help you finish a project. Each time that someone has let you down, you try to tell them that you’re not mad at them, you just want an explanation. Yet, they don’t receive it that way.
There must be a better way to communicate to others the right way and not in such a way as your words come out upside down. Forbes.com posts an article titled, “Six Bad Conversation Habits and How to Fix Them,” such as practicing the pause where you count to five before you respond and let others speak first.
With help from the article by Forbes, we can begin to learn how to respond in conversation that will not offend the person you are talking to and perhaps this will keep us out of arguments and away from turning our words upside down.
Take a look at the Bible verse above. When Moses was told that God would be sending him to Pharaoh to tell him to let the Israelites go, Moses complained that his speech wasn’t eloquent. It made God angry because Moses wasn’t trust God, but he still provided Moses’ brother, Aaron, to speak for him to the Israelites and Pharaoh. God will do the same for you. He might not send you someone to speak for you, but he can give you that quiet assurance that you aren’t alone, and he will help you communicate more effectively.
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.