2 Kings 20:6 - I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.
In past posts I’ve written about the stress a patient goes through while battling chronic pain or an illness, but what about the other people in their lives? What do they go through when they are on the other side of the road?
Chronic health conditions cause obvious anxiety to the one going through them. But have you ever thought about what a patient’s family and friends go through?
Let’s say your loved one receives the worst of news and they are diagnosed with a fatal disease. Sometimes the patient is even given a time line for how long they will live. Maybe they’ve been told that they only have seven months to live.
The whole family now gets involved trying to make the best out of what time they have left. Perhaps a family vacation is planned or the patient decides to take everyone for one big shopping spree.
They offer hugs and consolation.
They are told how much they are loved.
They are told how hard it will be without them.
But they also laugh together.
Talk about happy memories and funny stories.
And show just how much they love the one who is about to die.
They walk beside the person who is dying and then the stress begins to pour on them because they only have so much time left with them. The stress is difficult as the patient is taken to one appointment after another.
The family drives them to their treatment appointments.
They offer to pick up prescriptions and food as they need it.
They hold them tightly as never before all the while wondering is this visit the last time they will see their loved one alive?
So, they’re all walking from the light into a dark tomorrow. But then the unimaginable happens. They are at a doctor’s appointment to review the growth of their disease. The doctor has a smile on his face as he gives the news – the treatment has been going so well that they now have one to three years to live and perhaps even longer.
The patient and their loves ones are now both on the other side of the road in remission. So how do you figure out how to live your life now? In whatnext.com’s article, “You’re in Remission: What’s Next?” it provides suggestions on how to live your life, because getting back to a normal life is challenging. A few of their ideas include keeping your expectations moderate in the beginning; don’t expect your life to be the same as it was before treatment; and how to cope with your new normal.
Take a look at the Bible verse above. King Hezekiah was very ill and was about to die. He asked God for forgiveness and God believed he was truly sorry and added fifteen more years to his life. God does sometimes extend our lives. Don’t just be fearful of the amount of time your doctor says you have to live. Things can change and you’ll find yourself on the other side of the road in remission.
James 1:19 - My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Your hands are shaking and sweating, so you stick them in your pockets. The conversation between your friends and you keeps moving forward in all directions at break neck speed.
You’re trying to keep up, but you just can’t. You try to stay connected to the conversation, but you’re mind starts to focus so much on what you may say that you get left behind. For you, it’s a constant battle trying to keep up.
Then, the conversation pauses and everyone is looking at you.
“Oh, no!” you think. “Why are they looking at me? Did they ask me for my opinion?” So what do you do? Instead of calmly asking them to repeat their question, you open your mouth and out come the wrong words.
When battling anxiety and depression, it is often difficult to keep up with conversations and the directions they’re going in. You’re constantly juggling your thoughts and their words.
You face the battle of trying to keep up.
So you have several choices:
But is it such a bad idea to be slow to speak? Do we always have to be ready with a quick word that means nothing in the midst of the conversation? Just speaking constantly is not a good idea either.
How your friends respond to you will tell whether or not you’re going to go down in defeat or catch a break. Take a look at wikihow.com’s article, “How to Continue a Conversation.” The article will show you how to have a meaningful conversation such as taking a look at your surroundings. It can be easy to talk about the weather or a building that’s close by so that you’ll have something real to share. Also, in the article you’ll find out how to be an active listener such as listening as much as you speak.
With the help of the article above, you’ll find yourself better prepared and that it’s easier to stay caught up in a conversation. Then the next time you’re surrounded by those friends looking at you for a response, you’ll have something in your back pocket to pull out and speak about. Before long, you’ll learn as the Bible verse above says, that it is valuable for you to be quick to listen and slow to speak. You’ll find it easier to stay caught up and be able to interject something worthwhile to the conversation.
Psalm 90:12 - Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
All of us could die in the blink of the eye. It doesn’t matter if you are perfectly healthy or battle a chronic condition; we will all die some day.
We are all running out of time.
All of us are losing a bit of time every day. There are many people who are fixated on death and when their time will come. They look for things that are wrong with their bodies, come up with all kinds of worst case scenarios and feel as if they are close to the end.
The roller coaster is now filled with people who believe they won’t live long. The fear of the roller coaster falling off the track haunts them every day. The anger of having to deal with falling off the roller coaster and not being able to prevent it can consume any of us.
In many cases we can’t know how to get off the roller coaster ride of fear of death. Our lives are one big emotional upheaval.
Is there anything that can stop us from being so afraid of death? Is there anything we can do to help prolong our lives and stop feeling like we’re running out of time?
Instead of feeling like there’s nothing we can do, let’s start being proactive and find ways that we may be able to help prolong our lives. Aarp.org in their article, “50 Ways to Live Longer, Healthier Lives,” discusses the importance of eating ripe produce, and finding a purpose for your life which will give you something to work towards achieving.
And as the Bible verse above says, God can give us wisdom on how to live our lives so that we take a look at the number of our days and don’t take them for granted. Keep being proactive like the article above states and focus on today instead of on our running out of time. Only God knows our days, and he can help us enjoy our life once more instead of living it in fear.
Psalm 142: 5, 6 – I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.
When you have an invisible mental health issue such as depression, it’s easy to fall prey of judgmental attitudes.
It seems like everywhere I go I sense that others are watching me. Some know that I battle depression. And yes, it is a battle. One fought on the battlefield of our minds. And the enemy stands in front of us laughing.
Laughing because they think we’re doped up.
Laughing because they think we’re taking the easy way out.
But there is nothing easy about depression. And even though we may be seeing a doctor for the condition, we’re judged by others when we choose to accept the help antidepressant medications can give us.
So how do we cope with the judgmental attitudes others feel towards us when we choose to treat depression with medications? Thetempest.com in their article, “Here’s How to Battle the Stigma Surrounding Antidepressants,” discusses how too many people believe depression and anxiety are the individuals choice; and lists some of the unhelpful statements and questions that someone struggling with mental illness deals with when considering medication.
Removing the stigma around taking antidepressants can help people who fight depression to get medical help when treating depression. We have to stop judging others and ourselves so that healing can begin.
God knows that those of us who fight depression are in desperate need of being rescued from those who pursue us by placing labels on us. Our world would be a gentler and more compassionate place if we would support those who choose to get help.
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.