Mental Health with Prudence

When I am in the middle of a mental health battle everything can and usually does seem wrong – bad – against me – nothing is going right and “NEVER” will again… and we all know that this is bunk when we are at the other side of the battle… 

The battles are dark and potentially deadly… and because of the deadly part – wisdom needs to be used… 

Proverbs 8:5-6 (NIV)
You who are simple, gain prudence;

You who are foolish, set your hearts on it. 
Listen, for I [widsom] have trustworthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.

Prudence:
1: the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason
2: sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs
3: skill and good judgment in the use of resources
4: caution or circumspection as to danger or risk

So #2 doesn’t really apply here but the other 3 most certainly do! 

#1 Govern and reason – Reason and mental health – basically mortal enemies and not used as a pun – 2 Cor 10:3-5 How do these words, arguments line up with God’s words and truth? It isn’t just a thoughts game – it is a Spiritual battle! Battle plan – praying, praying and more praying – and reaching out to have my network pray… 
#3 Skill and judgments and resources – as a Christian I have my Bible and my trusting “Bible First Aid Kit” – memories of dark times I have been through with God – verses in the Bible that talk to me about how irrational my behavior and thoughts are
#4 Caution – Keeping in touch with family and friends – my support network really helps keep me from big slides… I am accountable to them and they help me if they see changes in my behavior… 

Journalling – for me – journalling is important – I can look back and see success and joy!

But how about the hard times? Aren’t those depressing? 

No – I get to look back and see how God got me through the hard times! I get to look back and see just how far God has brought me! I get to go back and know that God has already helped me fight bigger battles and won them – so I know that whatever battle I find myself in – God will get me through now… 

This is called WISDOM – knowledge is knowing something can happen – WISDOM is putting knowledge into practice… 

My Temple & Talk with God Today

Eze 44:5–8 Take careful note of the procedures for using the Temple’s entrances and exits. 6 And give these rebels, the people of Israel, this message from the Sovereign LORD: O people of Israel, enough of your detestable sins! 7 You have brought uncircumcised foreigners into my sanctuary—people who have no heart for God. In this way, you defiled my Temple even as you offered me my food, the fat and blood of sacrifices. In addition to all your other detestable sins, you have broken my covenant. 8 Instead of safeguarding my sacred rituals, you have hired foreigners to take charge of my sanctuary.

Back in Ezekiel’s day, God’s temple was a single building. Built with VERY specific measurements. Here the prophet’s role was to teach the Israelites not only how to physically rebuild God’s temple where Jehovah was going to return to but to also instruct the populations on how to change their ways when seeking forgiveness and worshipping God.

God has particular and well laid out rules (which no person actually keep which is why Jesus came as the final sin offering)…

Now, I deal with food addiction… food has always been a comfort for me… a way to stuff myself and my anxiety away… well – we all know what happens with that…

I have lost about 150 lbs in the last 5 years – but lately, the scale has been going the wrong way… I can easily pop off a few excuses (definition of excuse: skin of the truth stuffed with a lie) and humanly “justify” it

The reality is – my body IS God’s temple

God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple

1 Cor 3:16-17  16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in[a] you? 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple

1 Cor 6:19-20 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

So- while I was talking with Him today – here is what we chatted about…

My child, you are reading about My temple – all the sacrifices, all the ways that were  necessary to purify the priests… verse 6 “enough of your detestable sins!” You have brought in things and defiled my temple – your body IS my temple! I have been nudging you about this – and even now I SHOUTING this and hitting you like a football linebacker! You have been ignoring my nudges – and are bearing the consequences of your disobedience… 

How many more times will you choose to not listen? the longer you choose to not listen, the quieter my Voice is to hear… 

Lord, You know my thoughts right now – You can see the turmoil stirring up inside! the fear of failing – “yet again” – all those voices of doubt… the feeling of being overwhelmed … But yet I know that with you NOTHING is impossible… You have helped me to build my rock based house – You have built is strong with bricks of truth, of testimony, with scripture that does not change, with the covenants which You hold true. You have supplied the mortar with the word of your testimony, of the miracles of have experienced, of your faithfulness, of Your love and it is my hope and with faith, I can use it to continue building… 

Not So Perfect Just Like Me

One easy mental health issue to constantly deal with, and actually for many people, is self-worth…

Since childhood I have read and been taught all the big stories in the Bible… Joseph and his coat of many colors… Moses dramatically rescuing the Israelites… David… Who can forget David and Goliath!

And then there are the apostles! The chosen few… Peter, John, Luke, Matthew…

And Paul… Went on a road trip dealt with Jesus… Instantly converted (wouldn’t you if you had been blinded by heavenly light?)

The book of Acts and the rest of the new testament (past Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are the letters to Christians and many are from Paul

So Paul is a big time perfect Christian example right!?!?

My MH voices love to tell me what a loser I am… That I’m not good enough… That I’m a failure… That I don’t deserve anything at all… At times I don’t deserve the air I breathe…

And as a Christian… The whole stigma of how can I call myself a Christian if I have MH issues!

I read a devotional today that popped the apostles, and specifically Paul, being “PERFECT” (Chuck Swindoll is one of my top 5 Christian leaders ever)

2 Corinthians 10:10 (NLT): For some say, “Paul’s letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are worthless!”

Read the devotional and learn how flawed Paul was…

Remember Moses was a murderer, Abraham was a liar, David was an adulterer, Samuel was arrogant, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Peter denied Jesus on the very night Jesus really needed him, Jacob was a thief…

Job, Elijah, Elisha, David and others battled mental health issues… Elijah wanted to die and laid out under a tree where there was no food or water…

I wonder if Saul was Bipolar? (This is my personal, unsubstantiated thought)… He flipped and flipped on issues…

I could go on and on…

So how is it that I can have mental health issues AND call myself a Christian? Easy… I’m human… I have a physical illness where my brain doesn’t work like people who don’t deal with mental health issues… My brain no longer makes the CHEMISTRY I need… (the same as a diabetic’s pancreas no longer makes insulin…

I am definitely a God fearing, thankful loved unconditionally by God person. I believe that Christ came to earth, that He died for my sins and that He conquered death in rising from the dead and later ascended to heaven…

I also can claim that there is not a perfect person on earth today… And hasn’t been for about 2000 years…

Job 5:7 (NLT) People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire…

After Adam and Eve enjoyed their fruit salad way back when we all mess up… Regardless of the mess – God loves us all the same… The consequences are different, but God’s love never changes…

So when it comes to looking at the Biblical giants – realize they made mistakes and fell flat on their keesters  as well… It doesn’t excuse our short comings… But we can get rid of the thoughts that we need to be perfect… It makes us human and used correctly, God acknowledges it…

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GodTube

I decided to sit and read a book by one of my favorite authors, Grace Livingston Hill, so I put YouTube on with a song list on and settled in…

  • Music – check!
  • Book – check!
  • Snack and something to drink – check check!!
  • Dog tucked in under blanket and snuggled in – check

Ready to read… And then YouTube started or should I say GodTube started… Song after song… Reminder of the depth of God’s love... Balm to my heart and soul… Refreshment for my mind… Strengthening my resolve… – making it so much easier to be still and know that He is God

It turned out I clearly needed worship time with God more than reading a book so I can fulfill the greatest commandments…

Luke 10:27 He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

Regardless of mental health issues or not – GodTube is just what we need – when we need  – even if we weren’t aware we needed it…

I Have Become…

God never wasted a hurt – a common saying… we all have issues – some are just more prevalent than others – with mental illness it is both out there but also so well hidden…

Paul the Apostle wrote :

1 Corinthians 9:22-23 NLT  I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

I have a friend and together we can talk about some issues we have in common… I have friends who have had to bury a child – something that no parent should have to do – and I can’t begin to understand what they are going through… I’ve had a sick child who was tested for a genetic illness and I know how wretched a time that was for me…

The saying – until you walk in my shoes… Unless people have dealt with deep depression – dealt with agonizing thoughts of wanting to live or die… and die was stronger… dealt with anxiety so strong that you feel you are being dragged into a black endless hole, feeling like you are only holding on by 1 fingernail…

If you want insight into anxiety – try this:

You are walking down a street – and you recognize the person you love most in the world walking towards you – close enough to wave at – but not close enough to talk to – and just as you wave you realize there is an out of control semi truck headed straight towards them and you can not do anything about it – take the brief moment – that less than 1 second of realization that horror – take it and multiply it by 10,000 then multiply it more – then make it last for hours or days… then you are maybe starting to coming close…

Until I knew the label anxiety I called them oppression – and in many ways that is true… As time goes the enormity of it fades – just like the pain of childbirth – but the effect of it is not forgotten… I recall and wrote in my journal, I would not wish this upon anyone – and I mean anyone – including Hitler – they were that horrible… there really is no way I can fully describe them in their entirety…

Looking back on Paul’s statement, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

If I really want to help people – my way to reach out is with what I personally know – mental health (and other things as well)… Paul says I have become “all things to people”

For me personally, I have become an advocate for people (with mental illness) so that be all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

For those whose voice is silenced with the shame and stigma of mental health – especially in the church… but also anywhere… people on the street – women close to where I live… people in whom I have contact…

that I may share in their blessings

Copyright 2018

I Don’t Want to Adult

Today marks 2 years since my last admission ended… Major medication changes… It took many months to get to the right combo but it was well on its way…

I had to trust my psych that he knew what he was doing… 

With God it’s the same thing… I have to trust Him…

Picture a sweet little girl, say little Shirley Temple…  Skipping down a garden path and she finds a weed. She knows that weeds don’t belong in a garden so she pulls it out, goes to where the gardener is working and asks what to do with it. He points out a bucket and she simply goes to it, drops it in then goes on skipping down the path…

Oh, to have a child like faith… So simple… 

See something not right, ask and get instruction, believe instruction, follow instruction, continue on as before as if nothing had happened but wiser in how to deal with this issue again…

Matthew 18:1b-5  He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me

When dealing with mental health issues, somedays simple instructions have been all I could do… Get out of bed, go eat something, try to do something to distract (from list prepared for days like these), if needed find someone to talk to, take the dog for a walk, feed the dog, play with the dog…

These are days I don’t want to adult… Actually, I honestly can’t adult, especially when my brain chemistry isn’t correct… 

That’s why there are help lines, suicide lines, web sites…

But I do trust God..  it doesn’t have to make sense… If I find something I don’t understand I just need to go with it…

God’s got a 100% average…

Nudges

My sweet pooch, Ivory, would love to play outside all day except on really raining days… Unfortunately for her she needs to be with someone to watch her and my life gets in her way…

But when it’s time to do what must be “done” she gives me a nudges with her nose and until I put down or cease to do what I’m doing and she keeps nudging me until I start moving towards the door…

She follows me to the door and when I put my shoes on jacket on she eagerly starts going around in circles all the time watching me make sure I’m still getting ready… open the door and we are off!!!

As a Christian I, like anyone else, have the gift Jesus sent down shortly after he ascended to heaven… The Holy Spirit… I think of it as my Godly conscience, a connection to God with prayers, direction and decisions – even when I can’t utter a word because I’m overwhelmed for fabulous and not so fabulous reasons…

HE IS WHAT NUDGES ME

That inner (good inner) voice “speaks” with easy tasks like I should take my coat along even though it’s a sunny day… And sure enough it rains or gets cooler than expected or big decisions, life altering ones (not snap though).

Four years ago the bottom of my life was falling away. As a child, as a teen and as an adult years I would have spurts where I was closer to God, usually during the tough times… 

The Holy Spirit always nudges me in every situation… He probably pounded a bass drum, a fog horn, but I wasn’t listening, I was building with MY self-worth… I ignored Him…

When I hit the bottom I had a choice seek His help or just stay there and figure out a successful suicide…

God pulled me up… I’ve need really tuning into God…

Integrity… And being true to myself with myself and I will share my progress on my blog to show myself as accountable…

My daily marker will be did I at least try? I know there will be days I fall flat on my face… Failure, though, will be in not getting up again… I may not blog every day…

Integrity… I started November 1 I wasn’t yet sure of criteria yet… But I’ve had a lot of nudges that I’ve listened to, some I haven’t but

#1 I didn’t quit (huge accomplishment)

#2 I admitted my slips and made amends

Next came some trials… A sore back which interfered me being away from CR big group and Step Sisters…

My Mental Health… I’m pushing through… It’s a struggle…

E V E R Y D A Y

I want to isolate, stay home, in bed… wrong thoughts coming at me…

Out came my daily accountability checklist… And I started going through it…

#1 Morning prayers… Thanking God… The armor of God – piece by piece… Other verses…

And I keep going down my list… Check box by check box…

When I am done, I have a lot of peace… I have Christian songs running in my head blocking out the negative thought. I put on Christian music…

And right now routine is needed:

I’m dealing with a situation/something in my life… Obviously, I wish I wasn’t… and it could turn out to be nothing or else something not if my choosing… And would be more than I can handle… and I will be listening for the Holy Spirit nudges

Huggles and loves and prayers…

Love and Like and Billy Graham

There have been days where I have loved some people but not liked them… my love doesn’t shrink… As I watch from a distance my heart sorrows for them…

From today’s devotions:

“Loving God and living fully for Him are not necessarily synonymous…”

I’m human… imperfect… I still have a piece of that fruit stuck in me… The “one” great- great x 1,000,000 grandparents sampled way back in the Garden…

But just because I love God, it doesn’t mean I’m fully living for Him…

I have frequent personal pity parties…

I have days where I’m really frustrated… You know those days where everything seems to be going wrong. Some days I can laugh about it other days I’m very frustrated and angry.

There are days when I’m angry, angry at God, angry at the world, and I have a major internal (quite BPD no emotions outward) hissy fit…

Until finally I decide, I choose to turn back to God and His word and His ways and to trust in Him…

I know He is love. I know He loves me and that I matter to Him… That he has a plan for me… And I do my Phil 4:4-9

Together God and I go on a trip back in history and I am reminded of times where I trusted Him. We go with some memories (I can remember on my own) or from pictures, through shared memories, or reading back in my journals… (gotta just love a brain injury PLUS mental health… (I have a great memory… just short)…

Then I remember that when things are beyond what I can handle, I allow Himto bring me in and cuddle me and I get to sit there and watch how He deals with whatever it is for me.

Does it mean I’m cured? Well not now it seems… . Maybe sometime later with God… Maybe never…

God knows and He knows what is coming… He has a plan… He uses imperfect people like me…

Who will be touched by my blog…

We all can look at Billy Graham and the incredible impact he personally he had…

Maybe it was just one thing that changed his heart…

So I may not touch the “next Billy Graham” but what if I do because of where I am right now…

For me, someone passing away saved me… then I started down the road and real recovery…

Makes ya think doesn’t it?

If Only

I’m currently doing the 12-step program Celebrate Recovery offers. It’s actually my third time. Every time I do there’s always something more that God can work on with me.

We’re dealing with the lesson on POWERLESS – an acrostic on how we really need to depend on God and for God’s help with the issue… it looks at the past…

If only…. Only If…

Only if
I had noticed _____ the _____ would/wouldn’t have happened
If only I had known _____ that day I wish I could take back my words
That time spent would have been successful only if _______
If only I had done this or only if I had seen this or only if I had been there or only if somebody had…
You get the idea…

With my mental health… If only I had talked to _____ or done ______ or not done _____ then maybe I wouldn’t have had my mental breakdown.
(see true life confession at the bottom)

Hindsight is 20/20… We all make decisions we regret… A child thinks if only I hadn’t climbed that tree my arm wouldn’t have broken…

So do I how to deal with the “if only’s”

It’s simple but incredibly hard…

  • I repent
  • I talk to God… prayer…
  • I listen to God through Bible studying
  • Learn from them my if only or only if”
  • Ask God to help me to avoid doing it again
  • I talk to my sponsor accountability partners
  • I make amends

There will be consequences… (not judgements – boy tree > broken arm)
But also peace with God from spending time with God… Be still, and know that I am God Psalm 46:10
Phil 4:4-8 …Peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your heart in Christ Jesus…

Back to POWERLESS (CR acrostic)

P is pride yah… I had lots of pride… which lead to many “if only”

O Only if… It’s really easy for me to play the self-bashing game… Instead,  I confess to God, He already knows what I did so what’s the benefit of hiding it, He can help me understand why and guides me to what I should do next time or to make amends with those who were affected by my actions…

Worry… Both backwards and forwards… Back… I can stay trapped in the past… Forward… Is God involved? So I just need to trust His plan (it’s called faith)

In going to end the acrostic here… Want to learn more? Find a Celebrate Recovery

Battling the if only or only if is better done with support…

Thinking about doing it does seem easy… It’s the application that is soooo hard…

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Okay that above is a battle plan… seems easy simple steps… I know the application is hard and I need the Holy Spirit to give me a nudge or a kick in the butt when I need to use it…

Honestly – it is what I want to do with my heart… that’s the God part of my life – but there is a carnal part of me that just SCREAMS to ignore it – excuse it away (excuse = the skin of truth stuffed with a lie), the self I have inside will distract me… I will think of ways to “justify” my reasoning to ______

The New Testament talks a lot about the sinful person I have inside… It can block the butt kicks… I might feel them or I have not listened long enough to the Spirit in me that I don’t feel them…

This was pretty much what happened in my life… I stopped listening to God… could I have avoided the mental health crisis? I don’t know that what I am dealing with is VERY physical – my brain is literally changed  – why or how or ??? I’m not 100% sure… it’s a disease… why does someone end up being a diabetic? Was it one too many cookies or cakes? Could they have prevented it? Regardless…
Regardless – I am where I am… it wasn’t sudden – there were clues it was happening… it started early on in my life… it’s where I am… This is where God and I try hard to keep moving forward…

Besides…. 

If there isn’t a battle going on – there should be and I need to seek God again… life happens – living it is the hard part….

(CR… I have no affiliation with them other than acknowledging how profound a has changed my life)

Underneath the trappings we’re decaying

My personal Bible study is going through the Book of Revelations. There are 7 church’s addressed each receive praise and instructions. Philadelphia gets a lot of praise but Sardis gets a lot of warnings including that while they seem alive they are really dead.

I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. (Rev 3:1)

From my commentary:

We cover up the dead places in ourselves with all sorts of regalia. We fill the emptiness with fine clothing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, or relationships in which the other is set up as god. Underneath the trappings, though, we’re decaying.*

To me at least this soooo takes me to my mental health issues… For years I had been trying to fulfil the void inside that could only be filled by God… instead, I sought my self-worth in what I was performing and trying to show-off how important I was… trying to feel special and acknowledged by those around me….

Underneath the trappings, though, we’re decaying.

I had a huge dead place inside – and for me – the longer I chose to avoid it – the bigger it became… until I finally reached a point where the void was so big, I slipped off the edge and fell into it… and was forced to deal with it… and have God save me… but not before I hit the bottom with my depression, anxiety and BPD to the point of suicidal thoughts that would haunt me daily for months and months… and they still pop-up from out of nowhere still and can leave me quivering – literally, physically inside I feel like a taser or something has hit me…

I’m working the way out of the void with God’s help, however, there are scars… working and battling with God in the void isn’t easy… physically my brain is actually changed… I need – require medications to keep me from returning and falling back into the void…

Is it a case of lack of faith? No… Is a diabetic lacking faith by using insulin?

And just like a diabetic – somedays are better than others… it depends on way too many factors to list…

The good news is – I have God on my side… if I stay close to Him – listen to His spirit whispering to my heart and soul words of wisdom, I’m okay – even on the days which are not so good…

And prayer, but just not alone – I have a support network in place – I can send out a text message and know they are also praying on my behalf…

Growth – I am actively (well hopefully more days than not) seeking God’s will through not only reading my devotions but also in a group with women doing a 12-step from Celebrate Recovery – I do not have any personal gain by mentioning this other than knowing it works. The women in my groups have all different ways we have met – substance abuse, sexual abuse, anger, food addiction, codependency… but the one things we do have – a growing faith in God and building a network to support each other…

 

*Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.