Category Archives: Depression

'I'm Such A Failure'

‘I’m Such A Failure’ and Here is What I Want You to Know

‘I’m such a  failure’

If you’ve never quietly said it about yourself, then you will most likely have heard it from someone else.

This post is to help you help others you have problems with a failure mindset.

For myself, I can so easily personalise my failures into ‘I’m a failure’. Continue reading

Mental Health is ... doing one thing well (not purrfectly)

Mental Health is … doing one thing well (not purrfectly)

Mental Health is … doing one thing well (not purrfectly) every day over a long period of time.

How many pieces of information will you receive today?

Facebook, twitter, emails can bombard and distract.

Is there a level of confusion in your life?

I read this recently

If you want to depress someone then confuse them.
Teach them in such a way that confuses the hell out of them and
give them a level of uncertainty about their capacity to do it.
Todd Herman.
Continue reading

"Christians should not get depressed."

“Christians Should Not Get Depressed”

“Christians should not get depressed.”

I’m pleased to share a guest post from Richard H H Johnston of Christian Mindfulness.


“Be strong in the Lord.”
“You are an overcomer and more than a conqueror in Christ.”
“You have the victory in Christ.”
“No weapon that’s formed against you shall stand.”

These are all great truths from Scripture, but if you are a Christian struggling with depression, the words may seem to ring hollow and leave you feeling more guilty and worthless than you did before.   Continue reading

For This Pastor Depression Felt Like A Bulldozer Was Driven Over Him

I’m amazed how prevalent depression is today.

As a church minister I’ve sat with people trying to find a way through the haze, and I’m astounded at how it can affect the very young, the very successful and the very healthy, alongside those in whom we’d more likely expect it.

Depression is a killer. It can also sometimes be a teacher.

When my mind is idle, it can flash back to incidents in my past that make me wince. Continue reading

Recovery Starts With a Question Being Asked.

Do you like questions being asked of you?

I don’t think any of us like that feeling of potential shame and exposure.

Ever since Adam hid himself from the gentle questions of a loving God we have chosen to avoid, hide and lie to camouflage the obviousness of a problem.

I don’t like my inner world being exposed. I prefer to present an image of acceptability.

Continue reading

Can You Can Your Questions?

It all happened like a kind of slow motion movie.

I was driving home the other day and as I approaching a corner, one that I have driven around probably thousands of times, I saw a white car take it way too fast. It lost control, came across the middle line and ploughed into a large 4wd. The white car literally bounced off the 4wd and spun around back on to its correct side of the road and then into a ditch. Continue reading

What is the Gift Your Wound Has Given You?

‘Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me’ is a fallacy.

Words can hurt. They can cut right to the core of your being and can echo around and around in your mind and drive you to despair.

Just think of the abuse of text bullying. A few choice words here and there, and cuts are made to the heart and maybe to the skin. I wonder how many suicides and suicide attempts have a few words as the catalyst of destruction.

A barrage of abuse on a weakened spirit can break the will to go on. Words like nails are hammered into your psyche.

I think of Jesus and the barrage of words rained down upon him in his trial. Matthew 26.

Words can drown out life.

Words can also be the soothing balm needed on a wounded heart.

Little phrases like

Well done
Thank you
You’re going to make it
I’m going to help you

I am with you

Words and gestures from ‘Big people’ in your life. That older person, that person with the street cred, mana, wisdom, grey hair. That one, for reasons unknown to yourself, who just whispers to the heart ‘you’re going to be ok’.

I listen to many words through a range of podcasts.

I discovered Nadia Bolz-Weber on the Podcast Onbeing where she was interviewed by the host Krista Tippet.

In the podcast Nadia states these words.

I have this thing about being a preacher who reveals things about herself, and it’s that I always try to preach from my scars and not my wounds. So, talking about depression is not in any way a wound for me.

When I heard this I felt connected with her journey, her depression, wounds and scars.

Words.

So I created a meme, and now it has been my most repined image on Pinterest.

938cdd843e984659903a50d29d0cdcfb What is the Gift Your Wound Has Given You?

Why has this been so incredibly popular?

I think that the image grabs you because it’s a real person, like us. Not some model, superstar or icon, and yes I know they are real too.

The words I think touch down on some core pain points. Our wounds and our scars.

They give us a sense of hope that wounds can, in time, become scars. That we don’t have to be stuck as wounded forever and that out of those battles there can come a gift.

For Nadia Bolz – Weber, as a pastor, the gift is preaching. For others it could writing, singing, teaching, listening etc…

What is your gift?

Today I listened to a an interview with Rob Bell. He was talking about a time where he was speaking in Miami and a women in the audience stood up and asked this question.

What do you say to somebody whose young daughter has just died from a mysterious illness that only a few people get. What do you say to me, because I have just lost my daughter.

I said first off in the ancient wisdom tradition in some suffering there are no words, there’s silence.

So first off I would begin with that any one that does give you nice clear-cut answers for why your daughter died, I don’t know.

Secondly I do know this, that some point down the road your going to meet up with a women who has also lost her young daughter and your going to look at her in the eyes and your going to say ‘me too’ and in that moment that you’ll be standing on some holy ground. Solidarity is divine. When someone stands with you.

Here is what happens. The woman standing next to her starts gushing and says ‘My young daughter is really sick and they have only given her a little bit of time to live and this woman turns to her.  Rob Bell – How to Practice and Understand Faith and Spirituality

Words, solidarity, hope.

 

Barry Pearman

7 Steps to Help Those who Ruminate.

Sometimes I think I am like a cow. I ruminate over things.

15248194507_2995f253e1_o-1 7 Steps to Help Those who Ruminate.

 

Much of my life I have spent time working on farms, I even have a University degree in agriculture. I humorously call this my degree in pastoral care.

Cows sit out in the field and chew the cud. With their mouth’s moving from side to side they chew food that has already eaten. Cows and sheep are ruminants and have 4 stomachs, so they eat their fill then they chew it later, colloquially known as ‘Chewing the cud’.

Rumination according to Wiki is defined in this way

Rumination is the compulsively focused attention on the symptoms of one’s distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions. Rumination is similar to worry except rumination focuses on bad feelings and experiences from the past, whereas worry is concerned with potential bad events in the future. Both rumination and worry are associated with anxiety and other negative emotional states.

Do you ruminate?

I know you don’t re chew your food, well at least I hope you don’t, but do you go over and over issues all the time?

What I had been taught all my life was not true: experience is not the best teacher! It’s what you do with that experience that matters. John Maxwell

I think we all have a tendency to do this, some more than others, but if you are always looking back then you are going to stumble in any efforts to going forward.

It’s like we chew over things. Round and around and around. ‘Woulda’, ‘coulda’ and ‘shoulda’ are echoed self talk sound bites leaving you malnourished of hope.

Why do we ruminate?

  1. To feel like we are doing something about the problem. We want to change a situation, so we keep going over and over and over it, looking for a solution. This feeling of doing something can just be a subtle downward delusional spiral to the depressing reality is that there is nothing you can do. The brain, in trying to resolve its tension, looks for the answer. Any activity, including rumination, feels good. We hate ambiguity, that sense of uncertainty and lacking of clarity. We want to solve the mystery.  So like a good detective on T.V. we hunt out the clues to solve the murder and eliminate the mystery. Know that you will never know everything and chasing the past for purpose is like chasing the clouds for pleasure. It will leave you exhausted and lost.
  2. To Self deprecate. Perhaps it is a way of punishing ourselves. That below the surface of our thinking there is a deeper trail of chewing. ‘I did those things, so now I have to punish myself’… ‘This is the consequence of my actions’ … ‘This is the reaping of what has been sown’. So we stew in this cud as punishment. Any sense of forgiveness, grace or loving fathers embrace (Story of Loving father – Prodigal son) is not allowed to touch our lips.
  3.  To potentially learn. We chew over the situation to glean some wisdom from the situation. We consider experience is the best teacher yet only considered experience teaches us wisdom. Rumination can be helpful, as long as it leads to action and not just stewing and

So what are you going to do with that experience.

Are you just going to keep ruminating on it forever?

7 steps to Help those who Ruminate.

  1. Write it out. Get what you’re ruminating in your mind out of the head and on to some paper. I think writing in a journal is one of the most powerful of all mental health disciplines you can have. Here is a link to some a post I have written on journaling.

    Learning to write is learning to think. You don’t know anything clearly unless you can state it in writing. S.I. Hayakawa

  2. Problem solve it. This where writing it down comes in really helpful. Get together with someone you trust and talk about what you have written down.Tease it out to find the problem. Find one concrete solution you can (not should, could or would) do to overcome what you are ruminating about.
  3. Engage in activities that promote the positive. What activities fill your mind with other thoughts preferably positive thoughts. Hobbies, mediation, reading, running, cooking. The main point is to get your mind out of the rumination rut for a while.
  4. Can them.  Get yourself a tin can, and as the questions come up write them down on a piece of paper and prayerfully place them in the can. Imagine yourself placing them in Gods hand to hold them for you. God has big hands! Place the can up on a shelf and leave it there. After a while take that can off the shelf and see if any of your questions have been answered in the intervening time. Add more questions when they come up. see more here
  5. Schedule them. Tell your brain this ‘I do not have time to think about that at this moment. I will think about it tomorrow at 3pm’. Its telling your brain that yes what you are presenting to me is worthy of time and thought so I therefore will make space for it. If you remember to think about at 3 pm so be it, but I have found quite often that this little technique will slowly deflate the rumination balloon of any sense of self-importance
  6. Place them. Do you have a place where rumination is worse? Look for patterns of where your rumination seems to occur more frequently and/ or more powerfully. ‘When I found a place to think my thoughts my thoughts found a place in me.’ John Maxwell
  7. Displace them. I often use truth coaches to get my thinking back on track. These are little powerful insights, quotes, verses that speak truth into my thinking. Find out more here.

Remember this. Whatever you dwell on, it will get you, in the end.

It will create thinking tracks in your brain the size of the grand canyon where every situational event will tumble into.

Quotes to consider and share
  • Monitor your thinking and deliberately dwell on the virtues of your difficult friend, or negative feelings will surely follow. David Riddell
  • What you focus on gets you. Focus on the negatives/ challenges will always take you down. Focus on the positive/ good things will always give me hope.
  • I choose to ruminate, ponder and toss over in my mind good things.
  • Thoughts disentangle themselves passing over the lips and through pencil tips. Dawson Trotman
  • The thoughts I indulge grow stronger. The thoughts I acknowledge and put in their place lose their power to discourage me
  • The tricky thing about rumination is that it feels like it’s helpful, but there’s no action taken, and you don’t move forward to some sort of solution. Carla Grayson
  • He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality. Anwar Sadat
  •  To change your emotions, first get control of your thoughts. Ruts of the mind become moods of the heart. David Riddell
  •  To achieve radical change, I need to call some of my feelings ‘liars’ and choose to side with truth, against my own emotions, until my feelings come around. David Riddell
  • I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse Philippians 4:8 (The Message)

 

Exercises
  1. Use a journal to write out what you’re ruminating on. Share it with a trusted friend, counsellor or pastor and problem solve anything that needs addressing
  2. Find some truth coaches and write them out in an easily accessible place such as a small notebook you can carry at all times. When you feel the ruminations coming on, spend time reading your truth coaches.
  3. Get yourself a tin can and can the questions you are ruminating over.

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: bogers via Compfight cc

p.s. what did you think about this post! Leave me a comment or tweet me at @barrypearman 

Oh, yeah don’t forget to share it with fellow ruminators using one of handy little icons below. HIT them



8 Steps To Discovering Wellness Through Knowing Your Early Warning Signs

Often I travel over some sharp twisty roads. One of these roads has a large hill and just on the other side there is a beautiful view with a fence that has been driven through.

There are signs to tell drivers to slow down, but for this driver the signs were ignored, boundaries were crossed and lives put in danger. If you know the signs then you can avoid the catastrophe. Continue reading

Do You Feel Alone in Your Struggle?

What is it like to feel alone with your struggle?

8304081718_99bc52592a_o-1 Do You Feel Alone in Your Struggle?

You are having a hard time in your life. There is pain, frustration, a desperateness and you feel completely alone with it.

You may have people around you who care. They may even be professionals such as doctors, nurses, support workers, counselors, but when it comes down to it they are all paid to be in your presence.

You seriously wonder if anyone would truly care about you if they really knew the struggle you were facing every day. You think that you might just scare them off.

Multi-choice question.

When you start to talk about your struggles, do you get any of these responses.

A. Silence – they don’t have the answers so they just go quiet.
B. Band-aid formulas – A quick  answer so as to avoid any further engagement and so the problem is solved (for them).
C. Medication – they ask if you have been taking your medication, as if medication solves all the pain you are feeling.
D. Attack – they turn it back on you and tell you to not talk like that. ‘Harden up, get over it’. They decide you are a victim, a P.L.O.M. (Poor Little Old Me).
E. Blank – I will leave this blank and you can respond with your own experience.

 

There is a loneliness of the soul, an unspeakable loneliness.

 

Do you feel alone in your struggle?

I think this is the number one comment I have heard from talking with hundreds of people with Mental Illness. The struggle point for them is a deep sense of loneliness.

I am not talking about the victim moan of ‘Nobody cares about me’, instead this is a deeper groan of solitude unwanted.

Ron Rolheiser describes three types of loneliness.

1. A loneliness that can be spoken about. When you are lonely in certain ways, no matter the pain, you can still put out a hand and someone will take it, hold it, offer empathy, and the loneliness itself can lead to a deeper sense of being loved and valued.

2. A loneliness that can be spoken of because its pain is greater than its shame. It drives you to your knees, but also more deeply into humanity. Nature equips you to deal with this. This kind of loneliness hurts you but it does not damage you. It can be talked about, no small thing: Anything can be borne if it can be shared.

3. A loneliness that cannot be shared, which is “unspeakable” because it is experienced in a way that is so private and humiliating that, were you to speak of it, you would further damage an already over-fragile sense of self that has been made so fragile by the loneliness itself.
You experience this kind of loneliness whenever you are alone in something in a way that you cannot share with anyone else because the loneliness itself feels like a private sickness, like a thing of shame, which makes you so vulnerable that any attempt to share it with someone would only make things worse and be a further humiliation.

You experience this, “unspeakable loneliness”, in those areas of life where shame and insecurity seep in, where your relationships become one-sided, where you get walked-on, walked-away from, get dumped, suffer abuse, get bullied on the playground, are the one who is never asked out, get chosen last, are too weak to defend yourself, where your body and feelings aren’t right, where you aren’t bright enough, aren’t attractive enough, have bad skin, varicose veins, are overweight, have an over-bearing mother you are ashamed of, where you end up being the one who has to beg, who needs to ask, who has to sit by the phone hoping it will ring, where you are the one who is pushed away because you are too obsessed, too needy, too desperate, too different, too weak, too angry, too compromised, too wrapped up in some private wound, weakness, sickness, or history to be that wonderful, normal, resilient, irresistible person everyone is looking for.

See more of his article at Unspeakable Loneliness

This is a loneliness that needs an intervention from the outside.

It is a loneliness that has you in a ditch, unconscious, from the attack of the robbers of life. You cant speak, you’re naked, vulnerable and barely alive.

Sound familiar?

Jesus was asked about love one day and who our neighbor.

So he tells a parable that we have come to know as the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

The focus point of the story is a man who was travelling along a road. Encountering some thugs he was beaten, robbed, left half dead and crucially, all alone.

In his plight of unspeakable loneliness various people pass by him. Jesus points a finger at the religious and self righteous as those who refuse to engage with unspeakable loneliness of the man.

Then comes someone who has experienced the unspeakable loneliness. The Samaritan stops his journey and engages with the man. He takes care of him. He spends time attending to his needs. He sacrificially gives up his own agenda for the sake of the man.

This parable has often been used as a kind of motivational prompt or pep talk to get you to do more for others. A sort of motivation by stick rather than carrot, and yes there is that call, but I think that Jesus was pointing us to something deeper.

The Good Samaritan was himself.

Jesus was, and is, on a rescue mission for all of us stuck in a ditch of unspeakable loneliness.

He gives us hope by reaching into our ditch and offering companionship and healing from the robbers of life.

The most significant people for me, in my ditch dwelling depression, are not the ones offering me the multi-choice options mentioned above. They are the people who say these words

‘No matter what you have done, or what has been done to you, I still want to know you and offer what I can in love.

We are all desiring love without a mask. That we will be loved for who we really are. No makeup, no pretense, no mask, no fear.

I am not alone.

Perhaps this blog can be a place where others won’t feel they are alone in their struggle. They will know that at the very least there is someone taping out words on a keyboard that knows the unspeakable loneliness they are experiencing.

Perhaps we can form little communities of hope where we can connect at the level of the soul. Where what is unspeakable can be shared, loved, held and connected with.

What do you think?

  1. Do you, at times, feel alone in the struggle?
  2. What could we do, as readers, to help break each others shackles of unspeakable loneliness? ( I am open to ideas)

Leave a comment below or perhaps drop me an email barry@turningthepage.info

Barry Pearman

p.s. if you want to read more about the Good Samaritan I wrote an essay a few years back. Here is a link.
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