Category Archives: Depression

Depression is a Disorder Wherein the Self Attacks the Self

So what is your ‘self’ telling your ‘self’?

Recently I have been reading I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression by Terence Real.

In his book he describes depression as an auto aggressive disease.
He writes this

For David and Thomas, the pain they had but refused to feel stemmed from a toxic relationship to the self, what psychiatry labels a self disorder. I call depression, in both its overt and in its covert forms, an auto aggressive disease. Like those rare conditions which causes a person’s own immune system to assault itself, depression is a disorder wherein the self attacks the self. In overt depression, that attack is borne; in covert depression, the man attempts to ward it off. But such attempts are never fully successful. The underlying assault on the self always threatens to break through the defenses.

Lots of interesting material here to chew over.

Depression as an ‘auto aggressive disease’, the ‘self attacking the self’.

I couldn’t agree more, and then expectations of others and the challenges of daily life all add to the warfare of words bombarding the self.

Do you find this the case for you?

To handle this warfare we often create a false self that is projected and displayed to the world that all is good in ‘self’ land when in reality its a bucket of pus and it feels like your’e swimming in circles against the tide. (yuk, did I just write that!)

One of the most honest of sentiments of true reality was found on a baseball cap of a man I used to know. He had been through the hell of  medical abuse in a Mental Health hospital. He was an absolute mess. Self harm was his  greatest challenge. On his baseball cap were the words ‘Shit happens’.

It offended the religious types with their strict rules of edicit and shocked those who lived in faith based fairy tale lands of happy ever afters.

To those that had been into the darkness and had emerged with the scars well they knew they loved and they had true compassion and friendship to offer.

No quick easy answers or band aid recovery programs.

Shit happens. Perhaps we could have a ‘Shit happens’ cafe forum ‘thing-a-me’ on this blog. Would you join?

The self attacking the self.
What would be a healthier option?
  • The self nurturing the self.
  • The self affirming the self.
  • The self soothing the self.

Over and over again I come back to my fellow ‘shit happens’ friends in the Bible. They werent superheroes, they were people like us. They woke up in the morning, got dressed and shuffled out into life. The Bible records their journeys, their failings, their faith, and in some cases their battles with the self.

The Bible records not just their self talk battles but also how faith emerged out of the trials. How the Gods Spirit came and nurtured the wounds of living in a broken world.
David suddenly springs to mind as one of those that gifts us with the most in depth look at his soul talk.

He writes this out in poetry.

1-2 Clear my name, God; stick up for me
    against these loveless, immoral people.
Get me out of here, away
    from these lying degenerates.
I counted on you, God.
    Why did you walk out on me?
Why am I pacing the floor, wringing my hands
    over these outrageous people?
3-4 Give me your lantern and compass,
    give me a map,
So I can find my way to the sacred mountain,
    to the place of your presence,
To enter the place of worship,
    meet my exuberant God,
Sing my thanks with a harp,
    magnificent God, my God.
Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
    Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
    soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
    He’s my God.
Psalm 43 (The Message)

In Davids heart expression I find some comforting guidance.
  1. He writes. He is a poet and we have the privilege of reading his journals. Do you write? Writing is the best means I have found of getting stuff out of the whizzing thought blender of my mind. Just by the process of writing it out the thoughts seem to take shape and join together and begin to make sense. Dawson Trotman, who was the founder of the Navigators ministry used to say, ‘Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips’.
  2. He says it like it is. David doesn’t pull the punches. He expresses it all. He says this is where I am and this is how it is. Every mall has a map, and on that map is a big arrow pointing to a Red Dot indicating where you are. David exposes his ‘Red Dot’.
  3. He taps into a deep desire within himself. He knows that there is a place of God’s presence that he longs to be part of. This is the poet’s desire. I want God nothing more, nothing less.
  4. He asks questions of his ‘self’. Three times he ask his self ‘why’. He wants answers to the emotional conundrum. Do look for the ‘why’ of how you might be feeling?
  5. He speaks to his ‘self’. ‘Now listen here self, I want you to listen to what we truly and solidly know about God and about life’ Do you at times take your self aside and speak to it?
  6. He recognises that its a matter of focus. David sees that he is caught up in a focus on the negatives. He declares to his self – Fix my eyes on God. He isnt denying that life is rough, he isnt making the reality of pain into a fairy tale. Instead he is choosing the focus of his attention. What I focus on gets me. Focus on the negatives/challenges will always take me down. Focus on the positive/ good things will always give me hope. Hint – write this down on a card and keep it in your wallet or purse to pull out and remind your ‘self’ of some truth.
  7. He nurtures his self with truth. He self soothes, he nurtures his soul with Gods truth. When he shifts his focus back on to God he remembers the intimate steadfast love God has for him.  So he writes this – ‘He puts a smile on my face’.

Real faith cannot be reduced to spiritual bromides and merchandised in success stories. It is refined in the fires and storms of pain. Eugene Peterson

David emerges from the fire and storm of pain with a new supernaturally released sense of Gods presence.

David has been comforted by the whispered counsel of the Gods Spirit.

Perhaps its time to put down the weapons of self hate and embrace the comfort of Gods Spirit who whispers ‘I love you and I am with you’.

Barry Pearman
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Digging For Dirt Is Not Good For Your Mental Health. 4 Keys To Help You

If you’re digging for dirt then you’re going to miss the Gold
I was watching one of the many T.V. cop shows the other night and they were ‘digging for dirt’. The detectives were scouring over the history of a suspect looking for any dirt they might have. Old evidence, convictions, witness statements all being examined for clues that they could arrest, convict and punish.
What about yourself and the relationships you are in? What the relationship you have with yourself?

Do you dig for dirt?

Do trawl over your life and others examining for any trace of dirt. Knowing that you can then arrest, convict and punish.
Having good Mental health is not keeping a list of wrongs about yourself and others.
There was a “troubled couple who visited a Christian counselor for help. The wife’s physician had advised her to see a counselor because she was developing an ulcer that apparently had no physical cause.
During the session, the wife slammed down on the counselors desk a manuscript ‘one-inch thick, on 8½ by 11 paper, typewritten on both sides…a thirteen-year record of wrongs that her husband had done to her.
The counselor could immediately see that the wife’s resentment of her husband’s many faults and her meticulous documentation of each one had made her bitter.
Keeping a record of her husband’s sins had only made matters worse, to the point of causing this woman to become physically ill.” [Quoted in Alexander Strauch’s Leading with Love, pg. 72]
That is an extreme case of not just a ‘digging for dirt’, but of storing it up for continued consumption.
We may not keep a written list, but do we keep a mental list? ‘She did this, he did that, I did this or that’ just sitting there, in the thought blender, chugging round and round.
Paul in writing about love tells us this.
Love … keeps no record of wrongs 1 Corinthians 13:5
But I want to keep a record of wrongs. I want to prove my case is watertight. If I don’t have the evidence then they might just get off without any consequence.
You see my life is all about me and the hurt done to me. They owe me and I have the evidence. I need to be control of my world, I alone can keep myself safe.
The great distinctive of the love of God is that there are no strings [or records] attached to it. God simply loves humans. God created us for a love relationship with the Divine Self, and nothing that we can do—or not do—changes the love God bears us. God loves sinners, redeems failures, delights in second chances and fresh starts, and never tires of pursuing lost sheep, waiting for prodigal children, or rescuing those damaged by life and left on the sides of its paths. Dr David Benner

4 Keys to Ripping up a ‘Record Book’ Mentality.

  1. Ask yourself why ‘record keeping’ is important for you.

What is driving you to keep account? What fruit does it give you? Unless you know what this behaviour offers you in return then you are bound to repeat it. Trace, face and displace those motivations with Gods truth about you. 
  1. Look for gold and diamonds.

If you’re constantly looking for dirt then guess what you’re going to find – DIRT!
Start right now by looking for gold or diamonds. Look for the positive!
Paul tells us
Summing it all up, friends, 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
I wonder what the wife who had the stomach ulcer would have been like if instead of keeping a list of wrongs she wrote a list of rights.
Optimism is a learned skill. I need to encourage myself and tell myself the truth
What I focus on gets me. Focus on the negatives/ challenges will always take me down. Focus on the positive/ good things will always give me hope
  1. Be thankful.

Be thankful for all the gold and diamonds in your life. Turn your gold and diamonds into praise and thanks to God. Make it a habit.
  1. Pray and ask God for an increased supernatural ability to forgive.

We are made in the image of God who has the ability to choose to forgive. That being the case then we can be of the same mindset. Pray, ask God to transform your mind, to change the mental neuron mapping of your brain that habitually goes down that ‘record keeping’ pathway. Together with God you can change the way you think, neuron by neuron.


A few final thoughts

Grace is totally alien to human psychology. We want to get our house in order and then let God love and accept us. Dr David Benner
Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive. C.S. Lewis
Good Mental health is not keeping a list of wrongs. Do you?
Questions to consider and leave a comment
  • Why do people keep a ‘record of wrongs’?
  • Do you think God, in partnership with you, can change your thinking?
  • Why is it that what you focus on will always take you to that place? What do you focus on?
Barry Pearman

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For Your Mental Health You Need To Stop ‘Stopping It’ .

Try harder, you can do it, just memorise these verses/insights, pray more, … just STOP IT.

For Your Mental Health You Need To Stop ‘Stopping It’ .

Ever felt frustrated at change in yourself. You try to stop doing the things that annoy you and others. You try and try and try. You have people in your life who think you’re being lazy, naughty, selfish. Labels fly and you seek help from a psychologist.

One definition of the word ‘Stopping’ is to close an opening or hole by covering, filling in, or plugging up. A bottle of wine is stopped by placing a cork in its opening.

Often we put a cork in our mouths to stop ourselves from expressing what is really going on, deep down. We think by ‘stopping it’ the thoughts and feelings will magically resolve themselves. We may have had experiences of talking and expressing our thoughts and feelings only to be put down, ridiculed, gossiped about, shamed.

So we ‘Stop it’.

Give the bottle of our lives enough shaking though and the cork will slowly squeeze up to the top no matter what we do and an explosion of emotion bursts out. Shame, guilt, fear, and embarrassment smear the soul.

So what do we do?

We ‘Stop it’ again.

We repress our deepest thoughts and feelings and hope we can contain it all better next time.

The cycle of bondage to the cork continues.

Some times I think our Church experiences encourage a Band-Aid mentality of superficial soul care.

What is really needed are Safe people.

People who will gently explore the deep (and often dark) caverns of the soul where the corked bottles remain. For some it is a veritable wine cellar of vingerary, out of date, vintage, pus.  Nice metaphor? not really.

Please don’t ‘Stop it’ any longer.

Seek help, find people who are safe. The Pastor, the Counsellor, the Spiritual Director, the friend who listens without judgment and doesn’t reach for ‘quick fix’ band aids.

Questions to Consider and leave a comment.
  • Why do we try and play ‘Stop it’.
  • What makes a person safe?
  • Have you had people tell you ‘Stop it’ either directly or indirectly? Have you done this yourself to yourself?

Barry Pearman
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12 Insights in How to Respond when it is Insisted that Mental Unwellness be kept Private.

‘Please don’t tell anybody’

We can get caught with heavy loads at times.

Recently I received a question about how to handle the situation of a teenager insisting their parents keep their mental unwellness private and not to tell anyone.

I don’t know the full extent of the story but I can relate to this as I have been asked of this myself, and then if the person is into any sort of emotional manipulation they might tag on ‘or else I will … kill myself, run away, never talk to you again’.

It doesn’t have to a parent either as it can happen between friends.

What do you do though!

You want to be loyal to the relationship you have with them but you also want them to be well.

12 insights I have learnt.

  1. Know your capabilities. Are you truly capable of giving them the very best of care? The majority of us are not, and even professionals will enlist others to give an opinion on such matters, particularly when there is a personal involvement.
  2. Accept the pivotal role you have. You can be a great family member, parent, friend etc and they will need you for this.
  3. Share the load. People can place incredibly difficult privacy burdens on us. For this situation I advised the family to talk about the situation with some medical professionals, just to get some advice for themselves. Mental health professionals make assessments of wellness all the time. They know what to look for. They also know what is available to help both the person involved and their family and friends. If for no other reason, involve others for your own sake, because you are worth it. You don’t need tell the person involved you are doing this because its actually about you and not them. You need the help.
  4. Don’t tell the whole world. The person does need some privacy. If you are wanting to tell others, who have no real business in knowing, then check out the underlying motivations for doing so. Are you seeking sympathy,support, validation etc…
  5. Get help for yourself. Their recovery is ultimately their responsibility but you will need others around you for your support. It may well be others who have been through similar situations, be might be a pastor, counselor or safe friends. Just someone who can be your confidant and cheerleader.  
  6. Get on with life yourself. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim of their unwellness. This can potentially create unhealthy dependencies. They will need to see good role modelling of what life is all about. Self care is not being selfish. It will enable you to ride through many storms without drowning.
  7. Tell them your Boundaries. ‘This is what I can do and this is what I can’t’. You may need to write the boundaries out for them.
  8. Affirm your commitment to them and encourage Hope. Tell them that you care about them and want the very best for them and that sometimes this love and care means making tough calls nobody, especially yourself, likes to make. Tell them that there is an answer out there and together we need to go on a journey of discovery to find it.  
  9. Early Warning Signs. What are the Early Warning Signs of them becoming unwell. Often there are signs that indicate that danger and further unwellness is ahead. What are they? Is it withdrawal, lack of sleep or something even more subtle that they themselves might be totally unaware of. Check out this article. I often put these on a graph asking what happens before/ after eg a lack of sleep etc. A good question to ask them is what needs to happen when these signs appear – call my nurse, Doctor?
  10. Privacy limits. I always say to the person that I will keep what they say as being private unless I consider in my opinion that they are a danger to themselves (self harm etc) or  a danger to others. The weight of carrying the responsibility of someone elses unwellness is too great for anyone.
  11. Create a recovery community. Recovery will involve many different people with many different roles. It may well involve the professional doctor, nurse, therapist, but in the long term it will be the friends, family, work colleagues, church members etc that will be the cheerleaders of recovery.
  12. Ask them what it is that they fear if disclosure is made. They might well fear rejection from family, friends etc. Better to problem solve this and discuss who would be safe people that help can be sought from.

Questions to consider and leave a comment.
  1. Are there other insights you have?
  2. What is the danger for you and them by keeping things too private?
  3. What do people fear if their mental illness is made known?

Barry Pearman
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6 Markers of a Healthy Spirituality

Over my life I have been involved in many different styles of Christian denominational expression, or Ice Cream flavours as I like to say.

Staid conservative Bible fundamentalism, ‘swinging from the chandeliers’ Pentecostalism, social justice activism and many other ice cream flavours.

They all have strengths and weaknesses. 
Some aspects of all of them have been helpful to my Mental health while some aspects have been down right destructive.
People often ask me ‘What Church should I go to?’
I suppose I would answer this question with this statement.
‘A Church that keeps you grounded with reality, connects you with Biblical truth, is actively part of the local community, and promotes a healthy spirituality.’

David Benner provides 6 markers of a healthy spirituality[1]

1. Grounded in Reality, seeing things as they are.
There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished in us by our vital relation with realities outside and above us. When our life feeds on unreality it must starve and die. The death by which we enter into life is not an escape from reality but a complete gift of ourselves which involves a total commitment to reality. Thomas Merton

It is the acceptance of what reality can and cannot fulfil that leads to real change because, short of the progressive destruction of illusion and consequent mourning, one cannot discover the world as it is. Donald Winnicott

Reality itself – my limited and sometimes misinterpreted experience -is the revelatory place for God. But for some reason we prefer fabricated realities to the strong and sensitizing face of what is. The spiritual life begins with accepting and living our reality. Richard Rohr

2. Awareness
The spiritual life is, first of all, a matter of keeping awake. Thomas Merton

We have to accept that we are all sleep walkers. We need to awaken and we need to learn to see. Spirituality is about seeing. Once you see, the rest follows. Jesus tells us that if our eye is healthy our whole body will be full of light. Richard Rohr

3. Hopeful openness

  • To life, to others and to God

The most important question each person has to answer -“is the universe friendly?” Einstein

4. Loving connectedness

  • Connectedness with others, with the earth, with God
  • Interdependency, compared to codependency and independency

5. Transcendent meaningfulness

  • Making sense of personal reality in a way that gives direction and purpose to life
  • Having a framework to make sense of failure and suffering
  • Making suffering sufferable
  • Movement beyond egocentricity and entitlement
  • Capacity for grace and gratitude

6. Capacity for love, work and play

  • Altruistic attitude toward others
  • Sense of vocation
  • Spontaneity and playfulness

Questions to Consider and leave a comment.

  • How would you answer the question ‘What Church should I go to?’
  • What would be the signs for you of a Healthy Spirituality?
  • In what ways can Mental Illness rob you of a Healthy Spirituality?
  • In what ways can Mental Illness actually lead you to a Healthy Spirituality?

Barry Pearman
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You Want to be Known but …

To be known is to be pursued, examined, and shaken.

To be known is to be pursued, examined, and shaken.
To be known is to be loved and to have hopes and even demands placed on you.
It is to risk, not only the furniture in your home being rearranged, but your floor plans being rewritten, your walls being demolished and reconstructed.
To be known means that you allow your shame and guilt to be exposed—in order for them to be healed. Curt Thompson

Do you want to be known?

Deep in all of us there is a desire to be known and loved, yet I am not too sure whether I want you to know me fully. You see if you knew me completely, then that would give you a lot of power. You could expose me to others. Reveal all my thoughts and feelings. Tell others all my secrets.
Naked, just like Adam, I run and find some fig leaves to self protect, yet again.
Do I want to be known? 

Hmm, not really, not by anybody other than by someone who has experienced the kind of shame and humiliation that I fear.

I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified
in a cathedral between two candles,
but on a cross between two thieves;
on the town garbage heap;
at a crossroad so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title
in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek;
at the kind of place where cynics talk smut,
and thieves curse,
and soldiers gamble.
Because that is where He died.
And that is what He died about.
George MacLeod

Yes, I feel safe enough with Jesus to let down all defences.
The only problem is that I only know Jesus dimly, like looking through a mesh curtain.

I know something of him, I have some mind knowledge, some experiential knowledge, yet I still only know him partially. I have had a taste of knowing him, which excites my taste buds with an expectation of an eternal everlasting feast of knowing, and being known.

‘I wish I had a friend, a real friend’.
I have heard this so many times, said and unsaid.

People have a craving for the loneliness to be filled. Yet dig deep enough and you will find an obstruction or a wall to being known.

‘If you really knew me you wouldn’t love me’ or the wall of ‘I will never let my heart be broken again’. Perhaps there are many other walls that we raise up to being known.

We have our walls because we like to be control of the outcome. Jesus comes to us, knowing fully well what is beyond the wall and mask we present, and greets us with an embrace that imparts a love that dismantles a wall brick by brick.
Surely this is the way we are to approach knowing others. Knowing that behind the wall lies mess because we know that we also have mess behind our walls.
When someone pulls down a wall and reveals they have Depression, Suicidal Ideation’s, Psychosis, Desires to Cut and Self Harm, Addictions, how do you respond? 
Do you …

  • Back off quick?
  • Refer them to a ‘professional’?
  • Give quick advice?
  • Problem solve?
  • Self reference with your own story or the experience of someone else?
  • (insert your favourite avoidance tactic here)
Or do you

  • Gently and respectfully ask questions that demonstrate your desire to know the person and not just the illness.
Many run or avoid the last option because they consider that don’t have enough knowledge to help.
A lack of knowledge does not constitute a good enough reason to avoid the knowing of another. 
There is a vicious cycle associated with the Stigma of mental illness.

In a Lancet study it was discovered that people with mental illnesses adjust their expectations to society’s views.

The study discovered that more than a third of participants had not started a new relationship because they expected it to fail as a result of discrimination. For the same reason, 71 per cent said that they wished to conceal their diagnosis of depression from others. The cycle of social exclusion and self-exclusion is therefore complete.

Most research on discrimination shows that direct social contact between people in good health and people with a mental illness is an important way to reduce stigma.

Concealment therefore reduces social contact and perpetuates stigma. On the other hand, disclosure also brings real risks of discrimination. Those with mental illness are constantly confronted with this dilemma of keeping quiet or opening up. New Scientist

Someone has to break the cycle of social exclusion and self-exclusion. 
Why not you? 
Would be you willing to know someone without a desire to fix them, problem solve them, heal them, pray on them (yes, I wrote that correctly :)), self reference them, or give quick advice?
Has anyone done this for you?
Consider these quotes about knowing from Dr. Curt Thompson in a book I highly recommend Anatomy of the Soul.
  • It is only when we are known that we are positioned to become conduits of love. And it is love that transforms our minds, makes forgiveness possible, and weaves a community of disparate people into the tapestry of God’s family.
  • When I know that I know something because I can logically prove it, I step away from trust. When I no longer trust, I am no longer open to being known, to relationship, to love.
  • Ultimately, then, knowledge alone does not satisfy. What does satisfy is being known.
  • We have failed to see that this need to be right, to be rationally orderly and correct, subtly but effectively prevents us from the experience of being known, of loving and being loved, which is the highest call of humanity.
  • Is not hard to see why we are infatuated with knowing things in this way. It gives us the illusion that we are secure and in charge. We are no longer vulnerable. We believe we are safe, protected, and happy. We delude ourselves into thinking that we know God, but God as we believe him to be—in control and invulnerable—not God as Scripture describes him to be: risk-taking and able to be hurt badly. We no longer have to trust since we’ve got him all figured out. Knowing things and being right is very important to us, but when overemphasized it comes with a price.
Questions to consider and leave a comment.

  • How have you seen the cycle of social exclusion and self-exclusion demonstrated in your life?
  • What walls do you or others put up to being known?
  • What avoidance techniques have you experienced by people afraid to truly know you?

Barry Pearman

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Listening for the Echoes of the Past can Change your Tomorrow

It was one of those magic moments that will stay in my memory forever, I can still hear the echoes now. 

The Pisa Baptistery is famous for its perfect acoustics. The guide stands on the other side of the baptistery and sings a few notes, pauses then sings a few more, pauses and sings a few more. What echoes back is a choir singing a beautiful melody.

Echoes can be beautiful. A wave of sound hitting a solid surface and bouncing back to surprise you.

They can also subtly influence you to listen to something of the past, rather than the present reality. 

I remember listening to the echoes reverberating around, taking my eyes off the tour guide singing, and trying to locate the other voices singing. There were none.

Our minds are like this too. A thought is triggered and within milliseconds it reverberates unknowingly against an event from our past. The feelings from that past event come back to us so quickly that we respond in exactly the same way we did way back when that past event happened.


Event plus Response equals Outcome. All within in a few milliseconds.

The event might be a sound, a smell, a place, a person, but within a fraction of time the brain will make associations that will affect how we respond.

Listening for those echoes and paying attention to them can change our tomorrow.

It takes effort and a conscious decision to examine your thinking processes but the change can dramatically affect your future.

We don’t have to live according to the echoes and ghosts of the past.

An echo is an echo, it is not present reality and does not have to define our present experience.

As a child I had a lot of childhood illnesses that meant that I was unable to participate in many sports. I also missed quite a bit of school and always felt on the outside. That was then, this is how. 

Those feelings of being on the outside often come back to haunt me. What I have to do is take responsibility for myself and repeatedly tell myself the truth. 

  • My past does not define me, it is the choices and decisions I make today that define me.
  • That was then, this is now. I am not that sick child any more. 
  • I choose my response, not the ghosts of my past. 
  • Sometimes I need to discount my feelings before they discount me. 

I keep many of these insights in my Compass for the Brain which I review each day, telling my brain the truth. Bringing my mind under the influence of new truth. 

I also daily dig into scripture for God’s revealed truth. All with the purpose of retraining the brain to be like the mind of Christ.

The next time you are being echoed on, spend some time going through these 7 steps.

  1. Ask God to help you listen and examine what is happening within you.
  2. What is your self talk? What are you telling your self, the little sentence that keeps on reverberating around in your mind?
  3. What are you feeling? What feeling is this self talk generating? 
  4. When have you felt like this before? What moment in the past does this echo back too?
  5. What belief is feeding the feeling and self talk?
  6. What do you need to do? What truth do you need to tell your self? How can you make this a habit that will retrain your brain.
  7. Share it with someone you trust and ask them to pray for you

Some quotes to consider

  • Some feelings are just habits from child-hood circumstances. Feeling left-out, inadequate or misjudged are often only ghosts from the past. David Riddell
  • Did early sexual encounters leave you with an overlay of fear, guilt or disgust? Emotional echoes need to be answered before they can be laid aside. David Riddell
  • When you next over-react in anxiety, rejection or anger, try to distinguish between present reality and the echoes of past experiences. David Riddell
  • Emotional echoes need not be feared when recognised for what they are. Acknowledge them, then lay them aside. They can’t hurt you now, unless you submit to them. David Riddell
  • Research in marriage and family therapy suggests that approximately 80 percent of the emotional conflict between couples is rooted in events that predate the couple knowing each other. That’s why one of the questions I commonly ask in marriage counseling is how much of each spouse’s reaction to the other is his or her “80 percent.” In other words, how much of the conflict is not so much a direct outgrowth of a current event as something that flows from parts of their minds that are remembering? Curt Thompson M.D.,  Anatomy of the Soul
Questions to consider and leave a comment
  • What thought sentences keep echoing themselves back to you over and over again? 
  • Are you a victim of your past experiences, sitting and languishing in the past, or are you going to be someone who challenges your past conclusions with present reality adult truth? 
Barry Pearman

    Seven Steps to Change your Default Thinking Patterns

    Whether you drive on the left or on the right, changing your thinking is difficult.
    It must be very frightening for foreign drivers who are used to driving on the right hand side of the road coming to places such as New Zealand and having to adjust to driving on the left hand side.
    I remember following your typical white tourism camper van once, and as it came up to a roundabout it turned right instead of left. I wondered where on earth it was going as I met it on the other side of the intersection.
    When you have driven on one side of the road, all your life, it becomes a deeply ingrained thinking habit. So deep that it takes moment by moment concentration and effort to make sure you don’t revert to old patterns.
    When you are
    trying to change
    a thinking habit,
    or a behaviour,
    it is just like learning to drive
    on the other side of the road.
    Addicts find it incredibly difficult to change because they need to oppose every pull of thinking and feeling that would have them slip back into the old rut.
    It is not just those with addiction issues that find it difficult to change, we all do.
    Often we don’t change because it’s too difficult, too much effort required.
    We won’t try to change until we are fully convinced that the current pattern of thinking and behaving is dangerous. Even then it is just so easy to slip across the median line and into real danger.

    Seven Steps in Changing your Default Thinking Patterns.  

    1. Pray. Ask God for the help you need to change. Ask for an awareness of when you are slipping back into the old habits. Ask for help to Lasso those Varmint Thoughts.
    1. Identify the Dangers. Be very clear of the dangers of continuing in this pattern of thinking and behaving. If you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got. Write out the consequences for you, and others, if you keep on doing what you have always done.
    1. Have a Compelling Vision. What do hope you will achieve through a new way of thinking and behaving. What are you desiring for in the change? Does it excite you?
    1. Create cognitive reminders. It might be a notebook of new thinking habits, verses of scripture, encouragement journal, a scrapbook journal of pictures of the potential new you.
    1. Oppose your old thought patterns with new insights. Your old thinking patterns and self talk are ‘stinky thinky’ and need to be replaced with new thoughts and phrases. e.g. ‘My past does not define me, it is the decisions I make today that define me’
    1. Oppose your feelings. Feelings are often repeating echoes of past experiences and don’t truly represent current reality. We need at times to discount our feelings before they discount us.

      In order to oppose the influence and direction of one’s old feelings, a rational mind first needs a very good reason. Without truth to reassure, change isn’t possible. D. Riddell 

    1. Get a coach. I don’t think anybody likes to corrected or challenged, especially by backseat drivers! So often though, we need others beside us reminding us to keep on the right side. It maybe a friend, a family member or a counsellor. Someone who can give encouragement and praise sprinkled lightly with correction and warning.
    People change when they
    hurt enough that they have to,
    learn enough that they want to,
    or receive enough that they are able to.
    John Maxwell
    Questions to consider
    • Where do you seriously need to change thinking and behaving tracks?
    • What qualities are needed in people who can coach you into change?
    Barry Pearman
    Visentico / Sento via Compfight cc

    birth – The Bit in Between – death

    One Death every 40 seconds. 
    girl depression sad suicide sand
    Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc

    It is estimated by the World Health Organisation that each year approximately one million people die from suicide.

    One death every 40 seconds and it is predicted that by 2020 the rate of death will increase to one every 20 seconds.

    Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 (male and female). Suicide attempts are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicides. (Source)

    We have a problem. 
    What is having suicidal depression truly like?

    What helps?

    Austrian born, Sinda Ruzio-Sabian, tells her story of living with Suicidal Depression.
    Is it an easy read?

    No, its painful because it is real. 

    Sinda tells her story through poetry and prose.

    Many people believe that talking about suicide is dangerous.

    Sinda disagrees

    ‘We need to bring it out into the open by sharing our lives with others in the hope that it can ameliorate the isolation, guilt and shame’

    As I read the stories and the poems I was taken to the stories of many others that struggle with depression.

    The shame, guilt, and fear of telling others about what is really going on. Isolation creeps in and vulnerability increases.

    ‘The Bit in Between’ brings the reality of  living with suicidal depression into a format that can be embraced by others.

    The hope is that by doing this others can truly connect with the struggle.

    Sinda gives the reader a set of tools she has collected over the years that has helped her.

    • Maintain an Attitude of Gratitude
    • Watch my vocabulary with myself, attempting to get rid of should’s, have to’s.
    • Daily readings – from various affirmative and twelve – step programmes’ books.
    • Meditation
    • Listen to relaxing music/ sounds.
    • Exercise
    • Eat well.
    • Sleep
    • Socialise
    • Ask – checking with friends that what they said is what I heard.

    Sinda shares her secrets. 

    ‘They say you are as sick as the secrets you keep. Well all I now know is that until I started leaking with therapy I was a very sick puppy! Quite apart from the fact that I did start talking I wasn’t aware of how sick I was. Sharing these feelings. Finding out what I wanted and how to express these wants. Bit by bit learning to be open with others was, and continues to be, a slow and often painful slog but the journey continues to worth it.’

    Do you, or someone you know, struggle with suicidal depression? 

    This could be a life saving book.

    You can purchase it at Amazon (Paper back and Kindle) or directly, by emailing the author.

    Like to leave a comment?

    Barry Pearman

    Your Passion is WHAT!

    I like to write. 

    typewriter keys small man
    Photo Credit: JD Hancock via Compfight cc

    The other day I was listening to someone, and it wasn’t until I wrote down what they said that I was fully able to understand. 

    Writing captures something for me. 

    I am able to grasp hold of loose thoughts, random ideas and powerful emotions and form them into sentences and paragraphs

    I like to write.

    For my blog I try to grasp something of what is passing through the thought blender for the day. Sometimes, I confess, its like dishwater while at other times its like one of those energy smoothies high performance athletes gulp down. 

    I have recently been reading some of my earlier blogposts and re-editing into my current form of writing which is easier to read on a screen. By the way if you want to find out about this style of writing check out this post by writer Jeff Goins. 

    As I have read some of the posts I have thought ‘Did I write that!’ both in a sense of delight and in horror. I haven’t removed any posts, they are part of my history, part of my weave. 

    Why am I telling you this? 

    It’s because ‘I Like to write’.

    Deep down you too will have something that you really like to do. You may well dismiss it as not being that important, while actually it really is and believe me it is vital for you to share it with others. It may well be God’s gift to others.

    I have discovered people who have a special passion for all sorts of interesting things. 

    Making wedding dresses, scrap booking, growing the best potatoes, bee keeping, fixing up old cars, showing dogs, baking, raising prize winning dairy cows, stamp collecting, wine drinking, pottery, painting. 

    The list is endless. 

    Today I am going to visit a couple in our Church that have a tourism business. Pauline has a passion around embroidery and tourism so has developed a business of taking people on tours focusing on embroidery.  

    She, and husband Mark (passion for Trucks, Buses and Tanks!), are heading off this weekend to Italy and Spain with 25 others on an embroidery adventure. I am helping with some Social media advice. You can follow their extraordinary embroidery adventure on Facebook

    The point is they are doing something they are passionate about. 

    God has wired us all differently. I don’t have a passion for fine needle work, or driving tanks because …

    I like to write. 

    What do you like to do? 
            What gets you going? 

    Could it be that it is something very special that God has given you, and that needs to be shared with others.

    The glory of God is man fully alive. St. Irenaeus

    Where are you fully ALIVE!

    In supporting people with Mental Health issues, one of the key facets of recovery is the discovery of where they are ‘fully alive’. Poets, painters, mechanics, gardeners, have discovered new mental wellness though being empowered in their passions.

    Where are you fully ALIVE!

    Let the glory of God be shown to the world through it.

    Questions to consider and leave a comment.

    • What are you passionate about? 
    • In what activities do you find that the creative juices really start to flow? 

    Barry Pearman