Category Archives: Getting Well Staying Well

How do we get well and stay well from a mental illness

6 Steps to Take the Power out of an Unbearable Feeling

6 Steps to Take the Power out of an Unbearable Feeling

I’ve been allergic to egg all my life. At times I have even ended up in a hospital when I have inadvertently eaten egg.

One time as a child I went to a camp and the cooks thought that I was just being fussy. They didn’t tell that what I was having for lunch contained egg. I reacted in one way, my mother reacted in another way! #sparksdidfly

At that moment of watching all my friends doing what was completely normal, I felt completely alone. Like I was different, real different.

The egg allergy is a relatively easy problem to manage. What is truly difficult is the character bruise and wound that has been left on the soul.

What character bruises have you incurred? Continue reading

Just Don’t Touch That Button – Your Unbearable Feeling

You have an Unbearable Feeling, let’s gets some help and find out what it is.

I was in one of those novelty gift stores the other day and there it was. A button that needed to be pushed. It was a big red rubber button that when pushed it said “NO” in the voice of Homer Simpson. I had to push it. Just had too.

We all have buttons that when they are pushed they get a reaction. Continue reading

racing-thoughts-can-be-reined-in-heres-how

Racing Thoughts can be Reined in. Here’s how

It was off to the races and my thoughts and feelings were galloping around in my head.

Out in front was ‘This and that’ followed closely behind by ‘Panic’ and ‘Fear’. Neck and neck were ‘Hopelessness’ and ‘Despair’ while ‘Stuck in the Mud’ was definitely stuck in the mud and sinking.

Do your thoughts race? Continue reading

Robbed who are the real robbers mental health

Robbed

We’ve been robbed in more ways than we know.

It wasn’t the usual snatch and grab. This was more a subtle insidious taking of life.

In the early stages of their depressive illness, they had been put on the new wonder drug Valium. With strong tranquillizing effects, life was muted.

Then after 30 years, Continue reading

Three Mental Health Assurances For When The Wire Brush Scratches

Life can be hard, and maybe even harsh at times, but in the end, something beautiful and good can emerge from the struggle. Love is like that.

It was an old climbing rose that hadn’t been well cared for.

When I started to do some gardening work on an old farming property, out of the 120 roses, this old girl was the one that grabbed my attention. With the main trunk as thick as my arm, she stretched out for 4 metres until at the very end were some leaves and a few roses.

The next winter I took drastic action. Continue reading

Do You Need A Permission Slip for Mental Health?

When going through Mental Health struggles, you have to give yourself permission to receive, especially from God.

Every Tuesday morning I travel to a garden in a small rural area called Clevedon. I leave early to beat rush hour traffic but also to get a few moments on the top of a hill overlooking the valley.

This is what I saw this morning. Continue reading

mental health fatigue despair struggle

Are You Getting Ground Out by The Grind?

The grind is real. Life for many can be just one continual experience of being ground out by the daily grind.

I have a little questionnaire. Now and then someone (anonymous) leaves some answers to my three simple questions.

I read them all and always my heart is touched. I send up some prayers and ask God to help me write content that might be of help to this person.

You see I know that whatever is written here by one probably represents 1000’s of others

One such pain point can be summarised up in these words.

 ‘How do I keep going while I am doing intensive therapy.’

Continue reading

ARE YOU A WEAK HUMAN BEING? MEDICATION, GOD, AND CHRISTIANS PART 3

Are You A Weak Human Being? Medication, God, and Christians Part 3

To heal, we need to humbly accept the truth of our human fragility.

There is a soap opera here in New Zealand called Shortland Street. In the very first episode, a nurse tells a doctor a simple sentence that has become, believe it or not, part of New Zealand pop culture.

“You’re not in Guatemala now Dr Ropata.”

In the scene, a mother is about to deliver a baby, but there is no obstetrician available. There is, however, a new doctor fresh from working in Guatemala. He wants to help, but the nurse is determined to stay within the boundaries of hospital policy. So she uttered those memorable words.

Sometimes I want to tell people these words.

“You’re not in the Garden anymore.” Continue reading

Whatever you don't learn their name

Whatever You Do, Don’t Learn Their Name

 

Each morning I start my day in a comfortable chair, listen to the Bible, thinking about the day ahead and making a list of tasks.

Often I look across the room at a bookshelf with some of my favourite books. Recently I picked up a couple of them and have begun to read them again. As I do I mark any sentences I find challenging and that I think I can share out via my various social networking sites.

One of those books is by Jim Wallis. The book is Faith Works and there is a link below if you’re interested in getting a copy.

He tells the story of a lawyer, Dale Recinella, who gets involved in helping out at a local Soup Kitchen.

 About twenty years ago, I started helping out at the noon meal of the Good News Soup Kitchen in Tallahassee.

 It was located in the city’s then worst crack/prostitution district,halfway between the State Capital and the Governor’s Mansion. I showed up everyday in my three piece suit to help from 11:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

 The staff assigned me to “door duty.” That meant my job was to ensure that the street people lining up to eat waited in an orderly fashion. Everyday, I stood at the door for an hour, chatting with the street people waiting to eat.

 Before I came to Good News, “street people” was a meaningless term. It defined a group without defining anybody in particular. From the comfort of my car, my suburban home and my downtown law office, street people were just “those people out there somewhere.”

Then, one day, an elderly woman named Helen came running to the Good News door. A man was chasing her threatening to kill her if she didn’t give him back his dollar.

“Tell him he can’t hit me here ‘cuz it’s church property!” she pleaded.

In true lawyer fashion, I explained that Good News is not a church but he still couldn’t hit her. After twenty minutes of failed mediation, I purchased peace by giving each of them a dollar.

That evening, I happened to be standing on the corner of Park and Monroe, a major intersection a few blocks from the State Capital and outside my law office. In the red twilight I spied a lonely silhouette struggling in my direction from Tennessee St.

“Poor street person,” I thought, as the figure inched closer.

 I was about to turn back to my own concerns when I detected something familiar in that shadowy figure. The red scarf. The clear plastic bag with white border. The unmatched shoes.

“My God,” I said in my thoughts, “that’s Helen.”

My eyes froze on her as she limped by and turned up Park. No doubt she would crawl under a bush to spend the night. My mind had always dismissed the sight of a street person in seconds. It could not expel the picture of Helen.

That night, as I lay on my $1500 deluxe, temperature controlled waterbed in the suburbs, I couldn’t sleep. A voice in my soul kept asking,

“Where’s Helen sleeping tonight?”

No street person had ever interfered with my sleep before. But the shadowy figure with the red scarf and plastic bag had followed me home.

I had made a fatal mistake.

I had learned her name.

 

The story reminds of a Jesus parable he shared with a lawyer who wanted to know who was the neighbour he was called to love.

Jesus described his neighbour as a man that was naked, unconscious, beaten up and left for dead. Someone that you would have to move beyond professional legal language barriers to actually help.

Some of the lawyers I have met have built a legal wall personality around them. They may know the name of the client but for fear of contamination they steel themselves against the story, the deep story.

I know a policeman that had to do this too. They chose to harden themselves to the story so that they could just mentally go on and do their job.

I don’t hold this against them. Dealing with quantity and depth of trauma requires some self care and boundaries.

Every now and then though God calls us to learn the name, embrace the story, and get down into the dirty ditch of a dehumanised victim because thats the only way they can be reached, with love.

Do FOR ONE, what you wish you could do for EVERYONE Andy Stanley (link to a great sermon)

Are you willing to be vulnerable to God, to bring a ‘Helen’, into your world?

 I want to write more about this. Good idea?

 Leave a comment below.

Questions to consider and leave a comment

  • Do fear learning ‘the name’? Why?
  • Who has learnt your name, your story?
  • What would happen if everyone learnt just one persons name and story?

Barry Pearman

Photo Credit: Abhishek Jacob via Compfight cc

Your Mental Health needs an Oasis Rest Routine

Your Mental Health needs an Oasis Rest Routine

Days and weeks roll into each other and tiredness slowly seeps into your soul. When each day feels like one horrendous day upon another and the treadmill is jammed on marathon setting then you need to retreat to an oasis.

 

Do you have an Oasis?
Can you give yourself permission to rest there?
Who or what is driving your treadmill? Could it be you?
Recently I have been going out most evenings to our front deck for 5 minutes in the dark and just sitting in silence.
I listen to the night. The wind blowing through the tall pines, the hum of the motorway, the meowing of our cat.

In this stillness I give thanks for an Oasis amidst the noise of life. I pause for a moment and do nothing but listen.

God calls me to regularly cease. To stop, rest, be still, to listen.

Its right there in the Bible and even God needed to practice it after the most creative week in history.

In God’s caring love they say this

The Israelites will keep the Sabbath, observe Sabbath-keeping down through the generations, as a standing covenant. It’s a fixed sign between me and the Israelites. Yes, because in six days God made the Heavens and the Earth and on the seventh day he stopped and took a long, deep breath. Exodus 31:13-17 The Message

A long deep breath.

Sounds good doesn’t it. A complete day that was devoted to taking a long deep breath.

David the shepherd sings a song

God, my shepherd!
   I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
   you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
   you let me catch my breath
   and send me in the right direction. Psalm 23:1-3

There is the picture again of a quiet pool, an oasis, a catching of breath.

David chose God to be his shepherd, his guide. He could have chosen the footrot demands of the sheep to be the guide. Or what about doing the tax records for the farm?

No, he chose God to be his shepherd. He invited God to lead him to an oasis grassy stillness.

David embraced the self care boundaries God had made for themselves (Father, Spirit, Son) and made them his own.

What about those Oasis experiences during your week.

Moments where you can catch your breath and be still amidst the noise.

As I write this it is early in the morning and the sun has just peeked over the hill by my home. Warm fresh new light bursts through the window. Our dogs are basking in it, fast asleep. The house is quiet. I have an oasis experience write here write now. (And yes I know the spelling is wrong). So I write and reflect at the oasis of this moment.

I still myself by this oasis, pause and soak it in. I think about the day ahead and wonder if throughout it I can find other mini oasis moments to stop, pause, listen and give thanks.

In checking my daily routine, my habits, I wonder if they are taking me closer to the well spring source of the oasis or drawing me away.

I recognise God’s call for me to engage with life and all its desert demands, but I can only do this if I have replenished myself from the still quiet waters of the oasis.

Questions to consider and leave a comment

  • In your daily and weekly routine where do you find space for oasis relief?
  • What keeps you from having Oasis moments?
  • What did Jesus do for an Oasis moment?

Did you find this post helpful?

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Barry Pearman

Photo Credit: Nwardez via Compfight cc