Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
It was combat. Young, hardened faces tensed with the desperation of wavering hope.
Soldiers strapped to their guns, pinned down in the safest place and surrounded by mines, had been holding their precarious position for five months. Over one hundred of their teammates, comrades, and friends had been carried off and buried. There was no time for grief. No room for sentiment.
Who would be next, no one knew.
From the outside, it appeared that order and discipline in the form of rank and file remained intact. A lieutenant was in charge now, having assumed the role after the captain and commander were killed.
However, tempers flared. Brave chatter had morphed into a single thought.
Hold out, hang in there, stay the course, keep yourself together, don’t think too much, don’t lose focus, push away the emotions, calm your nerves… hold. Above all, remember those who die are heroes. Your sacrifice is secondary to the mission.
The above scene is merely make-believe, based on a fictional television portrayal of war.* In reality, soldiers face menacing scenarios. Soldiers who stood their ground in actual wars, survivors of others’ sacrifices, the wounded, and otherwise affected men and women veterans – these are worthy and in need of our support and gratitude.
They are not the only ones with difficult memories.
Beside them stand victims of abuse and torture in the human trafficking world, witnesses to domestic violence or other crimes, and people who survive mass shootings. Even these are but a small sample of the total number of people traumatized by literal and figurative foxholes.
Well after one has healed physically, unresolved trauma may pin down the mind. Relief is incomplete. Symptoms of PTSD or other anxiety disorders are part of an ongoing struggle. In the middle of run-away anxiety, often there remains a single thought.
For years my battles against unwanted thoughts were daily lost. Learning some therapeutic strategies helped immensely. Still it seemed this was to be my forever normal – make a choice, grow anxious, take time to recover, repeat.
The break in that cycle came when I discovered more release and calm turning to the Lord Jesus than in any strategy I’ve tried. It is not an insta-cure. However, he grants me rest from hanging on for dear life.
While learning to heal from trauma, his words are rich with calm. “Peace, be still.” Years of practice have taught me to trust him. Knowing he will never leave or forsake me, I can release my hold, and just be held.
Today’s Helpful Word
And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.
1st picture from rgbstock.com
*Deep Space Nine, one of the Star Trek television series