Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
War and rumors of war. This is a heavy news day for America, and tensions are high. Even if conversations are not concentrated on the Eastern and Middle Eastern dramas, we feel the apprehension.
Jimmy Kimmel spoke about the day his newborn faced open-heart surgery. Jimmy’s cousins brought laughter to the moment, however this did not lessen the new dad’s and mom’s concerns for their son.
Laughter as effective therapy
Most of us can experience apprehension and function at the same time. For some, a little tension can set off disabling anxiety, depression, or other mental illness episodes. Stress is a huge factor in unstable mental health.
That is probably why laughter is a great coping mechanism. Everyone knows it is possible to cry through laughter and smile through tears. Levity does not fix anything other than our ability to move along. That is what counts, is it not?
In the arena of mental health care and advocacy, the aim is to help persons advance from dysfunction to function to satisfaction. Laughter’s role is significant.
It was interesting to watch as suicidal and severely depressed persons like myself found reasons to laugh together in an intensive therapy support group in 2011. Personally, an instant change in mood was not forthcoming (overcoming a mental health crisis does not work that way!). However, we each experienced proof of that joy is possible. Laughter, if accepted as such, is a catalyst for hope.
America is not in a great mood today. Many are angry, bitter, vile, and hateful. This comes from both conservatives and liberals if we will be completely honest and admit it. Comic relief from people like Jimmy Kimmel is a break from fake and bad news. It is not a cure for anxiety, depression, or despair.
Our best laughter comes from a sense of security and freedom from fear knowing absolutely nothing can destroy us.
My hope is not in America’s President or any world leader. It is not in Republicans or Democrats, conservative or liberal ideology, or in any governing body whatsoever.
My hope is in the One who never changes, whose love is passionate for His daughter, and whose plans stand firm forever. The Lord “watches over those who fear (revere and live in awe of) him, those who rely (place all their hope) on his unfailing love.” The best read perhaps for America’s national anxiety is Psalm 33.
God’s promises help me respond to apprehension like a woman described in Proverbs 31. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” While anxiety and depression often knock on my door, it is hope that brings me laughter, and the other way around.
Today’s Helpful Word
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”
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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.
*fear pic from Kozzi.com, woman smiling by COLONIERA on rgbstock.com