Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c) 2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
Denial does not work because bottled up emotions will come out some other way, affecting our physical and mental health. Refusing to talk about something keeps us isolated, alone with our interpretation of events.
This is one of myriad reasons my suggestion is consistent – seek a professional, knowledgeable perspective.
At 18 and single, Kimberly had already experienced pregnancy twice. Her first baby died just before birth, and Kimberly was forced to deliver a stillborn daughter. The second pregnancy was a rebound one, she said.
When we first met, she was in the first trimester of the second pregnancy. She was excited! Her strong family support system, including her mother, helped her cope. Her dreams for another baby girl knew no bounds. As we talked, I grew to like what appeared as Kimberly’s overcomer attitude.
Family death and murder
Then her mother suddenly died. Kimberly spoke fondly of her, and expressed regret they would not have more time. Her emotions were well-hidden. “Everything happens for a reason,” she said. I never saw another reaction.
By now the nursery was furnished. Baby clothes lined dresser drawers. Packages of diapers collected against a wall. Her much-loved child was due in four weeks. Then the unthinkable happened.
One afternoon, her boyfriend’s sister assaulted her, beating and pushing. Kimberly’s pre-born baby died. She filed charges and eventually won a homicide case against the assailant.
The next time I saw her, she was unemotional. In the course of one year, this young woman had lost two babies and her mother. Yet she showed no pain.
Hidden emotions will spill…
Her behavior told a different story. Only one month after the assault, she invited me to walk her through her third round of hope and dreams. For months, all she could talk about was her developing little boy.
“Are you sad?” I asked, referring to so many losses.
“I was, but now I have this baby to care for,” she said with a smile. “Everything happens for a reason.”
I’m convinced she was coping the best she knew how – by tackling one storm at a time. That’s an effective, temporary coping skill. However, it leaves us dependent on the whims of circumstances outside of our control. Buried emotions powerfully push us toward immediate relief. The resulting lack of awareness does not guide us toward making healthier or wiser decisions.
I hope for the sake of her longterm physical, mental, and spiritual health, she eventually found the will to face, experience, and share her feelings with a professional grief counselor.
We all live with pain. God draws us to himself, gives of himself, and tells us to reach out to one another. Why? Because none of us are meant to do this alone. We thrive in honesty.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral 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 are yours.