By Nancy Virden (c)2022
No one knows the unknown. As much as we like to think we can relate the best advice to any given issue, we cannot. Stigma interferes with healing and hope. The letters I and G show how facts can make a difference.
I = Identity
No one is a disease, condition, or experience. We accidentally confuse a person’s identity with their struggle by using phrases such as “she is bipolar” and “take a pill.” The solutions to a wide variety of mental health challenges may include some aspect of choice. However, no one chooses to be majorly depressed, unable to function normally, or limited by disease.
One of the most condemning attitudes we can misapply is the assumption of poor character or weak faith as a cause for depressive episodes and mental breakdowns. This is ignorance. Sticking such an identity on someone leaves little room for acceptance during one’s process of recovery.
What can be said and done instead? Change vocabulary. I am Nancy, not depression. I am a suicide attempt survivor, not a dangerous person who might lose control. I have had mental health crises, but I am not a walking crisis!
G = Guilt
It is important to not confuse emotions with thoughts, and thoughts with behaviors. If we do, the effect is judgmental. Kind Thomas is in a mental health crisis. He does not have the felt experience with God that healthy believers do. He does not recognize love from his family. This is temporary. The pre-frontal cortex of our brains tends to shut down during an episode of major depression while the flight or fight mechanism runs at full capacity. This does not cause a person to lose faith or heart. It can prevent feeling anything good.
Thomas expresses a sense of aloneness. Implying that Thomas is spiritually or relationally stubborn and refusing to cooperate is to ignore who Thomas has always been. It is a mental health issue that is robbing him of joy- not a sudden personality change.
Show acceptance and validation to people like Thomas. Remind them that God does not run away from tough situations and neither will you.
Today’s Helpful Word
Matthew 7:1- 3
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?
How the Difference Maker Lifts You Above Depressive Thoughts (c)2020
More on Always The Fight:
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
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