Tag Archives: What is mental health?

You See What You Look For

Wasn’t going to write this week. It was a hard week; mental health can be daunting at times. Frustrating at the least, when you try so hard and just can’t help someone. Prayers go unanswered, fear hangs on the edges, and you have to simply remind yourself that God doesn’t force anyone to trust. A huge loophole of answered prayer for others is personal choice. The wormhole! Old Wormwood gets his sticky fingers of fear around someone’s heart, and trusting God goes out the window–or such is my perspective.

But then I missed my sleep window tonight, so might as well process feelings with you all. It was a beautiful day to be outside. My husband and I had breakfast in our gazebo–love that. Encouraging messages came in. One from an old boyfriend on his birthday–that was nice. He lost his 23 yr-old daughter years ago. Can’t even imagine… Good to hear life is happy again.

A friend came over and we celebrated her belated birthday by making healthy ice-cream–nice too. (It was really good and we ate on the patio.) It was a good day filled with fun, beauty and love. I should be feeling content, and I am, just stayed up five minutes too long playing Words with Friends with my sister–five minutes is all it takes!

But the very best thing that happened in the many good things of today was hearing that my nephew is finding his way back to God! He’s been an atheist for years, so that was huge! But we’re pretty close and I know he’s honest-hearted, so I always figured he’d find his way back somehow. Fabulous news. So now I realize what a really good day this was! I’m glad I shared it with you. I always say everything is perspective, and it really is. You really do find what you look for. Sometimes it just takes a few minutes of reflection to see it. Thanks God.


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Brain Robbers

I’m restless this afternoon–probably dehydrated, I reflect–could the news from my friend put me in this funk? Don’t I believe God is good? I say it enough…so I should just start thanking Him that He has this too. And I’m sure He does. So I drink two glasses of water and began to write here. That’s one of my best processing strategies.

Did you know stress doesn’t kill us? There is now a great body of research to show it (Cohen, 2006). It is the state your body is in when the stress hits. Are you healthy? What do you do with the fear that presents itself with bad news? What are your feedback systems? What are your patterns? How do you cope?

We are emotional creatures. There is no way around it. We’re built to feel. We have to have outlets for emotions and pain. Fear is real when you hear a good friend has just been exposed to Ebola. No the fear isn’t for me–he’s in another country. The fear is for him and his family. It’s worse than hearing someone here has cancer–and that is bad enough.

And no, I’m not afraid of death for people who know God, their pain is over. I feel for the people who are left. The ones who suffer. I’m not afraid his wife and three children will get the disease–they are here. But how awful it would be to go on without him–he’s so full of life and fun. Humor is his second nature, as is adventure, and faith.

Sooner or later everyone comes around to the question. Why do good people suffer? Or Why does God allow suffering? Does He cause it? Those two have made many atheists.

I’m clear on both. Why is there suffering? Freedom. And no, He doesn’t cause suffering. He has no evil. So what’s my problem?

Part of it is the pathways I have. Fear used to be second nature to me. That network–mostly dormant is still there–ready to be activated at any time. Another part is that I know God sees what we don’t, and sometimes He sees that it is better not to intervene. I admit that one still gets me nervous from time to time. Faithful suffering speaks.

So what is the real problem? Do I know Him well enough to ask Him and listen for His voice? Do I take my shocks and fears to Him? Can I trust that He really knows best if He doesn’t do what I think He should? I am shocked to realize that I haven’t talked to Him about this yet!

Why not? I got caught in feeling–in the awfulness and emotion of what happened. That is purely human. But I could have turned to him immediately instead of wallowing in feelings for two hours. Now that is crazy! 

One of my friends even said the right words, but they went by with my agreement but not my action–not connecting with Him about this.

I even talked to Him about something else! Wow! I’m amazed.

Fear does NOT come from God. But neither will He jerk it away from me. I have to want to give it up. Processing helps. Can I trust Him? His goodness? Really?

Yes! Will I? That is my choice.


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My Husband–My Hero

Hy husband was my hero yesterday.

He went up on the roof of my office to attach a shade sail (like an awning). The roof was so hot and the shingles so rough that I ran to get his knee pads.

So there he is on the very top of an 8 ft ladder bent over putting on knee pads. I was almost sick to my stomach. All I could do was pray he wouldn’t lose his balance. (And of course all I could think of was the friend of a friend who’s husband fell off their roof and died.)

Then he had to stretch and lift to get his legs with the knee pads over the rain gutters because they kept catching on it.

When he got on his feet he was fine and tied off the sail, but coming down was even worse. He couldn’t get the knee pads over the gutters and reach the ladder. So after three attempts (with me getting sicker) I suggested coming over the front–no gutters. And finally I thought of gardening gloves so he could hang onto hot shingles. Then he thought of the closet on the other end that provided a step down.

I carried the ladder over there, set it up, and he was able to get down. This may not seem like a big deal unless you know that my husband is 72.

Since I was going to write about mental health this is a good example because we were stretched by it.

It seems to me healthy thinking is just clarity–not letting your emotions run away with you, and respecting others beliefs and opinions while stating and holding your own–but not rigidly. And, of course, checking them out.

I hate having him go up on the roof. But I was trying to be respectful and supportive, and I was willing to go but I’m not as good at heights.

Also, it’s hard for us to work together because we think so differently. So to collaborate takes a lot of respecting and listening. We disagreed on the right way to hang it (we almost always see things oppositely) but after we held it up he actually went with my suggestion!

This project was definitely an exercise in mental health. (Not to mention physical, emotional and spiritual!) And we did it! We passed.

I am very proud of him! He’s crazy but courageous!

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