Fun talk on mental health. Note: Not a faith based perspective.
Diseases of the body garner sympathy, says comedian Ruby Wax — except those of the brain. Why is that? With dazzling energy and humor, Wax, diagnosed a decade ago with clinical depression, urges us to put an end to the stigma of mental illness.
First off: I completely dislike this title but I think the article has some great value to it. The question is about what we say to people who are struggling. What people usually take from a title like this is that they are calling the people saying the phrases stupid and then we argue about that statement instead of the content. For some people these statements are all you know and you say them with a heart that is trying to help. What people struggling would like you to know is that for the most part these statements are more hurtful then helpful. Lets look at how we can better support people struggling.
They suggest changing this from “God will never give you more than you can handle” to “Let me come over and help you do some laundry.” This strikes me as even more theologically correct.
They have some great thoughts on a framework for how to respond.
The first is the emergent or resuscitative stage. At this stage priority is given to removing the person from the source of the burn and stopping the burning process. The big things to think about are fluid replacement, nutrition, and pain management. Translated into crisis care, this means we’ll bring meals, coffee money, and pick up children from day care.
The second stage is the acute or wound healing stage. At this stage, the body is trying to reach a state of balance, while remaining free from infection. During this stage, patients can become withdrawn, combative, or agitated. This stage can be a lengthy and unpredictable stage. Burn victims, like people in crisis, often lash out at those closest to them. Translate this into listening, listening, and listening some more.
The final stage is the rehabilitative or restorative stage. The goal at this stage is for a patient to resume a functional role within their family and community. Reconstruction surgery may be needed. Encouragement and reassurance are critical to the person at this stage. This would translate into going on walks with the person, taking them out to a movie or dinner, having them over for coffee or a meal.
Some great thoughts here. I am seeing burnout everywhere I travel.
I prefer saying in burnout—present tense. It is a season in the valley of shadows, but the journey is far from ending. There is no defeat here, only a period of spiritual exile, where the exhaustion runs more deeply than simply being tired. Hope lies on the horizon.
Burnout is an overwhelming and all-encompassing exhaustion due to prolonged stress. It is pervasive, affecting the physical, mental, emotional and social aspects of a person. In its wake lies depression, low energy, lack of immune system defenses, emotional numbness, and a sense of spiritual discouragement or defeat. The deep cynicism, the lack of desire to be around anyone, the brooding frustration and anger—this wasn’t what I signed up for when I got into youth ministry.
In the last month I have had over 2 dozen (24 conversations) with students, family members, youth workers, teachers and others all talking about students in crisis. You would then ask what kind of crisis am I talking about. I am talking about students in Grades 3-12 struggling with:
Physically harming themselves (cutting)
Suicidal thoughts including suicide attempts
Burnout and breakdown
In every single one of these conversations the problem people are talking to me about is not with the desperate struggle the student is having but what to do when the parent(s) refuses to acknowledge that anything is wrong and/or will to do nothing about the problem.
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” Martin Luther King Jr.’s
So where do we go from here. First I would say we need to advocate for the people around us. Advocate means to speak up or stand up for people. We, as friends, family and leaders, need to have conversations with the parents who are not addressing these issues.
For some people you may need to sit for a second and question if maybe you are the silent parent. If so, here are some thoughts for you:
How are you presently helping your child in their struggle? You should be able to answer this.
How are you hindering your child in their struggle? There are always areas we can improve on.
Have you created a safe environment where you child feels comfortable talking about their struggles?
Are you perpetuating the stigma of mental health but not talking openly about the struggle in your home?
I understand that you might feel completely overwhelmed but the situation. That is ok. How about booking a counselling appointment for you. Tell the counsellor what is going on in your child’s life and get some strategies to begin to come along side them and support them in this struggle. If you feel overwhelmed as an adult picture being a young student dealing with these issue and how much more overwhelming it must be for them.
I read a quote once that said something along the lines of many parents today are so focused on the downward spiral of their own lives it is hard to think of anything beyond their own situation. Maybe some of you need to work on your own struggles first. I also think that we can be working on our own struggles while at the same time advocating for our own children.
I love the book by Robert Munsch that says “I love you forever and always”. We need to let our kids know that we are always there for them and even if they struggle we will still love them. Many students say to me that they could never tell their parents about their struggles as they hear the comments their parents make about other people with similar struggles. Be careful what critical comments you say about others. You might have people in your own home dealing with the same issues.
Even if you have no idea what to do or say you can say this “I don’t know what you are going through but I love you, I will be here through this journey and I will look at getting you some help.”
Say something. Say anything. Just don’t ignore the problem and assume it will get better. It will not.
As a parent, who has a child struggling, talk to your friends at work, church, school, sports etc. You will probably find that many of your friends have kids who have gone through similar journey’s. Be vulnerable enough to not be ok. I have heard this quote by many people “Its ok to not be ok, its just not ok to stay that way.”
If you have any other thoughts please add them in a comment. Thanks
Great interview with Dr. Ravi Zacharias by Carey Nieuwhof on the topic of suffering and evil.
Dr. Ravi Zacharias is Founder and President of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) and he has spoken all over the world for 43 years in scores of universities, notably Harvard, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, and Cambridge. Dr. Zacharias is well versed in the fields of comparative religions, cults and secular philosophies.
As Carey Nieuwhof mentioned above, he could ask any question he like and Dr. Zacharias would be able to give a satisfactory answer due to his extensive knowledge. So for the purpose of keeping this interview concise, they have decided to tackle the problem of evil and suffering.
In Dr. Zacharias’ latest book, “Why suffering?”, he presents what the secular philosophers call a “trilemma”.
Do you feel anxious from time to time? We all do – and it’s perfectly normal. Whether it’s work, personal life, parenthood or school, life can be overwhelming. But there’s an important difference between feeling anxious and struggling with a diagnosable anxiety disorder. This Psychology Month, let’s consider anxiety in greater depth to provide clarity on when and if you need to seek professional help.
For the last 15 or so years of my life I have been asking people “Tell me about your tattoo?” when I am in line with someone who has ink. It has been fascinating to hear the stories of people. I really like this list of tattoos for people struggling with different forms of mental health.
If I ever got a tattoo it would be #25. A semi colon. Below is a quote from another article which explains the semi-colon.
“You are the author, the sentence is your life. For anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, self harm, contemplating suicide, you are not alone. You are worthy. You are loved.” from this article