Mental Health is ... Knowing Where To Let the Balloon Pressure Out

Mental Health is … Knowing Where To Prick the Balloon

Pressure within is building.

How do you let it out without destroying precious relationships? You prick the balloon in a safe controlled planned out way. You need to let it out or it will eat you up.

Recently I have gone back to old school ways of writing. I have picked up a pen and some paper and written my first draft with ink on fibre. It’s been quite liberating. I have felt freer to be expressive and less bound to a machine.

I have also continued to write my book called ‘Broken to Built’ based on the book of Nehemiah. It’s a kind of ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ style with Bill and John having a daily chat on a park bench at a beach.

So I thought I would like to share with you Day 27 of their conversation.

All this talk we were doing was starting to get at me.

Yes, I sensed God was on the move. That good things were beginning to happen. A sculptor was chipping away at the facade I had built around myself.

It hurt.

I was angry. It was ok, wasn’t it? To be angry.

I wasn’t sure why I was angry or what I was angry about. It was just sitting there, in the background like a petulant child.

I didn’t notice John take the final few steps toward me and place himself on the wooden slats.

His old woolly cardigan quietly draped around my shoulders.

‘Do you need one of these?’ he whispered as he placed a small pin in my hand.

‘Huh? What’s this for?’

‘Oh, I just got a nudge to bring a pin this morning. It’s very good for deflating overinflated balloons’

I still looked at him with puzzlement.

‘Look, sometimes in life, I can feel internally like a balloon that has pressurised to the point of bursting. Stresses, criticisms, inner turmoil all just build up a head of steam in me that feels like explosive.’

‘Wow, you can read me well, but a pin against a balloon can create an almighty mess and a lot of noise’

‘Yes, it can but only if you poke it in the middle of the balloon where the skin is tight. If you go down to the base of the balloon where it isn’t so taunt and put a little hole in there, well the air can pass out slowly and peacefully.’

‘It’s a gentle release compared to a rushing rage.’

‘Ever prayed Red Dot Angry Prayers? Like when you just let it all out and vent at God.’

‘Um, quietly I have, but I have always felt kind of guilty afterwards that I did. That I was just being self-centered and over the top and that God might consider me ungrateful. So I always feel conflicted when I do.’

‘Well, Nehemiah prayed a Red Dot Angry prayer. He poked the pin on the bottom of his balloon and let it all pour out.’

‘It wasn’t nice, clean, pious and prepared. It was raw, wild and cathartic.’

‘What does cathartic mean?’

‘It means to openly express your strong emotions. Like you are purging yourself. Releasing and freeing something boiling and gurgling inside.’

‘Nehemiah did this?’


Nehemiah prayed, “Oh listen to us, dear God. We’re so despised:
Boomerang their ridicule on their heads;
have their enemies cart them off as war trophies to a land of no return;
don’t forgive their iniquity, don’t wipe away their sin—they’ve insulted the builders!”
Nehemiah 4:4, 5 (The Message)

‘But isn’t that kind of not what a good Christian should do? I know I would like to do this. Let it all explode out. But I know I will feel guilty afterwards. That I have sinned and hurt Gods’ heart.’

‘So you just let it all build up do you?’


‘and the depression and anxiety and self-loathing continues to grow.’


Tears were beginning to come. Like small pools on the dust of an old dry valley.

John sat still for a moment and let the moment speak for itself.

‘You need to let it out, and let it out safely. You want to feel safe and to do that you need a safe person, a safe place and a safe time.’

‘The problem I have found though is that people will take either one or all of three approaches.  They will either judge you, problem solve your pain or they will offer up a sweet syrupy band-aid prayer to make the pain go away. Their pain of vulnerability. None of these options will help you draw closer to Christ.’

‘So what is a better option?’

‘Well, I think it is to listen, ask gentle questions and then listen some more.’

‘For Nehemiah, he prayed and let out the frustration. You can pray like that. God hates facades. Those false masks we project out where we act all pious and perfect. Where we throw on makeup to hid the cuts.’

‘God knows about the stuff we hiding.’

‘If you haven’t got a safe person to vomit in front of then I would suggest writing down your prayers. I have used a prayer process called P.A.P.A. prayer and it has helped me download. Then I shared it a few safe others.’

‘I will bring along a copy of it with me tomorrow for you to look at.’

‘For now though please believe that it is perfectly natural to express your emotions. King David did, Nehemiah did and even Jesus did.’

‘God never thought any less of them for doing so and won’t think any less of you either. Actually, God is always compassionate towards us.’

As I have written this I have kept in the back of my mind the anonymous people that filled out my 3 question survey. They have exposed their Red Dot and I am honoured that they did this. Thank you.

Take the small survey here.

I don’t know who writes the comments, but it truly helps me to discern what I need to write about.

Questions to answer

  • How tight is your balloon?
  • Be honest. Are you afraid of disappointing God if you really let it explode out in prayer?
  • What are the requirements for you of someone being safe enough for you to vent to?

Quotes to consider

  • The first duty of love is to listen. Paul Tillich
  • You cannot write out of someone else’s big dark place; you can only write out of your own. Anne Lamont
  • The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances. Elisabeth Elliot
  • All great spirituality is about what we do with our pain. Richard Rohr

Barry Pearman

Image Source: Pixels


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