Who do you let into your World?

The rattle of the security chain behind the door told me a lot about the person behind it before I saw them. The door opened a crack and two eyes warily peered through looking at me.

Who do you let into your world?

I learnt a new term this week from the good people at Like Minds Like Mine in their newsletter.

Nimbyism is a term that applies to views based on unjustified fear, as opposed to facts.  Nimby is an acronym for ‘Not In My Backyard’ and refers to the discrimination against people that experience mental illness in relation to finding a place to live.

It got me thinking about who I let into my private world and who expects to be part of my private world without my permission?

I was really surprised years ago when I started worked in Mental Health when one of the people I was supporting just opened up and told me some of her most private health issues.

She was a wide open door. She had been asked questions by so many health professionals and others, over the years, that she really had no private world any more. Every one knew and every one shared.

How would you like that!

Them and Us. There are ‘Them’ that are on the outside of ‘Us’.

The ‘Us’ hold the power. They have the money power, the knowledge power, the word power ( the ability to form a powerful argument), and the decision making power where decisions are made without taking the persons opinion into consultation.

This is disempowering abuse and it has to stop.

In thinking about Jesus and the people in his world, there were, and still are, four types of people.

1. The Spectators – these were the people who watched him. Comfortable at a distance, enjoying the show while it was entertaining to them. ‘Heal me, do what I need, meet my self – centred needs’. This relationship is all about ‘me’ rather than ‘we’.

2. The Supporters – these were the people that walked with him. They got out of the grandstand and walked with him, town to town, dust under the toe nails. They knew Jesus, still a little unsure about him, but they followed. Its ‘we’ but still with a security chain across the door.

3. The Select – these were the people that wrestled with what Jesus was all about. They allowed the teaching of Jesus to truly play havoc with their private worlds. The 12 disciples were amongst them, so were Mary and other women probably not mentioned. They were the select. The Door was open and they welcomed him in.

4. The Sufferers –these few wept with Jesus. They were with him in the toughest of times. They were soul partners, they bore in themselves the very pain and joy of what Jesus was going through. The truest of friends need not words, they just know. There was no ‘me’ it was totally ‘we’.

All were spectators and observed, but it was the degree to which they were willing to suffer alongside Jesus, to leave their nets, to give up all, to experience complete vulnerability themselves.Reality check for us.

Not everyone is going to be your bosom buddy! 

There is just not enough room on your chest or theirs to accommodate the whole world.

Some of those who want to be bosom buddies with you may well be wolves dressed as lambs. Be careful who you let near your heart for they may well rip a fatal chunk out of it.

We no longer live in Eden. We no longer have a safe garden where all relationships are pure, intimate and safe.

There is a God given, inbuilt desire, for deep intimate relationship within in everyone. Yes its there, deny it if you like, but it is there.

Relational intimacy is a gift learnt through experiences of risk, reaction and repair. We take a risk and share what’s truly on our heart. We get a reaction either positive or negative, and then we if want to develop this relationship to a deeper place there is a repair. A mutuality is discovered where ‘I’ is now ‘We’.

True conversation always puts the conversant’s at risk, because you cannot truly converse without the risk of conversion’.[1]
Questions to consider and leave a comment

  • Who do you let into your World? 
  • Why are relationships risky?
  • What sort of relationship do you have with Jesus?

Barry Pearman
Image: Home Depot


[1] Lee Bernard J., Cowan Michael A. Gathered and sent: the mission of small church communities today. (New York: Paulist Press, 2003, 12.)

How to Love them when they keep shooting at You!

The early church leader Paul was an amazing leader. He took on huge challenges and amongst them infighting within his own Christian community. Nothing changes much does it!

One of the challenges he throws us is how to love whilst people are stabbing you in the back.
He had an experience where fellows Christians were quite happy to see him in prison. Ouch!
Paul’s response was to Rejoice!
Yikes, hard call.
Yesterday I preached a sermon on this at River Valley Baptist.
Check out the pdf here at my website
Barry Pearman
Image: Reverend Fun

Pt. 5. My Dance with Depression and What I Have Learnt

My Dance with Depression and What I Have Learnt

My Dance with Depression and What I Have Learnt

Depression can be a killer. For those who daily face the darkness, they need help.

In this series, I share a few dance steps I have learned.

9. Do Something!

You may not feel like doing anything. Don’t trust your feelings; they are not a reliable guide. Your ‘stinky thinky’ might be whispering lies such as ‘what’s the point,’ ‘I fail at everything,’ ‘who cares anyway’.

Sometimes you need to tell your feelings to ‘SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP.’

I believe that the setting and achieving of goals, even super small ones like brushing your teeth, are crucial to mental wellness. We were made in the image of God who just loved to create and do things. Imagine the fun they had making this world! He delights in work and calls us to be active.

One of the features I have discovered in my dance is that when I have no goal or a sense of purpose it’s then that ‘stinky thinky’ knocks on the door.

It’s always important to have a plan and a purpose.

Now you can take it too far and do too much. The key is to have some goals that are important to you because you are valuable, you are worth it.

When you are facing your day, do what you can do, something that is achievable. Beware of the ‘should do’s’, ‘must do’s’, and ‘ought to do’s’. Instead, focus on the ‘Can do’s’.

And stop ‘shouding’ on yourself!

Do you have goals for your week or day? Are they achievable?

10. Exercise

One of the key activities is to keep active, to exercise. This doesn’t mean having to join a gym, do a million press-ups, etc. For me, it meant walking. Others swim or run, for me it was as simple as taking the dog for a walk.

When I was most depressed, I would take the dog for walks around the block every day, taking about an hour and a half to complete.

It gave me a point of focus each day, something I could achieve. It got me outside into the sunlight. My body achieved some tiredness, so I was able to sleep better.

Exercise also causes some lovely hormones called endorphins to be naturally released
. Endorphins are the bodies natural painkiller and can trigger very positive feelings.

To overcome the barrier of ‘I hate exercise,’ follow these tips.

  1. KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid. The more complex you make the exercise task, the less your likely to do it on a tough day. Keep it simple and achievable.
  2. Do it with someone else. For me, it was the dog. He would come to me each day when it was ‘Walkies’ time and look at me, begging me, to grab the leash and make the first step. For others, it might be a friend or neighbor or even a walking group. You might be the person to help someone else too!
  3. Be Gentle on Yourself. Don’t over exercise, start small (and I don’t mean walking to the bathroom). Your not training for the New York Marathon, yet.
  4. Make it Enjoyable. I don’t enjoy exercise, but exercise is important, so I had to find ways to make it enjoyable, or I simply would give up too soon. For me, it was to listen to some music and podcasts in my mp3 player.
  5. Have a tangible goal. On a shorter walking route I use sometimes, it is a signpost. It is a turning point that I have to physically walk around to return home. I won’t have achieved my goal unless I have physically walked around that signpost.

How can you build exercise into your weekly/ daily plans?

In this series, I have shared a few ideas that have helped me. Just like a dance there are many steps, and many others to be learned. There isn’t just one ‘cure all’ solution, but more a combination of many ideas.

So, have you found this series helpful? Leave a comment below and share this blog with others.
Barry Pearman
Image: Flicker Creative Commons

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part four

Pt. 4. My Dance with Depression and What I have learnt.

I experience Depression. It reached a tipping point last year and in this series of blogs I am sharing what I learned both from personal experience and walking with others about Depression.
7. Medication helps, some.
OK, I take some medication. Since last year I have been taking a small dose of an Anti-depressive medication. I am thankful for this as it has dampened down the power of some very powerful, intrusive, suicidal, negative thoughts. It also helped with my sleep, allowing me the space to continue working and being part of life.
Basically with the stress I was under, my brain chemistry changed. My fragile brain soup altered and I needed help.
It’s not the cure all, quick fix, solution. It’s only part of the package.
Will I need to be on it forever, possibly not, but others do and that’s ok.
Taking medication can carry stigma’s, but it is not about weakness but about having strength to face that we as humans are fragile and not self sufficient.
Medication helps, some.
My advice is to get some advice from others.
Your Doctor can help, but you may want to get a second or third opinion. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to come off them too, rebuilding the fragile plastic brain takes time, be gentle on yourself.
Get feedback from those around you. An objective, truthfully honest view of how you are. Those around you are the ones who have to live with you!
Your perception, about yourself, maybe through rose tinted glassed!
Don’t expect over night miracles, brain medication takes time to build up to a therapeutic level. Keep taking the med’s, be regular and consistent.
Medication may well be the life saver you need!
What are your thoughts about the taking of Medication, are they helpful, hindering or harmful?
8. Singing

Sing a new song to the Lord.
I love music, ever since I was a child I was surrounded by music. My parents had a love of music. Mum played the piano and the record player. Dad sung on the old chugging David Brown tractor. He would joyfully sing his favourite hymns and chorus’s as he went around the farm.
I reckon singing does things in the brain. In fact it does, here is an interesting link to explore.
For me, singing gives my brain something else to think about, an alternative to negative stinky thinky.
I sing all sorts of songs. I sing praise and worship songs. I sing in Tongues – a spiritual gift I have. I sing songs that I make up from verses of scripture that I want to memorise. I sing along with others whether in a group or listening to a CD etc..
Singing is a gift from God. Some believe that God even sang creation into existence.
You may well think ‘I can’t sing’. It doesn’t matter, sing anyway! You may well be singing new thoughts and beliefs into your brain.
How much do you sing and what does it do for your thinking?
Barry Pearman
Image: Free Digital Images; Morgue Files

Men and Women are different

Men and Women are different

6. Men and Women are different
I have been sharing some insights about what I have learnt about depression.

Male, Female, were different. Ok, well duh! We all know this!
We have been wired quite differently by God to be complementary to each to other. Now, this blog post is not designed to be a place where we are going to argue black and white views, there is a lot of grey in the differences of men and women. So don’t get too polarised in what I say.

Let’s look at some key differences.

Women: The Hebrew word for Female is ‘Naqebah’ (pronounced Nik ay vah). This word comes from the verb ‘Naqab’ (Na calf) and means to pierce, perforate, or bore. Essentially the word Female means ‘opening’. To be ‘open’ means to welcome people into her life, for them to experience Gods goodness within her, that God-given beauty that he has placed deep within her.

Men: The Hebrew word for Male is ‘Zakar’ (Zac ab). The word Male was apparently used to describe a person in government and this person’s job was to remember what the King was to do and to tell the King. They might remind the King ‘You have an appointment with such and such’. A Male is one who remembers – the remembering one. A man is to remember the character and nature of God. Who God is, what God is like, and then to use all that stored knowledge and memories in all that they do in life.

Women: The chief fear of a woman is undesirability. At the core of a women’s being, they ask – ‘Is there anything desirable about me. If a man really saw me would he want me, would he find me desirable, not just as a sex partner but would he find me desirable at all’

Men: The chief fear of a man is that he is weightless, that there is nothing substantial, or powerful about him. That he is not going to make much difference in his world, in his relationships particularly with women, with the children he has, and with his friends.

Women: The lies they say to themselves are ‘I am ugly, both externally and internally’, ‘No one loves me’, ‘I have no beauty’.

Men: The lies they say to themselves are ‘I’m useless’, ‘I never do anything right’, ‘Everything I do, I fail in’.

Women: Depression is often linked to others devaluing the beauty they have. Every woman loves to be told in many and various ways that they are beautiful.

Men: Depression is often linked to others devaluing what they do. Every man loves to have respect for what they do.

Women: Pornography whispers to the subconscious woman that she can have the love of a man, even if it’s on a screen or in the words on a piece of paper, by his moving into her world and affirming her as beautiful, all without any relational risk of vulnerability and rejection. Getting the feeling of being loved is cheap, easy and she controls.

Men: Pornography speaks to the subconscious man that he can have the respect of a woman, even an image on a screen or on a piece of paper, by her revealing (opening) herself to him, all without any relational risk. Getting the feelings of respect is cheap, easy and he is in control.

Question: How does abuse, in any form, affect Men and Women differently? What does it rob them of and how does this play out in Depression?


Barry Pearman
Image: by Auzigog Creative Commons Flickr

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Pt. 2 My Dance with Depression and What I have Learnt.

 In my last post I started off a series on what I have learnt about depression from my own personal dance with the haunting figurine. So on to part two.

4. Love by listening
One of the things I most needed, and few gave, was Love.

Love that is quiet and strong.
Love that holds but doesn’t smother.
Love that shows respect but doesn’t rescue.
Love that is just being there, not with all the right answers, the technical knowledge, the problem solving, but love that just sits with you and is quiet.

Love that invites you into being held.
Spiritual writer Henri Nouwen experienced a time where he was ‘flat on the ground and in total darkness’. He had a friend that stepped into this darkness. An elderly priest he turned to. He describes the Love in this way

During the most difficult period of my life, when I experienced great anguish and despair, he was there. Many times, he pulled my head to his chest and prayed for me without words but with a Spirit – filled silence that dispelled my demons of despair and made me rise up from his embrace with new vitality.1

I wonder what the sterile Pharisee and Levite (Story of the Dehumanised Man) would have thought of this embrace on the Jericho road of life.

Few gave me this love, those that did will forever be my friends.

A leader in the field of psychotherapy, Dr. Hans Strupp, reviewed 50 years of research into the effectiveness of psychotherapy and came to the conclusion that

‘if you are anorexic or depressed or if you are experiencing difficulties with significant people in your life, chances are that you will feel better if you talk to someone you trust’2

Love will always win!

5. Too many stressor straws It’s the last straw that breaks the laden camel’s back.

There is a limit to everyone’s endurance. Everyone has a breaking point.

A place where the stress load carried is just too much for the fragile self. It might be the everyday conscious pressures of life. It might also be the subconscious pressures from past unresolved hurts that we all carry.

Then another stressor gets added to the burden. It could be just a little thing, but with you buckling at the knees already it is enough to send you crashing into depression.

Jesus refered to our stress load being like a yoke that we carry around our shoulders.
His yoke, his expectations, are light not heavy. Listen to his invitation.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

Jesus doesn’t fit anything heavy or ill fitting on us.

If that’s the case, then who does? You, others, society, church …?

It’s our responsibility to identify, with him, the straws that we carry.

The solution is to do something about the stressor straws. It will be a combination of problem solving the stressors, learning some new skills, and possibly some medication.

What are we carrying? What do we need to do about it?

Do what you can, not hope to do or should do and leave the miracles up to God.

Love to hear your comments. Go on, be daring and join in the conversation by posting a comment below

Barry Pearman

Image: Free Digital Images

1. Henri Nouwen, Our Greatest Gift (New York: HarperCollins, 1994), 114.
2.Steven Hallon, “The Efficacy and Effectiveness of Psychotherapy Relative to Medications,” American Psychologist (October 1966): 1025

Pt.1 My Dance with Depression and What I have Learnt.

 

A quite personal blog.

I thought I would write about my dance with depression. It all came to a bit of a head last year and I am well on the recovery road. Over the years I have talked and helped many people recover from depression. They have taught me many things and last year I trusted what I had learnt and put it into practice.
So here are my top ten learning’s. Not in any great order of importance, they are all significant and all need to be danced with.

1. The Body is Fragile.

The body you live in is fragile. It’s not perfect, it’s prone to illness and change. Ever since Eden it’s been prone to illness.

Put the brain under enough prolonged pressure and it too may well crack.

Changes in brain chemistry can lead to wackiness in your thinking processes. But there is heaps of hope.

2. The Brain is Plastic.

You thought the brain stayed the same didn’t you. I always did. I thought the brain was hardwired to think and behave in a certain way, forever. I was happy to discover I was wrong.
It’s plastic, malleable and can change, alter, and learn new ways of thinking and acting.
Check out Norman Doidge for more. Putting it simply, THE BRAIN IS INCREDBLE. You might also like to check out Learning, Ouch! and related video clip.

3. Faulty foolish thinking.

Ever since I was born, and even before whilst in the womb I have been thinking. Some would question this at times about me, but yes it’s true. I have been thinking and I have developed some thinking and acting strategies to get what I needed.

I discovered that when I cried I got fed or held. I carried this wonderful strategy, along with others, over into adult years, but discovered that it didn’t always work.

Often these thinking and acting strategies have been not been the way God wanted to me think or behave. But hey, I got what I needed!

Paul, in Romans 12:2 says this

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We need to keep on reflecting with Daddy, Jesus and Spirit on the thinking and behaving strategies that we utilise. Perhaps they actually keep us in a vicious cycle of stinky thinky and bad behaviour!

That’s enough from me. The rest of my learning’s will be shared over the next few weeks.

What do you think? Don’t be a stranger, pass a comment below and join in the conversation.

Barry Pearman

Image: by  EUSKALANATO

In – Valid Me. Invalid Me.

In - Valid Me. Invalid Me.

As a person who has experienced mental illness and as someone who is seen by many as unable to provide any kind of valuable input to society, as somebody who is generally seen as more of a burden than a contributor I have often felt like a burden to others. An Invalid, no validity, or worth.

Ever since the age of about seven I was seen by child psychologists.
When the other kids found out, I was teased about it.

Continue reading “In – Valid Me. Invalid Me.”