Are you helping too much?

Are you helping too much

You might be helping them too much and hinder any progress for them and yourself, but we can learn new ways of helping and see the change we want for them and ourselves.

She was helping too much, and the person she was helping didn’t mind one little bit. In fact, he was very adept at throwing guilt trips and manipulations to keep her supporting his lifestyle.

It wasn’t that she was doing anything wrong. Many people thought she was so wonderful how she took care of him and others. She was so generous and kind. What a lovely Christian woman, they said.

But underneath that mission of martyrdom, there was a dying soul. Life was being sucked out of her, and resentment was taking a foothold. For all the help, she was giving out, and nothing was coming back. Continue reading “Are you helping too much?”

The Cup. Paying Attention To What Fills and Drains

The Cup. Paying attention to what fills and drains

We are like a cup in which energy both fills and drains. But we can grow by paying attention to the cup and understanding the fillers and the drainers.

It was always a challenge to get them to care for themselves. They were always giving out to others, and I could see that life was being sucked out of them.

I explained that you can’t give out of an empty cup, but self-sacrifice and martyrdom had been drummed into them from childhood. They remembered that Sunday School song – J.O.Y. Jesus first, Yourself last,  and Others in between sung to the merry little tune of Jingle Bells.

But now all that giving out was leading to their fragile body forming cracks. The body was breaking down. It couldn’t keep on giving out. Illnesses came,  sleeplessness, anxiety, depression. The body was trying to send a message – Stop abusing the cup. Continue reading “The Cup. Paying Attention To What Fills and Drains”

Am I My Brothers Keeper? Guilt-Trip Anyone?

Am I My Brothers Keeper Guilt-Trip Anyone

It was the feelings of a guilt trip and the words of being a ‘Brothers Keeper’ that triggered me. But was it genuinely helping me and them to think this way? Something needed to change.

Some people seem to be able to push the manipulation guilt trip button every time. They tell you how life has been hard. They share their background and a wide range of struggles. You listen, and you empathize with their struggle, and indeed life is hard for some people.

Then you look at yourself and all that you have. You may begin to feel some guilt, then some sense of a need to help them. You want to help, but you have only so much life, energy, time, and money.

In the Bible, there is a story, or in particular, a phrase from that story, that can kick into gear and hit the guilt-trip button. Continue reading “Am I My Brothers Keeper? Guilt-Trip Anyone?”

How to Build an Inner ‘Bulldog’ Resilience for your Mental Health

Storms of life can hit hard against our mental health, but we can learn to stand firm and even advance. Developing resilience is a practice of strengthing your inner Bulldog.

It was quite something as I watched this little goat headbutt a Bulldog. Repeatedly it launched itself at the Bulldog, but the dog stayed firm, resilient, and even advanced into the storm.

To me, it spoke of resilience in the face of adversity. Continue reading “How to Build an Inner ‘Bulldog’ Resilience for your Mental Health”

Doing Your Best to Live at Peace with Everyone

Doing Your Best to Live at Peace with Everyone

Some people can be difficult to live at peace with. To live peaceably and in harmony requires each person to do the work on themselves.

Some people are like bottomless holes. You give and give, and they take and take.  They raise a storm, and you’re expected to bring peace.

Instead of taking self-responsibility, they blame and shame. They make others a scapegoat for their failings. Continue reading “Doing Your Best to Live at Peace with Everyone”

How to relax? You need to Feel Safe and Known

How to relax? You need to Feel Safe and Known

Few of us know how to fully and deeply relax. The noisy neighbors can keep us from the rest we need, but when we feel safe and known, we can restore.

He almost went to sleep. That was the first observation he shared with me after a short spiritual meditation exercise we went through — silence, peacefulness, quiet focus, and a ‘stepping away’ from the noise.

He stepped away from needing to be someone and to do something into a pose of quiet acceptance.

Breathing in, breathing out. Centering the thoughts and feelings away from the past and the future to being present in the now. Right here, right now.

Do you know how to relax?

It’s a serious question. Continue reading “How to relax? You need to Feel Safe and Known”

‘We need to talk’ about Cortisol

'We need to talk' about Cortisol

Criticism, shouting, or being ‘put down’ releases the hormone Cortisol into our blood system. It causes us discomfort. When we know this, we can take greater responsibility for our responses.

Four little words will send a shot of terror into a man’s soul.

‘We need to talk.’

On a local sports radio station, one of the presenters has a little audio cutaway with a deeply serious woman saying those words.

Every man has an instant flash of warning lights and hears alarm bells. Continue reading “‘We need to talk’ about Cortisol”

More of Ruth and Less of Dr. Bob – Being a Companion

More of Ruth and Less of Dr. Bob - Being a Companion Mental Health friend support

Nurses, doctors, counselors, etc. can all make a difference to our mental health recovery, but the more lasting help will come from a committed companion — someone like Ruth who will break bread with us.

It was like a revolving door of people entering their life and then leaving it. In and out, and no one sticking around long enough to make a sustained difference.

Nurses, doctors, support workers, pharmacist, housing manager, benefit caseworkers, dieticians, counselors, occupational therapists, budget caseworker, employment specialist.

The list can go on and on of people involved in support of someone with a mental illness. Continue reading “More of Ruth and Less of Dr. Bob – Being a Companion”

Church and Mental Health. A place for the 5%?

Church and Mental Health. A place for the 5 percent

Church and Mental Health? How about sitting with someone and being gently curious about the struggles of their soul. Now that is what I call ‘Church.’

I once sat in a church service and seated in front of me were two men. One was a highly paid lawyer, a partner in a central city law firm. Next to him was a man who struggled with addictions, wore clothes from a second-hand shop, and his income was based on a sickness benefit.

They were both looking towards the stage, listening to the preacher, enjoying the show.

I marveled at how this was probably the only place where these two would be near each other every week, know each other’s names, and be brothers in faith.

And yet they still knew nothing of the struggles in each others soulContinue reading “Church and Mental Health. A place for the 5%?”

Don’t be Loyal to the Delusions of an Emperor in Undies

Loyal Delusions Emperor Undies truth

When we are loyal to our lies, we are like an emperor in undies. Delusions believed as truth will destroy. We need to be open to others gently telling us when we have been conned.

One of my favorite stories from Hans Christian Andersen is “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

Here is the brief overview as told by Wikipedia.

A vain emperor who cares too much about wearing and displaying clothes hires two weavers who claim to make the most beautiful clothes and elaborate patterns.

The weavers are con-men who convince the emperor they are using a fine fabric invisible to anyone who is either unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid.” Continue reading “Don’t be Loyal to the Delusions of an Emperor in Undies”