Healing for Trauma

Healing for Trauma

In this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, Pastor Brad interviews Chaplain Joy Stevens.  Joy is a Master Facilitator for the Trauma Healing Institute of the American Bible Society.

Joy and Brad discuss what trauma is and the trauma healing classes that the Trauma Healing Institute is sponsoring in both churches and jails.  They also talk about the healing and hope that is coming from the classes and what is necessary in order for trauma, which is a wound of the heart, to heal.

Please know, if you have experienced hope in your life, what happened to you matters.  There is hope and healing.

Joy’s calling is to introduce the Trauma Healing Classes within hundreds of jails and prisons that the Good News and Jail Ministry is connected with through out the United States.  Why?  Because most the vast majority of people who are incarcerated have had trauma; trauma that wounded them very deeply and they have ended up acting out in their lives, due to the trauma.  The trauma must be healed in order for behaviors can change.

Joy Stevens has been a jail chaplain with Good News Jail & Prison Ministry since 2011 working in corrections since 1996 where she started her career on death row in Lincoln She became Trauma Healing Coordinator with her ministry in March of 2017 after partnering with American Bible Society and will be training chaplains and volunteers in jails and prisons around the nation.  Joy will be visiting prisons in Kenya and Rwanda, Africa in July to look into the feasibility of introducing Healing Wounds of Trauma into their prisons.  She is a Master Facilitator with the Trauma Healing Institute.

In this edition of Fresh Hope, you’ll hear about the wonderful things that the Lord is doing through these trauma healing classes.

After listening to this podcast, we encourage you to email us at info@FreshHope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.

Click on the icon to listen to this edition of Fesh Hope for Mental Health:

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If you are listening to this podcast on iTunes, we encourage you to leave a comment regarding the podcast. Or you can leave a voice message for us on the site:  www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

Pastor Brad Hoefs, the host of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, is the founder of Fresh Hope Ministries, a network of Christian mental health support groups for those who have a diagnosis and their loved ones. In other words, Fresh Hope is a Christian mental health support group.

Brad was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995. He is a weekly blogger for www.bphope.com (Bipolar Magazine). He is also a certified peer specialist and has been doing pastoral counseling since 1985. Brad is also the author of Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis, which is available on Amazon or at http://www.FreshHopeBook.com

If you are interested in more information about Fresh Hope go to http://www.FreshHope.us or email info@FreshHope.us or call 402.932.3089.

To donate to Fresh Hope go to http://freshhope.us/donate/

For a complete list of where Fresh Hope groups are presently meeting, go to www.FreshHope.us and click on “find a group.”  Or you may attain an online group of meetings of Fresh Hope by going to www.FreshHopeMeeting.com

If you are interested in starting a Fresh Hope group within your faith community, contact Julie at Julie@FreshHope.us 

Fresh Hope for Mental Health is a production of Fresh Hope Ministries. 

Fresh Hope Ministries is a non-profit ministry.  

The copyrights of this program belong to Fresh Hope Ministries and may not be duplicated without written permission. 

All of the podcasts of Fresh Hope Today, as well as numerous other videos, are all available on our YouTube channel: Fresh Hope Network

Fresh Hope for Mental Health is on Facebook at  www.Facebook.com/FreshHopeforMentalHealth

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Six Living Well Principles for Those Who Love Someone with a Mental Health Diagnosis

Six Living Well Principles for Those Who Love Someone with a Mental Health Diagnosis

Donna HoefsMy wife is an amazing woman.  She has loved me at my worst.  My mental health challenges have taken a toll on her and also our children.  But, today we are more in love than ever before, and we have great relationships with our adult children.  However, my wife would tell you that she had to learn how to take care of herself emotionally when I was at my worst.  To be a caregiver long term she had to discipline herself with principles of wellness for herself.

Mental Illness is like so many other diseases; it affects the entire family and close friends as they attempt to love and care for their son, daughter, spouse or close friend who is struggling with a mental health condition. Thus, it is just as imperative for those who are the loved ones (caregivers) to apply wellness principles to themselves as they make the journey along with their family member or friend who has a mental illness.

When our Fresh Hope groups meet both those who have a mental health diagnosis along with their loved ones all meet in the same group for the first half of our meetings. When we started Fresh Hope we initially only had principles of recovery (we call them tenets) for those who had a mental health diagnosis, and we discovered something significant; those who were loved ones needed wellness principles too!

When loved ones don’t take good care of themselves emotionally as the care for someone who has a mental health diagnosis they can develop a mental health challenge themselves.

So, here are the wellness principles for those who are the spouses, kids, sons and daughters and friends of those of us who have a mental health diagnosis:

My loved one’s mental health challenge has also left me feeling helpless and hopeless. Therefore, I choose the help of others in learning about the disorder and choosing healthy boundaries for myself.

Together, we have understanding. We remind each other of the Lord’s love, and that He alone can do all things. He is the source of our hope, and in Him we can overcome all things.

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

I haven’t always responded to my loved one’s mental health issue in ways that were good for the relationship. Therefore, I choose to learn better ways to communicate with, support, and encourage my loved one.

Together, we commit to speaking the truth in love, healing broken relationships and viewing each other as the Lord views us.

“So let’s pursue those things which bring peace and which are good for each other.” Romans 14:19 (God’s Word Translation, 1995)

At times I don’t understand my loved one and can allow them to either wallow in their excuses or push them too hard. Therefore I choose to learn healthy, appropriate ways to contribute to my loved one’s recovery.

Together we do better than trying on our own. We will hold one another accountable for learning, growing, and choosing to push through in hope.

“Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

At times I also feel hopeless, letting my loved one’s actions and recovery define my happiness. Therefore, I choose to live with healthy emotional boundaries, and I choose my own joy despite the ups and downs of my loved one.

Together we remind each other that our hope and joy come from the Lord. He alone is able to fulfill our needs in every aspect of our lives.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I, too, have been part of the cycle of dysfunctional living, either thinking I had all the answers or thinking the problem didn’t belong to me. Therefore, I choose to submit myself to learning new behaviors and taking responsibility for my own healthy, balanced living.

Together we choose freedom over suffering, and joy in living through self-knowledge in action.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

At times, I have viewed myself as a victim of my loved one’s behavior and disorder, living in resentment, anger, unforgiveness, or self-pity. Therefore, I choose to separate the disorder from the person I love, forgive and let go of the past, and live as a contributor to successful recovery.

Together, we share in each other’s victories and celebrate the whole person.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Are you a loved one?  What have you found is important for you to do in order to stay emotionally healthy as you care for your spouse/son/daughter/parent/friend who has a mental health diagnosis?

Positive Friends Impact Depression’s Effect by Rick Quall

Positive Friends Impact Depression’s Effect by Rick Quall

By Rick Qualls

Depression lies.

It convinces you, ‘“My friends don’t want to be around me.”  “I’ll just bring everyone else down.” “I am not worthy of having friends.” “Nobody likes me anymore.”

When you are depressed, making and keeping friends can be a challenge. But research shows that a group of positive friends makes a difference.

Professor Frances Griffiths, head of social science and systems in health at Warwick Medical School University of Warwick, said: “Depression is a major public health concern worldwide. But the good news is we’ve found that a healthy mood amongst friends is linked with a significantly reduced risk of developing and increased chance of recovering from depression.”

In Griffiths study teens who have five or more mentally positive friendships have half the likelihood of depression. Those with ten friends have twice the probability of recovering from their depression symptoms.

What can you look for in positive friendships?  Good friends offer space to be yourself. They don’t try to fix you or try to make you act a certain way. They listen and offer support not judgment.

The Bible offers practical advice on developing and maintaining good friendships.

Good friends take time for each other. Friendships don’t occur in a vacuum.  “Be devoted to one another…” Romans 12:16. Spending time together doing activities that you enjoy or working on projects together create opportunities to build relationships.

Healthy friends disregard social differences, and do not avoid each other when problems arise. “Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Romans 12:16

Positive friends are not narcissistic. A narcissist can be attractive to be around at first. They are full of “self-confidence” and an energy that draws us when our self-confidence is at a low ebb.

But it is a negative signal if they manipulate you to prop up their ego. They talk about themselves and their accomplishments. They brag about knowing how to get special treatment. It is a warning if you begin to notice that all they talk about is themselves. You may notice they lack empathy or compassion or caring for others. A narcissist uses your depression against you and will make your situation worse.

Good friends develop trust over time and it becomes safe to share their deepest hearts, even the weakness and sin in our lives. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…James 5:16

Positive friends offer non-judgmental support and listening. Friends accept you when you are depressed, when you are grieving, or going through any kind of trials. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:7

Solid relationships are based know how to put up with each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies. Everyone has some peculiar behaviors. “…be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Eph 4:2

Friends build each other up and do not tear the other down. Words are powerful tools to help bolster one another. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Eph 4:29

Friendships don’t just happen. We must be intentional about developing these relationships. They take time, encouragement,  trust, and sharing with one another.

These healthy friendships can have positive impact on your depression.

Depression lies. There are people around you that care.

Check out Rick’s other posts and the posts of all of our Fresh Hope bloggers at: Fresh Hope Blog


Photograph by Priscilla Du Preez

Staying Stable While Grieving

Staying Stable While Grieving


This post is dedicated to my Dad, David J. Hoefs

My dad passed away on May 12th of this year (2017). He was the first person I knew who had bipolar disorder. While we knew his health was declining and he had some major health issues, we didn’t know that death was imminent. He had a heart attack and was gone immediately. So, when my sister called me that he had passed, it was shocking news. At that point, I knew I needed to do the work of grieving. After all, as a pastor, I have encouraged people to do the work of grieving, and now it was my turn to grieve.

My wife and I had just gotten to our son’s house for a visit the day before this all happened. So I had to return home right away. Flying back home gave me time to think and ponder. One of the first things on my mind was that I needed to pay close attention to any signs of depression, as I was grieving. I knew that the grief process could develop into or trigger depression, or destabilize my mood. I wanted to avoid becoming depressed if at all possible. I wasn’t sure I would know the difference between feelings of grief and depression. My experience up to this point had been dealing with the severe depression and grief from being forced to resign from the church that I was serving at the time. That was pure hell. And if I could avoid that, I wanted to do so at all costs. But I also knew that if you don’t do the work of grieving, the grief will deal with you at some point.

So on the two different plane flights home, I found myself emotional and sad, but also cognizant of the fact that because of having bipolar disorder, along with the process of grieving, that avoiding the destabilization of my mood might be a bit tricky. I promised myself that I would pay attention to the process and attempt to maneuver through the emotional sadness of losing Dad without stumbling into a depressive episode. And I was concerned that I would know the difference. I felt a little as though someone had put me on a rollercoaster ride that I didn’t choose, and I wasn’t sure how wild the ride might be.

So, I promised myself to do several things:

  1. I promised myself to feel what I was feeling; to go through it, but “pay attention” to all of it by purposefully taking the time to be self-aware. I was not going to attempt to avoid the grief, the sad feelings, and tears. To do this, if I was feeling sad or down, I decided I would ask myself, “Is this grief? Or is this depression?”
  2. I promised myself that if I was either confused by the feelings of grief and potentially feeling depressed, that I would not wait too long to talk to my Doctor, a therapist, or a friend. Too often I think we believe that we can handle it on our own and wait to be proactive.
  3. I promised myself that I would attempt to keep some balance between the work of grief and continuing to live. I’ve seen people just keep themselves too busy with life to avoid the pain. But, I’ve also seen people, who following the loss of a loved one, just sit down and stop living. Neither is good. I knew I needed to keep it as balanced as possible.

It’s been approximately ten weeks since the death of my father. So far, so good. As I experience the various aspects of grieving, they seem to come in waves. I can’t explain it any other way but as waves of emotions, not always sad emotions, but a range of emotions. Some of the waves are enormous and last a while, and others are small little waves. And it is impossible to know when the waves will hit. I also find myself thinking about my dad so much more than when he was living. Also, I find myself continually thinking about the fact that he is gone. There was no time to say good bye or prepare for it — which was good for him, but I would have loved to have the time to say goodbye.

One of the things my extended family decided to do when we were picking my Dad’s burial plot at the cemetery was to go ahead and buy ten plots that would all be in the same row. To know where my burial plot would be brought about more emotions to deal with; but many others have processed these things, and I saw it as simply my turn to do so.

Up to this point, I don’t think I’m experiencing any depression. Of course, you and I both know that could change. So I’m still paying close attention to what is going on with my feelings and emotions. There have been a few times through all this that I’ve had to set aside my emotions and carry on with my job. For example, my Dad’s funeral was on a Tuesday and on the Friday of that same week I had a wedding. I had to continue with daily living (my work as a pastor). Part of the work of grieving is balancing the emotions and feelings, and at the same time continuing with life. It’s a delicate balance.

Grief is a journey. And just like the journey of mental health wellness, the journey of grief looks different for each of us.

One thing I know is that my faith as a Christian has been critical for me as I’ve gone through the loss of my father. Because I believe I will see him again, it brings comfort and hope. For me, it would be challenging without this sure comfort and hope. So, I find myself leaning on the Lord a bit more than usual.

My hope is that my transparency about this might be helpful to some of you who might be going through the same thing. It doesn’t have to be the loss of a loved one; it could be the loss of a relationship or the loss of a job. It could be grief that is following your initial diagnosis of bipolar disorder. You might love someone who is struggling with bipolar disorder, and you’re grieving.

Grief is a journey. And just like the journey of mental health wellness, the journey of grief looks different for each of us. If you are going through a season of grieving, how are you doing? What has worked for you? Are you mindful of the difference between the sadness and emotions of grief vs. depression?

If you are grieving a loss in your life, please know you are not alone. I’m right there with you.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Emotionally Stuck

Questions to Ask Yourself When Emotionally Stuck

Now and then you and I will hit a “speed bump” in life. I define a “speed bump” as those times in which I am troubled by something that happens or by what someone has done that I continue to ruminate over and over in my mind. And due to the ruminating, I get emotionally stuck.

Getting emotionally stuck happens to everyone; not just those of us with a mental health diagnosis. And when we get stuck emotionally; rehearsing something over and over it begins to impair our ability to move forward.

For an extended period in my journey of learning to live well in spite of having bipolar disorder, I was an expert at hitting emotional speed bumps only to find myself in a ruminating rut of despair about something that someone said or did. It impaired my ability to move forward in learning how to live. That is until I learned a few key questions to ask myself when this would happen.

The first key question I learned to ask myself: Is there anything I can do about what is bothering me? If the answer to this question is yes, then the next question that I ask myself is: What am I going do to resolve this issue? If there’s something I can do to resolve it, then I have to decide to do it. Because if I am unwilling to do it, I will stay emotionally stuck.

It’s way to easy to remain emotionally stuck and continue to ruminate about something over and over. But, that only makes one emotionally toxic within a short time. So, choose not to allow myself any excuses for not doing what I can do to resolve an issue that is bothering me. If I am not willing to change what I can change then, I will never move forward. In fact, I’ll get worse, not better.

Now, if I ask myself the initial key question (Is there anything I can do about what is bothering me?) and the answer to the question is “no.” Then the next question I ask myself is: So, what I am going to do about accepting the fact that I can do nothing about this issue? So, instead of rehearsing how unfair someone has been or continues to be, what am I going to do to accept that there is nothing I can do about it. Otherwise, I can not only expect to stay stuck emotionally but, I understand that I am going to move backward emotionally. But because I refuse to be the victim of things that I cannot change I choose to accept these things, and I move forward. Forward in my journey of learning to live well in spite of having mental health diagnosis.

Here’s a bit of a challenge for you: if this post has irritated you, then you just might be emotionally stuck. If you want to lash out at me, telling me how I don’t understand, then you most likely emotionally stuck. And if that’s the case, what are you going to do about it? Or how are you doing to accept that there is nothing you can do about it?

Here’s a short video about this topic or getting unstuck or as we call it “pushing through” in Fresh Hope:

Fresh Hope for Mental Health: Pushing Through/Recovery Principle #3 from Brad Hoefs on Vimeo.

Staying stuck emotionally hurts you. Pain is inevitable in this life. But, suffering because one is stuck is optional. It’s a choice. I choose to move forward. How about you?

You can check out Brad’s podcast, “Fresh Hope for Mental Health” at www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com   Brad also leads a weekly online Fresh Hope support group.  You can participate by going to: www.FreshHopeMeeting.com 

When Your Child is Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder: Becoming a Loved One

When Your Child is Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder: Becoming a Loved One

Recently someone my wife and I love very dearly was been diagnosed with bipolar II disorder. I find myself learning a lot from my wife about becoming a helpful and healthy loved one. It’s a new role for me.

You might say that my wife has a “doctorate degree” in being the loved one of someone with bipolar disorder. Not only has she been there for me for the last 20 years since my diagnosis, but also her Mother had bipolar disorder and took her own life 26 years ago. Painfully she is an expert at loving those with a diagnosis. And now together we have become loved ones of someone that we both love and have watched grow up.

As most of us know, bipolar disorder can run in families. As parents we’ve known this and have prayed that our children might be spared any more of the pain of this disorder that what they already had to overcome due to my struggle with the disorder during their childhoods. But, it has happened. One of our adult children has been diagnosed.

It’s been painful at times watching our child struggle and having to see them navigate through finding a doctor and the “trial” runs of various medicines. At times it has triggered both my wife and I of our past. Yet, both my wife and I know that our adult child can and will live a full and rich life in spite of the diagnosis. Because of our past experience, we knew that finding the “right” doctor and getting onto the “right” combination of medicine sooner than later was key to keeping our loved one from becoming sicker and to begin the process of healing.

Because of what we have experienced these past months I am once again reminded that getting well requires some initial ongoing elements to living well in spite of having bipolar disorder:

  • Finding the “right” doctor is key.

Your doctor needs to listen to and understand fully what you are experiencing before they jump to any medical conclusions. Unfortunately, some doctors have a habit of hearing key words that they assume you and they have the same definition of and they quickly jump to a diagnosis. When in fact, words can mean many different things at times and the better thing for a doctor to do is to ask, “What do you mean by that?

If your doctor does not ask you to clarify what you are saying or if they do not ask you more questions and you do not feel as though the doctor has really heard and understood you; you might not have the “right” doctor.

Your relationship with your doctor is key to getting well. If I felt as though my doctor didn’t listen to me and understand me nor care to understand me, I would be looking for a new one.

  • Having a personal advocate with at your initial doctor appointments is imperative from my perspective.

When you and I are not well our ability to be assertive for our own medical care is next to impossible. I can remember many of the years initially following being diagnosed and I found myself unable to even tell the doctor what was going on or how I really felt. I certainly didn’t have the ability to ask meaningful questions.

I believe it is imperative for your best care to have someone that you trust and that knows you well to go along with you to your doctor’s appointments. For me it made all the difference in the world. And it made a significant difference for our adult child to have someone there as an advocate. If you don’t have a family member or close friend who could be this person for you, consider having a certified peer support specialist be your advocate.

  • Having the support of family and friends makes a huge difference.

Doing mental health recovery alone is next to impossible. Those who have the support, love and understanding of family and/or a few close friends simply do better in the long run. If you don’t have those who are supportive in your life I strongly recommend that you find a good positive mental health support group and find the support and care that you need.

Our adult child is doing so much better today. And I’m learning from a different perspective that getting well is work; work that is not done alone in a vacuum.

I’m going to be selfish in this post and ask for those of you who have bipolar disorder and who have become loved ones of either children or others who have been diagnosed please give me your insights into becoming a caring and helpful loved one of someone who also has a mental health diagnosis. Thank you in advance.

Check out Brad’s podcast: www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com 


Here’s two podcast about children and teens and mental health issues you might want to check out (click on the icon or title to listen to the podcast):

Mental Health and Children                                                  Mental Health and Teens

small logo for Fresh Hope                                                small logo for Fresh Hope

Behavioral Change and Children

     small logo for Fresh Hope

Real Hope Has Gotten Me Through My Hopelessness

Real Hope Has Gotten Me Through My Hopelessness

Life can be difficult.  No one makes it through life without painful trials and tribulations. And there is no doubt that having bipolar disorder on top of all of the typical trials and tribulations can make life even more challenging.  There’s just no sugar-coating it. Hopelessness happens all too easily.  But life can also be beautiful. The truth is, no one makes it through life without experiencing joy-filled events and blessings.  But having hope and being hope-filled takes effort, unlike hopelessness.

Probably one of the most peculiar things about hope and hopelessness is that they can co-exist in life. When I reflect on the greatest difficulties and deepest depression that caused extreme despair in my life, it was hope that got me through the hopelessness. But it was not the “wishful-thinking” kind of hope that life would get better that got me through the hopelessness.  That kind of “hope” is nothing more than wishful thinking that things may or may not get better.  And that kind of hope was not enough for me.  Hoping that things might get better could not even bring about the smallest of cracks within my despair.

img_6604So what is this “real” hope that got me through and continues to get me through living life with bipolar disorder?  It’s the Real Hope that was born and died on the cross and His promise.  In particular, it is the promise of Romans 8:28 that has gotten me through the many incredibly painful events that could have easily led to the bottomless pit of hopelessness. In Romans 8:28 the apostle Paul tells us that the Lord will work all things together for our good.  As a person of faith, I believe this.  Knowing and believing this real hope does not mean that I stuff my feelings.  Rather, it means that as I feel my feelings I’m able to work through them and deal with them because I know that He will take even the worst of life’s trials and tribulations and make them work together for me for my good.  That’s hope. That’s real.

See, I’ve come to understand how my faith has been instrumental in my living well.  I don’t do wishful thinking kind of hope.  Instead, I do Romans 8:28 hope.  In other words, as I go through difficulties (and there are plenty of them) I recognize them, feel the feelings because I know that the Lord will take all of the pain and make it work for my good. It doesn’t mean that all of a sudden things become easy.  But I’m able to move through the pain, knowing how it will end.

The Lord is the real hope.  The Father sent His Son into our messy world to redeem us.  Born right in the midst of the stench of that stable,He came.  And on that cross, He died for you and me. Out of what appeared to be a hopeless beginning and an even more hopeless death on the cross, He rose as proof that He is indeed our sure and certain hope.

There is no way that I would be living well, much less living, without Him as my hope.  Romans 8:28 has gotten me through the hopelessness. Grab ahold of that hope my friend.  Whatever difficulties you are going through this day, He can and will make though things work together for your good.  No, he doesn’t promise a painless life. In fact, He says that in this life you and I will have difficulties.  Instead, He promises to never leave you, and to take those problems and work them together for your good.  And in knowing this, you and I can move forward in spite of our present circumstances.

On this day, my prayer is that you will grab ahold of the real and certain hope we have that He will take all of your difficulties, pain, and problems, and work them together for your good.  Keeping moving forward: moving one step at a time.  He loves you.  He is with you. He is for you. And Heis at work; making all things work out together for your good!

Blessings my friend,


Our Fresh Hope podcast has been nominated for Wego Health’s Best in Show Podcast award!We encourage you to endorse the nomination by going to:https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominees/13355

Is Self-Care Selfish? By Pastor Rick Qualls

Is Self-Care Selfish?  By Pastor Rick Qualls

by Pastor Rick Qualls

Self-care begins with self-respect.You have been deeply loved by God. You are one of His masterpieces. Self-care flows from God’s love.

“Love your neighbor as yourself”—Jesus

Before you can really love your neighbor you must love yourself.

But what does self-care mean?

Selfishness and self-care are two very different things.

Selfishness demands that others respect them. Selfishness is not kind to others unless there is some reward for it. It bullies others to gain respect.

Self care is kind and respects yourself. You do not bully yourself or others because your contentment comes from deep within. Self Care

Self-compassion is being content  with who you are, both strengths and weaknesses.. You are content with what you have. You are not jealous of the possessions and traits of others because you are comfortable with being the person God created you to be.

Contentment means you don’t have to prove anything to anyone else.

Selfishness hides the truth. It sweeps things under the rug. Lies are told as though they were truth.

Self-care is not afraid of truth. It names and faces our inner demons and is not afraid. Self-compassion is courageous because He casts out fear by his perfect love.

You are patient with yourself because you know that people change slowly. You are patient knowing that set backs are part of growth.

Selfishness demands quick change, instant gratification. It is angry at slow growth. It may become so angry you give up your progress toward healing.

Practically, self care includes keeping boundaries, as, not doing for others what they can do for themselves. Self care accepts personal responsibility, and doesn’t blame others for troubles we bring to ourselves.

Healthy boundaries helps you manage your disease responsibly. Making appointments with your doctors and doing what your doctor prescribes are acts of self-care. In counseling you open your heart and examine the depth of your disease, talking about your frustration, and seek ways to manage your disease.

Boundaries include keeping healthy sleep, exercise, and diet patterns. Keeping healthy boundaries is knowing when to ask for help.

Without self-care you may relapse. A relapse is often worse than the previous episodes. It may mean a trip to your psych ward.

Self-care is not selfish. It leads to healthier relationships and eases the burdens of your disease.

If the Bible has meaning for you here are some Bible verses that encourage self-care.

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? “1 Cor 16:19

Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

1 Timothy 4:8 “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, …”

As you read the following verses imagine treating yourself in these ways:

“Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude.

Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered.

It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do.

Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil.

Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting.

Love never fails!”

For now there are faith, hope, and love. But of these three, the greatest is love.” (excerpt of 1 Corinthians 13 CEV)

Take care of yourself. We need you.

Check out Rick’s Fresh Hope blog at: http://freshhope.us/author/RickQualls/


Overcoming Shame-Based Grace

Overcoming Shame-Based Grace

Our Fresh Hope podcast has been nominated for Wego Health’s Best in Show Podcast award!We encourage you to endorse the nomination by going to: https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominees/13355

Had the chance to make this short video several years ago when I was a presenter at Saddleback Church’s Mental Health Conference:

How to Help a Depressed Loved One by Guest Blogger, Rick Qualls

How to Help a Depressed Loved One       by Guest Blogger, Rick Qualls

by Rick Qualls

Depression is like quick-sand.

Your loved one may be stuck. Stuck with a lack of energy, stuck in loneliness, stuck in isolation, stuck unable to make decisions, stuck and unable to love you well.

Depression is a genuine complex brain disease. It may have been triggered by loss, traumatic events past or present, repressed anger and fear, a battered self-esteem, or genetics.

Depression is an illness that leaves your depressed loved one feeling helpless and hopeless.

What can you do to help your loved one?

First, be aware of the symptoms of depression.There may be feelings of emptiness or sadness; feelings of hopelessness and helplessness; difficulty decision-making; sleep problems (insomnia or too much sleep); decreased energy and lack of interest in what were enjoyable activities; thoughts of death or suicide.

But remember symptoms can vary. Everyone experiences depression differently.

Secondly, you may feel guilty. You are not responsible for someone else’s mental health. You can’t make someone else change, all that you can be responsible for is yourself.You can’t make someone love you well.

There are positive things you can do to make a difference. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. 

Thirdly, Take Care Of Yourself. Sometimes if the bout of depression continues for a significant time you can become depressed, too. It is partially the result of your empathy. Your feelings of frustration, anger, your own withdrawal from friends and family, and anxiety can bring on your own depression.

That is why it is critical to take care of yourself.

Fourthly, reach out to your support system. You need safe people you can talk to. You need people who listen without judging you or your loved one. You need friends to share with.  You need friends you can socialize with.

A counselor can help you discover healthy coping behaviors to manage your frustration.

A good relationship with your doctor is an important part of your support team.

Fifthly, learn to have compassion for yourself. Be kind, gentle, forgiving, supportive to yourself. And to your loved one.

Finally, here are specific things you can do for your loved one.

  • Advocate for them. Encourage them to get treatment. Realize that you can’t fix this for them.
  • Educate yourself on depression, its symptoms and treatments.
  • Be willing to help make counseling appointments and/or go with them if your loved one is not functional.
  • Be aware this is a complicated disease. Saying things like, “snap out of it”, or “you are just too negative,” “your faith isn’t strong enough” will not help. Your loved one does not need these judgments. That just reinforces the depression.
  • If your loved one is suicidal or has hallucinations get them to the hospital.
  • Listen, listen, listen. Even when they are silent,gracefully share the silence.
  • Encourage them. Encourage them to take care of themselves. Remind them to remember their strengths and the difficulties they have previously overcome.
  • Pray for them. Your loved one may not be able to ask for prayer. But know that they need prayer.
  • Affirm them of God’s love and your support.

Remember there is hope for your loved one and for you as a caregiver.

Here are some Bible verses that may give you strength.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “(Isaiah 41:10)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20)

One day quick sand will become solid ground. There is help. There is hope.

Rick is a Fresh Hope blogger.  Check out his blog post and other Fresh Hope bloggers posts at: Fresh Hope Blog