Pastor Brad Hoefs

Pastor | Author | Speaker | Hope Coach | Mental Health Advocate

What Does Resiliency Look Like When You Are Depressed? by Rick Qualls

What Does Resiliency Look Like When You Are Depressed?  by Rick Qualls

“Be Bop” the clown was one of my favorite toys. Give him a “Bop” and down he went and then he came up still smiling.

Be Bop was resilient.

What does resilience look like when you suffer from depression?

First, you have clear boundaries. These boundaries include: taking your medications regularly. They include guarding your sleep schedule, protecting your energy level, learning how to manage ruminations and putting those principles into practice.

When feeling well a relapse plan needs to be developed. This plan should include your maintenance medications, other treatments you take. Listing your personal early warning signs, of friends, therapists, and doctors to contact.

For example, some of my early warning signs will be nonconformity with the medicine regimen. Your sleep schedule gets thrown off. The season of the year influences my illness. Staring off into space, thinking of nothing can be one of my first signs depression has returned.

If you are unsure of your symptoms, you can research the internet for a list of common thinking/behaviors which you may identify with.

With your psychiatrist and counselor put an action plan into work when symptoms begin to emerge.

A self-scoring inventory of depressive symptoms, like the Beck Depression Inventory, can give your doctor helpful information. It can also provide you with objective information.

Secondly, resiliency does not play the victim role. It takes responsibility for behaviors done in a manic or depressive state. There may have been situations in the past that legitimately play a role in your depression. But when we play the victim role in everyday life, not accepting responsibility and not taking appropriate action, it erodes resilience.

You may suffer from perfectionism or a sense of over-responsibility. This may be part of your disease. Discuss with your counselor to clarify when you have been victimized or playing a victim role.

Thirdly, resilient people develop a sense of purpose. Viktor Frankl taught that our primary drive is to discover and pursue what is most meaningful to us. A life’s purpose may be a cause to which you give yourself. Purpose may come from the people you love.

For example, as a pastor, my cause is to give people hope in Jesus Christ. I am fortunate to have a love for my family that keeps me going when the times get particularly difficult. Together those two purposes have enabled me to go on when in the depths of depression

Fourthly, resiliency has a sense of self-autonomy. Self-autonomy believes we can impact our circumstances. Without that conviction, when we believe we have no control, our self-esteem is shattered. Self-efficacy reflects confidence to exert control over our behavior and to our environment. Self-efficacy is part of resilience.

Finally, our spirituality can give us resilience. Here are some of the Bible verses that move me toward resiliency when I am depressed.

We can be assured of God’s love regardless of how we feel.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“God is here to help us with our fear.

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

And remember that just as Be Bop bounced up, your depression is not forever.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. “1 Peter 4:12-13

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Knowing the Difference Between Feelings and Mood

Knowing the Difference Between Feelings and Mood

Knowing the difference between what I am feeling verses my mood has been extremely important for my recovery.

Everyone has moods and feelings. Yes, everyone!  Even including your loved one who has no diagnosis.

It’s not that we should not have moods or feelings, but for those of us with bipolar disorder or depression (anxiety too) it is because of our brain malfunctioning that without recovery our moods can swing too drastically or get stuck and interrupt our daily living.

Early on in recovery I was afraid to feel. It’s was as though I feared becoming too happy or too sad or too this or too that. But, to feel is human.  Life is filled with feelings and unresolved feelings can affect our mood.  So, knowing how to express my feelings, feel them and work through them was key to managing my mood.

In a word picture here’s what I believe is the difference between feelings and mood: your mood is like the regional climate and your feelings are the daily weather.  Let’s say you live in Slouthern Florida.  The climate is tropical.  No freezing weather in the winter right?  Wrong. I lived there one year and we had freezing rain and it was a mess!  But, that didn’t change the climate of Florida.

Feelings are going to come and go. And when we handle them properly and work through them they do not have to alter our mood so drastically that they cause a total interruption to our lives. Something sad can happen on Monday and I might be sad about it for a time.  But, that does not necessarily mean is one of depression. However, even as I am feeling sad, I do keep my “eye” on it lest it cause a drastic mood shift.  Make sense?

How do see the difference? Are you afraid to feel?

Want more? Check out our Fresh Hope podcast at FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

 

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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A Psychology Professor Shares the Five Surprising of Original Thinkers

A Psychology Professor Shares the Five Surprising of Original Thinkers

Many of us who have a mental health challenge are creative type people who original thinkers.  For example, artist Vincent van Gogh, composer George Frideric Handel (who most likely wrote the Messiah during a manic episode), author Ernest Hemmingway, Winston Church and former president Abraham Lincoln.  This list could go on an on!

So, how do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies “originals”: thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals — including embracing failure. “The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they’re the ones who try the most,” Grant says. “You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.”

Check out this TedTalk about Adam Grant on the surprising habits of original thinkers.

Here’s a few articles on creativity (original thinking) and mental illness:

 

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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What’s New With Bipolar Research?

What’s New With Bipolar Research?

by Pastor Rick Qualls

I was diagnosed and began treatment for bipolar about 12 years ago.

Today my treatment is a drug cocktail that helps manage my disease. It is a mixture of mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and anti-psychotics. It took several years of trial and experimentation to find the drugs that worked together to establish a treatment regimen.

There is exciting research being done in bipolar treatment today.

Development of new mood stabilizers, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotics are giving more options. Other methods use nerve simulation, genomics, and proteomics.

Recent research shows that light therapy can be effective in bipolar treatment. However, unlike other disorders using light treatment, the most effective times for bipolar therapy is between noon and 2:30 pm. It becomes effective in the fourth to sixth week.

Using genetics to test bipolar treatments have also been developed. With simple saliva tests, genetic markers are identified and matched with the meds most effective for those markers. Sometimes the markers are compared to a similar population to identify effective meds.

Proteomics refers to the use of various proteins used as biomarkers for identifying bipolar disorder and effective treatments.

Research with various types of nerve stimulation continue to be developed.

Electro-convulsive-therapy (ECT) has long been used and found to be helpful in the treatment of resistant depression.

Other types of nerve stimulation are specialized MRI’s. Use of low-frequency magnetic stimulation also has positive effects of resistant depression.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation is an invasive procedure. A stimulator is planted under the skin sends electrical impulses to the vagus nerve which carries messages to the areas of the brain involved in mood regulation.

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation uses magnetic pulses which can be targeted to specific sites in the brain. Similar to ECT, it is believed that targeting specific sites may minimize ECT like side effects.

One is of research for bipolar disorder is in the area of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress markers which show heightened levels in bipolar patients.

Inflammatory responses are another area of research. Like oxidative stress, inflammatory markers also are high in bipolar illness.

I am not a physician, just a fellow bipolar patient. But reading about the research helps improve my attitude toward my disease. This article is just for information and exploration only.

As a pastor one of the scripture verses that come to mind is Psalms 139: 13-14 “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

We indeed are complex and can be grateful that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

 

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How To Find A Good Christian Mental Health Counselor

How To Find A Good Christian Mental Health Counselor

By

Many people have a difficult time in finding an effective mental health counselor. Just like everything in life, you have your good counselors and you have your not so great counselors. The key is to find one that will help you solve your current mental health problems. If you do not know what you are looking for or where to start, then here are a few ideas in how to find a good mental health counselor.

1. Talk To Your Doctor Or Primary Care Physician Your medical or family doctor is a great source in finding a good counselor. Explain to your doctor your problems and he or she can put you in the right direction in seeking the proper help.

2.Go To Your Local Hospital Your local hospital is another source you can use to find a good counselor. A hospital is also a good source of finding many different mental health programs in your area. Hospitals know a lot of good counselors and programs in your area and they can lead you in the right direction.

3.Ask Your Friends And Relatives Use your network of friends and relatives to see if any of them know of any good counselors in your area. This can be effective if it does not bother you that other people know that you are seeking a counselor. Many churches and nonprofit mental health agencies have a variety of mental health programs and asking the people who run these programs could also lead you in the right direction.

When asking for a counselor or finding a mental health program, always ask for someone who has a good reputation. Remember that finding a counselor to help you depends on how you interact with the counselor and how they interact with you. It may take a couple of times to find the right person, but do not give up. Finding a good counselor will pay off for you in the long run, so be persistent in finding the right person for you.

Remember that the key components of having an effective mental health counselor is affordability, the ability to effectively talk to your counselor, and most importantly, is your counselor able to find the answers to your current problems. If you do not see any improvement in your mental health condition after a couple of months of working with your current counselor, you may want to find someone else. The main point of talking to a counselor is to help manage your mental health issues and to get better.

 

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Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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Waiting Patiently by Sandy Turney

Waiting Patiently by Sandy Turney

By

What do you feel when you read “wait patiently”?

For me, it brings up uncomfortable feelings! I like everything under control, and I like to control things as much as I possibly can. I don’t like to wait until the last minute to do things. I make lists and check things off as I go.  So waiting patiently is difficult for me. I feel more calm if I know what is expected or what will be happening next.  This is something I have to continually work at.

However, during difficult times, whether it’s a time of depression or having to adjust medications and waiting for them to work, I find it extremely challenging to be patient. I feel anxious and sometimes lost when I have no control. Waiting for medication to work can sometimes take a few weeks, and when we are having problems with our mental health, we all want to feel better NOW, right?

Once I was having a rough time with depression. I was trying to work through it by paying attention to my triggers and using all the tools I’ve learned to move through it. My depression became worse to the point I went to see my psychiatrist. By this time, I had dealt with it for a few months so I was really in a bad place. My doctor adjusted some of my medications and after two weeks I discovered it was causing some side effects as well as not working. So then we had to make more adjustments. Overall, it took a lot more time than I “had planned”.

In the in-between time, I was struggling. As you know, when you feel sad, cry a lot, become irritable or angry, it’s not fun and, for me, I want it fixed fast. So what happens to me in these times is I search, think, and try to figure out what I can do to make it better as quick as possible. I read articles and/or books and it seems my mind is continually thinking about what I can change to get things “normal” for me.

I constantly seek to find something I can control. And therein lies the issue, I’m trying to control things and not be patient. During this particular time, I found one of my study books which gave verses for particular areas in our lives. I looked through it and asked God to show me what He wanted me to do. I read for awhile and came across Psalms 37:7 “Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for him to act.” Immediately, the verse stuck out to me. I thought ‘really Lord, you know who you’re talking to, right?’ I sat reading the verse and I began to write it over and over; writing is therapeutic for me. I continued to talk with God and I believe He was telling me to just wait on Him. Strangely enough, it felt like the verse gave me permission; permission to rest and not be in a tizzy trying to make something happen, trying to control things….just wait.

So I did just that. When I came home from work I used that time to read, study, relax, and go to bed early. I didn’t feel like I had to be in control. Instead of searching, I had more time to be with God and let Him take care of things while I was waiting to feel better.

So I would like to encourage you to try a few things:
1. Give yourself permission to wait patiently for God to act, because He has already given us permission.
2. Learn and monitor your triggers.
3. Use the “waiting” moments to take care of yourself and draw closer to God.

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Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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God’s Love Letter to You!

God’s Love Letter to You!

On this Father’s Day, I offer to you this letter from God your Father.

This is His love letter to YOU!

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you.   Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.   Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.   Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.   Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.   Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.   Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.    Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.   Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.  Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.   Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live.   Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.   Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother’s womb.   Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.   Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me.   John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love.  1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.   1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father.   1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.   Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.   Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.   James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.   Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.   Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.   Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore.  Psalm 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.   Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.   Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.  Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul.   Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.   Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me.   Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart.   Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.   Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.   Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.   2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.   2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you.   Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart.   Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes.   Revelation 21:3-4

And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth.   Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.    John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.    John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.   Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you.    Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.    2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.    2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you.   1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love.    Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me.    1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again.   Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.   Luke 15:7

I have always been Father, and will always be Father.    Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…Will you be my child?     John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.    Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad.
Almighty God

Permission to copy and reprint providing that it is used in its entirety and the following copyright notice is displayed…
Father’s Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications ©1999 FathersLoveLetter.com

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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