Pastor Brad Hoefs

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

Think About What You Think About

Think About What You Think About

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Think about what you think about.  Weird suggestion, huh?  But….have you ever done it?  Have you ever paid attention to what goes through your head?  Have you ever stopped and listened to yourself?

For some reason, I woke up one morning with that question on my mind.  I laid in bed thinking about the question and trying to answer it.  These were my thoughts:  ‘Why do I want to even get up today?  I don’t have anything to contribute.  I’m not happy about the way I look.  I’m fat and nothing I put on makes me look decent.  I try to be a good person and positive, but I fail 15 minutes after I get to work.  No one can see God in me.  How can they?  My mouth opens up and before I know it my thoughts are out in the open and I can’t take them back.’  The thoughts running through my head alone could depress me enough on a good day.  And that is interesting, because I think these thoughts often, whether I’m in a depressed state or not.

My pastor once said in a sermon that we have 50,000 thoughts per day, and 85% of them are negative.  I have also heard for every negative comment you say or hear it takes 7 positive ones to cancel that one out.

So now, think about what I said.  I counted them and there were 8 negative things I thought before I even got out of bed in less than a 5 minute period.  So it would take 56 positive thoughts just to cancel out those 8 negative thoughts from those first 5 minutes of the morning.  Now, how many of us really tell ourselves positive things?  Do you answer yourself with something positive when you say or think something negative?  I tried it one morning.  It was pretty difficult!

It took me years of therapy to be able to hear positive things from people.  It took more time to be able to say something nice about myself.  But you know what?  God doesn’t make junk!!!!  We all are ‘beautifully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14 NIV).  There are qualities about each of us no one else has.  If this is something difficult for you to do, I understand.  But I challenge you to look in the mirror each morning and say at least one positive thing about yourself.  But you have to say it out loud.  Then when a negative thought comes across your mind, repeat the positive thing you said to yourself earlier in the day.  Start small.  Start simple.  For example, ‘I have pretty eyes’; ‘my hair looks good today’; ‘I am a kind person’……

Each of us is important and is worth positive thoughts and words!!!!!

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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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Stressed-Out Young People Need to Hear Your Stories by Amy Simpson

Stressed-Out Young People Need to Hear Your Stories by Amy Simpson

A few years ago, a study revealed the youngest generations of adults in America are also the most stressed. In one sense, this is no big surprise, given the economic and social factors influencing quality of life and near-future prospects for Millennials—adults ages 13 to 35—and for Gen Xers, whose scores are virtually tied with those of their younger counterparts.

In September 2016, the unemployment rate for Millennials was 12.7 percent. This compares to 5 percent overall. And among employed Millennials, many are underemployed

To read more: CLICK HERE

About Amy Simpson

Amy is deeply committed to this vision: seeing purposeful people make the most of their gifts and opportunities. As an author, speaker, and life & leadership coach, she helps influencers get clear on their calling and thrive in times of transition so they can see clearly, lead boldly, live true, and fully engage in life with guiding purpose.

Whether speaking into a microphone or through the written word, she is a very gifted communicator with a prophetic voice.  She’s the author oDSC_0522f the award-winning books Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission and Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry (both InterVarsity Press). She also serves as an editor-at-large for Christianity Today’s CTPastors.com and a regular contributor for various publications.

As a life & leadership coach, she helps influencers thrive through change so they can see clearly, lead boldly, and live true. A firm believer that life is too short to waste time living out of sync with God’s purposes, she challenges clients throughout the United States to step into their calling with authenticity and excellence. She specializes in working with people who find themselves on the edge of something new, whether a new role, organization, approach, project, or career.

Amy was one of the recipients of the 2017 National Inspiring Hope Award from Fresh Hope for Mental Health.

Amy holds an English degree from Trinity International University, an MBA from the University of Colorado, and CPCC certification from Coaches Training Institute. She loves to travel with her husband, Trevor, their two teenage girls, and their dog, Rosie. She live in the suburbs of Chicago, where she is committed to perfecting her dry sense of humor and reading nearly everything she can.

Check out Amy’s website: www.AmySimpsonOnline.com

Check out Fresh Hope’s weekly podcast at: www.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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Facing Real Together by Lindsay Hausch

Facing Real Together by Lindsay Hausch

I heard her cries with my heart, more than my ears, each wail reverberating in my aching chest. I cradled her head and held her rigid body against mine as she yelled, “no, no, no,” then heaved a shaky breath to release another loud howl. I whispered in her ear “I’m here. I love you,” again and again, as I swayed and tasted the salty tears that ran down her neck.

For five minutes I felt the waves of emotions that coursed through her tired body, confusion, anger, frustration, fear as she succumbed to exhaustion. I absorbed her helpless desperation, but wouldn’t, couldn’t, let myself collapse beneath it. Instead I just held her, rocked her, and continued my chant, “I’m here. I love you.”

There is a sacred space we enter with another person when we can let them feel what they are feeling without avoidance, advice, judgement, or tense discomfort. Simply to tell them, “I’m here and I love you.”

I am not in my daughter’s skin, and so I don’t know what it feels like to have steroids coursing through me, creating a surge of unpredictable emotions and moods. This little girl has all these new big feelings without words to even make sense out of them. I want to understand what she feels, I want to tell her how to make it better, or distract her somehow. But in this desperate moment, after a sleepless night, a long morning, and still no nap, I can only be here with her as a witness.

Yes darling, you are miserable. Your body aches, you are tired but your body won’t behave and sleep as it should. You feel angry and powerless. You want mommy to make it all better, and you are learning, maybe for the first time, that there are some things that mommy can’t fix. But I am here, I am with you in this. I love you.

And in this brave moment between a helpless baby, and her helpless mommy, I begin to learn a lot about how to help someone heal. Because when we are confused, overcome by big emotions we can’t explain, when life hurts and we feel too tired to even make our bed, we don’t need advice; we don’t need platitudes, or our pain to be wiped away like an unsightly smudge of dirt. We need a brave person to stay and hold us through the waves of grief, anger, desperation, and longing, to whisper lovingly, “I am here.”

Because when life knocks the breath out of us, sometimes the bravest thing to do is to inhale and exhale those first few breaths, to be held by the loving arms of those there to support you, and fearlessly succumb to the illusive sleep that our tired souls need.

Sometimes its another person holding us up. Sometimes its on our knees in the sacred  space of solitude. But as we cry out in weakness, “I am tired, I am scared, Lord I am hurting,”  He says “I Am.” In Him we find a perfect match for our needs and emptiness. So we can cry, and shout, or blink silent tears, and wait for His peace to roll over us like a blanket and His grace to hum like a lullaby, “I Am here. I love you.”

“Stubborn cloud, I watch you rolling past
What would it take for you to cry at last
Don’t be afraid to let your feelings show
If we dry up, then we won’t grow”

Grow by J.J. Heller

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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How I Dealt With People With People Who Didn’t Understand My Mental Health Issues

How I Dealt With People With People Who Didn’t Understand My Mental Health Issues

By: Stan Popovich

Throughout my 20 years of personal experience in dealing with fear and anxiety, I had a challenging time in getting my friends to understand my issues with fear, stress, and anxiety.

Most of my friends and relatives were understanding and very supportive of the fact that I struggled with fear and anxiety, however, there were times some of my friends were not very supportive. The problem was that some of these people got on my case and did not understand my situation. In order to deal with these people, I did the following.

The first thing I did was to listen to the mental health professionals and not my friends. My friends meant well but I realized that the professionals knew my situation since they were trained in the mental health fields. These professionals knew what I was going through and were properly trained. So I made the choice to listen to them and follow their advice and not my friends.

I also realized that my goal was to overcome my fearful situations and not to please my friends. I realized that I wasn’t going to waste my time arguing with my friends who were giving me a difficult time. I realized that this was not a public relations event where I needed to get everyone’s approval. This was my life and my focus was to find the ways to manage my fears.

I told my friends that the best way for them to help me was to learn more about my situation and to be more understanding. I suggested they could talk to a mental health professional, read some good books, or attend a support group where they could learn about my situation. This would give them some idea of what I was going through and hopefully would become more supportive. I also asked some of these mental health professionals on ideas on how to deal with people who were giving me a difficult time.

Some of my friends took my advice and others didn’t do anything. I eventually made the decision to distance myself from people who gave me a difficult time. This seemed cruel however I realized that if I had friends who were hindering my progress in getting better that it was better if they stayed away from me and go bother someone else. As a result, I distanced myself from those people who wouldn’t make an effort to help understand what I was going through. I surrounded myself with positive and supportive people.

It can be difficult dealing with people who get on your case and who do not support you. Many of these people think they know what is best for you, but the fact of the matter is that their advice could make things even worse. I had one friend who thought he knew everything, but the fact of the matter was that he didn’t have a clue and he gave me bad advice. Always listen and follow the advice of a mental health professional and not your friends.

I made the decision that I wanted to overcome my fearful issues and that it was not my job to get everyone’s approval. No matter what you do in life, there will always be people who will not agree with you. I realized that my mental health was more important than pleasing people who were close minded and stubborn. My advice is not to waste your time and energy on these people.

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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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Becoming Your Own Advocate by Jamie Meyer

Becoming Your Own Advocate by Jamie Meyer

by Jamie Meyer

I remember the day I saw a psychiatrist for the first time. When he spoke the words “major depressive disorder,” I felt both relieved and discouraged. Relief that there was a valid reason why I felt numb and hopeless. Discouragement that I’d been labeled with a mental illness.

After receiving that diagnosis l faithfully took my medication and eventually began seeing a therapist at my doctor’s request. Although I started feeling better after a few months, I still relied on both of them to decide what was best for me. After all, they were the experts and my part was to follow their instructions if I wanted to get well, right?

There came a point in my recovery, however, when I desperately wanted to get off the medications and get back to the “old me.” I mentioned this to my doctor and was told that I’d most likely be on medication the rest of my life. Since my diagnosis had been changed to bipolar 2 at this point, I’m guessing he viewed this as a more serious disorder than depression, one that would require lifelong treatment.

Knowing I was in this for the long haul, I determined to learn more about my diagnosis and the things I could do to stay as healthy as possible. If I had been diagnosed with diabetes or fibromyalgia I’d be searching for more information, so why wouldn’t I take the same approach in learning about an illness in my brain?

While I found many books and articles about bipolar 2, they mostly encouraged people to stay on medications and rely on their doctors and therapists if they wanted to get well. While I agree that these professionals have more education and knowledge about mental disorders than I do, I’m the only one who’s an expert on me! Only l know what it’s like to live with the unique thoughts, feelings, and symptoms that are a part of my illness. The same is true of you as well.

Wanting to improve my thinking, behavior and emotional health, my searching led me to Fresh Hope, a faith-based support group for people experiencing mental health challenges and their loved ones. They focus on living well in spite of having a mental health issue. Fresh Hope groups emphasize that we are not victims of our illness but that we have the right to stand up for ourselves and manage our own mental health care.

Being an advocate for ourselves means we partner with our health care providers rather than giving them sole power to make decisions for us. Appointments become opportunities for mutual discussion. Our part is to communicate honestly with our doctor, letting he or she know if our meds are working or not and requesting changes if side effects are unacceptable or we feel worse instead of better.

In our therapist’s office we have the right to ask for what we need and to be honest if we’re not seeing progress. There may be times when we’ll need to change the subject of a session in order to discuss something urgent that has come up. We’re also free to respectfully disagree with our therapist’s recommendations if we don’t feel they would be helpful in our recovery.

Taking personal responsibility also includes learning about and choosing healthier thoughts and actions that will improve our mental wellness. For example, we can reduce anxiety by learning relaxation techniques or methods to slow down racing thoughts. Choosing to exercise regularly, avoiding junk food, and keeping a gratitude journal can help to improve our mental and emotional stability.

Standing up for ourselves with our doctor and therapist and choosing more positive, helpful thoughts and behaviors are just some of the ways we can manage our mental health condition. We’re less likely to feel helpless and hopeless if we take responsibility for our own wellness rather than depending on someone else to “make us 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.unnamed

15 Cognitive Distortions

15 Cognitive Distortions

This podcast for everyone and anyone!  Why?  Because everyone needs to be able to identify the 15 common cognitive distortions that they may be struggling with or others are struggling with in their lives.

The topic of cognitive distortions is for everyone.  Pastor Brad identifies 15 commonjoshua-k-jackson-261210 cogitative distortions. These distortions are widespread.  These distortions are not necessarily connected to mental illness or mental disorders, but certainly, these distortions can easily exasperate a mental illness or mental disorder.

Aaron Beck first purposed the theory behind cognitive distortions, and it was David Burns who was responsible for popularizing them with common names and examples of these distortions which is what Brad covers in this Part 1 of a two part edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health: “Cogitative Distortions and How to Overcome Them.”

Here are the 15 cognitive distortions that Pastor Brad discusses in this podcast:

  1. Filtering
  2. Polarized thinking/black or white thinking
  3. Overgeneralization
  4. Jumping to conclusions
  5. Catastrophizing
  6. Personalization
  7. Control fallacies
  8. Fallacy of fairness
  9. Blaming
  10. Shoulds
  11. Emotional reasoning
  12. Fallacy of change
  13. Global labeling
  14. Always being right
  15. Heaven’s reward fallacy

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.

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

Click on this icon to listen to the podcast:

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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/

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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

Check out this episode!

The Importance of Moving Toward as Opposed to Moving Away

The Importance of Moving Toward as Opposed to Moving Away

In this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, Brad discusses the importance of moving toward something as opposed to moving away from something.

After listening to this podcast we encourage you to email Brad at pastorbrad@freshhope.us with a comment or question that we will share on our next podcast.  Or you can leave a voice message for us on the site: www.FreshHope4MentalHealth.com

You can access this podcast by clicking on this icon:FH PodCastArt (160dpi) 02_Splash 480x854

 

You can listen to this podcast via Apple Podcasts on iTunes by clicking on this icon:Listen_on_Apple_Podcasts_CMYK_US

Pastor Brad Hoefs, 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/

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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 meeting 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 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

An Incredible Story of Rescue from the Bering Sea: A Testimony of Hope!

An Incredible Story of Rescue from the Bering Sea: A Testimony of Hope!

Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in desperate situations.  Situations where if the Lord does not rescue us we won’t survive. There are those times where we feel as though thedave and bard arm of the Lord just isn’t long enough to reach us to pluck us out of the sear of troubles that we are drowning in. Then you will not want to miss this podcast!

In this edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, Pastor Brad interviews Dave Anderson who is one of only seven known survivors from a plane crash in the Bering Sea.  Their rescue that day is nothing less than a miracle.  This testimony is one of hope!

Maybe you or someone you love today is drowning in a sea of hopelessness then you need to listen to this podcast.  Here’s the Good News: God is with you.  He will not leave you. He is in the business of rescuing you and reframing your life!

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.

Order a video or book about the Rescue Story by clicking here.

To listen to the podcast click on the icon below:

small logo for Fresh Hope

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/

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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

 

5 Insights on Forgiving Yourself

5 Insights on Forgiving Yourself

By Brad Hoefs:

When your brain is not functioning properly, it certainly affects your behavior, which then affects your relationship with others. Those of us with a mental health issue can end up hurting a lot of people that we love. Whether it’s through our words or because of something we have done, those closest to us are left wounded.

Those who have been hurt will either forgive us and give us another chance, forgive us but no longer be in the relationship or choose not to forgive us and leave us. And we end up feeling the deep pain our behavior(s) have caused for them and ourselves. It is at this point that we have a critical choice to make; whether we will forgive ourselves or not.

Even if others will not forgive us, it is important for us to take responsibility for any of our hurtful behaviors; asking for forgiveness and then choosing to forgive ourselves. If we do not, we end up getting stuck and unable to move forward in living well. Everyone gets stuck at times. But, staying stuck is not okay. Thus, being able to forgive yourself is an essential component of living well in spite of having a mood disorder.

These are some of the insights I offer to you about “how” to forgive yourself so that you can move forward in living well:

1. Come to this realization: no matter how hard you try, you cannot change what has happened. You can only learn from it, grow from it and move forward. Accept what happened.

2. Take responsibility for what you did and the pain it caused others, asking them for forgiveness. Even if they choose not to forgive you; you must forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself cannot be contingent upon them forgiving you. Remember, them forgiving you is going to be a process, it’s not like switching on or off a light switch, just as forgiving yourself is going to be a process.

3. If you are a person of faith, then ask God, your higher power, for forgiveness. If it is within your faith tradition to go to the clergy and confess to him or her what has happened, then I would encourage you to consider doing that. Sometimes we need to hear out loud from someone in spiritual authority that God has forgiven us.

If God forgives us (and He does), who are we to refuse to forgive ourselves? God sets the example for us. So be kind to yourself, just as you would be to a close friend.

4. Decide to stop rehearsing over and over in your head what has happened. Rehearsing it will not change it. Rehearsing over and over is a way abusing yourself for what you did or didn’t do. Decide that you will stop allowing the rehearsal of it in your head. Yes, it’s tough to do. But, it is possible. You and I can be in charge of what we think about in our thought life. At first, it will feel as though it is next to impossible to do. With time, it will get a bit easier.

To stop rehearsing over and over what I had done that had hurt so many people in my life, I disciplined myself to have two times a day where I would think about it and grieve it. I promised myself that I would only spend 20 minutes each time. During this period, I wrote what I was thinking down in a journal. At the end of that time, I always spent time in prayer and reading some carefully selected scriptures from the Bible.

Wallowing in what happened will get you nowhere. Allow those few times a day to do this and then get on with your day. Don’t sit around letting your mind “wander around” on its own. Take charge. As you do this, it will get easier.

5. With my therapist, I began to work through any emotional issues that I had that were being exacerbated by my mood disorder, that I could work through in the hopes that it would give me a breakthrough in any of my dysfunctional behaviors that were harmful to my relationships with others. Too often you and I think we behave a “certain way” because of our mood disorder. However, more times than not, much of our behaviors happen due to emotional issues that we have yet to resolve, and the mood disorder merely intensifies those issues. Plus, if you and I are not stable, we can have great difficulties with impulse control. So, in my thinking, it is imperative for you and me to be working through as many emotional issues and any of the dysfunctional ways of being in relationships as possible.

One of the emotional issues that I had to work through was not to hate myself. I did not like myself at all. I had a very critical parent tape playing over and over in my head. I had to erase that tape. And create a new healthy adult tape. It took time. It was a process. And even yet today, some 20 years later, that critical parent tape plays just a bit here and there, but I stop listening to it rather quickly.

These things helped me to forgive myself. I hope that some of them might be helpful to you. It is a day- by-day process, but you can do it. Remember, if you tell yourself, “I can’t forgive myself for that,” then you won’t forgive yourself, and you will stay stuck at that point. If you choose not to forgive yourself, then you will not move forward in living well. Without forgiving one another, where would we all be? We live in a broken world that necessitates forgiving one another and forgiving ourselves.

How about you? Do you need to forgive yourself? Have you forgiven yourself? If so, how did you go about it?  (We encourage you to leave a comment or question!)

Check out Brad’s podcast: Fresh Hope for Mental Health

For more information about Fresh Hope go to: FreshHope.us

 

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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When “I” Becomes “We” Wellness Happens

When “I” Becomes “We” Wellness Happens

From my perspective, finding at least one person that you trust can be key for successful recovery. Let’s be honest, a mental health issue, when not treated can distort your perception of reality and easily affect your behavior and choices.  And when this happens we need someone to speak into our situation to help us make the necessary corrections in the course of our mental health recovery.

For me, this person has been my wife. It took me a while to believe that she was truly on “my side”. It took me a while to truly trust that she had my best interest always in mind. I’m blessed and fortunate to have a spouse who understands and is trustworthy. I know this is not true for everyone who has a partner or is married who has a mental health challenge. And of course, if you are single it can be a challenge to find that one trustworthy friend.

But, I’m convinced having this “one person” in my life has enabled me to get past the “i” of illness. When I allowed my wife to begin to be a partner in my recovery, we moved to “we” and when you take the “i” off of illness and exchange it with “we”- you end up with wellness. And that is what I have experienced and continue to experience mental wellness.

Now we do not always agree. And when that happens she and I simply have an agreement that I bring it to the attention of my doctor either at my next appointment or if it is of such a more urgent nature that I will call him. This has happened maybe once or twice in the last twelve years. And the doctor confirmed her concern one time and the other times he has confirmed my point of view. Because sometimes her concerns are based more upon her fear of my relapsing than based upon actually bipolar issues. And she is well aware of that.

Now, this “one-person” needs to be:

  • someone that you not only trust but someone that you feel completely safe with
  • someone who believes in you
  • someone who wants to see you succeed
  • someone who believes that you can live well in spite of having bipolar disorder
  • someone who will listen and understand you, but also challenge you to push through when it would be easier to give up
  • someone who would be willing to go along with you to your doctor appointment from time to time
  • someone who will hold you accountable; who can ask you the hard questions that are key for your recovery
  • someone who access to your doctor and therapist
  • someone who has a fairly good understanding of bipolar disorder but is willing to learn a lot more and become as informed about bipolar and your particular journey with bipolar disorder as possible
  • someone who knows you and part of your daily life
  • someone that you are willing to allow to “speak-into” your recovery

Do you have someone like this to take the “i” out of your illness and make it a “we”, moving to wellness? How do you find this person? Who might this person be in your life? I’d encourage you to find this person and bring them onto your team.

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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