Bipolar & Creating Mini Habits For Positive Change

Bipolar & Creating Mini Habits For Positive Change
To change our default setting it must be done one mini habit at a time.

If you are like me, there have been numerous times you were highly motivated to make BIG changes in your mental health journey. One of those times for me was deciding that I needed to exercise at least three times a week. That was a big change to make since I wasn’t even exercising once a week. So I exercised three times that first week, but by the next week I had given it up. I just couldn’t do it. It was too big of a change.

I’ve done this over and over throughout the years since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995. I would be highly motivated to make a healthy change regarding my sleep, eating, exercising, thinking, or working. It seemed that the motivation to make the change would last a short time before I would revert to my “default settings.” And each time I would feel like a bigger failure. I began to believe that my inability to stay motivated to make a healthy change had to be connected in some way to having bipolar disorder. After all, I could easily become “laser-beamed-focused” on something I wanted or liked to do, so I became convinced that my repeated failures had to have something to do with having bipolar.

It was as though any unhealthy “default settings” I had or any changes that I wasn’t all that interested in – even though they would be good for me – could only be made little by little because I just didn’t have enough self-motivation to do them all at once. I figured I just didn’t have the self-discipline necessary, or somehow there was a flaw in my character. Those beliefs changed recently when someone introduced me to a book that they had found very helpful in making changes in their life. The title of the book is Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. I discovered that if I began making small changes for extended periods of time, the changes would stick.

In the book, Guise clarifies the difference between motivation and self-will. He says that motivation is short-lived, and to make real change you have to begin doing small things that can be done via pure self-will, and not depend on motivation to do it.

He started to change his health by doing one push-up daily. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But think about it. Had he decided to do 50 per day, that would have required ongoing motivation, and he would have given up when the motivation to do the 50 push-ups had passed. (Which would have been on the first day for me! lol) So his first mini habit was to do a single push-up. Doing just the one push-up, he could make himself do it via self-will power. What he found was that once he would do one push-up, he always did a few more, but no matter what, he always did at least one. He changed his brain’s default setting slowly, over time, and it stuck.

I’ve got to tell you that this little book on mini habits is changing my life!

I’ve stopped beating up on myself for not being able to make sweeping changes in my life. It makes total sense to me. There are small things I can choose to do whether I feel motivated to do them or not. For example, I know I need to drink more water, especially with the meds that I take. But, the thought of drinking eight full glasses of water overwhelms me, and I end up drinking nothing. So, I started with the mini habit of drinking one large full glass of water with my meds first thing in the morning, and I’ve found myself drinking more water throughout the day and enjoying it! I know, it’s not an earth-shattering change, but earth-shattering changes won’t work. Most of us do not have that kind of motivation with or without bipolar disorder.

It only makes sense that our brains have default settings. Those are the settings that our brains default to when we are stressed or things we can do with little to no thought. For example, my default setting for when to eat is when I’m sad, happy, tired, stressed, or when I’m awake! This eating default setting has been a well-worn patterned default in my brain for many years. Unfortunately, unlike being able to go into your computer default settings, make a change and click “save,” we cannot do that with our brains. Instead, if we want to make changes to our default settings, we must make them bit by bit, by starting a mini habit that we can do without one ounce of motivation on our part; a simple thing that can be done by sheer self-willpower.

Discovering these things have become the single greatest key to making change happen in my life.

Your inability to not make sweeping health changes in your life is not a character flaw. It’s called being human!

So, what mini habit can you do by sheer self-willpower that will bring about a simple, healthy change in your life?

 

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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Five Keys to Successfully Navigating Change in Spite of a Mental Health Challenge

Five Keys to Successfully Navigating Change in Spite of a Mental Health Challenge

As they say, “The only thing that never changes is change.” Life is full of changes. Some changes that we make, others make, or life makes for us. Some changes we like; others we do not. Change is unavoidable.

Several years ago, I learned a lot about how to navigate significant changes in my life while keeping my bipolar disorder in order.  That season in my life brought a whole list of changes: some of my own doing, some brought on by others, and others that life itself brought about.

Unaware of all of the big changes that were coming our way, my wife and I decided to jamie-street-331990start finishing our basement prior to all of the changes. In November of that year, we began the project that we’ve been waiting nearly ten years to do. We secured the finances and the contractor in early November, not prepared for the massive changes coming our way in our jobs (we both are on the staff of the church that I pastor). Not only did our job descriptions change (positive changes), but we had physical remodeling of office spaces that also needed to happen before the end of that year. The leaders of our church were also rewriting the by-laws of our congregation during this time. Our work days were consumed with planning and preparing for all the Christmas activities and services. Plus, we were getting ready for hosting Christmas at home for not only our children and their families but also my entire extended family.

Needless to say, I learned a few important keys to navigating a lot of change, while maintaining my emotional health. So I thought I would share with you a few of insights that were critical to navigating the changes successfully (this is by no means an exhaustive list).

  1. When experiencing a lot of change, keep your world as small as possible. In other words, limit your activities as much as possible. For example, I postponed some things on my calendar that could wait and delegated weekly activities such as my facilitating a Fresh Hope group. I took a 2-month break and had someone else facilitate for me. I knew that if I had too many activities, I would risk losing my wellness. I needed to keep my schedule as simple as possible.
  1. Know which changes you can reject and which you will have to accept. Sometimes changes come our way that we have no control over, i.e., the loss of a job, death of a spouse, or moving to another city or town. When a change happens that you can’t control, you have to come to terms with it and accept it as out of your control. If the change or changes are things you can control, then you need to do what you can do. And it’s important to know the difference between the two. (From the Serenity Prayer, “the things I can change and the things I cannot change…and the wisdom to know the difference.”)
  2. All changes, whether negative or positive – including the changes we desire – bring with them some grief.  Working through the grief is important. One of the monumental tasks I had to do regarding building changes in our offices was to empty out a “junk room” (which the staff lovingly referred to as my “hoarders room”). This room had all of the junk and boxes of the first years following my very manic episode, forced resignation, and my attempts to “find myself” through hobbies. A lot of “memories of pain” were stored up in that room. I dreaded having to clean it out. Some of the boxes had not been opened in nearly 20 years. I thought about having someone just toss it all out! But I knew there were things worth keeping, so I needed to go through them. With the great help of a close friend, the room was emptied with minimal emotional pain. But I still needed to grieve just a bit.
  3. Stick to your schedule.It was imperative during this time of significant changes that I stuck with a routine, especially my sleep routine. I made sure that I didn’t mess with my sleep schedule even though it was tempting to rise early in the morning and stay up late to get as much done as possible. Doing that would have most certainly led me either into a manic phase or hypomanic phase.
  4. Routinely take quiet time – get in touch with what and how you are feeling emotionally, and measure the clarity of your thinking.Each day I knew I had to pay close attention to how I was feeling. I’d ask myself, “Are you feeling a little too wound up? Are your thoughts clear? Are your thoughts racing? Is your thinking foggy?” I’d ask myself a couple of times a day, “How are you doing? What are you feeling? How is your thinking?” I found myself at times becoming overwhelmed and “shutting down”. At those times I would take a few steps back and do some breathing techniques that I’ve learned over the years. And if that didn’t’ work, I’d take a walk, or just do something that required no thinking, until the feelings of being overwhelmed had passed. With all of the changes going on, taking quiet time to pay attention to what was going on within me was imperative!

It’s was a crazy few months, but the changes have now been made, and I’ve adjusted to a new focus on my daily tasks at work. Overall, the changes have been good. But even these positive changes had to be navigated, felt, and worked through emotionally. For the most part, I fared pretty well through the changes. I did have some mornings where I was waking up much earlier than usual, which for me is that is a sign of an elevated mood. So, on those days, I paid even closer attention to what was going on with my thinking and emotions. I always attempted to make sure to get to the gym on those days.

The worst part of experiencing all these changes was that I allowed myself to fall off the “healthy-food-wagon”, and now I’m working hard to get back on it. I had done so well with healthy eating for the six months before the Christmas prior to all of the changes, having lost over sixty pounds (with another fifty to go). And as many as you know, detoxing from sugar and the craving of carbs due to medicine can be so difficult to do!

So, how about you? What are important keys for you in navigating change? What keys for successfully navigating change would you add to this list?

 

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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Biblical Gratitude: Rethinking How We Give Thanks

Biblical Gratitude: Rethinking How We Give Thanks

If you read many Facebook posts or listen to media, it seems as though gratitude is a character trait that appears almost extinct. I can remember a time when that was not the case. Many things have changed in our world and our culture, not all of them positive. It would appear those that murmur and complain seem to have the loudest voices of all.It should not be so with us who believe.

Last week I was meditating on the scripture in I Thessalonians 5:18; “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” It’s important to note that the passage does not say that we are to give thanks “for” everything or even something by listing what we are thankful for.  Rather, we are to give thanks “in” everything!  Think about it; our minds are automatically geared to the negative. When we hear unpleasant news, we immediately go to the worst case scenario or become easily personally offended by what used to be mild offenses. (i.e., someone didn’t say hello).

In today’s world, the standard question I hear is, “What do I have to be thankful for?”  While that might be a valid question it’s really unrelated to the topic of Biblical gratitude. Scripture doesn’t tell us to make a list of what we are thankful “for” but instead that we need to be thankful “in” everything give thanks. There’s a big difference between the two.

See, when we determine to be thankful “in” all things then the focus is then not on you or me and we what determined to be thankful for on our list for thanksgiving, but instead it puts our emphasis on where it belongs; thanking our Lord and Savior for His faithfullness in all circumstances

So that, amid our pain and suffering, disappointments and crushed dreams we can give thanks that:

  1. We are loved and cared for by God himself.
  2. We are kept safe and secure by his power and goodness.
  3. Nothing can separate you or me from his love.
  4. We will never be left or forsaken by Him.
  5. We have a home in heaven prepared for us.
  6. We will be reunited with those we love and have left this world someday.
  7. Your life and breath belong to Him and Him alone.
  8. His plans for us are only for good and blessings.
  9. All things will work together for our good.
  10. You nor I am not alone; He is with us!  He is with YOU!

This Thanksgiving, look upward, for your redemption draws near, and in everything give thanks!

Go ahead and make a list if you wish. But, I’d encourage you to be giving thanks IN all circumstances, everything! Including thanks to Him while in the pain and difficulties.

Have a blessed time of giving thanks “in” all things as you celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness this Thanksgiving!

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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An Interview with Dr. Micheal Egger, Contributing Author to the Fresh Hope Book

An Interview with Dr. Micheal Egger, Contributing Author to the Fresh Hope Book

In the edition of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, I had the honor of interviewing my psychiatrist, Micahel Egger.  Dr. Egger was vital in helping me find the way to living well in spite of having a mental health diagnosis.  He has been and continues to be a compass for me in finding wellness.  We talk about many different topics regarding mental health recovery.  Dr. Egger is the doctor whose comments are included at the end of each of the chapters of the Fresh Hope for Living Well book.

You’ll most likely find this conversation helpful to you regarding some aspect or another of recovery.  If you are someone who has had numerous bouts of depression in your life you very well may find our discussion regarding the difference between bipolar type 2 and major depressive disorder.

To listen to the edition of the podcast click here or click on the icon below:

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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. 

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

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“How Joyful People Think: 8 Ways of Thinking That Lead to a Better Life”: Pastor Jamie Rasmussen

On this episode of Fresh Hope for Mental Health, Pastor Brad Hoefs talks with Author and Senior Pastor of Scottsdale Bible Church, Jamie Rasmussen about his book; “How Joyful People Think: 8 Ways of Thinking That Lead to a Better Life.” Why is it important that we change our thinking? How does the Bible tell us to think? Is it possible to have joy when your depressed?

To listen to the podcast click here!

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We encourage you to share this podcast with your friends via your social media connections.

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

 

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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Leave “Flat-Lined” Emotions Behind & Overcome The Fear Of ‘Feeling’

Leave “Flat-Lined” Emotions Behind & Overcome The Fear Of ‘Feeling’

By Brad Hoefs

It’s called a “decrescendo” in music: a gradual reduction in force or loudness. It’s part of what creates the beauty of music, crescendos and decrescendos, softness, loudness, intensity, fast and slow beats. Without these things and a beautiful melody line music would be lifeless. Well, that’s how I was feeling just months after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and adjusting to my medicines.

My doctor heard me loud and clear when I kept saying that I didn’t know if I could live feeling so lifeless. He kept telling me at each of my appointments that I needed to give it time. But, I felt as though I was a medicated zombie- just blah. I missed the ups, downs, intensity, the fast and slow beats yet, I was scared to death to feel anything of an up or down, sad or happy feeling. I feared that feeling nothing would be the permanent “music of my life”.

The doctor kept assuring me that he needed to get my mood stabilized. Stabilized? I felt so stabilized that it was as though I had emotional rigor mortis! At about four months into being medicated my doctor thought it was time to adjust the initial doses of mood stabilizer. He adjusted it just a bit. And I began to feel a little. And the little that I felt was extreme sadness and regret. It was awful. I told him if this was all I was going to feel, I’d rather not feel. He encouraged me to work through my grief and sadness and disruption my last manic episode had caused in my life and the life of my family.

For months I worked on the toxic remorse I had regarding what had happened during my manic episode. My loved ones forgave and began to move forward. I was stuck. All I felt was toxic remorse and depression. I was scared to death to feel happy; that it would trigger an onset of mania. It seemed as though my emotions and feelings had flat-lined. My feelings and emotions had descended to no longer blah, but now nothing but a pounding sadness. So, the doctor introduced a bit more of antidepressant into my “medicine-cocktail” and I continued to work with my therapist regarding my remorse, shame and sadness regarding all that had happened during my mania. But, the little new pill seemed to help just a bit.

It was approximately a year into my recovery that I was still feeling quite emotionally flat-lined and complaining about it to my doctor. I would tell him at each my brief visits with him that the range of my feelings and emotions was so narrow that I was not sure that I had a pulse anymore. His response shocked me! He said, “Brad, it’s time for you to stop fearing your feelings and emotions. You are a human being. You are going to have feelings and emotions, ups and downs. You’re going to feel sad and happy and blah. Get out of your head and start feeling! Start living! And no, you won’t handle all of your feelings and emotions perfectly. You’ll be like the rest of us, human. Allow yourself to laugh. Stop taking yourself so seriously!” And with that “gust” of advice he told me to lighten up, take my medicine and live.

The doctor was right. At first I maybe had just a little too much mood stabilizer and not enough anti-depressant. But, my shame and regret became toxic remorse and began to emotionally flat-line me to the point where I was frozen emotionally; at best I was barely coping. I certainly was not thriving. I feared becoming too happy; too sad; too mad; too anything! I was emotionally constipated. So, I took my doctor’s advice. I stopped trying to think my way through everything. I began to live, allowing myself to feel again. I began to feel like a human being again. In fact, today I thrive. Yes, I have some ups and downs, like everyone has. And no, I’m not perfect in how I always handle my emotions. After all, I’m human. But, my emotions and feelings do not interrupt my ability to live.

Throughout the last six and half years of facilitating a Fresh Hope support group I have seen a lot of folks who are emotionally flat-lined. Sometimes it’s due to being over medicated and other times it is because they are like I, fearing to feel too much at the risk of an escalating mood. And many times it is due to them getting stuck in toxic remorse or toxic grief over having a mental health issue. Of course, there’s a host of many other reasons that emotions and feelings can flat-line.

If you are feeling emotionally flat-lined, not feeling, no emotions (emotionally constipated) I’d suggest a couple of things to consider:

  • Are you over medicated? Talk with your doctor about it. If your doctor is not willing to listen to what is going on…do you need a second opinion? Sometimes doctors simply listen to “key” words that the patient uses without ever exploring with the patient what those “key” words mean to the patient.
  • Are you keeping yourself from feeling too much of anything out of fear that your loved ones expect you to perfectly handle your emotions and feelings at all times; otherwise you are just being “bipolar”? If so talk with your therapist about this, begin to work through it. Your loved ones may need some help in understanding what issues are due to having bipolar disorder and what issues are due to being a human!
  • If you do not have a supportive home environment I would strongly recommend that you find a positive, wellness focused and driven mental health support group either in person or online.
  • Set goals for your life. Without goals we become hopeless. When you and I have no place to move to in life we loose our hope. You need to have goals, what do you want out of your life?

I suspect that you can help me with this list of suggestions. How have you moved from flat-lined emotions and feelings to living again? What are your frustrated with? Let’s help one another!

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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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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“Where Does Hope Begin?” By Pastor John Anderson

“Where Does Hope Begin?” By Pastor John Anderson

Sermon By: Pastor John Anderson

 

“Mental health issues are very common, and in one way or another effect every family. We realize that being in community with others that have similar struggles is vitally important and part of the copping process. In the context of any life challenge, we need to lean on those around us who have words of solidarity, comfort, and of wisdom.”

Hope Community has started a Fresh Hope Ministry within their church, and are spreading a great example of how to cover the topic of mental health within their teaching.

 

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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Freedom from the Thoughts of Shame

Freedom from the Thoughts of Shame

By: Rick Qualls

The other day I answered the phone and was greeted with, “This is a phone call like you have never heard before. My name is Jim and I can tell you how to make the cash roll in!”

I hung up.

Get rich schemes abound.

Manipulative people take advantage of you for their gain.

Are you being conned by the master manipulator, depression?

Depression twists your thinking, convincing you of lies that cause shame. Shame takes your life and feeds your depression.

Shame is a set of beliefs that you are defective, worthless, that you deserve misery. Some of these thoughts may ruminate in both our conscious and unconscious mind. 

These thoughts may include:  I’m stupid. I’m unattractive. I’m a failure. I’m a bad person.I’m selfish. I just don’t have what it takes. I hate myself.I don’t matter. I’m defective. I shouldn’t have been born. I’m unlovable.

These automatic thoughts steal from you and feed depression, worsening its hold on our lives. Depressive illness may bring on these thoughts. We can then be manipulated making depression worse.

How can we manage these thoughts of shame? The acrostic SHAME can be a pattern for breaking this downward shame cycle.

S—Support groups. You are not alone in dealing with these thoughts. Finding a group of safe people where you can hear others tell their story and where you can share yours. Talking helps identify manipulative thoughts, discover maladaptive behavior, and ways to disarm shame.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NIV

H—Honest thinking. You have been manipulated by the lies of depression. Shame thoughts are lies that need to be exchanged for truth. Identifying these thoughts and replacing them can change your feelings and behaviors. Therapy for this is called Cognitive Behavior Therapy.  It is highly effective at creating positive behavior.

“Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:2 Message

A—Appreciate life, even in the smallest details. It is impossible to deeply grateful and feeling shamed simultaneously. Gratitude resets your mind, changing your focus to the positive from the negative. Intentionally keeping a gratitude journal is a tool that many have used.

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”Col 3:16

M—Marvelously Made. You have been made in the image of God. Yes, the image is tarnished but you are still marked in your Creator’s image. He sees you as a Masterpiece of His handiwork. The Good News of Jesus is that God loves us. Period. Nothing you do can make God love you more. Nothing you do can make God love you less.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalms 139:13-14

E—Empathy. Depression bullies you with its lies. Learn to be compassionate to yourself. Imagine one of your children confided in you they were having shame creating thoughts. What would you say to give confidence and encouragement? Say these things to yourself. Step out of yourself for a moment and empathize with your inner child that is hurting. Having compassion for yourself changes your inner world.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Mph 4:32 NIV

You can use the SHAME model to defeat thoughts and feelings of shame that depression causes.

When you hear the lies of depression, hang up the phone.

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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.https://freshhope.us/donate/

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