Pastor Brad Hoefs

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

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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A Review Of Techniques In Managing Your Depression

A Review Of Techniques In Managing Your Depression

By: Stanley Popovich

Some people have a difficult time in managing their depression. Sometimes, their depression and fears can get the best of them. When your in this situation, it is important to know what to do so that your depression doesn’t overwhelm you.

Here is a short list of techniques that a person can use to help manage their depression.

1.Challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts that make you fearful or anxious, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense.  Changing your thinking can help you manage your fears.

 

  1. Take a break. Some people get depressed and have a difficult time getting out of bed in the mornings. When this happens, a person should take a deep breath and try to find something to do to get their mind off of the problem. A person could take a walk, listen to some music, read the newspaper, or do an activity that will give them a fresh perspective on things. Doing something will get your mind off of the problem and give you confidence to do other things.

 

  1. Use Self-Visualization. Sometimes, we can get depressed over a task that we will have to perform in the near future. When this happens, visualize yourself doing the task in your mind. For instance, you and your team have to play in the championship volleyball game in front of a large group of people in the next few days. Before the big day comes, imagine yourself playing the game in your mind.  By playing the game in your mind, you will be better prepared to perform for real when the time comes. Self-Visualization is a great way to reduce the fear and stress of a coming situation.

 

  1. Carry a  small notebook of positive statements with you. Whenever you come across an affirmation that makes you feel good, write it down in a small notebook that you can carry around with you in your pocket. Whenever you feel depressed, open up your small notebook and read those statements.

 

  1. Take advantage of the help that is available around you. If possible, talk to a professional who can help you manage your fears and anxieties. They will be able to provide you with additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem.

 

  1. Learn to take it one day at a time. Instead of worrying about how you will get through the rest of the week or coming month, try to focus on today. Each day can provide us with different opportunities to learn new things and that includes learning how to deal with your problems.

 

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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You Are Here to Make a Difference

You Are Here to Make a Difference

It is not easy for me to take a compliment or say something good about myself.  I was in counseling for quite some time before I could even say out loud “I matter”.  The first time my counselor had me say it, I cried.  I didn’t believe it.  I did not feel like I mattered to myself or anyone else.  It wasn’t because someone was mean to me or bad things had happened to me. It was what I believed of myself.  Many people, do not think good things of themselves. Here are just 4 things God says you are:

Loved/Chosen – I am greatly loved by God. Col. 3:12

Forgiven – I am forgiven of all my sins & washed in the Blood. Eph 1:17

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

Warrior – I can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one with my shield of faith. Eph 6:16

There are so many more things God says we are. I chose these 4 words because most of us do not feel this way at all. Even on a good day, I struggle with believing what God says about me. I don’t doubt God; it is me who has a hard time believing any one feels that way about me. But God said it in His Word that we are each of these things.

My friends, let this soak into your soul. You ARE chosen by the Almighty God because He loves you. He made you ON PURPOSE. He FORGIVES you of all your sins if you ask Him to. He has also made you a FEARLESS WARRIOR.

Another very important reason you matter because we have a purpose. Even though we have a diagnosis of a mental disorder or a lable of some kind, Romans 8:28 (NASB) says, “And we know God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

He will work things out for good. I believe with my whole heart that the things we go through are to help others when they go through them. We have felt alone at times, ashamed, or embarrassed but there is someone out there who feels the same way and needs help just like we did and do. That’s our purpose. That’s how we make a difference.

2 Corinthians 1:4 (The Message) says “He comes along side us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us along side someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

That verse also says YOU MATTER. He has given us a purpose. Let’s use all the tools, ideas, and help others and God has given us to help someone else.

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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Seven Issues that Will Impede Your Wellness

Seven Issues that Will Impede Your Wellness

By: Brad Hoefs

For the last six years, I have had the privilege to be a Fresh Hope group facilitator. I’ve had the opportunity to encourage others in living well in spite of their mental health diagnosis. I have also had the opportunity to see close up some issues that can impede one’s wellness. Certainly some of them I have struggled with and sometimes still struggle with myself.

So, for this post I thought I would share with you seven issues that I believe are significant issues that hold can hold you and me back from living well in spite of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. These are not the only issues that can impede wellness, but they seem to be major ones that I see consistently as a group facilitator:

  1. Isolation: Certainly we all need some alone time. In fact, it’s important to have it. However, too often those of us with mental health challenges will simply shut ourselves off from the rest of the world. Usually, we do isolate physically. But we can certainly be around others and still isolate ourselves emotionally; holding others at arms-length. It impedes mental health recovery when we isolate from everyone else around us. You and I were made to be in relationship with other people. And we certainly need healthy social interaction with others to come to a point of wellness.
  2. No Support: It is sad, but true, all too often family members are not supportive for many different reasons. The truth is that when those of us who have a mental health challenge have the healthy support of family and close friends we do better in our recovery. So, what do you do when your spouse or significant other is not supportive? I believe that when you have no support at “home” then it is imperative to become active within a peer-to-peer support group. It’s important to find a group that is encouraging, is principled and offers hope. Research shows that while venting about one’s life and recovery is important, when it is the only thing that is done within a group setting it can make one sicker. No support at home? Find a health support group if you can’t change the situation at home. Sometimes you have to stop complaining about what you don’t have at home and find the peer-to-peer support that focuses on living well.
  3. Self-Sabotaging Behavior: Again and again I have seen folks begin to get their lives back; beginning to live well. And then they will self-sabotage their wellness! Sometimes it is because they have not changed behaviors that are self-destructive. Sometimes it is because they fear to succeed in living well. And many times it is due to a lack of mindfulness; lack of self-awareness. It is so easy to live on automatic pilot not paying attention to our thinking, feelings, and mood. If you and I want to live well in spite of having bipolar disorder, then it is imperative that we are mindful of what we are thinking, feeling and doing.
  4. Lack of Self-Discipline: Being self-disciplined can be very difficult. Being disciplined is something that I have to work on constantly. Whether it is due to having bipolar disorder or because of my personality type; I’m not very disciplined in most things and especially lack discipline with things I don’t interest me. So, there are a lot of important things like health eating and exercise that I have to push myself to do. Believe you me, I know what it is like to so depressed that to even shower is more than you can do. And I also know what it is like to be so manic that you have no time for discipline. But, it is key to your wellness and mine to be self-disciplined in all things. Self-discipline helps us to achieve balance in our lives. Sometimes you just have to just “push-through” even though you don’t feel like doing something. And when you do, you find that you will feel better for having done it.
  5. A Victim Mentality: Let’s be honest, it is very easy to feel sorry for ourselves. Self-pity can impede living well in spite of having bipolar disorder faster than just about anything else can. Feeling sorry for myself has never moved me one step closer to living well. In fact, it has always moved me away from wellness. Yes, I have pulled the “bipolar-card” through the years. You know, where you use your bipolar disorder as the excuse for what is sometimes just bad behavior or an unchecked temper. If you see yourself as a victim, then you are the victim. But, not the victim of someone else’s actions but of your thinking. Of course, there are times when people are victimized by crimes and the abuse of others. But, those who recover from these types of things end up telling you that they don’t see themselves as victims but as an overcomer.
  6. The Medicine Yo-Yo: Too often you and I are impatient for the medicine to work. And many times you and I don’t like the side effects or don’t take a medicine long enough for the side effects to subsided. So, we “play” with our meds. Some time ago, and I don’t remember where, I read that going off and on your medicines can cause your brain chemistry to cycle even more. If you believe your medicine is not working, contact your doctor. Don’t play doctor. If the side effects are troublesome, talk with your doctor. Sometimes you have to put up with the side effects until they subside and in doing so, it will be worth it. And if you are doing well, don’t go off of your medicine. Your medicine is why you are doing well! (By the way, a whole other issue with medicine is the use of alcohol and other street drugs; self-medicating, etc. The truth is, when you sabotage your wellness by self-medicating, you are cheating yourself of wellness. And a brief word about the use of marijuana- if you have bipolar disorder, and you use it, it can cause psychosis. If you don’t believe me, Google it! )
  7. Hopelessness: Hopelessness can kill. Hopelessness happens when you and I believe that we have no future. When you and I have no dreams, hopelessness sets in and holds us in its grip. It is imperative to have dreams, goals for your future. Even the smallest of dreams and goals can give to you and me hope. If you feel hopeless, start setting goals that will help you achieve wellness. And when you reach even the smallest of those goals, celebrate it! Hopelessness is like a cancer of mood, motivation and reason to live. The only cure for hopelessness is to believe that you have a future. Do you have a future? Yes, you do! And it’s a good future! How do I know that? Because I’ve been to the point where my life was “over” and it seemed as though the best was behind me. I believed that I had no future. And I felt as though I could not go on. But, then little step by little step; day by day life continued, and I began to live again. It was not easy, and it was the single hardest work I’ve ever done. I began to understand that being a husband and dad that my family could count on gave me a purpose, a reason to live and move forward. I stopped focusing on me. Cause I couldn’t do it for me at first. So, I did “it” for them. And I made a decision, a simple to decision to believe that I had a purpose and a future in spite of how I felt. It was not easy. And at times, it was darn right painful. But, oh so worth it!

By the way, hope is something you can borrow from others. So, if you need hope as you are reading this, but you have none, then borrow some of my hope. Dr. Sean Lopez has done clinical research that proves hope is something that you can borrow. Plus, hope is catching. Hang around a bunch of hope-filled people and you will become hopeful.

Are any of these things that I have listed here impeding your journey to wellness? If so, how might you overcome them? What is your game plan? One are other issues that hold you back from wellness in your life? What are issues that you have faced and overcome that have moved you to wellness?

 

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 To Survive A Panic Attack When It Strikes

How To Survive A Panic Attack When It Strikes

By: Stan Popovich

Do you experience panic attacks and do not know what to do? A person can experience a panic attack when they least expect it. This can cause a great deal of fear and anxiety for the person.

As a result, here are six easy steps a person can follow when a panic attack strikes unexpectedly and how to overcome anxiety.

1.Take A Break: The first thing a person must do when experiencing a panic attack is to stop whatever they are doing. A panic attack can be very uncomfortable and can affect a person’s everyday thinking. Take a break to help regain your sense of comfort.

2.Take Deep Breaths: A person should take some deep breaths to help feel better and to get rid of some of the excessive fear and anxiety. There are also many kinds of breathing exercises a person can learn to follow with the help of a mental health counselor. Taking some deep breaths can help a person relax right away.

3.Distract Yourself: A person should try to distract themselves from the panic they are experiencing. A person could get some fresh air, listen to some music, take a brisk walk, read the newspaper, or do something relaxing that will give them a fresh perspective on things.

4.Get The Facts Of Your Situation: Many people feel like they are going to die when they experience a panic attack for the first time. The fact is that you will be ok and that it takes a few minutes for the anxiety to go away. Talk to a counselor and get the facts of what a panic attack is and what you can do when a panic attack occurs.

5.Don’t Dwell on Your Thoughts: A person must not dwell or focus on their thoughts during a panic attack. The more a person tries to reason out their thoughts the longer a panic attack will last. Read some positive statements from your favorite self-help book to help overcome your negative thoughts during a panic attack.

6.Get Help: It is important to talk to a qualified professional in order to learn how to survive a panic attack. By talking to a professional, a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with any panic attacks that may occur in the future.

 

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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Healing from Trauma

Healing from 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 Fresh Hope for Mental Health:

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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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Managing The Fear Of Loneliness: By Stanley Popovich

Managing The Fear Of Loneliness: By Stanley Popovich

By: Stanley Popovich

Many people deal with the fear of living alone. Loneliness can make someone feel depressed and unhappy so its important to not let being alone be a factor in your life.

Here is a list of techniques that a person can use so that the fear of being alone doesn’t become a major issue in their lives.

 

  1. The first step is to find an activity that you enjoy and where you can meet a lot of people.For instance, joining a group activity such as a volleyball group, women’s club, or making crafts can be a great way to meet people. Doing something that you like to do will make you happy and will increase your chances of making friends.

 

  1. Spending time with animals can be a great source of companionship.Whether you have a dog or you go to your local shelter, spending time with an animal or pet can help us to feel better. Animals can be of good company to all of us whether we are alone or not.

 

  1. Helping others through community service can be of some help.There are many people out there who could benefit from your time and talents. Helping others can give you a source of pride and accomplishment and also can lead to friendships.

 

  1. It isn’t fun being alone, but sometimes there are worse things.For instance, imagine that you are married or stuck in a relationship that you can’t get out of and also makes you miserable. Not only do you have to live with this person, it would be difficult to get out of the relationship because of various financial or personal reasons. As a result, you are stuck living with someone that you can’t stand and makes you depressed every single day of your life. With this viewpoint, being alone doesn’t sound that bad.

 

  1. Spending time with God can help.Spending time with God and asking God for help in your time of loneliness can be of great comfort. You never know how God will work in your life. Including God in your every day living can help reduce your loneliness. Talk to a priest or minister if you are unsure on what to do.

 

  1. The important thing is to do something constructive.Sitting around and doing nothing will not make things any better whether it is dealing with the fear of being alone or something else. Take it one day at a time and stay committed in trying to solve your problem.

 

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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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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Managing Your Fears With The Help Of God by Stan Popovich

Managing Your Fears With The Help Of God by Stan Popovich

 

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Dealing with fear and anxiety can be very difficult. As a result, using the help of God can be very effective in managing your fears. With this in mind, here are some suggestions on how a person can use the help of God in his or her own struggles.

The first step a person should do is to start talking and praying to God. A person can go to church or to a quiet place during the day to tell God that they are having a problem. They should tell God how they feel and ask God for some of his help. A person could also review the Bible and read some articles on trusting in God and then apply these concepts in their life. Each and every day, a person should make it up a habit to talk to God and ask for His help.

Remember that the one source that a person should use as a basis in managing their fears and anxieties is using God as a basis in dealing with their fears. Why? The power of God is the one power that is stronger than your fears and anxieties. Also, God loves each one of us and he is the one person who has the power to solve all of our problems. He will help you if you ask him to.

When using the help of God to manage your fears, a person needs to be aware of how God is working in their life. Most of the time God works in mysterious ways and the answers he provides might not be that obvious. A person must be aware of God being in their life even when they are dealing with their fears and anxieties.

A person must also be sensitive to the answers God gives them. Some people think that the answers that God provides must be religious in nature. That is not always the case. God may provide the answers in a way that might not be religious in nature. These answers could involve basic psychology and cognitive techniques that deals with how to manage fear and anxiety. The point to remember is that although a person may use these psychology methods, its important to use God as the center of everything in your life and in your struggle.

If you have trouble, talk to a member of the clergy or a professional counselor to help deal with your fears and anxieties. They will be able to provide you with additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. By talking to a professional a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with their problems in the future. Remember that it never hurts to ask for help.

Finally, the most important thing is to continue praying and talking to God. Talk to God as if you were talking to a friend. Read the Bible and pray hard. Be persistent and be open in the avenues that God may provide to you in solving your problem. It is not always easy, however God is in control and he will help you if you ask Him.

 

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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Insights for Someone Who Has Been Newly Diagnosed​ with a Mental Health Issue

Insights for Someone Who Has Been Newly Diagnosed​ with a Mental Health Issue

 

Have you been newly diagnosed with a mental health issue?  It can be overwhelming, to say the least.  Through the years of finding the path to living well in spite of having a mental health diagnosis, I’ve come up with a list of a few things to do when newly diagnosed.

So, here are what I would consider key initial steps to living well when you’ve been recently diagnosed:

  • The sooner you come to terms with your diagnosis and work your treatment plan, the sooner you are on the road to getting back your life
  • Get enough sleep and watch your stress level
  • Be honest with your doctor- the more he/she knows, the more helpful  they can be.  If you don’t trust your doctor or believe they are the best at what they do, find another doctor
  • Find a positive and encouraging peer support group to attend.
  • Take your medicine.  Push past the side effects.  And if the side effects are too much, talk to your doctor. Don’t make decisions regarding your medicine without your doctor’s input and approval.
  • Don’t do street drugs. They interfere with the prescribed medicine. Yes, even marijuana does. You certainly won’t get better because of them and they will most likely only impede your recovery.
  • Know the difference between emotional issues versus the symptoms of what you have been diagnosed with.
  • Choose to believe that you can live a rich life in spite of this disorder or you can become the victim of it.  You get to decide.
  • Know that you are not alone.

Of course, the single most important thing is to remember, know and hold to- that the Lord is with you.  He has not left you.  He won’t leave you.  He won’t give up on you.  He is for you.  And He will take what you are going through right now and work it together for your good.  Listen to or read His word.  If you can’t read the Bible, listen to it or listen to Scripture songs.  It will feed your soul and bring inner peace.

These are some things that I have found true for myself in the recovery process since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder some 23 years ago now.  What have you found? What would you tell someone who has been newly diagnosed?

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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