October – Attention Deficit Disorder Awareness and Mobilization Month (ADHD) By Christian Coleman-Jones

October – Attention Deficit Disorder Awareness and Mobilization Month (ADHD) By Christian Coleman-Jones

Every year in October, ADHD Awareness Month is celebrated. The function of this month is to promote awareness among the public of what ADHD is, its causes, symptoms and treatments. 

I’ll be honest with you, before writing this blog, I didn’t really know what I wanted to say. Perhaps the pressures and push and pull of my life led me to think that it was not a topic of much interest among you. But I was wrong. I had the wrong topic. I was so busy with my own ADHD care, of understanding where it comes from in terms of neuroscience, that I had been distracted from what was most important. The issue is not ADHD awareness, the issue is the awareness that we must have day to day, that our lives are governed by Christ, if we are in Him. The main theme is Christ.

Yes, definitely the main theme, the preeminent theme in our complete and whole lives, is Christ. Once we have the main theme defined, we can then go back to what we thought was the main theme and let all the truths be filtered through Christ.

It is important that we know scientifically how the symptoms we suffer from are understood. We are used to use in our conversations, among ourselves and among family or friends, words like: deficiency, ailment, disease, disorder, among others, that do not really help in our growth or recovery process. For example, we use the word “disorder” before “deficit” as part of the acronym ADHD.

The most recent and most credible studies among first world scientists suggest, in some cases, that there is not a disorder or a deficiency, but a difference between those of us who are neurodivergent and those who are neurotypical. The word neurodivergent is used to describe the mind that is neurologically atypical or different from the mind that is seen in greater proportions in neuroscience. The word neurotypical describes the mind that falls on the typical spectrum. I will use these words to avoid having to adopt the terms: deficiency, disorder or irregular – although it is important to note that there are neurological deficiencies that require treatment, as we will see below. However, the words are important. Let us use those that are edifying and let us not use those that do not edify us, within the truth given by the Word and science.

In society in general, historically and culturally, ADHD has been known as a neurodivergence of children with inattention or hyperactivity. It had not been recognized, until recently, that these symptoms could persist into their 40s or 50s, undiagnosed. In addition, it is beginning to be recognized that the real and characteristic symptoms of ADHD are:

  1. Poor emotional regulation.
  2. Impairment of executive functions.
  3. Dysphoria sensitive to rejection.

You may have noticed that none of these three characteristics mentions inattention or hyperactivity. It is being recognized that the ADHD sufferer has a unique ability to pay attention to things, to things that are rewarding. In fact, I can be in front of the computer for 4 hours non-stop dedicated to a subject that gives me a lot of satisfaction to explore. On the other hand, it costs me horrors to start a task and finish it, if it does not satisfy me. It is not as easy as saying: “if you were more dedicated, you could do it” or, “give it your best shot”, you get the point. No, the mind that does not respond to the lack of gratification will not generate enough motivation to start and sometimes finish a boring task. This is not a matter of behavioral motivation that can be modified with personal effort, any more than a person with a broken leg can alter the pace of his recovery with words.

Lack of emotional regulation is a hallmark among people with ADHD. Have you noticed it? Perhaps you know someone with this diagnosis who has difficulty controlling their anger or controlling their impulsivity. In addition to the lack of emotional control, we feel all emotions intensely. If something gives us joy, we feel it very intensely, to such a degree that sometimes we do not know when it is time to stop. When we feel or perceive that someone may have rejected us, we feel that rejection with great intensity, immediately and for a long time. 

The executive function of the brain is what regulates organization, timing, the ability to prioritize, determine the consequences of our actions, and the list goes on. When the executive function is impaired, it can lead to procrastination, procrastination, procrastination, failure to recognize the importance of tasks, in short, it is an extremely important function that can determine the course of any neurodivergent person’s life.

The brain is also no longer recognized as an organ that places its functions in separate compartments, but rather operates in a manner similar to the way networks function in computing. When one network cannot transmit information to another network, all the associated networks may fail. In a very general way, this is how it is beginning to be recognized that our brain works. It is a network of networks, working in an integrated way, so much so that when one network fails, the others can be affected in the same way.

¿Observaron cuánta información puede haber en tres simples características? ¿Pensaron que el TDAH sería más complejo de lo que se imaginaron? No soy científico, ni médico, ni psiquiatra, ni psicólogo. Solo me interesa saber qué es lo que está pasando. Por favor, tomen lo que he descrito arriba como un ejemplo de la cantidad de información que se puede obtener con dedicación. No es mi intención reemplazar la opinión médica y profesional que tengan, no se apoyen en mis observaciones como verdades absolutas. Ustedes también pueden recopilar información para poder entender y para poder explicar. 

Did you notice how much information can be contained in three simple characteristics? Did you think that ADHD would be more complex than you imagined? I am not a scientist, not a doctor, not a psychiatrist, not a psychologist. I am just interested in knowing what is going on. Please take what I have described above as an example of the amount of information that can be obtained with dedication. It is not my intention to replace whatever medical and professional opinion you have, do not rely on my observations as absolute truths. You too can gather information to understand and to explain. 

Perhaps you do not suffer from ADHD, but you will have personal questions that could be clarified if a little more research were done, or perhaps you want to break down the cultural barriers that exist in our societies about mental health. The key is in the study. 

This brings us now to the main topic of this blog – Christ. For by Him, for Him and through Him all things were created (Colossians 1:16-18). No exceptions, no compartments, everything was created by and for Him. That includes our minds. He is the one who governs and controls the functions of our brain. Every one of those functions, millions of them, occurring simultaneously in fractions of a second, respond to the sovereignty of Christ. 

Yes, we believe that God is good and that He does everything for a good purpose. That our God is a God of love (1 John 4), is our peace (John 14:27), who commands all things to work for our good (Romans 8:28) and our hope (1 John 5:13-14; 1 Peter 1:3-6; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; John 4:13-14).

We place our hope every day in Christ, not in science as an autonomous and sufficient solution. We need science to understand, we need medicine to heal, and we need understanding to converse with others. 

God is sovereign. He uses the means necessary for His purpose to be fulfilled (Isaiah 43 and 46), not a word He utters flies back to Him void. God’s purpose is always fulfilled. Therefore, it is important to study and know what we suffer from, for that is where we can begin to see what God’s purpose is in the condition of our mental health. God does not make mistakes.

Let us celebrate World Mental Health Day and ADHD Awareness Month, knowing that Christ rules all and that, therefore, with or without knowledge, we are guaranteed our hope, the only hope that, like His mercy, is new every morning.

Christian F. Coleman-Jones

Note: This blog contains information about suffering from ADHD. It is a personal experience and should not be taken as scientific or medical observation nor should it replace the opinions and recommendations of a physician. Seek the advice of your physician or professional at all times.
Information compiled from various documents issued on www.additudemag.com.

“Breaking the Ice” By Christian Coleman-Jones

“Breaking the Ice” By Christian Coleman-Jones

I’m going to break the ice with this post…

We protect our identity so much, spend so much time devising strategies to keep “them” from finding out, that we end our days exhausted, blaming it on work or the heavy day.

I’m not going to make excuses for who I am anymore. This is what it is, and I plan to live it with those who appreciate it, from now on.

I am a person who has great difficulty concentrating on work I don’t enjoy, nor on conversations that are not stimulating. I am easily distracted, which may suggest that I am superficial and not interested in what the other person has to say. I avoid mistakes in social situations, for fear of not being seen as perfect. I have always had difficulty associating with people I don’t know. If I feel that I have been or will be rejected, I can feel sad and angry for hours or days. I don’t have a great ability to control my emotions, therefore, I give the impression of being very intense. I feel everything in excess, there is no in-between.

All of this has a medical name. It is called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This is how I was born and even though I am working on ways to improve that, I still maintain the patterns. This is who I am, by the grace of God.

Many of you reading this haven’t seen me for years. Perhaps they were left with ideas, estimates of who I really am. Well, this is it.

What’s more, my 30 years of corporate experience were years I could have devoted to my true passions: Christ, above all things and people, giving myself to those in need of compassion and understanding, writing, music and anything that involves creativity.

But, with the best of intentions, I was instructed that being a businessman would bring financial and emotional stability. The truth is that there is no financial stability that brings emotional stability. I reached my goals and when I was at the top, there was nothing, everything was empty. I found full and permanent satisfaction in the name of Jesus. It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not. It’s who I am and I don’t make excuses for it.

The man with the short hair, suit, tie, and everything else has been a big mask. That’s not Christian, that’s an image of what society expected of me.

Today, I am a man free from the chains that bound me to an electrified cell. I have found that freedom in Christ. With Him I don’t have to pretend, or dress well, or have good relationships, or be efficient in my work, or be excellent in my career, no, I just need to believe, and He takes me as I am, without prejudice or conditions.

This authentic Christian was awakened 6 months ago when I was drastically diagnosed with ADHD. The first day of treatment changed my life completely. But am I the ADHD diagnosis? Not at all, that is one of several adjectives that define who I am. I am different, very different from what the social norm expects by that diagnosis, but it is what it is and that is not going to change unless God has other plans for me.

The invitation to you, who appreciate me, and I appreciate very much, have that pure and authentic freedom. Be genuine, be transparent, put yourselves at risk to love those you do not know, just as we have been loved infinitely.

My great life experience is that when I identify and understand what God created me for, and I carry it out, I find infinite and permanent satisfaction and joy. He wants me to be who I am and what I was created to be. And I find that that is precisely who I am – I am not ashamed of my eccentricities or my controversial ideas (which I always hope to convey gently), and above all, I … am … not … ashamed … of … the … name … of … Jesus!!!

I hope you are not ashamed of me, just the way I am.

I love you all very much.

No Place Like Church

No Place Like Church

Not In Kansas Anymore

Amidst the pandemic of COVID-19, it isn’t news that the mental health of many has suffered. For those of us in the tradition of gathering in the church, it has been a struggle in many ways. We are in unfamiliar territory, as if we were Dorothy transported to the land of Oz.

But what about getting back home, to church?

Whether your church took a reserved approach during 2020 with remote online services and virtual gatherings, or continued to meet in-person despite local jurisdictions’ mandates, church has not been the same. Not only has our routine to meet to worship and fellowship in person been unexpectedly interrupted, our minds have been strained.

The introduction of this new virus put unprecedented pressure on our minds to stay isolated to try to “flatten the curve” as the world health officials encouraged. All of the media voices concertedly stoking fear came at the cost of mental health because of socially isolating and suffering “alone together.”

During these times, the consequences of our choices haven’t always been straightforward, predictable, or easy to handle. We can probably agree, there hasn’t been much of anything “easy” about how to respond to the pandemic.

If anything, we’ve all had to reorient and adjust to the changes, akin to how Dorothy had to adjust to Technicolor!

Something Like a Twister

COVID-19 put the burden on each of our plates individually and corporately to make those choices to either meet together or stay home and isolate. Most of us stayed home, I believe, to the detriment of our mental health and the church’s wellbeing.

The question of how to respond as the body of Christ has not been easy to answer.

Many have returned to the sanctuary in the past few months as mandates loosened only to find an emptier, sparser congregation, or be the victim of the virus like my family and I were in January 2021.

While our own church stayed open for in-person services throughout the pandemic, many parishioners did not mask up. As a result, even though my family wore masks, we came down with the Coronavirus. Thankfully, we survived. I had a mild case of symptoms of slight congestion and loss of sense of smell and flavor. Nothing over-the-counter medicine couldn’t handle.

However, for all of us yearning to return to our church families, normal has left the building.

Don’t Forget Who Has The Answers

No matter how confusing, intimidating, infuriating, stressful, or risky these times have been, let’s remind ourselves of what has not changed.

There remains the constant, never-changing goodness of the one we gather for — God. His sovereign nature is to shepherd His sheep as He leads us through the valley of the shadow, into green pastures.

If we should follow our Good Shepherd who calls each of us by name, we will find ourselves where the Bible promises us: anointed by God, who prepares a feast for us in the presence of our enemies.

Since “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind,” (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV), let us employ that manifestation in our gatherings.

In doing so, we should see that the church will rise to worship her groom, Christ, “to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word” (Ephesians 5:26, NLT).

When we continue to walk in the ways He is leading – together — we will find healing. The healing that comes from a spirit of unity, love, and peace between God and His children.

Can any of us be careful enough around a pandemic’s invisible virus that God foreknew would take many frail and vulnerable lives?

Neither our cautious efforts, nor the virus, can diminish or dissolve God’s goodness and mercy.

God remains the same, even though it would figure that such a strategy would be the Enemy’s attempt to steal the power of our gatherings and the ability to experience God’s omnipotent presence.

“You Always Had the Power My Dear, You Just Had To Learn It for Yourself”

-Glinda the Good Witch, The Wizard of Oz

Similar to Dorothy asking Glinda how she could have gone home all along, frankly, we as the church could have gone home all along. But for many of us, this tornado of a pandemic threw us for a loop and we became bewildered. It’s as if the CDC recently declared like Glinda, “You always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”

Let’s guard our minds against the fear of gathering in person when there is so much at stake. If “nothing can wholly replace the benefits of positive human touch,” as this article explains, then we are sorely in need of some long overdue contact. We are struggling alone at home, and even in the fabricated ways we try to connect as we do like in video calls and social media.

If anything, the church needs to return to fellowship and share our burdens with one another in the spirit of Christ – who suffered and yet “He was beaten so we could be whole.  He was whipped so we could be healed” (Isaiah 53:5, NLT).

Jesus risked his life touching lepers, healing the sick, delivering those serious about his call to the kingdom at hand. If the shadow of Paul could heal, what would keep us from the power of God by fellowshipping in person?

God clearly mandates his family to meet together, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV).

Fortunately, we can gather safely, guarding against the spread of infectious diseases by

wearing masks, physically distancing, spacing pews farther apart. Most churches provide hand sanitizers and sinks with soap and water. If you want, you can get a vaccine.

In moving forward into the freedom of God’s healing presence at church, I encourage us to remember and apply the following thoughts:

  • Let us not be ignorant of our Enemy’s schemes to “steal and kill and destroy…” (John 10:10)
  • Let us not forget our First Love, as the reason we gather together as the church (Revelation 2:4)
  • Let us gather to worship, and we will find we are stronger together (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
  • Let us not be short-sighted: if we die, we die; our security and peace of mind is ultimately locked up in Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven (Philippians 1:21)

May God lead you back to your church family in a safe way and may you return to a healthy state of mind in the spirit of Christ’s peace. After, all, there’s no place like church.

About the author:

Hey there! I’m Katie Dale, familiar with the storms of mental illness, and I blog about my faith and how it has informed my brain-based disorder at BipolarBrave.com. I also have a memoir out about my journeys through the psych wards and how I found peace of mind with psych meds (by the grace of God) – you can find it on Amazon here. Since my former profession of case manager at a behavioral clinic, I’ve stepped into the role of stay-at-home mommy to Kylie. And I get to travel the world with Chris, my man in uniform. Aside from that, I could live off mac ‘n cheese, and I still hold onto my aspiration to run a sub-20-minute 5k. Come find me and say hi on social media @KatieRDale. Stay bold, brave, and real.

Why Now is the Time to Explore Your Mental Health Katie R. Dale for Fresh Hope For Mental Health, PastorBrad.blog

Why Now is the Time to Explore Your Mental Health                                           Katie R. Dale for Fresh Hope For Mental Health, PastorBrad.blog

Now is the Time

May is Mental Health Awareness month.

With so many of us in isolated status with COVID 19, the affects on our mental health have been evident.

Just take one look at your news feed in social media accounts to see what the mentality of our world has come to.

It should be no shocker that a lot of us have been emotionally taxed throughout the past year (plus) of lockdowns and weakened markets.

Certainly the world hasn’t seen such a shadow cast from stormy clouds of a pandemic in a long time.

Tomorrow is Coming

There is no better time than now to explore the way your mind has been working.

Before the world gets back on track, give your brain the time and knowledge to understand why it’s been so challenging to live in lockdowns.

When things start to open up again, it will not only be more “business as usual,” but some people might struggle a bit to return to “usual.”

Once most people get vaccinated, and governments lift all the mandates, things will inevitably pick up in pace and pressure.

People’s state of isolation and suppressed energy levels without outlet will dump us out into the freeway of life at the speed of life.

Unless you’re calibrated to a healthy mental state of being beforehand, life may get tough in the adjustment process.

I predict that returning to the world as we knew it won’t happen. The world as we knew it will never be that way, at least, not for a long time. We’ll be straddling to walk in the comfort of how things used to be, and how things have become. The new normal.

Take Inventory Today

We can’t afford to miss the opportunity to tune into our mental health in this window of time.

Not only have attempts on taking one’s life become more prevalent, but depression and anxiety aren’t such taboo notions to most anymore because of the indirect social effects of COVID-19.

If you’ve been unable to function to a relatively normal degree of output (which is skewed with all of us because, what is “normal” anymore?), I’d encourage you to grow your knowledge about your mind and its state of well-being.

Recommendations

I would strongly suggest looking at resources for your mental health, if you’re:

  • tempted to go to sleep at a new day, instead of waking up and being productive
  • not as social as you once were and you avoid going out or connecting with a friend virtually
  • making impulsive, unhealthy choices
  • overloaded with expectations and demands on you, and need healthy ways to cope
  • having low moods of depression
  • moving and/or speaking slower or quicker than usual
  • eating and/or sleeping more or less than usual
  • believing you’re a burden to others or not wanted
  • considering unhealthy ways to end your internal pain and discomfort
  • having thoughts that you would be better off dead
  • overreacting or irritable in response to others
  • having unexplained changes in thoughts, emotions, and/or behaviors

After seeking out a trusted friend or family member to talk about these things, here are a few places to help guide your journey back to a healthier state-of-mind:

  1. Pastor Brad’s blog as a peer and pastor: Fresh Hope blog
  2. A Game Plan Resource Guide as a road map to wellness: BipolarBrave.com/resources
  3. A couple good books to read: I Love Jesus But I Want to Die by Sarah J. Robinson; Depression, Anxiety and other Things We Don’t Talk About by Ryan Casey Waller
  4. Some websites on all-things-mental-health: PsychCentral.com, Psycom.net
  5. Places to find a good Christian counselor: aacc.net, christiantherapistnetwork.org

As always, if you are experiencing a crisis and need emergency care, call 9-1-1

If you are wanting to talk to someone urgently 24/7, call the suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255 –     or text the suicide prevention text line at 741741

Hey there! I’m Katie Dale, familiar with the storms of mental illness, and I blog about my faith and how it has informed my brain-based disorder at BipolarBrave.com. I also have a memoir out about my journeys through the psych wards and how I found peace of mind with psych meds (by the grace of God) – you can find it on Amazon here. Since my former profession of case manager at a behavioral clinic, I’ve stepped into the role of stay-at-home mommy to Kylie. And I get to travel the world with Chris, my man in uniform. Aside from that, I could live off mac ‘n cheese, and I still hold onto my aspiration to run a sub-20-minute 5k. Come find me and say hi on social media @KatieRDale. Stay bold, brave, and real.

How Healthy Churches Foster Hope

Our current view of the church in our world of post-Christian culture may be one of dismay. After all, church attendance in the last 40+ years has dropped by 10% . Let alone the past year of the pandemic – a world-wide threat to the global church in 2020 and beyond.

However, churches that are to survive and thrive will recognize it takes more than abiding by the status quo. To cultivate a healthy community of members, especially at a time like this, our churches need to be encouraged on a personal level.

How Does the Message of Hope Get Across?

Some may think the leadership team is responsible for cultivating the health of their church, which is true in many ways. However, it takes a vision embraced by the entire church – from pastorate to parishioner – to grow in meaning, purpose, and hope.

Capturing this kind of focus on even the least of these (those with severe mental illness or mental health conditions, young and old), may be challenging if leadership cannot engage on their level.

Which is why every church needs to address purpose in their individual members, before they can see a hopeful future realized.

The needs of the church are quite discouraging if you’re not prepared or equipped to provide help for them.

To successfully instill purpose in individual members, leadership must be trained on meeting those basic needs “the least of these” are hurting for.

This is where the communication and focus on mental health can be instrumental in catapulting your church’s overall health and wellbeing forward into a hopeful promising outlook.

A Quick Review of the Church’s Influence in History

The church has been known for many generations, in fact centuries, and one may argue millennia, for the healing role in this world to meet physical needs. A glance through history will tell you the story of the church’s influence in the world’s spheres of science, art, politics, and medicine.

Medicine, however, has been the church’s main approach to the physical health of those it has ministered to. Since the last century, where technology in science and pharmacology and psychology has advanced, there are discoveries in this field that have begged the question:

where is God in mental illness?

And so, enter the church’s response to mental health and wellness. Where has that been? Unfortunately, not on the radar, let alone on the frontlines.

Until now. Now the church is awakening to the cries and light God has graciously shone on the final frontier of the arguably most vital organ: the brain.

Knowing what the world of science, medicine and pharmacology knows about mental illness, the church can benefit tremendously. If properly and vastly equipped, soon the church can be a lighthouse for the mentally ill in ways no faithless, secular organization or industry can be.

Now What?

The good news: this is already happening.

Out of churches and church-bred faith-based organizations like Fresh Hope, Grace Alliance and various other grassroots efforts for support groups based on Biblical principles, a movement has been stirring.

This is the answer to many lost and saved churchgoers’ mental duress.

This is growing hope for coping with the pandemic.

Realistic solutions are here to address the mind’s disorders.

Recovery and healing can be found in community and support, established by the church.

This is the answer that the secular brain disease advocacy organizations aren’t going to acknowledge, or believe.

But because of this hope, hope found in Christ, the church is already at an advantage.

Already, the support group Fresh Hope for Mental Health cites numbers that are astonishingly encouraging and hopeful:

  • 96% of weekly participants attribute their participation as the reason they now feel more hopeful than prior to their participation in Fresh Hope
  • 92% who have attended other mental health support groups say that Fresh Hope has been more positive and helpful in their recovery than any previous groups
  • 86% of those who were suicidal prior to coming to Fresh Hope report that they have not been suicidal since participating
  • 88% say that Fresh Hope has been extremely important in their recovery
  • 71% who have been hospitalized prior to attending Fresh Hope have had no returns to hospitals since attending the support groups

As sure as the church has been the body of Jesus for the last 2,000 years, it will continue to serve His hurting body and the minds therein. The path to wholeness is not just through ministries and programs. As we see, programs and ministries to serve the church are blessings and excellent purposeful activities within the church.

But take it a step further, and deeper, and the same kind of idea – worship through service to others hurting – will propel the church as a forerunner to contend in the battle of suicidality amidst salvation.

To learn more about starting a support group in your church or community, check out these resources:

  1. Fresh Hope for Mental Health support groups, founded by peer and pastor Brad Hoefs
  2. Grace Alliance support groups
  3. Fellow sufferer and former pastor, Tony Roberts’ book When Despair Meets Delight
  4. Pastor’s daughter and advocate Amy Simpson’s book Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission
  5. Dr. Steven Grcevich’s book Mental Health and the Church
  6. Co-sufferer, counselor, and clergyman Ryan Casey Waller’s book Depression, Anxiety and Other Things We Don’t Talk About

About Katie R. Dale: Raised in a Christian home, mental illness wasn’t mentioned until after it reared its ugly head when had turned 16. Instead of a sweet 16 year, it turned out to be a bitter taste of our fallen nature as I became diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type I with psychotic features. Now a caseworker and mental health advocate, I’ve written my memoir chronicling the journey through the psych wards, and blog regularly about my lessons on life, faith and mental illness at BipolarBrave.com. You can reach me on social media using handle @KatieRDale or email me, katie@bipolarbrave.com.

Depression in Men – Symptoms, triggers, and how to cope with it

Guest Blog By Ralph Macey

People become disheartened, irritable, or tired and experience issues with a good night’s sleep when they face severe emotional turmoil. These are some of the common reactions of human beings when they are going through stress, anxiety, or mostly…depression issues within a few days.

Lots of men struggle with depression throughout their lives which may harm their normal life cycle in many ways. Men may have a greater tendency to feel anger, show aggressiveness, and engage in substance abuse, compared to women.

Most men hesitate to discuss their feelings or seek help for depression. This is because men believe that depression is an emotional sign of weakness or a failing of masculinity. That’s why discussing this weakness can make them weaker. As a result, their depression gets worse with time.

How common is depression?

Both men and women may experience severe depression issues, but the signs and symptoms in both cases can be much different.

Depression can affect millions of men all over the world, of all ages and cultures. But one thing we must also consider is that not only the men but people around them are also getting affected. For loved ones such as spouses, kids, parents, friends, and other family members, neighbors, everyone’s life is more or less faces an impact.

When men are having depression, sudden changes might be seen in their thinking, feelings, and functions in their daily life. Those rapid changes may also affect their productivity at the workplace or schools and harm their relationships, sleep habits, diet, and overall lifestyle. Severe depression can be intense and may cause physical and mental damage.

Men suffering from depression can harm themselves mortally and the count is four times more than women. So, it is necessary that men should take help regarding depression before it is too late. They should discuss their issues honestly with a friend, or a doctor and clearly open up about what’s going on in their mind, along with their body. For a perfect diagnosis, the signs and symptoms should be carefully noticed in the patient.

Signs and symptoms

Depression signs and symptoms are much different in men compared to women. Men sometimes use different coping skills just as women do.  Normally men show different signs and symptoms while experiencing depression, due to their brain chemistry, hormones, and life experiences.

Practically, men may show the following symptoms of depression:

●        Sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness

●        Feel extremely tired

●        Insomnia or sleeping too much

●        Less interest in regular activities.

●        Lack of concentration

●        Headaches

●        Tightness in the chest

●        Joint, limb, or back pain

●     Digestive problems

Apart from these symptoms, there are a few behavioral signs that may be considered depression in men:

●        Spending too much time alone.

●        Spending a lot more time at work.

●        Physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive problems, and pain

●        Losing interest in sex and experiencing sexual issues

●        Avoiding family or social situations

●        Irritability

●        Taking unnecessary risks while driving

●        Drinking more or taking drugs.

●        Controlling, violent or abusive behavior

●     Attempting suicide

Triggers

As per the experts, there might be multiple reasons for depression in men such as Biological, psychological, and social. Apart from that lifestyle choices, relationships, and coping skills also play a serious part in this issue.

So, men who suffer from severe depression, might encounter the following triggers or risk factors that make the situation worse:

●        Loneliness and lack of social support

●        Early childhood trauma or abuse

●        Anxiety and stress

●        A past record of alcohol consumption or substance abuse

●        Having a divorce, job loss, or bereavement

●        Having serious physical health problems

●        Family history of depression or other mental health issues

●     Experiencing sexual dysfunction

Coping strategies

  1. Some unique lifestyle changes and coping strategies can help men to manage depression to a certain level.
  2. Creating a daily routine and maintaining it may help a person to avoid all the hassle every day.
  3. Speed walking or running can help to produce endorphins which can boost a person’s mood and heal depression.
  4. If big tasks look unmanageable and confusing, people may divide them into smaller tasks. It will help them to achieve their goal and remove depression.
  5. Meditation and yoga may help a lot to reduce stress and support well-being. As a result, the sense of depressiveness will be reduced.
  6. Connecting to your dear ones, sharing feelings with friends, may make people feel less overwhelmed. As much as people keep away from loneliness, the depressive mood will also recover faster.
  7. Reducing alcohol intake can boost mood. Apart from that, it will also keep the body toxin-free and healthy.
  8. Have a pet and start taking care of it. The sense of responsibility sometimes removes stress and boosts your concentration.
  9. Get on a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleep habits. At Least 7 to 8 hours of sleep can help to charge the mood and reduce depression.
  10. Spending time in nature may also boost the mind and bring positivity.
  11. Think twice before making important decisions, such as shifting jobs, until you get over with depression symptoms.

Connect with God

It’s important to convey the message to the men who are suffering from depression that – if you believe in god, know the fact that He comes close to those who suffer. So keep your eyes open for Him.

Believe the truth that the almighty God is not silent when people suffer. On every page of Scripture, God’s depressed children can find hope and a reason to endure. For example, take 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV):

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

In your darkest days, you may follow the guidelines of the Bible. Here are a few suggestions for Bible passages that you may find helpful.

●        Read about Jesus’ suffering in Isaiah 53 and Mark 14.

●        Depression could make you weak and easy prey for Satan’s. Jesus’ death on the cross proves God’s love for you. (Romans 5:6-8, 1 John 4:9,10)

●        Know about persevering and enduring. Read on (Romans 5:3, Hebrews 12:1, James 1:2-4)

●        Read Hebrews 11 and 12. You’ll know that many before you have walked this path and they will assure you that God did not fail them.

●        Know your purpose for being a human. Read (Matthew 22:37-39, 1 Corinthians 6:20,  2 Corinthians 5:15, Galatians 5:6)

●        Use Psalm 88 and Psalm 86 as your personal prayers to God.

Author Bio: Ralph Macey, a professional writer since 2008 and medical health/patient care coordinator at savantcare.com since 2014, writes articles on all mental health-related subjects. He holds a degree and two professional certifications in his field and continues to upgrade his knowledge with additional classes and seminars. He has provided mental health consultations and private fitness instructions for free in his local community. To connect with him, go to his Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

A Pastor’s Prayer on this World Bipolar Day 2018: Hope and Healing for All Who Suffer

A Pastor’s Prayer on this World Bipolar Day 2018: Hope and Healing for All Who Suffer

Please note:. This prayer comes from a Christian pastor’s heart and is not intended to offend or trigger anyone. 

Lord Jesus, on this Good Friday which happens to be World Bipolar Day we come before You and pray…

  • For those who daily struggle with their illness, attempting to live with the excruciating emotional pain: give to them the continued daily courage and strength to push through another day, so that day by day they may come to a place of wellness in their lives.
  • For those who need the courage to face their diagnosis and take personal charge of their journey to wellness: we ask that you would empower them to begin that journey. Give to them not only courage but also a desire to move forward in their lives. Help them to understand that their diagnosis is not “the end” but rather a new beginning and healing for the past.
  • For those who cannot forgive themselves for the messes that their illness, along with their choices, has caused in their lives and the lives of those they love and care about: give to them the ability to stop rehearsing the past over and over. Lord, may they experience your forgiveness, that it might empower them to forgive themselves.
  • For those who are experiencing wellness and are in a “good-spot” in their lives: give to them continued days, weeks, and years of the joy of living well with a renewed sense of purpose and hope.
  • For those who have lost loved ones to mental illness: surround them with Your presence and hope. May they find peace in the midst of the loss and confusion. May they sense Your loving arms wrapped around them.
  • For those who are lonely and have no support system: we ask that you would bring people into their lives who will befriend them. Give to them someone who will listen and understand, someone who is safe, someone who will encourage, someone who never gives up on them, someone who loves them in spite of the daily challenges of their mental health.
  • For those who are held hostage by anger towards You, Lord, and/or others: we ask for you to release them from the chains of their anger. Lord, allow the bitterness and unforgiveness towards those who have hurt them begin to melt away. Help them to know that holding to anger is truly like drinking poison and expecting the one we are angry with to die.
  • For those who have been marginalized and put down; made to feel “less-than”: we ask for justice to prevail. May they know how deeply You love them and that no one is less-than. Lord, send someone into their lives today who will be an encourager and surround them with Your purpose for their lives.
  • For those who have been hurt and even abused by churches and/or clergy: we ask for you to bring healing. Lord, expose the leaders who are toxic and are or have hurt people in Your name. Help those who have been hurt to be able to separate You from those who have spiritually abused them “in Your name”.
  • Lord, we ask for breakthroughs in mental health care! Give researchers creativity and insight for new treatments for mental illnesses. Allow funding to flow freely for these cutting-edge projects that will give break-through in the treatment of those of us with a mental illness.
  • For the broken system, Lord, we ask for you to give creativeness and new ways of thinking. Give to the decision makers the courage to do what is right. Expose where professional territorialism is holding back the process. Hasten the changes for the sake of those who are suffering with mental illness this very day.
  • For those who feel like giving up today, who are teetering on the brink of giving in to the daily torture of emotional pain: hold them, Lord. Touch them with your presence and hope. Cause them to reach out to someone.
  • For those who treat those with mental health challenges and are advocates for mental health: we simply thank You, Lord. Refresh them in their daily work.
  • For those who are homeless due to having a mental illness: we ask for Your wings of protection and shelter. May they find a safe place that allows them to begin a journey towards wellness.
  • For those who are self-medicating their mental illness: we ask for a breakthrough in their lives. Break the hold of the alcohol and drugs that are being used to mask the mental illness.
  • For those who are being mistreated and abused by their “care-givers”: we ask for you to expose the situation. Bring help for those who are not able to help themselves.
  • For the spouses, partners, friends, and family who deeply love and daily care for someone with a mental illness: we thank You, Lord. Refresh and renew them. As they pour themselves out for the ones they love, we ask that You pour new life into them.
  • For the veterans who have experienced the devastation of war: we ask for Your peace. We thank You for their service, but we ask that You allow us to “be there” for these men and women in meaningful ways as they daily deal with the trauma of war. Lord, we ask You to break through the PTSD and bring healing for these who have given their service.
  • For all those who have suffered trauma in their lives: we ask for Your healing. Allow them to sense Your deep love for them. Bring healing and to their minds.
  • For those who feel hopeless, with no hope or future: enable them to see, sense, and know that You have a great spiritual purpose for them.
  • Lord, break down the walls of stigma regarding mental health issues.

Amen.

For those of you, who like me have a mental illness, I offer you these words:

 The Lord loves you. He is with you. He is for you. He’s on your side. He has a great plan and future for your life. In spite of how you might feel or what others might tell you, you are ofgreat value to Him. He has heard each of your tears as liquid prayers to Him. His promise to you is that He will work all things out together for your good. May He bring you His peace in the midst of your situation this very day.

#worldbipolarday #bipolar #mentalillness #hope #FreshHope

I have bipolar disorder but

Hold On! Spring is Coming by Jamie Meyer

Hold On! Spring is Coming by Jamie Meyer

This time of year–the transition from winter to spring–is one of the toughest times of the year for me. Looking back over my work history, I’ve quit almost every job in the month of March. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I’m thinking it was more likely that I’d reached an emotional breaking point where I wanted to scream “I can’t take it anymore!” Each time I recall feeling distressed and panicky, desperate for relief. Now that I know more about my diagnosis I understand that work stress and seasonal transitions cause me to become unstable.

I find the transition from fall to winter challenging as well, but there are a few unique things about this time of year that seem to create instability in myself and others. In the fall, although the days grow shorter and it gets dark earlier, in general, it’s mostly sunny, there’s little rain, the leaves are beautiful and the grass is still green. This will vary, of course, depending on where you live.

In early spring, it’s still damp and cold, often windy, with a lot of gray and rainy days. Everywhere you look, nature offers up brown vegetation and bare branches. Not very inspiring or uplifting. I’ve found that I actually do better in the winter months because it’s brighter outside. The sun reflects off the snow and I can’t see the dead grass hiding underneath. Gray days usually zap both my motivation and mood, leading to a slow slide into depressive symptoms.

As part of learning to live well with bipolar ll, I’d like to share a few things I do to stay emotionally in balance this time of year. I encourage you to try one or two of these ideas or come up with your own list based on what you find enjoyable. These are also good ideas to try when, despite our best efforts, we begin to feel unstable.

* expose yourself to sunlight as often as you can. Sit near a sunny window or take a short walk. On cold days I’ve sat in a lawn chair on the sunny side of my house, out of the wind’s reach. You’d be surprised how warm it feels.

* if you’re financially able, take a trip somewhere warm and sunny. It will provide an emotional lift and will give you hope that sunshine and warmer weather are just around the corner back home.

* supplement your diet with Vit D3 which is normally produced in the body by exposure to sunlight. Studies have shown that it improves symptoms of depression

[however, do not take new meds or vitamins without speaking to your doctor first].
* go to an indoor botanical garden or greenhouse to see brightly colored plants and flowers.

* visit your local garden center to see colorful annual and perennial plants ready to be purchased for spring planting. If you are a plant person, this might be the creative inspiration you need to create a layout for your garden areas.

* if you enjoy indoor plants, buy a new one that has leaves with unusual shapes or colors to brighten your home.

* eat or cook foods that you normally associate with spring or early summer. These might include strawberries, blueberries, ice cream cones; making homemade ice cream; grilling out on a warmer day and eating lighter foods such as salads. Try moving away from heavier foods such as soups, stews, casseroles, and meat and potatoes. Lighter eating can also help with weight loss and improvements in energy levels.

I encourage you to make a list of some things you can do over the next six-to-eight weeks to make your transition from winter to spring a smooth one this year. Identify what has been a trigger for you in the past: Feeling stuck indoors? The weather? Everything looking blah outdoors? Feeling hopeless? When you’re able to put a finger on what triggers you, then you’re in a position to take positive action to avoid or at least minimize the effect those triggers have on you.

Right now you may feel that winter is never going to end, but hold on! Spring will indeed be here in a couple of months. And by the time it arrives, you’ll want to feel well enough to enjoy it!

Blog Post by Jamie Meyer

Jamies-bio

Thank you to Arlen Salte with Break Forth Ministries of Canada for use of the featured image.

A Pastor’s Prayer on this World Bipolar Day 2017: Hope and Healing for All Who Suffer

A Pastor’s Prayer on this World Bipolar Day 2017: Hope and Healing for All Who Suffer

Please note:. This prayer comes from a Christian pastor’s heart and is not intended to offend or trigger anyone. If you find matters of faith offensive I encourage you to ignore this post. If you are a person of faith or consider yourself spiritual, I hope you will find it helpful.

Lord, on this World Bipolar Day  we come before You and pray…

  • For those who daily struggle with their illness, attempting to live with the excruciating emotional pain: give to them the continued daily courage and strength to push through another day, so that day by day they may come to a place of wellness in their lives.
  • For those who need the courage to face their diagnosis and take personal charge of their journey to wellness: we ask that you would empower them to begin that journey. Give to them not only courage but also a desire to move forward in their lives. Help them to understand that their diagnosis is not “the end” but rather a new beginning and healing for the past.
  • For those who cannot forgive themselves for the messes that their illness, along with their choices, has caused in their lives and the lives of those they love and care about: give to them the ability to stop rehearsing the past over and over. Lord, may they experience your forgiveness, that it might empower them to forgive themselves.
  • For those who are experiencing wellness and are in a “good-spot” in their lives: give to them continued days, weeks, and years of the joy of living well with a renewed sense of purpose and hope.
  • For those who have lost loved ones to mental illness: surround them with Your presence and hope. May they find peace in the midst of the loss and confusion. May they sense Your loving arms wrapped around them.
  • For those who are lonely and have no support system: we ask that you would bring people into their lives who will befriend them. Give to them someone who will listen and understand, someone who is safe, someone who will encourage, someone who never gives up on them, someone who loves them in spite of the daily challenges of their mental health.
  • For those who are held hostage by anger towards You, Lord, and/or others: we ask for you to release them from the chains of their anger. Lord, allow the bitterness and unforgiveness towards those who have hurt them begin to melt away. Help them to know that holding to anger is truly like drinking poison and expecting the one we are angry with to die.
  • For those who have been marginalized and put down; made to feel “less-than”: we ask for justice to prevail. May they know how deeply You love them and that no one is less-than. Lord, send someone into their lives today who will be an encourager and surround them with Your purpose for their lives.
  • For those who have been hurt and even abused by churches and/or clergy: we ask for you to bring healing. Lord, expose the leaders who are toxic and are or have hurt people in Your name. Help those who have been hurt to be able to separate You from those who have spiritually abused them “in Your name”.
  • Lord, we ask for breakthroughs in mental health care! Give researchers creativity and insight for new treatments for mental illnesses. Allow funding to flow freely for these cutting-edge projects that will give break-through in the treatment of those of us with a mental illness.
  • For the broken system, Lord, we ask for you to give creativeness and new ways of thinking. Give to the decision makers the courage to do what is right. Expose where professional territorialism is holding back the process. Hasten the changes for the sake of those who are suffering with mental illness this very day.
  • For those who feel like giving up today, who are teetering on the brink of giving in to the daily torture of emotional pain: hold them, Lord. Touch them with your presence and hope. Cause them to reach out to someone.
  • For those who treat those with mental health challenges and are advocates for mental health: we simply thank You, Lord. Refresh them in their daily work.
  • For those who are homeless due to having a mental illness: we ask for Your wings of protection and shelter. May they find a safe place that allows them to begin a journey towards wellness.
  • For those who are self-medicating their mental illness: we ask for breakthrough in their lives. Break the hold of the alcohol and drugs that are being used to mask the mental illness.
  • For those who are being mistreated and abused by their “care-givers”: we ask for you to expose the situation. Bring help for those who are not able to help themselves.
  • For the spouses, partners, friends, and family who deeply love and daily care for someone with a mental illness: we thank You, Lord. Refresh and renew them. As they pour themselves out for the ones they love, we ask that You pour new life into them.
  • For the veterans who have experienced the devastation of war: we ask for Your peace. We thank You for their service, but we ask that You allow us to “be there” for these men and women in meaningful ways as they daily deal with the trauma of war. Lord, we ask You to break through the PTSD and bring healing for these who have given their service.
  • For all those who have suffered trauma in their lives: we ask for Your healing. Allow them to sense Your deep love for them. Bring healing and to their minds.
  • For those who feel hopeless, with no hope or future: enable them to see, sense, and know that You have a great spiritual purpose for them.
  • Lord, break down the walls of stigma regarding mental health issues.

Amen.

For those of you, who like me have a mental illness, I offer you these words:

 The Lord loves you. He is with you. He is for you. He’s on your side. He has a great plan and future for your life. In spite of how you might feel or what others might tell you, you are ofgreat value to Him. He has heard each of your tears as liquid prayers to Him. His promise to you is that He will work all things out together for your good. May He bring you His peace in the midst of your situation this very day.

#worldbipolarday #bipolar #mentalillness #hope #FreshHope

I have bipolar disorder but

Hold On! Spring is Coming

Hold On! Spring is Coming

This time of year–the transition from winter to spring–is one of the toughest times of the year for me. Looking back over my work history, I’ve quit almost every job in the month of March. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I’m thinking it was more likely that I’d reached an emotional breaking point where I wanted to scream “I can’t take it anymore!” Each time I recall feeling distressed and panicky, desperate for relief. Now that I know more about my diagnosis I understand that work stress and seasonal transitions cause me to become unstable.

I find the transition from fall to winter challenging as well, but there are a few unique things about this time of year that seem to create instability in myself and others. In the fall, although the days grow shorter and it gets dark earlier, in general it’s mostly sunny, there’s little rain, the leaves are beautiful and the grass is still green. This will vary, of course, depending on where you live.

In early spring, it’s still damp and cold, often windy, with a lot of gray and rainy days. Everywhere you look, nature offers up brown vegetation and bare branches. Not very inspiring or uplifting. I’ve found that I actually do better in the winter months because it’s brighter outside. The sun reflects off the snow and I can’t see the dead grass hiding underneath. Gray days usually zap both my motivation and mood, leading to a slow slide into depressive symptoms.

As part of learning to live well with bipolar ll, I’d like to share a few things I do to stay emotionally in balance this time of year. I encourage you to try one or two of these ideas or come up with your own list based on what you find enjoyable. These are also good ideas to try when, despite our best efforts, we begin to feel unstable.

* expose yourself to sunlight as often as you can. Sit near a sunny window or take a short walk. On cold days I’ve sat in a lawn chair on the sunny side of my house, out of the wind’s reach. You’d be surprised how warm it feels.

* if you’re financially able, take a trip somewhere warm and sunny. It will provide an emotional lift and will give you hope that sunshine and warmer weather are just around the corner back home.

* supplement your diet with Vit D3 which is normally produced in the body by exposure to sunlight. Studies have shown that it improves symptoms of depression

[however, do not take new meds or vitamins without speaking to your doctor first].
* go to an indoor botanical garden or greenhouse to see brightly colored plants and flowers.

* visit your local garden center to see colorful annual and perennial plants ready to be purchased for spring planting. If you are a plant person, this might be the creative inspiration you need to create a layout for your garden areas.

* if you enjoy indoor plants, buy a new one that has leaves with unusual shapes or colors to brighten your home.

* eat or cook foods that you normally associate with spring or early summer. These might include strawberries, blueberries, ice cream cones; making homemade ice cream; grilling out on a warmer day; and eating lighter foods such as salads. Try moving away from heavier foods such as soups, stews, casseroles, and meat and potatoes. Lighter eating can also help with weight loss and improvements in energy levels.

I encourage you to make a list of some things you can do over the next six-to-eight weeks to make your transition from winter to spring a smooth one this year. Identify what has been a trigger for you in the past: Feeling stuck indoors? The weather? Everything looking blah outdoors? Feeling hopeless? When you’re able to put a finger on what triggers you, then you’re in a position to take positive action to avoid or at least minimize the effect those triggers have on you.

Right now you may feel that winter is never going to end, but hold on! Spring will indeed be here in a couple of months. And by the time it arrives, you’ll want to feel well enough to enjoy it!

Blog Post by Jamie Meyer