Never Give Way To Doubt

When I read the text this morning I was struck by how close to home the message was. When facing issues of depression, anxiety, stress, or other illness symptoms I have been guilty of giving way to doubt. Cancelled service plans, avoiding text messages from friends who want to get together for an interchange of encouragement, lingering in the bed for hours after my chosen “wake-up” time of 8:30 AM… these are all things I have done because I felt like “I can’t”. But, I didn’t feel that way when I made the plans. This text brought the reason to light.

I made the plans for service because I felt like I could; I could face strangers in metropolitan witnessing or knock on a door not knowing who might be on the other side. Why? Becuase Jehovah expects me to. Because I dedicated my life to doing his will. Because it’s part of acting in concert with my prayers to ‘let Your kingdom come’.

But then… I give way to doubt (Matthew 14:31).

i-just-cant

Laying in bed at 11 PM the night before my 8 AM service plans I start to doubt that I can. I start to think that I can’t. I start to believe that I just can’t. Anxiety sets in. Panic begins. Fear takes over. So I send a text to cancel. I tell myself this is ok. That I have a medical reason. That my PTSD isn’t going to allow me to meet my commitment. That I am a failure. That I will try again tomorrow.

Honestly, there may be times when I just have to try again tomorrow.  However, if you read the paragraph beneath the scripture below and pay attention to the full transcript of the passage to the right, you might hone in on the same sentences I did when I read it:

“Peter… trusted that God’s power would support him…”

Perhaps, in addition to deep breathing, anxiety medication, and staying hidden when I have a panic attack, I can also remind myself (even repeat to myself) that Jesus and Jehovah will support me in all the ways I need support especially when I am giving my time in support of the Kingdom. I’ve spent time today in personal study of this span of scripture using the SOAP-JW method I modified and, let me tell you, it is just what I needed. I hope it encourages you as well.

If you’d like to get the daily text on your smart phone or tablet just go to your app store and download the free JW Library app. The screenshot below is of mine on an iPad mini.

 

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Breathing To Reduce Anxiety

BREATHE TO REDUCE ANXIETY

Imagine having an anxiety attack. Your heart races, palms sweat, stomach turns, and you begin to hyperventilate. In a moment of panic your breath can turn into an involuntary response.

Unlike your cardiovascular and digestive systems, your respiratory system can function both consciously and unconsciously. In a moment of panic you can change how you breath; you can change how your body reacts.

The next time you are in a moment of panic try to breath deeply. A great technique is the ‘massage breath’. This infographic explains this simple breath that can calm the body and mind in a moment of panic.

breathing spire

 

See whole article here: https://www.spire.io/blog/2015/10/13/breath-reduce-anxiety/#more-990

Communication For Marriages 101

how to discuss problems

Reblogged from JW.org 

THE CHALLENGE

When you and your spouse discuss a problem, do you seem to end up further apart than when you started the conversation? If so, you can improve the situation. First, though, there are a few things you should know about the different communication styles of men and women. Read the article as reblogged here and then go to the original site for more encouraging, informative, and helpful articles for couples here

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Women usually prefer to talk out a problem before hearing a solution. In fact, sometimes talking is the solution.

“I feel better when I have expressed my feelings and know that my husband understands me. After I talk about it, I’m over it—usually within just minutes after the conversation.”—Sirppa. *

“I can’t move on if I don’t have a chance to explain to my husband exactly how I feel. Talking it out is a form of closure for me.”—Ae-Jin.

“It’s like detective work. As I talk, I’m analyzing each step of the problem and trying to get to the root of it.”—Lurdes.

Men tend to think in terms of solutions. That is understandable because fixing things makes a man feel useful. Offering solutions is his way of showing his wife that she can rely on him for help. So husbands are baffled when their solutions are not readily accepted. “I can’t understand why you would talk about a problem if you didn’t want a solution!” says a husband named Kirk.

But “understanding must precede advice,” warns the book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. “You have to let your partner know that you fully  understand and empathize with the dilemma before you suggest a solution. Oftentimes your spouse isn’t asking you to come up with a solution at all—just to be a good listener.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO

For husbands: Practice empathetic listening. A husband named Tomás says: “Sometimes after listening I think to myself, ‘That didn’t accomplish anything.’ But often that’s all my wife needs—a listening ear.” A husband named Stephen would agree. “I find it best to let my wife express herself without interrupting,” he says. “More often than not, she finishes and tells me she feels a lot better.”

Try this: The next time you discuss a problem with your wife, resist the urge to give unsolicited advice. Make eye contact, and focus on what she is saying. Nod in agreement. Repeat the gist of what she says to show that you get the point. “Sometimes my wife just needs to know that I understand her and that I’m on her side,” says a husband named Charles.—Bible principle: James 1:19.

For wives: Say what you need. “We might expect our spouse to know just what we need,” says a wife named Eleni, “but sometimes we do have to spell it out.” A wife named Ynez suggests this approach: “I could say, ‘Something is bothering me, and I would like you to hear me out. I don’t need you to fix it, but I would like you to understand how I feel.’”

Try this: If your husband prematurely offers solutions, do not conclude that he is being insensitive. Likely he is trying to lighten your load. “Instead of getting annoyed,” says a wife named Ester, “I try to realize that my husband does care and wants to listen but that he also just wants to help.”—Bible principle: Romans 12:10.

For both: We tend to treat others the way we want to be treated. However, to discuss problems effectively, you need to consider how your spouse would like to be treated. (1 Corinthians 10:24) A husband named Miguel puts it this way: “If you are a husband, be willing to listen. If you are a wife, be willing to hear solutions once in a while. When you meet in the middle, both spouses benefit.”—Bible principle: 1 Peter 3:8.

Survivors of Abuse

 

THE BIBLE CHANGES LIVES

Jehovah Has Done So Much for Me

Crystal, a victim of sexual abuse as a child, tells how learning what the Bible teaches helped her to build a relationship with Jehovah God and to find meaning in her life. Click the link to view her video:

https://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/activities/living-bible-principles/adult-survivor-child-abuse-video/ 

To watch a video on protecting your children from abusers visit:

https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/family/children/become-jehovahs-friend/videos/protect-your-children/

An End to PTSD?

Traumatic Stress Will End!

(From http://m.wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102001603)

PERHAPS you are a war veteran and you suffer from nightmares and flashbacks that make it seem as though the war has still not ended for you. Perhaps you are a victim of heartless violence such as rape and feel that a part of you died in the horror of the experience. Or it may be that a loved one died in a natural disaster or accident and continuing without that one is extremely painful.

Do you wonder if such feelings can be changed? We can answer with confidence: Yes, they can! In the meantime, all who suffer trauma can find comfort in God’s Word, the Bible.

Helped to Endure Trauma

Nearly two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul underwent terrifying, life-threatening experiences. His descriptions of some of these are preserved in the Bible. “We do not wish you to be ignorant,” Paul wrote, “about the tribulation that happened to us in the district of Asia, that we were under extreme pressure beyond our strength, so that we were very uncertain even of our lives. In fact, we felt within ourselves that we had received the sentence of death.”—2 Corinthians 1:8, 9.

While it is not known exactly what happened on that occasion, it was certainly traumatic. (2 Corinthians 11:23-27) How did Paul cope?

Reflecting on his ordeal in Asia, he wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those in any sort of tribulation through the comfort with which we ourselves are being comforted by God.”—2 Corinthians 1:3, 4.

Yes, help for trauma survivors is available from “the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort.” How can you obtain such comfort?

How to Receive Help

First—ask for help. If you feel emotionally paralyzed, remember that others have felt that way too. Those who have overcome such feelings are usually glad to assist others. Like the apostle Paul, they often feel that the comfort they received from God during their trial needs to be shared with “those in any sort of tribulation.” Do not hesitate to approach one of Jehovah’s Witnesses—any one of them with whom you feel comfortable—and request assistance in obtaining help from Jehovah, “the God of all comfort.”

Persevere in prayer. If prayer is difficult because you have feelings of anger, ask someone spiritually qualified to pray with you. (James 5:14-16) When you speak to Jehovah God, remember to “throw all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Over and over the Scriptures emphasize the personal concern that God has for each of his servants.

The writer of Psalm 94 may well have experienced something very traumatic, for he wrote: “Unless Jehovah had been of assistance to me, in a little while my soul would have resided in silence. When I said: ‘My foot will certainly move unsteadily,’ your own loving-kindness, O Jehovah, kept sustaining me. When my disquieting thoughts became many inside of me, your own consolations began to fondle my soul.”—Psalm 94:17-19.

Some sufferers of traumatic stress are especially troubled by “disquieting thoughts,” which can become at times an overwhelming torrent of panic or rage. However, heartfelt prayer can help “sustain” you until those feelings pass. Think of Jehovah as a loving parent and of yourself as a small child whom he lovingly protects. Remember the Bible’s promise that “the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:7.

Healing—whether physical, mental, or spiritual—is a gradual process. So it would be unrealistic to expect that prayer will bring instant peace to those seriously damaged by traumatic experiences. Yet, persistent prayer is vital. It will help keep the sufferer from being overwhelmed and driven to despair by post-traumatic emotions.

Read and meditate on God’s Word. If concentration is difficult, ask someone to read comforting Bible accounts with you. You might choose passages that reveal the depth of Jehovah’s tender concern for his faithful ones, no matter how depressed or despairing they may feel.

Jane, mentioned in the preceding articles, drew comfort from many Bible passages in the Psalms. They include Psalm 3:1-8; 6:6-8; 9:9, 10; 11:1-7; 18:5, 6; 23:1-6; 27:7-9; 30:11, 12; 31:12, 19-22; 32:7, 8; 34:18, 19; 36:7-10; 55:5-9, 22; 56:8-11; 63:6-8; 84:8-10;130:1-6. Do not try to read too many Bible passages at one time. Rather, take time to meditate on them and pray.

Unprecedented Distress Now

Sadly, it should be no surprise that rapes, murders, wars, and needless violence abound today. Why? Because Jesus Christ characterized our time as one in which there would be an “increasing of lawlessness.” He added: “The love of the greater number will cool off.”Matthew 24:7, 12.

In recent years traumatic stress has become all too common—often as a result of the very events that Jesus foretold. As recorded in the Bible in Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13, and Luke chapter 21, Jesus said that in this world’s time of the end, there would be international wars, natural disasters, and increased lawlessness and lovelessness. Yet, as Jesus also observed, relief is not far off.

After describing a worldwide epidemic of trauma and the start of “great tribulation” to follow, note what Jesus said people should do: “Raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.” (Matthew 24:21-31; Luke 21:28) Yes, as world conditions worsen, we can be sure that great tribulation upon this distress-causing system of things will culminate in the end of all wickedness and the ushering in of a righteous new system.—1 John 2:17; Revelation 21:3, 4.

We should not be surprised that our deliverance will come only after wickedness and violence have reached their zenith. God’s judgments in the past against the world of Noah’s day and the vile inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah followed a similar pattern. Those past executions of divine judgment show what will happen in the future.—2 Peter 2:5, 6.

The End of Traumatic Stress

If you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you may wonder if your painful memories will ever be laid to rest. Yet, the answer surely is: Yes, they will be! At Isaiah 65:17, Jehovah God declares: “I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart.” Although the psychological scars of past trauma may seem permanent, this scripture assures us that someday their power to disturb will be entirely gone.

Today, over one year after the attempted rape, Jane is serving as a pioneer minister (full-time evangelizer) of Jehovah’s Witnesses. “It was not until the trial was over and my attacker had been convicted—more than eight months after the attack—that I really felt like myself again,” she said recently. “This time last year, I could not have imagined the peace and happiness I now enjoy. I thank Jehovah for the beautiful hope of everlasting life and the chance to share that hope with others.”—Psalm 27:14.

If you are struggling with the despair and paralyzing emotional numbness of PTSD, that hope can help sustain you as well.

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Attending Christian meetings can help you to cope

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Reading God’s Word and praying can help sustain you

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Soon all trauma will be a thing of the past

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic Stress—What Is It?

(From http://m.wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102001602)

YEARS AGO, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was usually called shell shock or combat fatigue and was studied primarily in connection with military veterans.* Today much has changed. You don’t have to be a soldier to be diagnosed with PTSD. You only have to be a survivor of some traumatic event.

The event could be anything from a war to a rape attempt to a car accident. A fact sheet from the National Center for PTSD, in the United States, puts it this way: “To be diagnosed with PTSD, an individual must have been exposed to a traumatic event.” And this event “must involve some type of actual or threatened PHYSICAL injury or assault.”

Jane, mentioned in the preceding article, relates: “I have learned that sudden terror causes certain hormones to surge, and these hormones cause the senses to become hyperalert to danger. Ordinarily hormone levels fall back down to normal after the danger has passed, but in the case of PTSD sufferers, they remain elevated.” The event was in the past, but the terror of those moments seemed to be trying to take up permanent residence in Jane’s mind, like an unwelcome tenant who ignores an eviction notice.

If you have survived a trauma and are experiencing similar aftereffects, it is important to realize that you are not alone. In a book she wrote on rape, author Linda E. Ledray explains that PTSD “is a normal reaction seen in normal people who have been through a terrifying situation in which they could not control what was happening.”

Yet, calling PTSD normal doesn’t mean that every survivor of a trauma will develop it. Ledray notes: “A 1992 study found that, one week after a rape, 94 percent of the survivors evaluated met the criteria for PTSD and at twelve weeks 47 percent continued to do so. Fifty percent of the women seen at the Sexual Assault Resource Service in Minneapolis in 1993 met the criteria for PTSD one year after rape.”

Such statistics reveal that PTSD is common, far more common than most people realize. And all sorts of people are sufferers, following many types of incidents. Authors Alexander C. McFarlane and Lars Weisaeth observe: “Recent studies have shown that traumatic events frequently happen to civilians during peacetime, as well as to soldiers and war victims, and that many survivors of such frequent events develop PTSD.” Even medical procedures or heart attacks have triggered PTSD in some individuals.

“PTSD has turned out to be a very common disorder,” explain the above-quoted authors. They further say: “A random survey of 1,245 American adolescents showed that 23% had been the victims of physical or sexual assaults, as well as witnesses of violence against others. One out of five of the exposed adolescents developed PTSD. This suggests that approximately 1.07 million U.S. teenagers currently suffer from PTSD.”

If the statistic is accurate, that means there are a lot of teenage sufferers in just one country! What can be done for such persons, as well as for the many millions of other sufferers worldwide?

What Can Be Done?

If you believe that you or someone you know may suffer from PTSD, the following are some suggestions.

Strive to maintain a spiritual program. “I always attended the meetings at our local Kingdom Hall,” explains Jane. “Even when I could not concentrate on what was being said, I knew that that was where Jehovah God wanted me to be. Those in the congregation were extremely loving and upbuilding, and the love and personal interest shown meant a great deal to me throughout the whole ordeal.” Jane adds: “It also helped me when I read the psalms. Somehow the prayers of afflicted ones seemed to speak for me. When I couldn’t say what I wanted to in prayer, I could just say ‘Amen.’”

Don’t hold back from encouraging the sufferer. If you have a loved one dealing with the horrible memory of some traumatic event, understand that he or she is not overreacting or deliberately being difficult. Because of emotional numbness, anxiety, or anger, he or she may not be able to respond as you would wish to the efforts you are making to be supportive. But don’t give up! As the Bible says, “a true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.”—Proverbs 17:17.

The sufferer needs to recognize and avoid unwise coping strategies that cause further harm. These include use of illicit drugs and overindulgence in alcoholic beverages. Although alcohol and drugs may give promise of temporary relief, they soon make matters worse. They usually contribute to social isolation, rejection of the people who want to help, workaholism, uncontrolled anger, uncontrolled or overcontrolled eating, or other self-destructive behavior.

Consult with a competent health professional. It may turn out that the sufferer doesn’t have PTSD, but if he or she does, effective therapies exist.* If you are receiving professional help, be honest with that person and ask for help to overcome any of the above behaviors.

Remember: Physical wounds are often the first to heal, but people suffering from PTSD can be wounded in many ways in body, mind, and spirit. The next article will discuss further ways that the sufferer and those around him can take part in the healing process and will also discuss the hope for all sufferers of post-traumatic shock.

[Footnotes]

See the articles “Do They Come Back the Same?” and “He Came Back a Stranger,” in Awake! of August 8, 1982.

Jehovah’s Witnesses do not officially promote or recommend any specific form of therapy, be it medical or psychiatric.

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Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress

Many trauma survivors find themselves reexperiencing the trauma in their mind. Survivors usually can’t control this or stop it from occurring. The consequences may include:

• Flashbacks—feelings that the trauma is happening again

• Bad dreams and nightmares

• A tendency to be very startled by loud noises or by someone unexpectedly coming up to them from behind

• A shaky feeling and sweatiness

• A pounding heart or trouble breathing

• A feeling of upset when reminded of the trauma by something seen, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted

• Anxiety or fear—the feeling of being in danger again

• Trouble controlling emotions because reminders lead to sudden anxiety, anger, or upset

• Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly

• Difficulty falling or staying asleep

• Agitation and a constant state of being on the lookout for danger

• An emotional shutdown or emotional numbness

• Trouble having loving feelings or feeling any strong emotions

• The feeling that surroundings are strange or unreal

• Loss of interest in things that were previously enjoyable

• Trouble remembering important parts of what happened during the trauma

• A feeling of being disconnected from the world around them and the things happening to them

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A variety of traumatic events can trigger PTSD

Give An Hour

I have to admit that I have been a bit stalled in taking the next steps. Sometimes the best you can do in the morning is wake up, brush your teeth, get dressed and simply celebrate your ability to do only that. Other days staying in be until 3pm because you cannot face the day feel like an utter failure, so you browse the internet for distraction. I was doing just that when I found this site: GIVE AN HOUR

Their mission?

Give an Hour’s mission is to develop national networks of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society, beginning with the mental health needs of those who serve and their families.

How it works?

A site visitor (could be a veteran, family member or person affected by a loved-ones service), clicks on “Get Help” to get information on what to expect and how to choose a provider. S/he clicks on “Provider Search” to find someone offering individual counseling services near their home.

Seriously? That was just what I needed. To get back to therapy. Sometimes a caregiver is so busy caregiving that they don’t realize that they themselves are spiraling into despair. I felt, and still do feel very often, that I cannot go on. That another day cannot be faced. That I will just stay in the fortress of my own bed under the covers until the world melts away and I achieve enlightenment beside my pillow.

That is not living. So tomorrow I will call, and go, and talk to someone.

Interested? Then visit the site:

GIVE AN HOUR