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Shauna Gallagher gives sound advice for Keeping a balance between our busy lives, our children and household chores.

Balancing Work, Children and Housework

Does your hectic life sometimes feel like you are performing in a circus? Perhaps juggling work, family and home? Struggling to find that balance like walking on a precarious tightrope? Life can be tricky sometimes, and if we aren’t careful, the most important things (particularly relationships and church life) end up suffering the most. No one plans for this to happen, so to help avoid it, you need to approach it intentionally and realistically.

Time is at a premium for working parents and therefore it is paramount to find a way to incorporate quality time with your children, while at the same time not neglect the seemingly endless list of necessary household chores. Depending on their age, children also need to have their own interests and even paid work as they move into their teenage years – which involves more time for you driving them places. No wonder parents and children are exhausted by the end of the working week!

On a practical level, how can household chores be completed whilst not neglecting the needs of the family?

One suggestion to achieve this is to enlist the help of your children. This may sound like something that will actually cause more problems – either through objections from the children or from the amount of effort it might take to teach them what to do.

But there are lots of great reasons to include your children in the running of the household, here are just a few (1) :

Building self-esteem – by being a productive member of the family (Prov 14:23)

Learning life skills – learning to become functioning adults (Prov 12:24)

Role modelling – learning how to handle life through watching and participating (Matt 5:16)

Spending time together – as a family (Ps 127:3-5)

If you have a very young family, it’s the perfect time to start including them in the household chores. Starting when they are young means it will be an expected part of their life, hopefully with as little grumbling as possible. You should expect though, (and even accept), some resistance to having to do chores. It takes maturity and awareness of others’ needs to fully understand why they have to help out (1). But your own attitude towards the chores and towards the children’s efforts will make it a whole lot easier.

Starting out on this journey with older children will more than likely be challenging at first. But once again, how you handle the situation will make it or break it. Staying calm and sticking with the plan will help the transition to happen more quickly and smoothly. And whatever the age of your children, find some ways to make it easier and worthwhile.

For example:

Make it fun – why should housework be boring and mundane? E.g. Play some favourite music while you all join in and get things done. Feel-good chemicals are released when we listen to music (2) , so why not incorporate it while doing housework. You could work out a playlist together that has some favourites from each family member. Have some light-hearted competitions during some songs eg who can pick up the most toys, or fold the most towels, or a family goal to finish the housework by the time a certain song plays.

Make it educational – e.g. if the children are helping you cook, use it as a time to casually teach about nutrition or measurements. Discuss foods from other countries, anything to make it more than just about getting chores done.  Make it positive – this is a great opportunity for praising/encouraging your children’s effort, compliance and attitude.

Knowing which jobs are suitable for the various age groups can be tricky. Below are some suggestions (3) to help you get started but remember that not all children develop at exactly the same rate, so make the chores appropriate for your child.

Ages 2 -3 (mostly at this age the child will be assisting the parents).
Picking up toys, put laundry in the basket, help clean up spills and dusting.

Ages 4-5
Carry lighter groceries from the car, set and clear the table (with supervision), pick up toys and put away, help prepare dinner, make the bed with some assistance.

Ages 6-7
Make the bed, be responsible for pet’s food/water, put away dishes from the dishwasher, vacuum individual rooms.

Ages 8-11

Keep bedroom clean, wash dishes, rake leaves, put the trash can out, wash the car with supervision.

Ages 12-13
Change bed sheets, prepare the occasional meal, clean mirrors, clean bathrooms.

Ages 14-15
Yard work, babysitting, wash windows with supervision, prepare meals occasionally.

Ages 16-18

Yard work as needed, housework as needed, prepare family meals, deep cleaning of household appliances e.g. defrosting freezer.

Even with the extra helping hands, it may feel like the housework still takes a lot of effort and a lot of time. If that is the case, perhaps you need to consider how often particular chores are being planned and how ‘perfectly’ you expect them done. For example, it seems that bed sheets generally only need to be washed fortnightly (4). So, if you have been washing the sheets weekly, perhaps this is something you can cut back on and only wash half the sheets on alternating weeks or wash them all at once on every other week. When considering the standard you require for each job, you need to take into account the age of the child. You can expect a 6-year-old to put the groceries onto the correct shelf in the pantry, but can they make their bed really well? Perhaps they can’t, so don’t put pressure on them to have it made to your standard. Help them as required, but at some stage, you will need to let them achieve on their own. Remember their skills are a work in progress and need nurturing, not criticizing (constantly re-doing or fixing up their efforts can be detrimental to building self-esteem too).

Another way to help lighten the load is to incorporate practices that lessen the amount of work you have to do. For example, by hanging up the bath mat after the last person showers, it has a chance to dry out and you will need to wash it less often. Or make it a routine that every evening at around the same time, every family member picks up things that may be on the floor or out of place in their room. This will only take a few minutes each but will save extra time on the weekend having to pick up a week’s worth of toys, magazines etc (and therefore won’t encroach on valuable weekend time). Take a look at all the chores that need doing and see if there is a way to tweak them so you can be more efficient.

Juggling all that has to be done can be time-consuming and downright stressful. However, by making the most of every opportunity, you need not neglect family nor the household chores, but incorporate that time to be a productive, and positive family time.

Shauna Gallagher – Mental Health Nurse/Author
Shaunagallagherauthor.com

References

1. Centre for Parenting Education – https://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/responsibility-and-chores/part-i-benefits-of-chores/

2. Psychology Today – https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-musical-self/201101/why-listening-music-makes-us-feel-good

3. Focus on the Family – https://families.org.au/article/age-appropriate-chores

4. CNET Magazine – https://www.cnet.com/how-to/do-you-wash-your-sheets-enough-probably-not/

Christians have an opportunity to study counselling courses from a biblical worldview. Study The CHC51015 Diploma of Counselling at aifc.  Short Courses and Professional Development are also available.

Our partnership with Stirling Theological College and the University of Divinity has made new study pathways available to aspiring counsellors to study right up to a Doctorate level. See the Bachelor of Counselling page for more information.

The post Tips For Balancing Work, Children and Housework appeared first on aifc.

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in ‘Born To Do Great Things’ Jess Mannion explores questions like “who am I?” and “what is my purpose?”

Born To Do Great Things

Very few of us, like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a child prodigy who seemingly was pre-destined to become one of the greatest composers of all time, are born with a sense of purpose. The rest of us will get to a place at some point in our lives to ask the question, “Who am I and where am I going?”

Jesus was pre-destined. He knew where he came from, what was going to happen to him and where he was going according to the scriptures.

Purpose:
noun
1. The reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.
2. An intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
3. Determination; resoluteness.

Without purpose, there isn’t any reason to do anything. We eat in order to sustain, we sleep in order to energise, and we socialise in order to be connected. Everything we do has to have a purpose.

What is my purpose here with these blogs? This lies primarily with my purpose for becoming a counsellor.

So why did I become a counsellor and what does it have to do with a blog?

This story has taken my whole life to get to this point. It first began in primary school, when 2 friends, in particular, began sharing their struggles and pains with me. It felt powerful. I felt like I had something to give – though I was not sure what it was at the time. Then high school came and the same thing happened. This time I knew it was because I was so quiet, I had the trust of others not to spread their secrets. Then high school came to a close and I had to work out my next step. The school counsellor suggested counselling – I felt I knew better and would go into psychology instead. Though I soon found out that the very essence of what I loved doing, would take years to get to if I continued that path. One thing led to another and I eventually found the right course for me. I grew, I changed, I started thriving.

I was challenged to improve my life by applying what I learned in everyday situations. I still have a long way to go. Though now I feel like I have the basic foundations to keep riding this roller-coaster of life.

So what does blogging have to do with it? As a counsellor, my desire is to make myself redundant. Some people just need some nudges to explore areas in their life and to challenge their thinking. Others, like myself, need a bit more intensive work to get the ball rolling. My purpose for blogging is to achieve both. To give a directive nudge to make the unknown explored and to highlight areas that need to be explored more intensively. So now you know who I am and why I am here. The question you now need to ask is who are you and why are you here?

Permission Attained – By Jess Mannion
Cred. Grad. Cert. in Family Therapy, Grad Member CCAA, Provisional Member PACFA – 22436
Wellness Counselling

Identity in Christ

From a Biblical perspective, all human beings are created in the image of God, and Christians are new creatures being completed in Christ. In the Bible, we can read about who we are in Christ.

EMBRACE YOUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST – by Rick Warren

“He has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Corinthians 1:22a NLT)
Your faith will grow stronger as you focus on your identity in Christ (Galatians 2).
What this means is that you abandon any image of yourself that is not from God. You stop accepting what others have said about you, how others have labelled you, and how others have defined you.

You start believing what God says about you, that he is pleased with how he created you, and that God defines you.
You’re not defined by your feelings. You’re not defined by the opinions of others or by your circumstances. You’re not defined by your successes or failures. You’re not defined by the car you drive, the money you make, or the house you say you own when the bank really does.
You are defined by God and God alone. He identifies you as his own.“ (2 Corinthians 1:22).
By Pastor Rick Warren – Embrace Your Identity In Christ

Sources
Wikipedia – Mozart

Christians have an opportunity to study counselling courses from a biblical worldview. Study The CHC51015 Diploma of Counselling at aifc. We also provide Short Courses and Professional Development.

In partnership with Stirling Theological College and the University of Divinity, new study integrated study pathways have been made available to aspiring counsellors to study right up to a Doctorate level. See the Bachelor of Counselling page for more information.

The post Born With Purpose and An Identity appeared first on aifc.

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Melinda Vanry, from Fruit Of Brokenness,  shares about the importance of staying hydrated to help our own mental health.

How Important Is Water & Hydration To Mental Health?

Some of us go days, weeks or more without drinking any straight water, but get it in lesser amounts from other sources, such as coffee, sodas, or other drinks, and some foods, most notably fruits, vegetables and clear soups. Since at least half of the composition of the human body is water, and every cell depends on it, that can’t be great for our physical health.

But what about our mental health?

If you’re like me, you know how quickly not drinking enough water throughout the day can affect mood.

WHAT IS DEHYDRATION?

Dehydration occurs when more water is being lost by your body than is being put in. In urine and sweat, and through respiration, we’re constantly using and losing water. Even while we sleep water passes out of our system with every breath we exhale.

While mild dehydration is loss of 1.5 percent of a body’s normal water volume, a level of hydration just one percent below optimal can affect mood, make it more difficult to concentrate, and produce a headache.

Our hearts and our brains consist of more water than the rest of our body. It’s pretty important stuff if we want to function at our best, physically and mentally.

HOW DOES DEHYDRATION AFFECT THE BRAIN?

While the human brain is made up of about 75 percent water, the first way that dehydration affects the brain and alters how we think and feel is by slowing circulation. This lowers blood flow, which means less oxygen travelling to all parts of the body, including the brain.
Why mild dehydration can so quickly affect mood is a subject still being studied. The most common theory is that it’s one of the human body’s many warning systems that something is not as it should be and should be dealt with.

As dehydration worsens, cognitive function is further impaired, leading to delirium. Severe dehydration can cause unconsciousness and even coma, finally leading to death.

HOW DO WE KNOW HOW MUCH WATER IS ENOUGH?

There’s no officially set amount of water that is best daily. Climate, level of activity, general health and age are important factors.
We typically think of the first sign of dehydration as thirst. Which is true in a way, but by the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated enough for your mood and function to be affected.

A general rule of thumb is eight to ten eight-ounce glasses of water, or approximately two litres, per day. More on hot days, and increased in measure with greater physical activity.

IS THERE AN EASIER STEP TO TAKE TOWARD MENTAL HEALTH?

Dehydration very quickly affects how we feel and think. If you, like me, struggle with a mood disorder or have other struggles with how your brain functions and processes, why make it harder for yourself?
Drinking water regularly throughout the day is an easy, effective step to take in our efforts to be as mentally healthy as possible.
Start with a glass of water first thing in the morning. Drink two or three glasses between meals.
I carry a water bottle with me just about everywhere I go. It’s remembering to drink from it that can be a problem. Even though headaches and a change in mood happen very quickly to me when I’m getting dehydrated, I don’t always pay attention.

Even at low levels, dehydration affects the way we think. I don’t know about you, but I can have enough trouble with that fully hydrated. As I was told several years ago, taking antidepressants or mood stabilizers isn’t about feeling happy, it’s about thinking clearly. Drinking enough water keeps our brain from having to struggle against the effects of dehydration, allowing us to think more clearly than if we let ourselves get dehydrated.

Staying hydrated by drinking enough water is one aspect of good physical, emotional, and mental health. We’re not one-dimensional and our approach to mental health shouldn’t be either.

Source

With Permission by Melinda VanRy – Fruit Of Brokenness
Originally Posted on Defying Shadows website

Gain a Christian Counselling Education

Christians have an opportunity to study counselling courses from a biblical worldview. Study The CHC51015 Diploma of Counselling at aifc.  Short Courses and Professional Development are also available.

Our partnership with Stirling Theological College and the University of Divinity has made new study pathways available to aspiring counsellors to study right up to a Doctorate level. See the Bachelor of Counselling page for more information.

The post How Important Is Water & Hydration To Mental Health? appeared first on aifc.

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As a woman who has spent all of her childbearing years living with PMDD, I can tell you precisely what I would have wanted from my family. But first, let me tell you what it was like for me. During the luteal phase, I felt ill, possessed with something I couldn’t shake. The brain fog, exhaustion, depression, anxiety and range were just some of the debilitating symptoms of PMDD. Terrified of the impact my words and actions may have on others, I began to isolate myself. The fear wasn’t unfounded as it became impossible to control my emotions, my rage, actions and words.

When I stopped going to church by removing myself as a preventative measure, it took the pressure off me. PMDD was a rollercoaster ride that never seemed to stop. I had two good weeks a month and the other two felt like I was fighting for my life.

Leading up to the luteal phase of my cycle, the anticipation of what was to come had me living in fear. Then it was if a switch flipped in the back of my head and once again I was at the mercy of PMDD. As soon as my menstruation hit the switch would turn off, and I’d be back to normal.

How To Support A Woman With PMDD

Women who have PMDD are not lazy. They don’t just want to sleep all day and do nothing. Women with PMDD have a lot more than depression going on as the symptoms of PMDD are debilitating. These women need to be supported.

PMDD is not a mental illness, but a biological illness that affects brain function. Nobody knows what causes it. But scientists have discovered that women with PMDD are different from women with PMS on a cellular/molecular level.  A woman with PMDD needs support from those she loves. She craves understanding from her family and friends. She wants to be able to do all those things you want to do together. She wants to be able to take care of the kids, but the illness is debilitating. She’d love nothing more than to ‘snap out of it’ but she can’t.

My 12 Tips

1. Dads, kids and family members – just let her sleep, be on your best behaviour and help out around the house. Prepare the meals and wash the clothes. She’s most likely not even able to do those simple things. She’s that unwell that she’s missing out on having fun. Nobody chooses to have PMDD. Don’t worry about the housework. Her rest and wellbeing at this stage is a priority.
2. Don’t stir her anger during the Luteal Phase. She can go into rage mode quite easily and she has no control over this.
3. Dads, friends, family members and grandparents can help by taking care of the kids when mums aren’t able to cope. They love their children and would like nothing better than to feel well and be able to carry on with their roles and spend time with them.
4. Single mums with PMDD – don’t be afraid to ask a friend or relative to look after the kids when you can’t. Your wellbeing is a priority, but the kids also need support through this.
5. PMDD and social life rarely mix. Plan your social life around her PMDD. On the two good weeks of the month directly after her period stops, she will be able to socialise. On the 13th day after her period, until her menstruation starts again, she’s in the luteal phase when PMDD symptoms are at their worst. Don’t worry if the woman in your life doesn’t want to go out. For her, it’s really not an option. She would love to if she could and wasn’t so unwell.
6. If she begins isolating herself from her friends, it’s not a bad thing. She might be afraid of hurting them or making a fool of herself in public.
7. Remember that she’s not rejecting anyone and is not being lazy or horrible. She just can’t physically or mentally cope.
8. If she doesn’t want visitors, cancels her appointments, doesn’t show up to parties, doesn’t call friends, forgets quickly and is angry and irritable just remember her PMDD is debilitating with the many symptoms that are associated with the disorder.
9. PMDD causes depression robbing a woman of joy.
10. Most women with PMDD dread the approaching luteal phase as they feel horribly ill and out of control.
11. She needs to see a PMDD friendly doctor if she hasn’t already. Record 3 months worth of symptoms and take that along to your doctor to assist with diagnosis. There are plenty of mood recording apps available to use with smart phones. Me vs PMDD is one that I’ve used in the past. But find one that works for you.
12. In cases where she having suicidal thoughts and is a danger to herself and others take her to the hospital.

Further Reading: My PMDD, Social Isolation & Life After Menopause

Sandra Ciminelli
Cred.DIp.Couns.(Christian)

Study the CHC51015 Diploma of Counselling at aifc to learn skills for supporting others.

The post 12 Tips To Understand & Support Women With PMDD appeared first on aifc.

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Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) has been acknowledged as a real condition by science and medical professionals.  PMDD has also been entered into the DSM-IV as a disorder. However since then science has shown it to affect the brain but is in fact a biological illness. Previously many sufferers, including me, were being fobbed off by their GPs and Gynaecologists as having severe PMS, or they were misdiagnosed as having a mental illness such as Bipolar Disorder.

My PMDD Experience & Social Isolation

For me, living with PMDD was a nightmare of uncertainty and desperation. I was misdiagnosed and sneered at by one GP who described my symptoms as “normal for every woman.” I was never really believed by anyone until around 2012 after taking a record of three months’ worth of symptoms to my new doctor. Eventually, I was sent to a gynaecologist at our local hospital who correctly diagnosed me and began treatment.

Isolation Was Good For Me

One of the frightening things about PMDD was not being sure of what I would say or do during the luteal phase. Avoiding social events where it could be helped was essential for protecting myself and for protecting others as I never knew what PMDD was going to do. I also didn’t have the physical energy or mental capacity to be social.  PMDD was in control during day 13 until the onset of menses, and there was no relief from the rollercoaster ride I was on every month.

In mental health, we encourage those who would typically isolate themselves to come out and become social. However, Isolation for PMDD sufferers is a necessity, and hugely beneficial when going through the massive set of symptoms that come at us like waves and drop on us like a boulder.

We need to rest because PMDD is exhausting. The simplest tasks are overwhelming to a PMDD sufferer affecting employment, social life and family life.

Dreading Luteal Phase

As women with PMDD approach the luteal phase, we live in fear, and when it hits, we can feel the changes taking place in our head and dread it. Women who have this condition can quickly lose their joy for living and a sense of hope. During the two weeks before my menstruation, I was perpetually exhausted, depressed, and sick of living like this. I was overwhelmed and have had suicidal thoughts pop into my head, tempting me to end my suffering. Having God in my life I knew this wasn’t the answer.

Two weeks catching up on and two weeks on a downward spiral was no way to live. However, having a supportive husband made a huge difference.  Having God to lean on during my toughest times was really beneficial to me although there were times when I doubted He even cared.

How I regained My Quality Of Life

Seeing my gynaecologist for PMDD helped me regain my quality of life. He put me on birth control pills to stop my period and the release of hormones that caused my PMDD.  He said that other methods, apart from a total hysterectomy, weren’t going to work for me due to my being so close to menopause. Having the total hysterectomy for removing the ovaries works to stop symptoms of PMDD in women.

Eventually, I would sail through my symptoms of menopause while on the pill and antidepressants. Having gone through menopause, I am now PMDD free.

Facebook Support Group For Australian Women With PMDD

In 2013 I created a group on Facebook specifically for the support of Australian women who have PMDD -‘PMDD Australian Women’s Group.’ Only women with PMDD may join the closed group that exists for women to discuss PMDD and to support one another. At the time when I founded the group, there was nothing like it in Australia. The women were visiting long-established American PMDD groups. The group is moderated by several women with PMDD when they are well enough to do so.

Of the many women in the group who have undergone a total hysterectomy, 100% of those women report complete recovery from PMDD.

These women are a high suicide risk and need help at home, time out from work and help with parenting duties. I don’t know how single mums with PMDD cope with raising their kids. We need systems in place. Relationships are suffering, and women are losing their jobs, their partners and quality of life.  Men need to support their women and to understand what it is that they’re going through.

Getting help for PMDD

  1. Shop around for a PMDD friendly doctor and gynaecologist.  If you need support for mental health and your emotional wellbeing see a counsellor.
  2. Symptoms vary between each woman and not all PMDD symptoms affect every woman. Some women report as having a variety of other symptoms not currently on the DSM-IV, possibly due to comorbidity.
  3. Go to Hospital Emergency if you are having suicidal thoughts. (Get someone to take you if possible). Call an ambulance if you can’t drive yourself there.

Further reading: PMDD Not Your Average Monthly Symptoms

Sandra Ciminelli
Cred.Dip.Couns. (Christian)

The post My PMDD, Social Isolation & Life After Menopause appeared first on aifc.

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Despite the circumstances we face in life we all need to look our health for maintaining our joy and quality of life. Self-care is one of our major responsibilities leading to stability, clarity, balance, certainty, consistency, social connection, and simplicity in our lives.

Self-care adds to our joy and quality of life. Without self-care, our mental health and physiological health begins to deteriorate.

Joy

Over prolonged periods of time, a lack of self-care can lead to diseases and illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

Pain management is a form of self-care. I’ve personally experienced being in excruciating pain where my tolerance levels and patience dwindled to almost nothing. Had I taken my pain management medication on time, the discomfort wouldn’t have gotten beyond my pain tolerance threshold, affecting my ability to cope.  Chronic pain is very difficult for anyone to live with and can be especially trying for those living with us under the same roof when we neglect proper pain management. Self-care in my case was about taking my meds on time for keeping my joy and inner peace without affecting others around me.

Hope

Even though our source of Joy and hope may be rooted in Christ, our walk can be weakened by our suffering that without self-care can lead to a loss of hope. Hope is an essential ingredient enabling us to pull ourselves up out of desperate situations. When God is our source of hope we can face anything. However, when facing life’s most difficult and painful hurdles, we need to love ourselves through it with proper self-care.

Time out

While self-care can mean different things to each individual, for some of us it means taking time to rest, unplugging from the digital world and reconnecting with God, the creator of all things good.

When it comes to taking care of ourselves we can’t afford to neglect our mental health which is part of taking a holistic approach to self-care for allowing ourselves to become the best version of ourselves.

Statistics show that depression and anxiety are on the rise. See the Infographic and download the Church Life Survey full report.

See your doctor if you require help with self-care and talk to your church leaders for support with your spiritual walk. Sandra Ciminelli
Cred. Dip.Couns.(Christian)

The post Self-Care Adds To Our Joy & Quality Of Life appeared first on aifc.

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Shauna Gallagher, mental health nurse, explains some of the reasons why we might shy away from asking for the help of others in the post below, originally titled, ‘Asking For Help’.

Have you ever had family, friends or even acquaintances offer to help when you are unwell? Somehow, though, you struggle to come up with ideas, even though you know all too well that you could do with some help. 

There can be many reasons why we don’t ask for help from others.

Perhaps this list of reasons has been your experience:

  • You don’t want to be a burden
  • You just want to be left alone
  • You feel guilty for needing help
  • You are embarrassed
  • You can’t think of ways others can help

 Let’s briefly address these reasons:

No one wants to be a burden – it can even seem a noble thought to have. However, you must remember that mental illness is doing all the ‘talking’ here.  Put the shoe on the other foot – if your family member/friend were unwell, you would desperately want to help, just to be able to bring some relief to your loved one. In my experience, the family member/friend feels more burdened by not being able to do anything than by actually helping. 

Once again, mental illness takes a hold of your thoughts and makes you want to isolate. It is wise to remember that illness and isolation are inseparable – isolation means illness, illness means isolation. We need to allow others to help us, even if only in small ways, to help break the chains of isolation. 

Guilt is an emotion that comes to the fore a lot with mental illness. You can have guilt over lots of things from not being able to earn an income to not spending time with family. But the negative cycle of guilt only makes you feel worse. There is no need to feel guilt from others helping you. Remember, they want to help, and it allows them to feel useful, even in some small way. 

When you let embarrassment rule the situation, you are denying yourself the opportunity to feel loved and supported. And once again, you also deny others the opportunity to reach out to you. 

Even if you want others to help you, the brain fog and lack of energy and motivation make it difficult to come up with ideas. Often you are just too tired to even think. Once again, these symptoms of mental illness are the very things stopping you from asking for and accepting help.

Whether you can relate to one or all of these reasons, it doesn’t negate your responsibility as a part of your recovery to accept or even ask for help. 

Some of the simplest things can be so impacting. Perhaps you could write a list (or ask someone to help you write a list!) of practical things that others can do when you are unwell.

Here are some suggestions: 

  • Prepare a nutritious meal – not onerous as they are already cooking
  • Give you a lift (e.g. to appointments or church)
  • Pick up some groceries for you (remember you need to feed your brain for recovery, so suggest simple yet nutritious items like almonds, walnuts, fruit/veggies – these don’t need any preparation!)
  • Pop in for short visits – when you are unwell you probably wouldn’t want a lengthy visit, but you still need interaction from others. Educate your family and friends that just a quick visit is fine. 

These suggestions aren’t necessarily time consuming or difficult to do, yet they can positively impact your recovery, whilst at the same time benefiting the other person. Asking someone to help you in a way that uses their strengths and interests will be energising to the other person also. 

It is important to remember that God expects His children to help others, so don’t deny others the opportunity to be obedient to His word.

I will leave you with some verses from that perspective that might release you to ask for help: 

Philippians 2:4 
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 

Hebrews 13:16
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. 

John 15:12
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

Shauna Gallagher – Mental Health Nurse QLD.
Permission – Original Post: Asking For Help on the Persevering Hope Website.

The post Asking For Help Is A Positive Step Towards Self-Care appeared first on aifc.

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At a family birthday in Canberra recently, I met a young adult who came to Australia as a refugee child in the late 1980s. Having survived systematic state terrorism (a horrific civil war in Central America), this man, now in his late 20s, shared that he still has occasional nightmares about what he witnessed. He also finds it difficult to form relationships and struggles to adjust to life as an adult.

His story illustrates the far-reaching impact of refugee trauma. It can affect all areas in a young person’s life: thoughts, feelings, the capacity to be socially engaged, the ability to learn, and future moral development. It can be overwhelming for the survivor and very challenging work for us doing the task of listening, supporting and helping the person to grieve and to trust.

Systematic State Terrorism involves terrorising the whole population through systematic actions carried out by the state, such as the military and security forces.  This was the context in which the young man now settled in Canberra grew up.  The state harassed, pressured, labelled and morally discredited his population group, while randomly carrying out events such as mass executions, disappearances, spectacular raids and torture.  The goal was to keep the population in a state of fear, disconnected from each other, unable to organise any opposition to the regime, and with no alternative but to comply with the imposed political options.

As Christians, we are struck by the enormous differences between these kinds of oppressive, controlling regimes and the Kingdom of the God we serve.  Compare God’s character and rule to that of the terrorist and terrorist group:

The terrorist group keeps the population in a state of fear.   In contrast, God gives us freedom from fear and brings us into the kingdom of the son of his love (Colossians 1:13)

The terrorist seeks to disconnect us from each other –  God, on the other hand, has given us the gift of reconciliation – back to Him and to each other (2 Cor 5:18-19)

Terrorism seeks to render us unable to organise any opposition to the regime – through our church family, God gives us unity and power to pray for each other, including against the attacks of the enemy (Eph 6:11)

The terrorist gives no alternative but to comply.  God does not demand our worship but invites us to the freedom of abundant life in Him (John 10:10). “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Much has been written to help guide our clinical work with traumatised refugee clients.  I make use of these resources often, but in doing so I try to remember that what clients most need is a reparative experience: the chance to experience safety, trust and acceptance (something most of us take for granted but sadly, is uncommon for those who are fleeing persecution).

I also remember that Jesus Himself was a refugee, and has provided for us a model for suffering (incidentally, many refugees resonate with the story of Jesus, identifying with his lacking ‘a place to lay his head’ (Matt 8:20).  This identifying can be healing. Clients suffer now, as Jesus did, and like all of us do in different ways.  What unites us is our hope for a sure redemption.  Or, as Job puts it:  ‘I know that my Redeemer lives and that he will stand upon the earth at last.  He will be on my side! Yes, I will see him, not as a stranger, but as a friend. What a glorious hope’ (Job 19:25-27).

By Max Schneider
Manager, Innovation and Development
Cred. GradCert Psyc&Couns; GradCertChildMentalHealth; AdvDipCFT; CertIVAssWT; BAComms

Sources:

Bible Gateway – NIV Bible Version – www.biblegateway.com

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Make No Mistake – Toxic Controlling Relationships Aren’t Loving

Healthy relationships don’t smother and dominate the other person. Loving relationships are about looking out for the other person. Controlling others is like putting them in chains to restrict their movements.

In an excerpt from Dr Tim Clinton’s book, ‘Break Through, When to Give In, How to Push Back’ we can learn how these often toxic and controlling relationships are not loving, but instead are a sad and twisted misinterpretation.

10 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

“I’d die without you.”
“You make me whole.”
“Without you, I’d be hopelessly lost.”
“You define me.”

These phrases may sound charming, but this kind of “love” can actually be very destructive. In the name of “love,” it’s easy to put up with all kinds of craziness. To make excuses. To ignore reality.

When we define love as dominance, we feel completely justified in smothering people with too much attention and direction. And when we define love as compliance, we feel so utterly incompetent that we’re happy to let an assertive person tell us how to live. However, such misguided devotion doesn’t truly satisfy us. It robs us of sanity, peace, joy and the true love of a healthy relationship.

So how do you know? Here are a few signs that you may be in an unhealthy, enmeshed relationship. Do you…

  1. Close your eyes to irresponsible behaviour?
  2. Keep secrets or tolerate abuse?
  3. Sacrifice to cover up someone else’s mistakes?
  4. Cater to a lazy person’s whims?
  5. Caving into an angry person’s demands?
  6. Make excuses?
  7. Justify bad behaviour?
  8. Accept the blame for something you never did?
  9. Enable an addiction?
  10. Lie to yourself or others?

If you answered “yes” to many of these statements, it’s likely that you may be stuck in an enmeshed relationship. These relationships leave a legacy of heartbreak and manipulation. But that legacy can be changed if we are willing to open our eyes and take an honest look at ourselves and our relationships.

Often, in the name of love, we bail out people who won’t help themselves. Each time we insist, “This is the last time!”

In the name of love, we endure name-calling, the silent treatment, temper tantrums, even violence. We try to assure ourselves, “Deep down he’s a good person with a kind heart…he’ll change.” But he never really does. In the name of love, we cower in the face of an angry person’s demands and settle for whatever peace we can get, which isn’t much.

Why? What keeps us there? A misunderstanding of love.

What the world calls “love” often isn’t true love at all. If our version of love is destroying us and someone we care about, and then let’s not call it love. There are lots of other names for it, but it’s not love.

We may call it love, but enmeshment is:

  • Smothering a weak, needy person with too much attention and direction
  • Giving in (meekly or defiantly) to the demands of a dominating person
  • Taking responsibility for another’s choices instead of letting him experience the consequences of his decisions
  • Losing your identity in someone else, being dominated by them, and taking on that person’s emotions, values, thoughts and behaviours
  • Switching roles with your children and expecting them to meet your emotional needs
  • Building your relationship on power instead of mutual respect

If you’ve been mistaking counterfeit love for the real thing, then you need a breakthrough—a flash of insight and a dose of courage to take action and change the status quo. A weak, misguided definition of love causes us to give in repeatedly, but a stronger, more accurate view of love directs us to speak and act wisely to address evil, manipulative behaviour…”

God’s Version of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.”

Sources:

Permission Attained – Dr Tim Clinton – http://www.timclinton.com

The post Toxic Controlling Relationships Aren’t Loving appeared first on aifc.

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How I Overcame The Fear Of Flying With These 10 Steps

if you’re prone to anxiety or panic attacks for fear of flying, in my experience, avoidance may be the worst course of action to take. As a person who overcame the fear of flying I had spent the last 40 years avoiding even the notion of getting on a plane. But then I came across a bible verse that challenged all reasoning behind my avoidance behaviour. I soon realised that my fear was not based on faith nor had I been trusting God enough to allow Him into this area of my life.

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear or timidity, but one of power and love and a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7

Ripping this verse apart made me realise that I was embracing the exact opposite of what God’s word says about the Spirit He put in me. The plan for my life was being hindered by fear.  Awakened to the fact that I was not operating in love, I was not exercising self-control, nor was I living in faith with a sound mind.  My fear had suddenly become unjustified. It wasn’t difficult to challenge myself after identifying a major obstacle to my faith. So I made a split second decision to stop the crippling mistrust. After all God has my future in His hands. What should I fear? Not paying attention to my negative thoughts, I instantly took action by booking return flights to Queensland for myself and the family, while choosing to accept whatever comes my way. How else was I going to grow past this point other than trusting God the creator of the universe?

We all have to ‘take heart’ as described in the bible, which means taking courage. Courage isn’t a feeling. It’s a choice! Make the choice to be courageous despite the circumstances and trust God.

10 Steps That Helped Me Defeat The Fear Of Flying With Faith And Courage

  1. Choose God – Choosing to trust God in this area of my life allowed me move forward by allowing God’s perfect love in. Knowing that He has my back and that my life and future are in his hands made all the difference.  1 John  4:18
  2. Pick Flight & Plane – Schedule your flight at a time that you will be most comfortable with. I even looked up the plane model on Google. Once you made your decision stick to it. This is one thing we have control over.
  3. Do it afraid – I had butterflies the whole time, from getting on the plane, the moment it took off.  But once the plane had levelled off I was fine.Tea and coffee was served while I played with my IPad and the nervousness disappeared, until the landing. I had butterflies again. But the landing went smoothly.  I let out a sigh of relief but immediately thought we have to go through that again on the return flight and told myself I would be fine, just like I am now.  I was visibly shaking as I walked off the tarmac.
  4. Live In The Present – Each flight experience is unique and because of that, we need to live in the present when we are flying. There’s no point in going into a panic for something that hasn’t happened.  I chose to deal with it as it comes as I have no control over anything that hasn’t happened yet.
  5. Silence The Mind – Racing fearful thoughts were trying to get a hold of me but I refused to give in and let them take hold. Although I was very afraid. Stopping those thoughts was the only real control I had. I can control how I react and how I deal with the situation.
  6. Spiritual Preparation – I prayed about flying and spoke to God before boarding the flight helping to calm my nerves a bit knowing that God has this.
  7. Entertainment – It helped to have my IPad with me to help keep me amused and focused on anything but the flight.
  8. Travel with Family – not going alone helped a lot. I had people to share the good times with but also to support and cheer me on.
  9. Controlled Breathing – I found that focussing on my breathing and controlling it was helping me to become more relaxed.
  10. Have a plan B – If all of the above doesn’t work have a plan b in place.  This might mean talking to a counsellor or taking classes on overcoming the fear of flying prior to booking a flight. Classes are offered by the major airlines. See Qantas Fearless Flyers. 

Plan B:

  1. Talk to the airlines about attending classes to overcome the fear of flying.
  2. See a counsellor.

Although I dived right in, plan B might come in handy for someone who needs professional support in overcoming their fear of flying.

Since overcoming flying we have flown to Melbourne and are looking forward to a holiday overseas in the near future together as a family.

Sandra Ciminelli
Cred. Dip. Couns. (Christian)

The post 10 Steps That Helped Me Defeat The Fear Of Flying appeared first on aifc.

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