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learning2float:

Fascinating post!! Recognise some of the points made despite never being sectioned. When will mental health be treated equally to physical health.

Originally posted on Sectioned:

Unexpected

Since starting to have mental health problems and then being sectioned, I’ve learned about things I never imagined existed or would need to know about.

  • I’ve learned that being taken to hospital by police counts as an arrest that could show up on checks done for prospective employers.
  • I’ve learned about the Work Capability Assessment, Atos and Employment Support Allowance and that, even if your doctor’s certificate is for mental health, you’ll still be asked to touch your toes.
  • I’ve learned that mental health problems are often treated with purely physical means, and that merely keeping someone alive is seen as success enough.
  • I’ve learned that getting treatment for mental health problems can be a test of endurance: nearly three years post-discharge, I’m still waiting for talking therapy.
  • I’ve learned that, even though mental health services are already badly under-funded, they are being cut more than physical health services.
  • I’ve learned…

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In a bid to avoid the winter blues I booked a holiday to Spain. The weekend before I left, I visited a church, where people were also visiting, who had links to a church in Spain, in the next town to where I was going. The randomness of our meeting, made me sure it had significance. I flew to Spain on Sunday, making it impossible to go to the church, but I noticed that not only did they have a weekly prayer meeting, but I would be visiting the week of their Woman’s meeting.

On Monday I made the 25 minute bus journey from Banelmadena down the coast to Fuergirola to The Ark. Sadly I saved the wrong time into my phone, so I arrived as they were coming to an end. They had paired up with women they didn’t know, prayed for them and then created a card with the words and pictures they felt God wanted them to share with their partner. I was sad to miss out, but was so blessed to have spent a short time with these prayerful, prophetic, creative women. One of the other ladies to prayed with me. She knew that she knew me, suddenly she realised we had been on holiday together 10 years ago!!

On the bus home, I sensed God say,”this holiday is for Jesus”. How strange I thought, surely that’s what retreats and Oak Hall holidays are for!!

I returned to The Ark on Wednesday for their prayer meeting. We had an amazing hour and a half, worshipping and praying as we felt led by the Holy spirit. There was freedom in that place. At one point I felt led to grab a red and gold flag and dance…I asked permission before I did…but after the meeting the pastor actively encouraged me to use them if I was coming to the service on Sunday. A lady prayed that God wanted to break strongholds in our mindsets, and in depression and anxiety. I wondered if that was a word for me and asked the lady who brought it to pray with me afterwards. She organised for me to go with a member of the church for theophostic prayer, where God showed me the lies I’ve believed from when I was young and spoke His truth instead. I’m choosing to believe Go’s words – I am loved, I am special, I am beautiful!! What an extraordinary visit!!

learning2float:

Really useful post on seeing the signs and self – care…definitely something I need to have a think about…

Originally posted on CHAPLAIN'S BLOG:

Not my pants...not my drawer...but you get the idea

Not my pants…not my drawer…but you get the idea

It’s a little three drawer cabinet next to my side of the bed, and the top drawer contains my underpants. But it is so much more than that because it acts as a barometer for how I am doing. It becomes a sign for me of how my life is going.

Now it would be easy to start a post about CARING FOR YOURSELF with a whole list of things to do, like some self-care manual; and there is value in that. But as always, that’s not my way. My way is to tell a story. So here it is.

Three years ago, the new year started badly; well not badly but I didn’t seem to have any energy. Work was a busy as ever, and I found myself trudging through every day, with my mantra “Tomorrow will be…

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It’s New Year and on #shereadstruth they are just starting a new series calls a fresh start. I love their studies on youversion and I love being able to do bible study where ever I am cos it’s on my phone. Sadly this study is not on youversion, but the positive is, this is the first time I’ve started a study at the same time as everyone else is doing it.

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Today’s passage was Genesis 1:1-31 and as I read it, it suddenly seemed such a fresh reading as I read it in the context of new year and new beginnings…this is my paraphrase…

“In the beginning God created a new year, 2014. It was empty and formless, no mistakes, no plans, a completely blank page. His spirit was hovering watching, waiting, ready to empower and inspire. 

Then God said let us separate 2014 into portions of time. Days to make up weeks, months and seasons. Seconds, minutes and hours to make up days. Together this made up the first day, and God saw it was good.

The next day He took the time He had created and named it; there was work time and leisure time. Most importantly there was rest time. Time to stop doing and simply be; time to recharge the batteries. This was the second day.

God flung seeds into the year saying,”Let the year be full of vision and dreams, hopes and promise.” And he saw that it was good. This all happened on the third day.

And God hung stars into the year: moments of closeness to God, thin spaces, mountain top experiences to give the year light and dark. To give time to build up reserves of hope ready for the dark times. Like flowers blooming, the fruit of dreams coming to pass. And God saw that it was good. All this happened on the fourth day.

And God filled the year with people, not just people, but friends. Friends entering, friends leaving, friends for the long-haul. God blessed them all and saw that it was good. This was the fifth day.

And God saw all he had created and said lets now make a daughter, let’s make her in our own image, to be like ourselves and to rule over the year. I bless her with dreams and visions, hope in dark times and friends for the journey. 

And God looked at His daughter and all He had created for her year 2014 and saw that it was excellent in every way. This all happened on the sixth day.”

Children of God

learning2float:

An encouraging reminder for the New Year…Happy New Year to everyone reading.

Originally posted on The Vicar's Wife:

Feeling blurry for the first Sunday of 2014? Need a pick-me-up? Be reminded: you’re a child of God:

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I put down the phone to a client. “it must be useful having a smiley sunshiney voice”, my colleague says.

If only they knew the truth…

At work I am there to encourage, to support, to care, to bless. To help people over the blip in their life that is a hospital admission.

If only they knew the truth…

The truth…that I can’t sleep at night, and sometimes i cry myself to sleep.

The truth…that i sometime wish someone would come along and ‘put me down’.

The truth…that I’m exhausted from keeping the tears at bay during work hours.

The truth that…i can hardly cope with life – household chores, interests are all dropped in favour of snuggling under the safety of the duvet.

The truth that…in the past month i have taken antidepressants and contacted the Samaritans.

The truth…that I’m a mess and the smiley sunshiney voice is simply my workplace mask.

Since I’ve had depression, I’ve struggled to read the bible or do quiet times. I’ve let myself off the hook, its hard when you’re depressed, so I’m excused!! During this current relapse I’ve done a bible study everyday for 15 days and counting!! Now I’m even reading the bible twice a day! So what’s my secret?? I thank God for the smartphone!

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I have downloaded a bible app onto my phone and downloaded a reading plan that suits me. It ticks off the readings as I read them on my phone. If I’m not feeling great I can get the app to read it to me! Then I can read the additional info for the day. I’ve been managing this before work in the mornings, in bed before I get up, or listening as I get dressed and eat my breakfast.

Then at night I go to sleep listening to the bible, letting it wash over me, believing that the bits I really need to hear will stick. 

I am so grateful for technology, it is helping me to draw closer to God, even in the dark times. I hope that posting this will help someone else draw closer to God too.

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I haven’t been to my church for a month now. Yet I haven’t missed a week of ‘church’, I haven’t fallen out with anyone at my church and I have been in regular contact with my clergy, home group and friends. So why have I been avoiding my church??

As I have written over the last few posts, I haven’t been feeling very well over the last few months since my GP suggested coming off my antidepressants. Over the last 4 weeks, I’ve been to 6 different churches with 5 different friends.

I guess in one sense I want to hide, to go where I am fairly anonymous, where people won’t ask me how I am in a public and big group context.

Also over the summer we joined with another church to worship. I love the people at this other church, they are very hospitable and I know them pretty well. It is also the parish church for where I live and therefore much easier and quicker to walk to. But it’s not my church. It’s not my church building. Going there is a diluted version (and therefore a less safe version) of my church family. 

Finally, and for me I feel the main reason, it’s just not accessible for me when I feel ill. It is not my perfect variety of church, but it’s where I believe I’ve been placed, it’s my family and I love that its local, but it is so frustrating a lot of the time. When I’m unwell I want to go to a church where I can worship in a modern style with space for the Holy Spirit, not having to trudge through hymns at the start and the end, with a modern bit in the middle. I need a sermon I can understand and engage with. Not just words, but something visual, a PowerPoint, props, interactive. Not big theological words I don’t understand. Practical teaching, not theories in theology. The last time I went to my church, I just went through the motions. 

So what is the plan for next week…I’ve been asked to babysit for a church family on Saturday with the opportunity to sleep over…so I can’t see how I can get out of going to my church with them next Sunday!!

How does one worship when the brain chemistry is all wrong, and you feel like you are down in the depths…

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Yesterday I was able to partake in 2 acts of worship that worked for this place I find myself in, but were opposite ends of the scale…or perhaps just 2 sides of a coin. Words and no words. 

First I spent time with a friend praying through the evening prayer for the day…we prayed through the liturgy, the psalms, the old testament and new testament readings, the Lords prayer, the collect for the day, our own prayers for people and situations. The rythmn of prayer, joining with others around the world who are sharing the same words, words based on scripture, words given to you, when your brain can’t formulate the prayer itself. Praying together, taking a line each, when alone you, you might just have given up. 

Then driving out of the city with other friends, we visited a church which had soaking prayer. To sit or lie, resting in God’s presence, focusing on the music and my breathe, leaving space for God’s Holy Spirit to drop scriptures into my heart, words of encouragement, words of truth and hope, pictures too. Halfway through a hand was laid on my shoulders as someone drew near me and blessed what God was doing. What God was doing, my weary mind didn’t have to do anything, just rest in His presence and recieve, be filled. 

Two ways to pray when your mind is foggy…yet God works through both…and amazingly yesterday both had this verse of encouragement…

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.

(Isaiah 43:1-2)

Why believe?

learning2float:

A brilliant explanation of why we believe even in the darkness…

Originally posted on A conglomerate of yodeling hippopotami:

I have been thinking recently about why I am a Christian. When I think about the fact that I believe in ‘God’, some deity that I can’t see, who created the world, the universe and everyone in it, it seems idiotic in the extreme.

I mean, take a look at the bible, why is it more logical to me that God impregnated an unmarried teenager so that his son could become man and save the world, than a teenage girl started the most powerful story in history to cover up an indiscretion?

It really doesn’t make sense! I once took a friend from uni on an alpha course. I must confess, it was not one of the better run alpha courses I have been on, and the answers to all questions were ‘you have just got to have faith’ and ‘because it says so in the bible’. The fact is…

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