Helping A Friend (Pastor Alinicia Gibson)

If you have a friend or family member who is struggling with mental health challenges, the first thing I want you to know is that it’s not your job to “heal” them. And honestly, they probably aren’t looking for you to do that anyway. So many people get caught up in thinking that they need to “fix” other people when that’s not their job at all.

Instead, focus on letting them know that you are there for them and an ear that will listen. Many times people aren’t looking for someone to tell them what to do, they just want to know that they have a friend who will be there for them. You can be this person! Here are a few things to remember                                                                                                                                                                                                                         If you don’t understand what they are going through, then don’t say that you do.   We all have our own issues.

  1. Do not break their trust. If they are sharing something with you in private, don’t tell anyone else about it. The one exception is if they are having suicidal thoughts and you need to get them help.
  2. Check in on them. Don’t wait for them to contact you.
  3. If you ask them how they are doing and they say “fine” or “good”, then ask them how they are really doing. Let them know you want the real answer, not the fake answer they think you want to hear.
  4. Look for ways to encourage them or show that you are thinking about them.
  5. Just listen. Really listen…actively. Don’t pretend to listen while thinking about something else. It can be hard to share personal things and if they find out you aren’t really listening, they aren’t going to open up to you again.
  6. Don’t do or say anything that implies you think they need to “just get over it”.


It’s Time to Get Help (For Loved One For Your Self)

Getting Help For Some One Else

Depending on where you live, symptoms and previous history you may choose to contact your local Crisis Team or 911. A crisis team consists of a group of mental health professionals who will once you call respond to you at your location. The crisis team can help navigate you through the mental health services in your area, triage symptoms, arrange a follow-up appointment and assist you in getting appropriate help. The Crisis team after assessing your situation can sometimes help to defray an inpatient hospital stay, encourage medication use and stabilize symptoms until a clinic provider can see your loved one. Sometimes however the crisis team may decide that an inpatient stay is needed. If they do, they will help to arrange transportation to the hospital. Yet, please know that even if the crisis team feels that your loved one should be admitted the Doctor at the hospital may not agree.

A crisis team can be an invaluable asset to you and your family, but there are times in which you may have to call the police as opposed to or before you call a crisis team. When deciding between calling the cops vs. calling a crisis team ask yourself, are there weapons involved? Is there actual violence or issues related to safety present? A crisis team is a team of mental health professionals, not police officers. Only police officers have the training and expertise to manage dangerous situations and to transport a person against their will to the hospital for an evaluation.

However, just because you call the police and request that they take your loved one to a hospital, there is no guarantee that they will. In general, the police take, removing a person from their home and escorting them to the hospital against their will very seriously. Especially if they arrive on the scene and do not see the signs that you saw, or your loved one appears fine. Unfortunately, just because you feel that your loved one should be taken to the hospital because they are not taking their medications, the police may not feel the same way. Your loved one has a right to refuse their medications, to refuse to see their outpatient therapist or to get help. The question you have to ask your self is how are the signs/symptoms experienced by your loved one negatively impacting them and then be prepared to make a case.

If the police agree with you and take your loved one to the hospital, please know that they will handcuff your loved one. I point this out because many people become nervous when this happens. Handcuffing is a safety precaution for both your loved one and the police; it does not mean that they are under arrest. If your loved one was escorted to the hospital by the police or with the support of the Crisis Team, it does not mean that they will remain at the hospital. It just says that they will be seen by a Doctor who will decide if admission is warranted.
Once at the hospital the decision to involuntary commit your loved one is up to the doctor. Again, just like the police doctors do not make this decision lightly. While “Almost all states allow police and clinicians to initiate short term commitments lasting up to seventy-two hours to handle imminent emergencies” there are legal statues that must be met to hold a person against their will. Please click on the following link for more information and rules in your state (https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/component/content/article/183-in-a-crisis/1596-know-the-laws-in-your-state).

Getting Help For Your Self -Voluntary

Mental disorders are treatable, but many people do not seek out help until their symptoms become severe. If you have come to the point in your life where you feel that you need help, then you are not alone. There is hope and support for you. If you present to the hospital, seek help and are admitted then this would be considered a voluntary admission. Voluntary admissions can help to identify symptoms, clarify the diagnosis and stabilize symptoms.


STAY MOTIVATED

The last couple of days have been a battle against staying in a depressive state.  This is a struggle that I’ve talked about often.  For me to get myself back on track I have to constantly feed my mind positive thoughts and I have to get my body moving.  If I do not do this then I can run the risk of being down for days.  What do I mean by moving?  Well, all the activities I feel like I don’t have the energy for I make an effort to still get to Zumba class or make my entrepreneur meeting.  If I go down I am more likely to stay down so movement becomes key.  What do I mean by feeding my mind positive thoughts.  For instance, I will tell myself get up and make class, you can do it, it’s okay baby girl, remember you are loved, you’ve come so far let’s go further, God got your back, etc.  This helps me stay motivated instead of defeated.  This helps me feel like I’ve accomplished my day to day task instead of feel like I’m letting everyone and everything down.  It’s hard work, but I remind myself I am up for the challenge.  

Remember when you feel yourself going down to depression it may take some hard, hard work, but you can do small things to keep yourself reminded how valuable you are and keep yourself moving. This does not replace taking your medicine, but an addition.  Stay motivated.  Be blessed!
 
https://symphonyreads.com/srm-blog/f/keep-motivated, FROM MINISTER MILLS


Admission and After

ADMISSIONANDAFTER

IGBATTMHO Copyright 2019.

 

Being admitted into a Psychiatric Ward is not a sign of failure or the end. An inpatient hospitalization stay can be the beginning of your recovery and could save your life. While in the hospital medications can be adjusted, diagnoses given or changed, and you can get answers to questions. No, I am not saying that a hospital stay is the best thing that will ever happen, and many people do not like being admitted. Some hospitals are better than others and sometimes getting admitted can be a problem. You may be in a room with people who you are not comfortable with, be surrounded by some not so friendly staff and even have to eat lousy food, but focus on you and why you are there. Take advantage of that time to ask questions, to learn from the other people around you and to get better.

 

If you are a family member of a loved one, who is currently on a psychiatric ward, visit and be involved. Get to know the treatment team to include the Attending and treating physician (may or may not be the same person). If possible, ask for a meeting with the Social worker and or Doctor. If a date for a team meeting (a meeting in which all of the professionals involved in your loved one care gets together to discuss his or her case) has been set, try to attend. Your input is valuable and can help ensure that the treatment team is focusing on the right goals (your loved one may not be able to articulate their needs clearly). Ask questions about the diagnosis, about the medications, inquire about the discharge plan and if you have concerns, share those concerns with the team. For example, you may feel that your loved one should be in the hospital for longer than two days. If that is the case be prepared to share with the team why you feel that way, let them know what you have been observing. Please understand that the goal of an inpatient hospital stay is to stabilize not to warehouse. Meaning today many inpatient hospitals do not have enough beds to keep people long term, many of the newer psychotropic medications work faster and people can stabilize to a point where the MD may feel that they can go home quicker. However, you live with your family member, and you know the challenges that you and your loved one will have to face once he or she is discharged. So share those challenges with the team and ask them to help you to develop a realistic plan that takes into account those challenges. For example, if you know that there are limited mental health supports in your area and that the earliest your loved one can get a mental health appointment in the community is three weeks from the discharge date advocate with the inpatient doctor for enough medications to cover the time.

 

Upon discharge ensure that you or your loved has a follow-up appointment with a psychiatrist or mental health clinic in your area. It will be vital for you to follow up and to continue the work you have done while in the hospital. Follow up with a mental health professional, medications, family, friends and faith can all be important components in your recovery plan. Unfortunately, some people do not follow up with a mental health team in their community. Because they feel good after the discharge they don’t feel the need to keep seeing anyone, so they don’t, unfortunately especially in the case of many illnesses, symptoms do return. Don’t let this be you; there are treatment options for you and your loved one to get the help that you need. So get them!



It Not Easy

 
Hard, struggle and painful are adjectives used by some people who live with clinical depression and persistent negative thoughts to describe their life. If you have not walked in their shoes please don’t speak against their walk. Encourage, support, speak life, go the extra mile when they can’t, pray for them when they don’t have the strength and most of all love them and encourage them to get help as needed. People don’t kill themselves because they don’t trust God, don’t have anyone to talk to are sick, broke etc. Ultimately people kill themselves because at that moment the strength that they had been using to fight the persistent negative thoughts and to keep hope alive paled in comparison to the strength of the negative thoughts that they were currently facing. Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors go together. They were not weak or selfish, just at that moment overwhelmed. 2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Yes, we are encouraged to stand in the Lord and to cast down those thoughts that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, however how we operationalize those mandates may look different depending on what we are facing and on how long we have been dealing with a specific persistent negative situation. For example, a long-term illness like clinical depression or one that requires ongoing tests and medical interventions can lead to up and down emotions such as fear and worry. One day you are full of faith and feeling good and the next day you are afraid and feel like giving up. Cycles that have us vacillating between a clean bill of health, treatment, remission, re-occurrence, treatment, remission etc. can wear us out. Sometimes we are going through so much (job problems, family issues etc) that we can feel as if we do not have the physical, mental or spiritual strength needed to deal with the same thing or another day. But guess what? The Lord is not disqualifying you because you feel like giving up. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Before you knew anything about yourself there was a God who loved you. Even when you are without strength, positive attitude or hope He loves you. Sometimes we try to work and stay busy in hopes of putting a distance between us and our negative emotions but negative thoughts can be relentless.
When you have to confront the same negative thought, same health concern, the same fears over and over again you can become tired and weary. And even when things seem to be going well for the moment you can live in fear and with a sense of dread. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because  your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Thoughts that lead to our destruction (spiritually or emotionally) are tools that the enemy uses to destroy us. And just like the enemy who goes to and fro seeking whom he may devour, negative thoughts never give up. Negative thoughts such as those that generate fear, sadness and or defeat can seem like a formidable adversary in our quest to remain sane, hopeful and upbeat. Even when we are smiling and feeling good, those persistent negative thoughts can creep in. And when we least expect it those thoughts can invade our feelings and remind us that we are not really happy. Sometimes you just don’t have the emotional, physical or spiritual strength to keep going, but He does. We can sometimes think that if we are not quoting scripture, praying or confessing that we are not in faith. But faith goes beyond quoting scriptures and a good confession (while these things are important). Romans 4:2-4 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. The Lord knows that sometimes you will be dealing with something in your life that you will not have the strength to face. So don’t beat yourself up if you feel as if you don’t have the testimony that you think you should have or are not speaking in faith in the way you think you should. Each time your spirit cries out and points in the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ that is a manifestation of your faith. This is the time in which all you need to do is to trust Jesus. Your faith is found in your trust and reliance on Him and He does not count or measure your faith in the same way that you do. Never discount the Love of God. Jesus Christ is not as hard to get along with as you think. He will meet you when you don’t have the strength to meet him. He will sustain you even when you don’t have the strength to pray, fast, go to church, read your bible, put a smile on your face, talk faith or think positive thoughts. He will meet you where you are even when you don’t feel Him. If you don’t have the strength that you feel you need He does, even in your silence, your fear, worry and tears He is there and His strength is sufficient. So stop with the self-condemnation and feelings of guilt.  You do not have to do anything extra in this season but just rest in Him.