Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Heart is the Miracle Behind Behaviour Change

I’ve often been mystified as to what it is that underlies change—true, life-giving, sustained change.
We change because we desperately want to change, because we see that we can no longer bear not to change, or because changing seems the only way—where to survive is to thrive.
It’s like the idea that a person who is challenged against their will is of their original opinion still. Things don’t change unless they change.
And change must come from the heart.
Last night I wrote about the issue of apology, and that if there were no action, i.e. sustained behaviour change, that the apology was null and void.
But that article begged a more fundamental question: how do people change? I know when I’ve changed, when I’ve been convicted that I had to change, there was a groundswell from within; I could no longer be who I was.
Like when I committed to bodybuilding to firm up a soft body as a twenty-year-old transformed in a year. Or, when I gave up smoking. Or, when I became a teetotaller. Or, when I became truly Christian after playing the game for more than a dozen years to my own peril. And, most virulently, when I decided I would no longer, not ever again, live a lie. I was convinced that the former life held no attraction for me. It was as if it repulsed me. I had to leave it. That life had to leave me.
Each time it happened, my heart changed. God had done open-heart surgery.
The very best of these times in any of our lives is when we’re so convicted and convinced our way was wrong that we want never ever again to live for ourselves. That we were ready to live for God, sold out to His purposes, and were entirely ready for Him who is all to replace that heart of stone we had with a heart of flesh that could only come from Him.
Such a miracle took place in and from within us.
We changed. And anyone who reads these words who doubts, I pray that this change that springs upon us like a thief in the night would happen to you, too, to make you a believer; that God alone, who stirs the stars into cycle, brightens hope at His merest suggestion.
Change must come from the heart. As someone looks at us having had our hearts changed, they stand as witnesses that the old is gone and that the new has come. And only God could do it. Only God does it!
So, if someone is to apologise from their heart, in all sincerity, to be able to change themselves even as they’re changed, they probably need to be intersected by God.
The heart is the nerve centre of the human being and no change is sustained without it starting it, having been convinced it was the only way.
What is it that brings change? It is a change of heart. Nothing is behind repentance other than a change of mind that is sustained by a change of heart.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Languishing in the Waiting Room of Life?

In your suffering now, there are those doing life easy. It can seem so unfair. But over the years, life has a way of evening the score. In your suffering, rather than rage at the injustice, rest, and resolve to be equipped to help others who will be blindsided by grief in the future.
But how does one acceptably rest?
I love what Jodie L Alexander-Platt writes in comparing suffering to being in a waiting room in an emergency department of a hospital:
“We can wrestle with our suffering, be impatiently disgruntled that others are being attended to before us, or we can take the time to tune our heart to God’s good grace. In grace we rest. In His rest we have peace.”
Isn’t that eloquent? And true.
The worst days of our lives are punctuated by pain that seems so untenable that we cannot rationalise it as being within the realm of living experience.
Days such as these we have moments that hardly seem real for the pain we bear. And yet moments as these are surreal for how painful they are. We look with complete disconnection to others’ realities that seem normal and so far away from our reality.
Those who endure pain that very few humans bear, for that time, endure what is completely unreal, because it’s an experience of life they barely believe is happening, just as it’s an experience that nobody else can connect with. It is out of this world, and only God can comprehend it.
It’s what is so often termed being in liminal space. It’s an in-between time where we hardly feel alive, and may very well feel completely dead to all hope and reason and life. It feels as if our lives are over and it feels as if no hope remains. And it’s confusing, for every moment seems so unpredictable.
And then we flux into a sense of living in grief that at least can resent the reality for the fact of others enjoying life when we aren’t.
Tuning our hearts to God’s good grace, we choose to rest in this grace that we must begin to believe actually exists. Why? Because of the testimony of others, we know it must exist. So we choose to be open to it. We rest in this grace; to acknowledge that what we may not feel or experience is real, for others have experienced it as their truth, and we too know that there must be something more to this experience of suffering; that a good God would not leave us nor forsake us in this. And in that is peace.
If you find yourself in this way-station of life that feels like death, it won’t always be that way.

Photo by Kleiton Silva on Unsplash

Friday, May 10, 2019

Do not dictate the direction of another person’s grief

“The length of the grieving is determined by the griever, not by how long you, as a comforter, can stand to be sad. Your work is to be with them where they are, not drag them out where you are more comfortable,” says Diane Langberg, PhD.
Those who, sooner or later, insist on dictating terms regarding another person’s grief are unsafe to relate with. It would be better that we got limited doses of these kinds of people.
But we don’t always get a lot of say over where our help comes from. The hope is everyone who reads the Langberg quote, or these words of mine, might get the gist that grief is a slave to nobody—it will never be dictated to, so we are best not to dictate to those around us how they should be grieving.
Grief goes on far longer
than those who grieve can bear.
It’s just the way it is.
What adds to the burden of the one who’s grieving is the pressure others can place on them to ‘get over it’. It’s not about what’s sensible or logical or rational, as if the person who’s not grieving has a better barometer for these things—they don’t. For starters, they cannot see the world from the griever’s perspective, no matter how much they think they can.
Whenever somebody determines that they know how to direct another person’s grief journey, they sin, they do the wrong thing, and it is never done out of love and care for the grieving person, no matter how much they rationalise it.
We can do a great disservice to people
when we insist on helping them.
Myriad damage is done in terms of abuse when people manipulate or coerce others against their will, and they say, “I’m sorry it feels bad, I’m doing this for your own good.” Nah, sorry, it’s abuse!
If it were a case that we need care because we can’t make the decisions ourselves it would be different. But if we’re living a normal life and someone takes over, it’s just wrong. We see this happen very often as elder abuse, when the elderly person still has agency over their decision making.
There’s no question it’s one of the hardest things we can ever do, to bear another person’s pain. It takes a great deal of faithfulness, humility and intestinal fortitude to journey alongside someone who’s trying to be faithful, humble and gutsy.
In many ways, to journey with the grieving is to enter a journey of grief ourselves. This is about saying no to the things we would ordinarily have freedom to say yes to. Whenever we give up our control we experience loss. 
One of the hardest things we can ever do
is bear another person’s pain.
So it’s very much the case that whoever journeys alongside the person grieving—much as the Holy Spirit comes alongside—chooses to enter a journey akin to loss.
This is why counsellors train around their own character deficiencies. People who help must know and be acquainted with their own triggers. This is a process that can take years of mastery. It often doesn’t mean they’ve brought everything into perfect balance and control, but they have learned to bear what is uncomfortable.
What a blessing it is for the grieving person to have the support of someone who can bear their own pain amid the sharing of another’s.

Photo by Sylas Boesten on Unsplash

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Goodness of Vulnerability When Overwhelmed

Burnout came with a rush in late April 2005. It forced me to embrace a new operating system. My brain changed the way it worked, overnight. It hasn’t been the only overnight transformative experience I’ve had (so many of us have had them!) but it caused me to immediately reassess how I lived and moved and worked. It forced me to become skilled at saying ‘no’, though I’m not always assertive enough in applying it. But when I brush up against my limits, I either need to be assertive in saying no, or the pressure quickly builds beyond reasonable levels.
One thing I’ve learned, because I’ve had to learn it, is that vulnerability (or surrender) in the moment of feeling overwhelmed is the counterintuitive response I most need.
I always feels very awkward
when I reach my limit.
It’s always hard to admit it
when I don’t have the capacity I wish I had.
It feels exposing and even embarrassing, like I do not like to be weak, and to feel like I’m a pushover, is crucifying for my ego. Pride never likes being humbled. Never, ever. We never get used to the process of surrendering, but we can learn invest in the bank of experience; to trust God’s faithfulness to hold us aloft and alive in our spiritual poverty.
To be spiritually poor is to be immensely rich.
It’s crucial we apply this strategy when we feel weakest and most vulnerable. If we don’t, we hurt ourselves and others.
Provided we’re safe, embracing our vulnerability is the answer when we’re overwhelmed. If we’re not safe, to get to safety is the major priority.

Photo by Joel Overbeck on Unsplash

Friday, May 3, 2019

Giving yourself permission to slow down

Sometimes we just need time. Not a huge amount of it. Just some moments to reconnect with who we actually are. If we don’t, we begin to become a shell of who we actually are. And that’s just sad.
Giving ourselves the permission to slow down is not selfishness, but courage, wisdom, humility, and diligence; courage to say no and stand one’s ground; wisdom to save precious energy and preserve one’s spirit; humility to know the world doesn’t revolve around us; diligence to do nothing when it would be easier to be doing something.
Life can get so hectic, that amid tasks to be done we forget about the people we are doing them for. We forget about the objective of life. And if only we could connect with another human being, and become vulnerable within the moment once more, embracing the simplicity of just being there, we would be reconnected with God too.
In the hustle and bustle of life, this life that is so frenetic, where people of every sphere work too hard, we place so much pressure on ourselves.
What if we learned to say no? Would we feel justified? How would we respond if people were to condemn us for taking our opportunities as self-care? Doesn’t the person who besmirches our need of rest offend love? Isn’t it the case of them failing us, not us failing them? Are we so easily exploited? Can we not take the day (or the hour) and disappear?
One of the best skills of self-care is to become inaccessible; to vanish off the face of the earth for a day, and find ourselves in a foreign spot, safe and secure, where we might meet God again. Of course, we need to know that our loved ones are adequately cared for or we tip over into worries and concerns that leave us imprisoned no matter where we are.
Giving ourselves permission to slow down is taking up the cudgel of immediate need. This spiritual health we so often take for granted is a key asset that we must protect.
Giving ourselves permission to slow down is not only about taking time out, of course, but it’s actually practicing a slower, more relaxed pace of living. The demands don’t change, but efficiencies are possible, and taking the courage to say no more often is the start of higher empowerment.
Driving slower, walking slower, breathing slower, eating slower; all these and more have direct health benefits, especially when we consider that we only slow down because we’ve deliberately chosen to.
In this uncaring age, the bravest thing you may ever do for yourself is take that chance on yourself to provide care for yourself. Such care is not entitlement as this world looks at entitlement; remember it’s courage, it’s wisdom, it’s humility, it’s diligence.
It’s virtuous.
Those who are brave and dare,
are those who do their self-care.

Photo by Natalia Figueredo on Unsplash

Thursday, May 2, 2019

What, didn’t get the memo?

Don’t you just love it when people don’t get the memo. What I mean is we can walk through life thinking that people have heard how marred we are—the result of being gaslit—and we seriously feel that that marring will remain with us forever.
That’s why it’s great when others we don’t know haven’t received the memo; they haven’t yet bought into what is ‘wrong’ about us; what the gaslighter has said.
Soon, as we start associating with this new tribe, we find that we are amongst true friends, that we feel safe again, and that they didn’t receive the memo, and because of the people they are, that means we don’t get scapegoated like we have been scapegoated before.
It’s such a refreshing déjà vu,
as if life has been lit in us again!
Isn’t it amazing how high we can fly when we are no longer marred by falsities of fancy; the imaginings of minds that play make believe that never seem to rise to reality in the relational realm?
I mean by that—which can sound mean!—that those who do the gaslighting may well promote how they get on with others, but in reality their own relationships are usually nowhere near as good as they think they are. Their perceptions don’t meet with the perceptions of others.
Wouldn’t it be better to downplay how effectively we relate with others? Wouldn’t it be better for others to say how blessed they feel by being in our presence?
When a person comes to me and they say how much they have done, what they have achieved, who they know, how great people think they are, and how much they have, I just think narcissism.
Who can possibly live up to such claims? And especially when I know the realities have been exaggerated. Listen carefully; lies speak loud! These same people, who not-so-quietly parade their wares before anyone who will watch, who have no disdain for themselves, but are not short of disdain for others, even to a spark that sets a forest of derision ablaze, are the ones behind the scapegoating of individuals who don’t subscribe to their majesty of being.
And oh what joy it is to have left a toxic environment, where nothing in us would grow, in the hope of finding something new. Even the desert experience was better, for desert experiences teach us to rely on God all the more. And desert experiences are not inherently unsafe. See how diabolical the tempestuous land of abuse is?
Having traversed the desert, having dug deep of our soul, travailing fathomless depths, feeding on the grits of despair, we grew more there, because at least life was not being sucked out of us.
And out of the desert we emerged, to a place where our tribe came to find us; we do not find them—they found us, and they accepted us. Our new tribe didn’t get the memo. And we praise the Lord for that! And even if they did get the memo, what they now know of us puts to death all those silly accusations. A reputation of dirt and dust comes to life, just as out of ash the phoenix rises again. And as we rose, we did not burn them asunder; just called them to confession and repentance, which is the only Jesus salvation there is.
The very best thing about having been gaslit—oh thank you Lord for this!—is, once we have stunk that smell of burning vapour torching the tissues of our spirit, we know this abuse is both pungent and real, and we are given the fuller gift of discernment for it. God does this so we can help others.
The purpose of abuse, recovery,
unto recovery for yet others.
The advocate enters the arena.
But oh that gaslighter; may their lies burn them to the ground such that their only rise would occur through confession and repentance, for anyone who confesses and repents deserves the mercy of God and all humankind.
And that is the test! All the survivor asks for is justice. Their vindication like the noonday sun! (Psalm 37:6b)

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

Monday, April 29, 2019

Look to the Lord and Find Your Help

“I look to the hills for my help, and from where does my help come. My help only comes from the maker of heaven and the maker of the earth.”
There is gold in the first verse of Psalm 121.
It sets up the remaining seven.
When we lift up our eyes to the hills, what are we doing? We are looking to where we expect our help to come.
Our faith is not focused on many extraneous sources.
We look because we have need. We search because we’re impelled to.
The psalmist looks to the hills because their eye is trained on 1) what they’ve come to learn as the only source of help, because 2) Yahweh is the only source of help.
The psalmist has learnt the most valuable lesson any of us can learn in our lives.
They have learned to look up because they came to a place when nothing else worked, and finally they decided it would cost them no more and may actually work to trust the Lord.
So, they didn’t look to the right or to the left, or head down or even straight ahead.
They chose to look up and to trust God for their help.
The most valuable lesson of life overall is the lesson of trust.
Where we place our trust says a lot about who we are and what we believe in. What and how we trust indicates whether we are wise or foolish. If we trust only the trustworthy, although it seems ridiculous to the worldly person, we ultimately trust what makes us wise, but we’re hardly ever vindicated straight away!
It’s why true wisdom is fully born in faith. It’s because the truth tarries — the Biblical principle of Matthew 11:19; in Jesus’ own words, “… wisdom is justified by what takes place as a consequence.”
This first verse in Psalm 121 sets up the remainder of the psalm. If we are wise enough to reject the overtures of the world, and in myriad form those temptations come, and instead look to the hills (which is code for: look up to God alone) we will find the help we desperately seek.
How or why? When we reconcile that God alone can help, we endure the moment of brokenness, accepting the pain of bearing a life we cannot control, of bearing with intrinsic discomfort, with annoyance and frustration, with catapulting sorrow, with feelings we do not like and with affections we cannot change.
And yet, out of this comes a place of peace and the source of hope and the position of destiny. God’s help is found right there!

Photo by Waranont (Joe) on Unsplash

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Don’t feel guilty for your recovery

When I was recovering from grief after my first marriage ended, I often wondered if I would ever be normal again. I pursued so much change in that season of life. I was open because I felt I had no choice. I desperately wanted my wife and life back. And I took multiple steps in the Australian Spring of 2003 to right my ship.
Little was I aware of it at the time, but that process continues today!
But the major point I want to impress upon you in this short piece is that, while the work of recovery can seem like such a waste of time, it is actually the cornerstone from which a new life is being built.
We ought not to despise the fact that we’ve been ‘sidelined’ for such a time as this!
But we so easily do,
and guilt plays a huge role in this.
We feel guilty for needing this time to rebuild, when life is happening right here, right now. We definitely feel we’re letting people down, even paradoxically amid change they will have to come to grips with. These changes are good, of course, but any change within us requires adjustment in others, and unless they can see the big picture, it feels like work for them. We feel guilty for the paroxysm of pain we bear within our own change; that roller coaster of emotions that others we care about must ride with us.
And there are myriad other varietals of guilt, that, for the purposes of this article, cannot be stated.
The work of recovery requires great faith.
This cannot be overstated. Constantly in recovery we’re an arm’s length from giving up and giving in to the temptation to quit and go an easier way that seems wiser, but isn’t. It’s never wise to put off the inevitable.
Every time we take up the cudgel of courage amid that screaming voice within us to give up or give in, we apply our faith, and as a muscle, our faith grows. Every time. Faithfulness means consistency.
We must take the hard and sacrificial choice to keep going on our recovery journey or we’ll never arrive. We need to say to the voice of guilt, “Back off, you’ve got no voice here!”
Guilt, if we listen to it, persuades us through a bizarre logic that always seems sensible at the time, only to be revealed as nonsensical in the cold light of day.
So, don’t feel guilty for taking the time, for getting the therapy, the support, the help, you need.
Don’t even enter into dialogue with guilt, because it’s straight from the enemy. Instead, replace the desire to feel better with doing something positive and proactive for your recovery.
You’re on a good path so long as the planned renovations are on track. Keep going. You can do this!
Think on these terms: everything of who you are becoming has its essence emergent from this season. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Give yourself more time not less. And keep the faith.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Being human is hard, and what makes it easier

The experience of loss is the paradox of life; life that becomes death. Loss is suffering in one word; to have someone or something we value taken away. 
The experience of loss would be hard enough if it only happened once. But the fact is it happens several times, perhaps many times, and sometimes too many times to count, over one lifetime.
One thing I’ve often thought about is whether we have the potential to master loss.
It is only been recently that I’ve come to discover that loss, as a general and overall concept, cannot be mastered. We may master a certain kind of loss, accepting the grief as part and parcel of life. But that doesn’t mean we master every kind of loss. And I think God can teach us something in this; not least of which, this reality prevents us from becoming conceited (this aligns with what the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10). He was given something painful that had to be endured to prevent him from becoming conceited.
What makes being human so hard is that none of us at any time can predict just when loss will occur. It comes like a thief in the night. And only when it arrives do we comprehend that it was ever present as a potential reality from our very beginning.
Loss is impossibly hard. Anyone who has been touched by this suffering of having had someone beloved or something valuable taken away from us knows that grief is a pain that never truly leaves during the entire season we experience it. And in most cases, closure for grief is a myth. It never happens that way. It just so happens that we learn to live a new normal, which on the surface of it is a sad and stark reality.
I have found personally that the greatest gift of loss is learning to die to self. It is never an easy lesson to learn, but it is always worth learning.
I call this the Revenant Blessing. It is a broad and general lesson; once loss has swept our hope away on a torrent to oblivion, loss may not blindside us to that degree again.
We are given some gift of resilience that I liken better to a hopeful resignation. Nothing unimportant wins our covetous hearts over again.
But this doesn’t mean we won’t experience grief again. Losses will continue to occur. The bigger and more complicated our families and lives are, for instance, the more susceptible we are to loss.
We may well have been broken by loss, and we may have learned the lessons of Christ in dying to self; this doesn’t mean that we are fortified against every form of loss, for different losses bring different costs and requirements of us.
There is a wisdom in life that helps us as losses come. This is not about imagining that being human can be made easy. On the contrary, as we accept that being human is hard, we are given to a deeper, more gifted, experience of life. We are matured as we come to accept there are many things we cannot change.
What makes being human so hard is that this life is so unpredictable, and we cannot exercise supreme control over our thoughts, our emotions, and others’ thoughts and emotions. If only we could! But then if we could we wouldn’t live a life capable of love.
Perhaps we have suffered many losses already. Maybe there are some losses yet to be experienced. What stands us in good stead is our acceptance of the day; to take each day as it comes, gratefully, as the mystery each day is. And whether the day involves trial or tribulation or a mix of both matters less than the fact that the universe spins the same way every day.
What makes being human easier is when we finally arrive in that place where we don’t need to control the day, other people, our circumstances, the weather, or anything else.
This is an ‘arrival’ to strive for, and that gives enduring loss meaning, which fuels hope.
I know this one thing for sure, however. I’m so glad of the person I’ve become because — in spite — of the grief I’ve endured. I would not be the person I am today had it not been for the things I’ve suffered.
Empathy and compassion are the gifts borne of great suffering.

Friday, April 19, 2019

They killed Jesus, Dead, they killed him, Good

Good Friday we call it. And the resurrection happened. But Saturday never rates a mention. Why is this?
Saturday, we may know for sure; Jesus was killed, dead.
And this was GOOD NEWS. It IS good news. Dead. Not alive anymore. Kaput. John 19:33 says it plainly:
“But when [the Roman soldiers] came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead…”
They killed Jesus, dead.
He wasn’t living any longer. The time of life had passed. He was gone.
Anyone who wants to discredit the Christian faith will  attempt to install doubt over the fact of Jesus’ death. 
If Jesus didn’t die, he didn’t die as payment for humankind’s sin. 
If Jesus didn’t die, he could not be resurrected. 
If Jesus didn’t die, he did not overcome death.
But Jesus DID die.
And Saturday was a day when he was DEAD. For the whole day. The most comprehensive victory of Creator over evil, of his creation over evil, had taken place. History. Done. Finished.
God’s eternal plan, his work of salvific art, accomplished. Nothing left to do. The enemy vanquished.
I don’t know about you, but in my case, that’s occurred on this earth, in an irrefutably physical way, about 1,936 years before I was even conceived. Done.
Nothing at all could I add to it before I was born. My existence changes nothing. That Easter Saturday, the proof.
How on earth do we wrap our heads and hearts around this GOD who would stoop to live as we live; to teach us what is kept for us in Scripture; to show us his character in what he did and who he healed, how and why; to experience all of the pain we might; the betrayal, the scourging, the mocking, the universal rejection?
They killed Jesus, dead.
They killed him, good.
It is GOOD. And what was GOOD remains so. It’s GOOD on Saturday; Sunday’s still coming.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Monday, April 15, 2019

A Redemption Ready for the Required Time

There’s probably thousands of people the world over presently writing about the Tiger Woods story of redemption. It’s so true. Redemption came crouching, stooping lowly, for a decade and more.
That’s what makes this redemption story even more special. It took the humility of showing up to years of ‘below-par’ performances, of failing to place, of being unimpressive, to prove the champion’s character.
I don’t know the first thing about Tiger Woods the man, but I do know what eleven years in the wilderness says. He was top of the world until the bottom fell out of it. It was the scandal of 2009. Perhaps it’s just that he could do nothing other than play the game he loves. Maybe the world just loves an underdog story.
One thing we can know, however, is faithfulness in any pursuit is tantamount to a borrowed success.
Whoever sets their mind to a thing, giving all of themselves to it, will without doubt move toward that thing. They do and they must.
Actions of faithfulness are a redemption being readied at the required time. It is a fait accompli.
If anyone has lost all of what they ever hoped for, their hope is utterly reliant on an against-all-odds redemption that will see the restoration of their fortunes. It may take ten years, like with Tiger Woods. It could take fifteen or twenty, but what would we do otherwise. We must forget what the past has cost us and forge forward, headlong, a day and one action and interaction at a time, into the future.
That is faithfulness; the negation of the present cost in the hope of redemption because faith refused to be swallowed by death. Such faith is the hope of resurrection, where redemption is ascension.

Photo: Sky News.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The weirdest, best Counselling session I ever attended

August 9, 2007. A date etched in my memory. For all the best reasons. I’d been in a clinical depression for at least two months. I’d been married three. I went into my second marriage clearly too idealistic. And I hadn’t foreseen the difficulties that we would be presented with. But, by August 9 I was ready for a revelation.
I can remember going into my manager’s office after coming back from the session and being clearly shocked by what I’d heard. But such a shock helped me turn a corner at just a time when I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I only ever went to this employee assistance program counsellor once. I can’t even recall his name. But his wise brusqueness was what my soul quietly needed. Normally, I find it quite hard to rationalise how someone so terse can think they’re loving.
But this counsellor listened to what I had to say, and he told me I wasn’t depressed. I was grieving. I was grieving the old life. I was grieving because I’d entered marriage, which is a drastically new way of living for a single man. My career was at a crossroad. And I was grieving in some part because I was getting to know who my wife really was. She was stronger than I thought she was — which I have later come to learn is such good news! But I struggled to cope early on.
On one level I was annoyed because he didn’t label me as I wished to be labelled. But at a deeper level, I craved to be in recovery. I craved to be understood, but what I craved even more was to be better.
I left that one-and-only session with a spring in my step, cured of my need to remain depressed. It was as if I’d been given license to live, for that time, without the shackles of mental illness.
As history would have it, I’d succumb to depression and anxiety again in 2011-2012, and again there were mini bouts in 2015-2016. And again, I can see the grief in those times too. Grief and depression can often be interchangeable, especially if we’re sensitive around our circumstances, which most of us are.
Sometimes we’re taken through things that seem absurd, yet it’s only at the end of it, with a reasonable mind, that we can see the benefit of it for the pain we bear.
Sometimes, just occasionally, you go to a counselling session ready to hear what you don’t expect to hear, and you don’t even know it beforehand. Somehow, this was one of those occasions for me.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash