May 2, 2023
You can’t help other people for long on an empty tank. You need to refill it! With what? Being able to ask for help as you are willing to give it.
I was just reading on Forbes, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s Landmark Initiative On Loneliness And Social Isolation, and how loneliness is claiming far too many lives. We all know there is a mental health crisis in America. We don’t have enough mental health providers to help all those seeking it. What makes it even more troubling is, most people needing help, won’t ask. We need people to be willing to help others and change the conversation they have going on in their own minds. If they think they don’t deserve help, or feel as if no one would care they need it, they won’t ask.
We see that all the time in the veterans’ community. They tell themselves they should be stronger and able to deal with everything. They tell themselves they’ll get over it if they wait and sooner or later, it will go away. Most of the time, these same people will be the first ones to show up and help another veteran heal. If they won’t accept help for themselves, and give away whatever they have without filling themselves up with what they need, they can’t do it for long. How many times do we have to read about one more veteran, knowing what others felt with #PTSD because they had it too, but ended up taking their own lives because they lost hope they’d heal too?
The way some people think, I shouldn’t have had to ask for help for myself since I was helping everyone else. Strange how that goes. Considered an expert on what survivors go through, a Chaplain, trained to help others after trauma, I couldn’t have done it for over 40 years now without getting help for myself. Sometimes it came from friends also in this work. Other times it came from Mental Health Professionals. Sometimes it came from reading, however, that was not as beneficial as a human voice, a hand reaching out to be held, or hugs.
If you want to be a healing helper, wonderful but if you do not get spiritual mind care, you won’t have much to give others in need. When they do, they need people to answer the call for help and you need it too.
Notably, the callers and visitors often spoke about their health to the clinical team, alerting them to situations like mental or physical decline, that led to life-saving visits from our doctors. This video with one of our earliest members, Virta—tells the story better than I ever could. (Forbes Sachin H. Jain)
Consider the scripture “Freely you received, freely give.” It was instructions to those Jesus was sending out to heal others. That means you have to have it before you can give it. How can you give something away you do not have? You can’t. I know there were many times when I could not help anyone because I needed help to heal. I had nothing to give away.
I’m not talking about going to church unless you already do. I’m talking about a spiritual connection to God with no one else getting in the way of receiving what you need for spiritual mind care. It gives you a renewed perspective when you realize you are never really totally alone. After all, no matter what religion you may claim as a choice you made for yourself, most religions say God alone created our souls and sent them here for a purpose. If you are tugged to help someone else, that was not from your mind, but from your spirit. When you do, you are filled up so you are able to give. When you gave more away than you replenished, you need a refill, just like I did.
One of the last times I faced this emptiness was last year when one of my closest friends passed away from Covid. He was my rock, encourager, and a nagging voice in my head every time I wanted to give up on the work I do. I knew I needed help because the grief of losing him was too much for me to heal on my own.
I was rewriting a book series. As I was editing it, I realized I was more connected to the darkest parts of the books instead of the hopeful parts. The therapist helped me work through it and the result was a three-part series, Ministers Of The Mystery. The Scribe Of Salem
, The Visionary Of Salem
, and the 13th Minister of Salem
is about suffering and healing with the help of others offering spiritual support to someone suffering. They had no clue that when he was once again filled with his connection to God, what he would deliver to the world.
My husband and I moved to New Hampshire four months before the pandemic hit. It was very lonely not being able to get out and meet people. I was grateful we had friends here because otherwise, we wouldn’t have gone anywhere. They have been in our lives for decades. Without them, and some nice neighbors, along with our daughter, we’d have no one to talk to or remind us we are not alone.
I would not have been able to deliver these books without someone helping me heal, as much as my friend did for over 15 years. That is how this works and we keep working for the sake of others. First, we need to be filled, then we can give, but if we do not refill what we give, we can’t give.
One more thing to consider is, if we tell people to ask for help, yet are not willing to ask for our sake, what kind of message do they receive? If they know when we needed help, we not only asked for it but received it, and then see us willing to help others, that gives them hope they can do it too!
#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife