Helping those who grieve

By April 18, 2017 Blog

let them choose how they want to express it. If they want to talk and talk and talk; fine. If they don’t want to; or need to try and move on, then that’s fine too. They have no control over losing their loved one; so let them handle this the way they need. don’t pretend it hasn’t happened. You don’t have to have perfect words; or even good ones. But acknowledge their loss and their pain. Speak to them if …Read More

Dying for help

By May 30, 2016 Blog

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder and you go to your GP, you’re doing something enormously brave. You’re making yourself vulnerable. You’re sticking two fingers up to an addiction that can kill. You’re saying no to a host of voices that tell you, “you’re not sick enough, you don’t deserve any help.” The last thing you need to hear from your GP are the same words. “I’m sorry, but you’re not ill enough to qualify for treatment.” Sadly, this is …Read More

Helpless Helpers

By May 23, 2016 Blog

When I give my testimony, I sometimes talk to people afterwards.  The number one question I’m asked is this: How do I help my loved one give up an addiction? Every fibre of me wants to say, “here; here’s the answer.  Here’s what helps me; here’s what will help you.” But I can’t.  Because I don’t have one. For one thing, I’m far from the finished product.  I speak out of weakness, not as someone with answers, but someone who’s taking her questions …Read More

Helping Someone With OCD

By November 30, 2015 Blog

Encourage sufferers to seek help: the earlier they receive it, the better their chances of recovery. Watch out for warning signs: e.g. seeking reassurance, doing things over and over, irritability/indecisiveness, extreme reactions to minor things, spending a long time doing activities/being late, taking longer than usual over small tasks. If they’ve been prescribed medication, encourage them to keep taking it. Don’t support them in their rituals (e.g; washing towels or keeping things in a certain order). It’s natural to want to …Read More

Help! Here’s How:

By November 25, 2015 Blog

1. Take off my label.  If I’m going to move forward, I need to know that I am more than this. I can’t yet see it.  But you can help me grow into someone that doesn’t yet exist. 2. Be real. The gospel says we’re made of the same sinful, broken, redeemed, grace-hungry stuff. Show me this is true.  Don’t pity or patronise me. Be my friend. 3. Point up, not in. I want you to save me.  I want you to …Read More

Silence That Speaks

By July 28, 2015 Blog

How do you ‘do’ pastoral care?  Is it something that requires training? A hospital placement? A degree in theology? A specific calling? These things can be helpful.  But I reckon much of it comes down to two things: curiosity – and compassion. 1. Curiosity: being interested in the person you’re with. Simple, eh? But not easy. At least, not for me.. Often, instead of listening,  I’ll be talking to someone and thinking about myself.  Waiting for the opportunity to wedge in …Read More

Don’t Drown Together

By November 3, 2014 Blog

What do you do if someone you love is caught up in an addiction? They want help – but the help they want is not the kind they need. They want to be rescued, or just left alone – but you can’t do either. They’re trapped and unable to get out – but every day they make decisions which mire them deeper in the mess. So. You can be hard.  I can’t help you.  I won’t.  Sort yourself out and come back …Read More

Stronger than Sympathy

By October 13, 2014 Blog

What does it mean to help someone who’s depressed or in distress? Do we join them? Or keep our distance? One approach is illustrated in the cartoon pictured. Helping here means making a nest for the hurting person, withdrawing with them and keeping them company in the dark. It breaks down the wall between “sufferer” and “carer” – and that’s a good thing. It’s also a lovely picture of empathy and understanding. But is it enough? Joining the depressed person in their pit pictures part of Christ’s love – …Read More

Making Church ‘Safe’

By September 30, 2014 Blog

Following on from yesterday’s post, some thoughts on making church less scary:  Expect that folks in your pews will struggle.  Model weakness and beware of a leadership model that says that ‘proper’ Christians have to be strong and together.  Talk about mental health issues – even in sermons: and not as something ‘unusual’ or ‘weak’. Avoid using loaded words e.g. ‘mad’, ‘crazy’ – especially from the pulpit. Invite speakers in to talk about specific issues, including testimonies from …Read More

Bible for the Bruised

By September 22, 2014 Blog

I have an enduring love for Gideon bibles.   Especially the section at the start, where they list verses according to topics. When I first became a Christian, that wee red book was like a road map: What to do when you’re: depressed/lonely/doubting/angry. How to find help when looking for a job/tempted to despair. Where to turn when people slander you or mock you for your faith. It’s not the best way to read the Bible, but God used these headings to bring me comfort. (‘Longing for …Read More