What to Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt. 4 You’re a Judge?

Avoid judgment

Nobody likes feeling judged. Someone facing a difficult situation as a result of their actions may have done some self-judgment already.

Regardless, when seeking support, people generally don’t want to hear a critique — even if you offer constructive criticism with the best of intentions.

When offering support, try to keep your opinions on what they should have done or where they went wrong to yourself.

Avoid asking questions they might interpret as blaming or judgmental, such as, “So what made them so mad at you?”

Even if you don’t offer any direct judgment or criticism, tone can convey a lot of emotion, so your voice might share emotions you didn’t intend to say outright.

Take care to keep notes of disapproval out of your voice by focusing on feelings like sympathy and compassion when you speak.

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#avoid-judgment

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Single, Saved, and Sick of It

It’s all about your attitude. You’re supposed to remain positive and chipper about being single. At all times. Said no one ever but, it’s been implied. Last night I was in quite a bit of pain. This morning it was the same. No one was here to help me. Again. And when I look back over my life, as an adult, there many times I bore my pain, my cross, alone. You can save the, “God was there” because I know that and you know EXACTLY what I mean when I say no one was there to help me.

Now let me say this, my parents were there and my family were there many times. Friends as well. But they cannot be there all of the time. I had to get up and get my own medication. I had to get up and go to the store with my child when she was small, alone. When I was in pain, there were so many times all I wanted was a hand to hold or to be held. Because I am not a saint, I do know what that feels like. I do know what it’s like to have someone there in that capacity. And I want it again.

If you are single, I want you to know that you can be lonely sometimes and it’s okay to admit it. It’s okay to feel it. You can be upset and sick of being single and that is okay, too. You can have your moments. You should have them. Get it out of your system and stop pretending that you never feel them.

It was refreshing to say today, to God, “I am sick of being single. I need some help. I needed help running a bath. I needed help getting and fixing something to eat. I needed a hand to hold and to be held. I am sick of being strong for myself.” I got it out. It’s not as if God doesn’t know what I really think and how I really feel. It was CONFESSION. God loves honesty and confession.

If two is better than one, I am ready for my two. I have been ready.

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Loved One or Friend w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 3

Validate

Think about the last time you went through something difficult. You probably wanted to talk to someone about the problem, but you may not have necessarily wanted them to fix it for you or make it go away.

Maybe you just wanted to vent your frustration or disappointment and get some soothing acknowledgment in return.

Support doesn’t require you to fully understand a problem or provide a solution. Often, it involves nothing more than validation.

When you validate someone, you’re letting them know you see and understand their perspective.

The support people often want most is recognition of their distress. So, when a loved one tells you about the challenges they’re going through, they may not need you to jump in and help. You might offer the best support simply by showing concern and offering a caring presence.

Some validating phrases you can use are:

  • “I’m sorry you’re dealing with that situation. It sounds so painful.”
  • “That sounds so upsetting. I understand why you’re feeling so stressed right now.”

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#validation

~Nikki

What To Do When It’s a Loved One or Friend with Anxiety or Depression. Pt 2

Be Socially and Emotionally Supportive

What it is

People show emotional support for others by offering genuine encouragement, reassurance, and compassion. This might include things like verbal expressions of sympathy or physical gestures of affection.

Emotional support can come from other sources, too — religious or spiritual sources, community activities, or even your pets. Whatever form it takes, this support can improve anyone’s outlook and general wellness.

Some people have a knack for being emotionally supportive, but this skill doesn’t come naturally to everyone.

ASK AND LISTEN

Ask…

When you want to provide emotional support to someone you care about, asking a few questions is a great place to start.

“How can I support you?” can sometimes work, but it’s not always the best approach.

While good intentions lie behind questions like these, they sometimes fail to have the impact you desire.

People don’t always know what they want or need, especially in the middle of a difficult situation. So, this question can be so broad it leaves someone unsure how to reply.

Instead, try asking questions tailored to a situation or the person’s state of mind, such as:

  • “You seem a little upset today. Would you like to talk about it?”
  • “I know your boss was giving you a tough time. How have you been holding up?”

If you know someone has faced some challenges and aren’t sure how to open a conversation, try starting with some general questions, such as, “What’s been happening in your life lately?”

Try to keep your questions open-ended instead of asking questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” This invites an explanation and helps keep the discussion going.

… and listen

It’s not enough to simply ask questions. Listening actively, or empathically, is another important part of providing emotional support.

When you really listen to someone, you give them your full attention. Show interest in their words by:

  • displaying open body language, like turning your body toward them, relaxing your face, or keeping your arms and legs uncrossed
  • avoiding distractions, like playing with your phone or thinking about other things you need to do
  • nodding along with their words or making noises of agreement instead of interrupting
  • asking for clarification when you don’t understand something
  • summarizing what they’ve said to show you have a good grasp of the situation

Using good listening skills shows others you care about what they’re going through. For someone who’s struggling, knowing that someone else has heard their pain can make a big difference.

healthline.com

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#active-listening

~Nikki

Strengthen What Remains Notes: Take Inventory!

TAKE INVENTORY!

Have you ever had a job where you had to take inventory? Have you ever looked in your refrigerator or pantry to see what was in there and what you could make to eat? Well then, you took inventory. You’ve got to take inventory of your life.

Nehemiah looked around for what was left, what he could salvage, what he could, rebuild with. He looked around to see who was left and he strengthened those that remained. What’s left? Who’s left? What skills do you have?

As long as you are looking back, you’re getting weak. As long as you are talking about when you were in high school, you are getting weak. As long as you are wishing on a star, you are in a position of weakness. Strengthen what remains, so you can rebuild.

We’ve got to rescue the good things we have going before they’re gone. Spend your energy trying to revitalize what you have, not resurrecting what you don’t. Pay attention to who and what remains.

Take Inventory!!! You are looking at what you’ve lost, but you need to focus on what remains and strengthen it.

~Nikki

Strengthen What Remains Notes: Seize the Moment

Be honest with yourself. Have you fallen into a lull?  Are you going through the motions, not realizing that you are sleepwalking through what has the potential to be your best and most fruitful years with God?  Think long and hard about it. Are you going through the motions? Are you wasting time? Are you in the routine and rut of life? Have you grown complacent? Complacency will SUCK THE LIFE OUT OF YOU! There is a huge difference between complacency and contentment. Complacency means this will work for me forever or I have given up. It is what it is. But contentment means, I am satisfied for now BUT, I need something else. Something better. It is what it is but, there is greater ahead. There will be greater after this. Haggai 2:9 says this other house will greater than the former! And in this place I will give you peace!

Maybe you don’t realize you are sleepwalking through what could be the BEST and MOST fruitful time in your life!!!!! It aint over! It aint over! Your work, your life, is incomplete! You are not finished being a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a friend, a spouse, you are not finished!!! You’ve got more life left in you! You’ve got more to give! Wake up!

You’ve got to wake up. You can’t stay mad too long. You can’t stay sad too long. You can’t stay nonchalant too long. You’ve got to grow. You’ve got to move on. I know it’s difficult. I know it’s scary. I know it’s not fair but you must, we must wake up and see what’s going on. We must open our eyes and deal with the reality and tragedies that are going on. God is asking you to care about the church. God is asking you to care about yourself!

Believe it or not, God really does care about you. God cares about your success, progress, your hopes and dreams. God cares about your disappointments, heart breaks, and let downs. God cares. And I am mighty glad that he cares, and he is working things out for you! But you’ve got to get back in the game of life! You can’t win sitting on the bench!

~Nikki

Strengthen What Remains Notes: Leftovers

Scarf made from leftovers, the remnants @theconfettishopbynikki on FB and @theconfettishopnikki on Insta

When Nehemiah heard about the ruined wall of Jerusalem, he wept. (pause) I just want to let that sit there. He cried. It’s okay to cry!  

Yet, he rebuilt the walls of the city by using the remnants of the wall he had left and by strengthening those who remained (Neh 1:3-4, 2:17-20).

He took what was left, the remnants, the leftovers, and by strengthening those who survived, they rebuilt the wall. I know, I know, some of us have been destroyed. Our hearts have been broken. We have taken some big hits. Things from out of nowhere. After you weep. You have got to strengthen what remains of your heart, your money, your life, the church, and rebuild.

What do you do when you’ve suffered a great loss?  When you’ve lost sight of your purpose?  When your joy or your faith isn’t what it used to be?  

You wake up from your slumber, arise to the voice of God, turn your attention to what you have left, and begin the faith process of strengthening that which remains.  

~Nikki

Strengthen What Remains Notes: What’s Left?

When Nehemiah heard about the ruined wall of Jerusalem, he wept. (pause) I just want to let that sit there. He cried. It’s okay to cry!  

Yet, he rebuilt the walls of the city by using the remnants of the wall he had left and by strengthening those who remained (Neh 1:3-4, 2:17-20).

He took what was left, the remnants, the leftovers, and by strengthening those who survived, they rebuilt the wall. I know, I know, some of us have been destroyed. Our hearts have been broken. We have taken some big hits. Things from out of nowhere. After you weep, you must strengthen what remains of your heart, your money, your life, the church, and rebuild.

What do you do when you’ve suffered a great loss?  When you have lost sight of your purpose?  When your joy or your faith isn’t what it used to be?  

You wake up from your slumber, arise to the voice of God, turn your attention to what you have left, and begin the faith process of strengthening that which remains.  

~Nikki

Mental Health: What Helps Me

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

One of the major keys to dealing with anxiety and depression is to get ahold of it before it spirals out of control. But exactly how is that done? Also, having a plan for when it does spiral out of control is necessary to expedite your recovery to mental and emotional stability. Therapy, scriptures, and affirmations are three major tools that have helped me. Also, having someone you trust when you can’t talk to your therapist and having a SOURCE, which I call God/Creator/Divine/Source when you have no one to talk to is major. For me, Source is always available but, I know there are things I can do on my own to help myself. And this is encouraged by Source.

I think you should really get to know who you are and how things affect you. The only way to do that is to be totally honest with yourself. I am sensitive as I found most creative people are. It allows us to channel our emotions into what we are creating. I have a tendency to take things more personally, overthink, and overanalyze. I have learned how to back out of those things and become an observer for the most part. I also know that it takes me time to move past things. Over the years it has become easier to move past things. I think that comes with wisdom and not age.

Here are some of the things I do to help me to get ahold of anxiety and depression:

I acknowledge what I am feeling and then I ask myself why I am feeling it. What happened? Who said it? Consider the source from which it came from and are they credible? No one is more credible than God for me. If it’s coming from a person I don’t know, a person that is negative, a person that doesn’t like me, why would I feed into their opinion? Exactly. Unless, deep down inside I feel that way about myself and I am honest if I do! If they say, “You are ugly” and lately I have been ripping myself apart I’m going to feel bad. BUT YOU have the power to change what you feel by changing what you think and speak.

I use affirmations for anxiety and depression. If I feel afraid to sleep, I say to myself over and over, I am safe in my body. I am safe in my home.

I use scripture pertaining to whatever I am feeling or scriptures to contrary. If I feel weak, I say I am strong. If I feel afraid, I say God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power and love.

I pray.

I say, “Oh. I am feeling some anxiety today. I can fold my clothes. I can do some work as I work through this. I can do some exercise.”

If I have persistent thoughts or episodes, I make an appointment with my therapist (currently searching for a new one).

I talk to a friend I trust.

I cry. Crying is a release.

I pamper myself. I take hot showers. I oil and lotion up. I give myself a pedi/mani or go get one. I soak in a lavender Epsom salt and pink Himalayan salt mix. I schedule a massage session.

I go to my bathroom and read my yearly marching orders or my affirmations to reset my brain.

Now, what about when anxiety is CODE RED or depression is CODE BLUE!

My plan is to shut things down for a day or two this can include social media and putting phone calls on hold.

I call my therapist.

I rely on all the things above.

I immerse myself in Netflix, a blanket, and the couch.

I allow myself to sleep.

I lose myself in a hobby.

BUT the maximum I give myself is TWO DAYS and then I MUST come out of it. Anything longer than that can set me up for darker and deeper holes that are difficult and require help to come out of. I come out of it by pushing, forcing, and dragging myself to get back to a routine. A little at a time. And during this time, I make sure personal hygiene stays on top. If you don’t wash your face, brush your teeth, change clothes, shower, YOU WILL FEEL EVEN MORE LIKE CRAP. People tend to let themselves go in bouts of anxiety and deep dark times of depression.

During this time, I stay hydrated. I do allow myself some treats but I also make sure I eat as healthily as possible. Too much sugar or salt will make you feel worse. I add one of those packs of Vitamin C to my water. I sit on the porch. I go for a walk. I do 10 minutes of yoga if I don’t feel like doing 30. I do tai chi because it is slow movement. I may just stretch every two hours.

I hope this helps someone. Recently in Memphis, this week, we went through so many tragedies many of us are feeling things we can’t explain and some of us know exactly what we are feeling.

~Nikki

Strengthen What Remains Notes: Incomplete

@theconfettishopbynikki on FB and @theconfettishopnikki on Insta

for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God” (Revelation 3:1-2)

We’ve been through so much in the last three years it’s no wonder some have given up and some of us are tempted to give up. But you can’t give up. Your work on this EARTH is not complete. “If you are still here then so are your dreams.” -Nicole Jackson

No one wants to get their paper back with a huge “I” on it. It means your work is incomplete. Rest. Regroup. Recenter and remember, you can still finish. You can create a new plan. You can choose a new dream. You can set a new goal.

~Nikki