Category: Depression

Wholehearted

by Steven Price, MA, LPCA

Have you ever ventured out or thought what it might mean to get your heart back?

That question usually stirs up one of two immediate reactions:

  1. Wow! How great would that be? or
  2. What do you mean? I never lost my heart!

The first is usually from men or women who have experienced pain in their lives and realize that they have never really fully recovered. Those pains can take many forms, but often include wounding moments experienced after our fathers or mothers, friends, coaches, or teachers made us feel diminished. As we experience a sense of betrayal by someone we admire and trust, we can often begin to cope in ways that we believe are helpful but that in fact simply mask the underlying vulnerability. Some of us forget about these deep, painful life paper cuts or bone-chilling slices as we get older, then are surprised when we over-react to a moment or seemingly small event.

The truth, however, is that those pains remain with us and they impact the way we relate to others. We may limit the effort we put into relationships for fear of being hurt, or we may hide behind a facade to project a brave or happy face. Others will become extremely outgoing or extremely shy. No matter how we arrange our outward appearance, there is nearly always something that lives just beneath the surface, whether it’s fear, shame, guilt, anger, or sadness, that is all-too-easily provoked.

Now, the second reaction usually comes from those who have the deepest wounds and therefore feel they need the boldest facades. Unfortunately, the same is still true for those men and women. There still seems to be this easily-provoked emotion just under the surface.

The treatment, or the goal of therapy, in either case is “wholeheartedness” – “getting your heart back.”

What does that look like? It’s a basic exchange… trade in the pain for healing. If each wounding moment we’ve experienced is stored in a proverbial basement within our hearts, then we have to get into that basement, take each sealed box down, look at the contents, expose the hurt, and determine what treatment is best (with the guidance of the Holy Spirit), and then exchange that hurt for God’s healing power.

Sounds easy, right? It is… and yet it’s not. To even begin takes courage. There is work involved, and it’s hard work. There may even be additional pain involved, but usually this is the good kind (if you believe there is such a thing). It’s the kind of pain that comes when you know Jesus is the one exposing the wound so that he can then bring healing. The most beautiful thing about it all is that when Jesus brings the healing, we know we are truly healed. We truly get our hearts back… we become more and more wholehearted. More who God created us to be.

Are you still dealing with hurts from your past? Are you putting forth a brave or happy face even though you know there is something just under the surface? If you have boxes stored in your basement that you need help exchanging — if you want to get your heart back so that you can live freely — call us at LifeCare Counseling & Coaching.

What is the True Cost of Freedom?


By Jerry Lankford, MBA, MACC, MDiv, LPCS

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  — Luke 4:18-19

These words are Jesus’ Mission Statement. The rest of the Luke demonstrates how he fulfilled this mission.

I am struck by the words, “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives.”  These are words that resonate strongly with us as Americans.  Yet, isn’t it much riskier to be free than we realize?

Of course, one of the best examples would be prisoners. Prisoners long for freedom, yet when they are released, they quickly realize that they must now find a place to sleep, a job, and they must feed themselves.

These would be daunting tasks for someone who has lived his life with clarity and limited choice.  There has been a designated place to sleep, no choice. There were three meals a day, no multi-page menu.  There was an assigned job to do, minimal choice.

Freedom represents an opportunity to succeed. It also presents the chance to fail.  Is it a big wonder that many manipulate their circumstances to return to prison?  I would think it may seem safer.

The Israelites had the same experience when they left Egypt.  They longed for freedom, but when they “caught” it, they began to long for the good old days.  It is risky to be free.  In fact, the only way we can handle the risk is through faith.

In my counseling practice, I see many men and women who are in captivity.  They believe their current circumstance is safer.  Bluntly, it’s safer to stay the way I am than to change. This can apply to employment, depression, addictions, and relationships.

These fears force many of us to do nothing.  As captives, we endure lives of quiet desperation because we are afraid. Indeed, fear is a cause of the mental illnesses I encounter.  Freedom requires risk.  Risk costs us something.  Thus, Freedom can be pricey.  We can’t just sit back and wait for others to take care of us.

We fought the American Revolution to win our Freedom.  We know it’s worth it.

Are you willing to fight for your Freedom?

I think the lesson, the connection between the American Revolution and our own, is that both require a band of brothers or sisters around us to help us in that fight.  You need training and preparation, but you can be free.

Build your army.

When people you can trust support you in the battle for your life, you can cement your faith.  Then, step-by-scary-step, when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.

When the Past is a Weight on Our Shoulders

by Steven Price, MA, LPCA

 

For many, weight loss seems like a never ending battle against the scale. One day we are down a pound, the next we are up two. There are a great many challenges that keep us from reaching our goals such as daily stresses at work or in life, a lack of time for exercise, a lack of understanding about nutrition, or simply unhealthy eating habits. I’m afraid there are challenges that many never realize they are battling against as well: wounds from the past, unresolved grief, loneliness, just to name a few.

Many who suffered in childhood (separation from parents, divorce, bullying, or worse) continue to suffer into adulthood. If not healed, childhood wounds can linger, negatively impacting nearly every aspect of a person’s life including his or her work, health, emotional wellbeing, friendships, or romantic relationships. We may find ourselves living less and eating more.

The Bible says that Jesus came so we may have and experience an abundant life, or life to the full (John 10:10b), but many of us have experienced the opposite of that. Why? Because, as Jesus said in John 10:10a, “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” and many of us are still living with the wounds that came at such a young age.

God wants to heal those broken or wounded places in each and every one of us, but sometimes we need a little help along that healing journey.

Whether our experiences have left us struggling with anxiety, depression, unhealthy weight gain, or unhealthy eating habits, partnering with a counselor can help you not only see, but reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are often used with individuals struggling with such hardships. These therapies often work well when symptoms include unhealthy weight gain and unhealthy eating habits ranging from erratic relationships with food to actual eating disorders, such as binge-eating disorder (BED). Many believe that if they aren’t suffering from a specific or diagnosed eating disorder that they do not have a problem with food, but there are many individuals who use food in an unhealthy way to cope with life rather than choosing healthier outlets, including counseling and healing. Healing from their pasts and teaching men and women better coping mechanisms can greatly impact the trajectory of their lives—including improving overall health, wellness, weight, and happiness.

Whether you are struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, wounds, or grief, there is help. By seeking good therapy and coaching from proven and effective counseling practices, we can partner together to not only heal the broken heart, but to set you on a path to greater health and happiness.

The first step is to have a conversation. We’re here for you, and we’ll walk with you throughout the journey to get rid of the unwanted weight and worry.  Just call 1-919-851-1527.  We’ll move forward together.

When Christmas isn’t Merry

This is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, give gifts, and enjoy friends and family. It can be a wonderful time, but for some it’s a depressing time.

Today, I was playing tennis with a group and overhead a discussion by a couple of women from the other team. One of the women had been married for 25 years, but recently separated from her husband and was facing Christmas and New Year’s alone. Her friend was inviting her to spend time with them. A great idea!

Special times of the year are times when depression can be worst as we face losses. One family just lost their daughter, another a parent or spouse.

We can help by being sensitive to these people and making sure they are included in our activities. Allow them to talk about their losses and encourage them to remember the good times. Ask them to show you pictures or tell you stories.

Don’t tell them not to be sad or to cheer up. It doesn’t help and simply makes them feel worse that they can’t do what you asked.

Scripture can be a comfort as we think of our loses. Recently, I have been remembering the fellowship we have in Christ suffering when we suffer. Ironically, suffering is a gift because it draws us closer to Christ and allows us to identify with him. We receive His comfort as we suffer so that we can share Him with others.

I talked with two different men this week who had both lost grown sons this year. Both of these sons were lost tragically in the prime of their life due to illness. How do you console men who have lost their sons? All I could do was remind them that God had lost his only son as well. He understands and shares their pain.

I pray that you have a joyous Christmas, and that you will also love those you know who aren’t having such a Merry Christmas.

Wholehearted

by Steven Price, MA, LPCA Have you ever ventured out or thought what it might mean to get your heart back? That question …

What is the True Cost of Freedom?

By Jerry Lankford, MBA, MACC, MDiv, LPCS “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good …

When a Man Feels Lost, Step I is to Grab the Map

by Steven Price, MA, LPCA We often see clients struggling with anger, sadness, stress at work or at home and even with violent …