I’d like to start by telling you something about myself and why I am writing this blog:
I’m a retired mental health nurse and a follower of Jesus (I don’t really like having to define what flavour/colour Christian I am). This blog is a means of sharing some of the insights I have gained over the years.
Statistically, 1 in 4 people will suffer from some form of mental illness during their lifetime. That’s a lot of people! During my time as a nurse I trained in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (a bit of a mouthful: basically it’s about acceptance and change – as in the serenity prayer:
Grant me the serenity to accept what can’t be changed,
The courage to change what can
And the wisdom to know the difference.)
In particular, I facilitated Emotional Coping Skills groups. People on the course made comments like: ‘these are Life Skills’ and ‘this should be taught in schools’.
One reason why I am so enthusiastic about DBT is that I would have found these skills so useful in my 20s (and I still need to use them). If I had known them then, maybe I wouldn’t have made such a mess of things. (Isn’t hindsight wonderful???!)
Also, DBT speaks to me of the God I know – the God who falls over himself backwards to bless us. (I know, I know: dreadful things happen to good people. Even so, I truly believe that everything will work through for good in the end.) God is the supreme DBT therapist. He accepts us as we are, but loves us too much to let us stay that way. If we are willing to change, he’s more than willing to help and empower.
Another of my passions is crochet, so you will find references to crochet techniques and patterns scattered throughout this blog. This may seem a bit random: what’s crochet got to do with it?
Years ago I asked a similar question. I’d been watching Newsnight. There had been an item on the plight of refugees; followed by an item on fur in the fashion trade. This struck me as quite incongruous – how could something as frivolous as fashion have been given equal weight to the plight of refugees? I wondered if my crochet was equally frivolous. The next morning I read in my bible: ‘So tend to your knitting!’ * God had given me my answer!
Crochet is one of the outlets for my creativity; another is photography – so I’ll also be sharing some of my favourites.
I’ve been studying the bible for over 40 years. There are so many references to mental health in its pages that I reckoned I could have written one of my nurse assignment essays using the bible as my sole resource. I’ll be sharing examples of some of my biblical meditations – as well as describing some mindfulness exercises (Mindfulness is the key skill taught in DBT).
So there you have it – a rough map for this blog – I hope you’ll stay with me for the journey – and be willing to share your thoughts and comments.
[* Romans 14:12 in The Message – you won’t find these words in any other translation]