Posted in In My Opinion...

Self-harm doesn’t mean suicidal

A very common misconception is that a person who self-harms is suicidal. While a person who has suicidal tendencies may have a history of self-harm, there is not a direct correlation between self-harm and suicidal tendencies. Actually the core motivation behind the two are actually quite different.

Those who self-harm do so for various reasons: to feel again, to punish themselves, or to release all the feelings they have bottled up inside. All of these come from a desire to cope with whatever it is they are experiencing. In fact, recently they have changed self-harm language to NSSI (Non-suicidal self injury). Here it is literally in the name not suicidal.

Those who do experience suicidal tendencies have a distorted view of what the future looks like and do not see an end to whatever it is they are experiencing. There is no desire to cope because they do not see any other way. Suicidal tendencies are not a coping mechanism; they are a way out.

Assuming everyone who self-harms is suicidal is not only wrong but it can be incredibly dangerous. The reason why a person is harming themselves and the emotions they are experiencing are tossed to the wayside while they are interrogated about suicidal thoughts. Leaving a person in their discomfort and inability to cope healthily can lead to feeling there is no way out, but it can be prevented from getting that far.

**Trigger warning**Story of how I have experienced people convinced self-harm is suicidal**

 

I started down the road of self-harm at about the average age of 13. It was not until high school that people began to realize that I was coping through self-harm. The excuses were not lining up with the type of injury and the frequency set off some flags.

I mainly scratched at my skin until it bleed, but that didn’t always provide the necessary relief. it also caused quite a bit more scaring than when I experimented with other tactics. Once I started college I realized that I wasn’t coping healthily and began to reach out for help.

It was when I started reaching out for help that I was meant with people relating self-harm to a sin because I was purposely maiming the temple of God. Those who weren’t condemning me wouldn’t believe me that I wasn’t suicidal. They were throwing readings at me that told me that I was looking for death because I was cutting. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

For me I cut to gain control. I cut to release the mass of emotions that build up inside of me. I cut because I cannot get myself out of the spiral of thoughts. I cut so I can get outside of these feelings and move back to the happiness I was at before all this happened. I cut so I can move on.

Please note I am not validating those who cut. I am not saying that it is something you should do. Please know that cutting is an unhealthy way to cope, but it is a coping mechanism for so many. Those who cut do need help finding new ways to cope. Healthier ways to gain control of themselves and the emotions that have completely flooded their systems.

Please know if you have not reached out to someone, I am here. Send me an email, message me on social media, comment. Whatever it is that you feel comfortable with. I am here for you and so are so many others. You are loved!

Posted in Devotion

Don’t Carry the Burden Alone

“Let them judge the people at all times, and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.” -Exodus 18:22

Let me set the stage of this passage for you. Moses is appointed judge over all his people. At this point, Moses’ father-in-law is coming to visit. This visit doesn’t relieve Moses of his duty as judge. He was sitting as judge all day, by himself.

Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, questioned Moses on why he was doing this huge task alone. Moses answered that his people needed him. Jethro offered Moses some advice. He said that Moses should appoint some of his people as advisers to oversee the small disputes. The large disputes would still be brought to Moses, but he wouldn’t be carrying the burden alone.

What burden are you carrying alone? Are you like Moses and taking on responsibilities that could be delegated? Are you holding on to secrets you feel you can’t share with anyone? Are you finding daily tasks to be your burden?

Whatever the burden is for you, you are not meant to carry it alone. There are people out there that will rejoice in being able to help you. There is a God who is waiting for you to hand it over, so you are not carrying it alone. Start by laying it at the foot of the cross.

I know that reaching out is scary and usually avoided, but there are people out there who will listen to you and love you all the same. I am not saying that everyone is going to accept your story in a non-judgmental way. i wish I could promise you just the opposite, but I can’t.

Those people are the minority though. The majority of people want to see you succeed. I want to see you succeed.

What burdens will you be placing down to allow others to help you carry?

Prayer:

God, our strength comes from You. Sometimes we carry burdens that are too heavy for us to carry alone. Give us the strength to ask for help, guide us in reaching out to others, and comfort us in our decisions. Lord, You never meant for us to suffer alone. You never leave us even in the toughest times. Thank You God.

Amen.

© 2019 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in Mental Health Awareness

The Bible is Triggering

The Bible is triggering. There is no content warning in the Bible.

All too often we look up a piece of scripture and we are surprised at what we find. We find examples of the very traumas that we have experienced, our friends/family have experienced, or we witnessed happen to someone we may or may not know. Reading these accounts between the front and back covers of the Bible does not make the discovery any less triggering.

Does this mean that we have to stop reading the scriptures? Absolutely not. It just means that we have to change the ways that we read the scriptures. Here are a few ways we can do that:

  1. Before we jump into a passage of scripture, look it up. You will be able to find out what the passage is about without reading the events themselves. This is like looking up the content warning for each passage before we read them.
  2. Read scripture in community. A community of those who have similar experiences or a group of people that have no idea what you’ve been experienced. There is more likely to be a trigger warning when reading in community, and in community you can find support if you are triggered. You won’t be exposed to this trigger in solitude.

Most importantly, do not feel that your faith is lacking or that you are in someway doing something wrong when you find a trigger in scripture.

Please know that you are not alone. Many Christians struggle with the triggers in scriptures. Many non-Christians struggle with the triggers in scriptures. The Bible is triggering, so where is the content warning?

 

What has been helpful for you when dealing with triggers in the Bible? 

© 2019 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in Motivational Monday

It’s Fall Y’all

I was scrolling through Pinterest, looking at all things fall, when I came across this photo.

Then it really hit me… this is a season of change for the world, so why can’t it be a season of change for you and for me? A time where we shed the dead leaves to make room for new ones in the spring. So, this week, I challenge you, take a moment, and ask yourself, “what dead leaves do I have in my life?” As you begin to shed them, you may feel bare like a tree in the fall, but remember that God will fill you up with so much good and new when it comes spring!

Happy Monday!! Have a great week! And feel free to drop you dead leaves here in the comments! ❤️🍂🍃

Posted in Motivational Monday

Motivation(less) Monday

Monday’s are hard as they are. However, some Monday’s are a little harder than others. You wake up, but just can’t get up. The day ahead looks to overwhelming and staying in bed seems like the best option.

I just want you to know that’s okay. Whether you are able to talk yourself into getting up or you throw the blanket back over your head and go to bed.

We’re not made to be non-stop. We deserve a day. We deserve to take a pause. We deserve to breathe.

So whatever choice you have made this morning don’t beat yourself up. There will be more Monday’s ahead! So smile and just be!

Have a great day! God bless!

Posted in Devotion

Who do you say I am?

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” -Matthew 16:16

Take a second. Flip to Matthew 16 and read 16:13-20. This is a powerful piece of scripture. Jesus is asking those closest to Him if they have learned anything from Him. This is a huge test of His teachings. We are thrown this question everyday. We say we’re nervous about something and someone asks us, “don’t you believe in Jesus?” What they’re saying is, “Who is Jesus to you?” This is a question we should be asking ourselves daily. Jesus is our Savior, the Son of God. Lord of Lords.

Is this who Jesus is to you? Do you have a special title for Jesus?

Don’t let your battle with anxiety cause you to stumble answering this question. Jesus doesn’t leave you in your time of doubt, so don’t leave Him either. When others face you with this question, answer it with pride.

So, Who is Jesus to you?

© 2018 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in Mental Health Awareness

The Difference Between Being Anxious And Actually Having Anxiety

What a great read. Totally not degrading on either side. Great information.

Discovering Your Happiness

The Difference Between Being Anxious And Actually Having Anxiety

Hello loves, ❤

FACT #1: Everyone will experience anxiety from time to time.

FACT #2: Anxiety is a completely normal reaction to stress – most of the time.

Let’s define “most of the time.” It motivates us to study for tests or finish our assignments. It can warn us against walking down a creepy alley at night and is the key to a fight-or-flight response in a dangerous situation.

Having a little bit of anxiety once in a while isn’t just normal, it’s healthy. It allows us to make good decisions and get things done.

Anxiety becomes a problem, however, when it doesn’t just affect you occasionally. When it begins to consume your thoughts on the daily, that’s when it becomes something more serious.

If it starts to affect your work, personal life, or health, then you might have a real, diagnosable anxiety disorder. Many people flippantly throw out phrases…

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Posted in Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness

To help raise some mental health awareness, I created a survey to see what others thought about anxiety and being a Christian with anxiety. This post is the results of said survey with results from 44 participants.

Do you know someone who suffers from anxiety?

42 people answered that they knew someone with anxiety, which is 95.5% of the participants. This is actually pretty surprising since only 18% of the population is affected my anxiety (ADAA). However, this just goes to show why it is so important that people know about anxiety because even if they don’t have anxiety themselves, odds are they know someone who does.

Can you suffer from anxiety as a Christian?

38 of the participants answered yes and 2 answered maybe. Together that was 90.9% of the participants. This actually came as a huge surprise to me since it is typically Christians with anxiety that receive quite the backlash. This backlash is the number one reason Christians with anxiety don’t seek out help (Graber). Please read Graber’s little article on Christians with anxiety if you are still having doubts.

What do you think Anxiety is?

27 of the participants described anxiety as either stress, fear, nervousness, or worry. 7 participants, 16%, mentioned that it was a mental health issue or chemical imbalance in the brain. 4 participants either said they didn’t know or it was a made up disease. The ADAA defines anxiety as the inability to control worry for long periods of time which can lead to panic attacks, and there is a behavioral or functional change because of the inability to control their worry.

What advice would you give to someone with anxiety?

15 of the participants stated to seek professional help whether that be a doctor or a therapist. 9 participants stated to breathe or relax, but I do not recommend this response at all. I enjoyed that after reading those responses one of the participants wrote, “Definitely not to calm down.” Garber suggests to encourage them to get help and support them through the process.

Can you find examples of anxiety in the Bible?

While 86% of the participants believe that one can suffer from anxiety as a Christian, only 84% of the participants are positive that you can find examples in the Bible. Another 4.5% think there are examples in the Old Testament only. If you are looking for examples of anxiety in the Bible, click here.

Does Jesus talk about anxiety?

Here the percentage drops even more. Only 65.9% of the participants believe for sure that Jesus talks about anxiety. 22.7% are unsure if Jesus talks about anxiety or not. The Sermon on the Mount is probably the most common passage of scripture that is a prime example that Jesus talks about anxiety.

What most surprised you about these results? Did any of this resonate with you?

© 2018 Kiersten Smeal