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13 Aug 2022

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: It's okay to ask for help or to talk to someone you trust

Offaly man's thought for the week

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: It's okay to ask for help or to talk to someone you trust

The first few months of our calendar year along with dreaded lockdowns and restrictions because of the Coronavirus can be dark, debilitating and dreary.

It seems to make some people feel very depressed and down and contemplate doing drastic things. Saying a prayer and lighting a candle for whoever needs one or anyone that is worried or in pain at this time especially anyone badly affected by the Coronavirus or any illness, mental illness and the worry that it brings. It's OK to ask for help or to talk to someone you trust or who cares for you.

Please mind yourself, look after yourself, love yourself and love others. Let's smash the mental anguish stigma that sometimes surrounds us all!

Talk to a family member, a friend, a neighbour, a relative, a colleague and ask them if they're doing ok. Mental illness is often easy to conceal, but never easy to escape. Please reader, love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful and amazing things. People and I mean me and you, all of us need to reach out, to have a chat, to have a conversation, to have a walk and talk with ourselves and with each other so  that we all know that we are doing OK!!!!

Reach Out
I have found out over time and especially over the last year of lockdowns because of the Coronavirus that it is so important to acknowledge to yourself how you are truly feeling. Also, to check how your family, friends and colleagues are feeling at times. It is so important to not only identify, but also to verify our feelings. Be honest about how you feel even if you don’t think people will understand or relate or care. I can’t count the number of times someone has asked me how I am and I respond with “I am good” or "I am the finest" when I’m really not. It’s my automatic response to that type of question. And it doesn’t do me any good. It doesn’t make me feel better, sometimes I feel worse for not being honest. I try to go to my local church mass every evening, if I am in the vicinity, and it is there that I have my chat with God!!! I learn to acknowledge the negative feelings and offer them up. I have learned not to be afraid to admit that I am having a bad day or a rough week, or a hard month or that I am totally fed up of these restrictions and lockdowns. It’s okay. We all have them at some point. That's life as they say. What I’m still learning to do though, is not sink into the feeling. That’s when it becomes difficult for me to get out of the situation or rut that I might find myself in. I remind myself that I will feel better at some point and my personal faith in God through prayer helps me get myself back out of the dark place that I might be in and out into the light again. A few other things that help me is, a good night sleep usually does the trick. Or going for a walk or a run. Or writing things out on paper or doing what I am doing now, writing a thought for the week. Sometimes I call one of my closest friend's Paul, because I know he will tell me jokes and lift my spirits. It's important, I think, well in my case anyway to find something that works for you so you don’t get stuck in the “not okayness” for too long. The motto for the "Cycle against Suicide" Charity says, "It’s okay to not be okay", I have found during this journey of life and indeed over the last year of the Cooronavirus with its lockdowns and restrictions that it's alright to reach out to people and say, "hey I’m kind of in a bad way here right now and I was wondering if you could say an extra prayer for me or light a candle for me or give me one of your great hug's or I need your ear for a few hours can you listen?" It’s okay for us to answer the question, "How are things?" to say “not so good, can you help me out?”. It’s okay to let people see you cry, it doesn’t mean you are weak, it means you have enough courage to not hide who you are. It’s okay to need someone to sit with you in silence for a while just because you can’t be alone. It’s okay to have those days where you don’t accomplish anything because you just don’t want to go out the front door. What’s not okay is not wanting it to change. What's not okay is not asking for help and support. So please reach out for help, say a prayer, light a candle, sing out loud to your favourite song, enjoy some coffee or tea with a good and close friend, read one of your favourite books, call a friend and don't be afraid to get help from a charity or from a professional body. I really believe that saying a problem shared can be a problem halved and when we share our problems with someone who truly cares, or with a qualified professional we can get help and support. Then go take on the world because, you know you can do it. Please love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because you are awesome.

Who I am makes a Difference
"A teacher in a school decided to honor each of her Leaving Cert students by telling them the difference they each made. First she told them how each student made a difference to her and the class. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon imprinted on it, "Who I Am Makes a Difference." Afterwards the teacher decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact, ‘recognition’ would have on a community. She gave each of the students three more ribbons and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgment recognition ceremony. One of the boys in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby company and honored him for helping him with his career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon. Then he gave him two extra blue ribbons, and said, "We're doing a class project on recognition, and we'd like you to go out, find somebody to honor, give them a blue ribbon, then give them the extra blue ribbon so they can acknowledge a third person to keep this acknowledgment recognition ceremony going." Later that day the junior executive went in to see his boss, who had been noted as being kind of a grouchy fellow. He told his boss that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The boss seemed very surprised. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon. His surprised boss said, “Well, sure." The junior executive placed the blue ribbon on his boss's jacket. As he gave him the last extra ribbon, he said, "Would you take this extra ribbon and pass it on by honoring somebody else? The young boy who first gave me the ribbons is doing a project in school and we want to keep this recognition ceremony going and find out how it affects people." That night the boss came home to his young daughter and sat her down. He said, "The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine. He thinks I'm a creative genius." Then he put this blue ribbon that says "Who I Am Makes a Difference" on my jacket. He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honor. As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor with this ribbon and I thought about you. "My days are really hectic and when I come home I don't pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough marks in school and for your bedroom being a mess, but somehow tonight, I just wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You're a great child and I love you so much!" The startled girl couldn't stop crying. Her whole body shook. She looked up at her father and said through her tears, "I was planning on doing something really bad and drastic to myself tomorrow, Dad, because I didn't think you loved me. Now I don't need to because I know you truly do."

Courage to be Honest
Let me be honest with you as I write this thought, which I always do after I have lit a candle and said a prayer for all who will read it. I am definitely not okay at times and I am totally and utterly fed up of lockdowns and restrictions and the losing  of so many family members and friends during this awful  time of the Coronavirus. At times I need help. I need support. I need care. I need love. At times I feel wrecked. There I said it!! We should all say it if we feel that way and have a good honest to God chat about how we feel at times. At times I am not okay. I do get stressed, and I worry at times excessively. I worry about my family, my friends, my work colleagues and I worry about the things I have to achieve with work. At times I am sad and sometimes confused. I can be distant. At times I worry that I may not have the resources or wisdom to help my family through the journey of life or to get out the far side of the Coronavirus. Indeed there are times when I feel alone albeit that I am surrounded by loving and caring people. I get upset about things in life and in our world, particularly the many injustices in society. So at times I am not okay. At times we are all not okay. And you know what. That’s okay. Because I know I won’t always feel this way. As my good friend David used to say to me regularly before he sadly passed away during the last year, "This too shall pass." Giving myself time, I will figure things out. I will discover or rediscover my purpose or focus in life. I will be okay. I am learning to forgive myself for not being perfect. And I’m learning to forgive myself for not always being okay. Because right now as I write this thought for the week, I’m not. But I also know that I have the ability to change that and that who I am makes a difference for good in our world.

Thought for the week
As your thought for the week, remember, everything will be okay if we love and believe in ourselves, and understand that hope floats around us and when we can we should always spread that hope and love with others especially those who mean the most to us. Let me finish this thought with a prayer I say when I am in a dark place that helps me and especially during these worrying times of lockdowns and restrictions, "Dear God, The darkness has taken hold of me and I am finding it hard to find my way back into the light. In this moment, doing drastic things seems like the best option, the only option, the only way to escape. Yet, there is something in me that wants your light to snuff out this darkness. So I ask, Lord, that you would do just that. You are the only light that can shine in the darkness. I know when I’m consumed with thoughts of a drastic nature, I’m believing lies from the enemy. I ask Lord that you would remind me of these truths: when I feel alone, you are with me; when I feel invisible, you see me; when I feel worthless, my value is knowing you and being known by you. Lord, help me to understand that you are enough, because you are everything I need and more. Remind me that when I feel helpless and hopeless, you have hope in me and for me and that you will help me if only I will reach out to you and those who really love me. Remind me that when I don’t have the words to cry out to you, your son Jesus is praying for me, and your Spirit intercedes for me with groanings too deep for words. Let this remind me that I am seen, heard and deeply loved. I often feel out of place in this world. I don’t fit in and I’m not sure I want to. Remind me that this world is not my home and while, as your child, I will never fit in here, my time here isn’t over. Please, give me the desire to live, to love and to care. When I feel like I don’t matter, remind me that I was created with purpose. When I don’t know or understand why I feel the way I feel - remind me that you know the depth of pain in my heart, in my body, in my soul and in my being. You know me better than I know myself and yet you still love me. Remind me that you celebrate me and that you hurt for me when I’m in this dark place. Remind me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I am worth more than I know. Remind me to love you, to love myself and to love others. As I say these words I know in my heart that you love me and I feel incredible guilt for wanting to do something drastic with the life you gave me. I feel embarrassed to admit these thoughts to you. I feel overwhelmed that you know these thoughts without me even saying them, and yet you still love me. Remind me that Jesus did not come to earth and die for me so that I could live a defeated life. Help me to desire life and to live fully in you. In Jesus' precious name, Amen." Please everyone look after yourself and one another and don't be afraid to be good to yourself and always remember how truly awesome you are.

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