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Spiritual coping methods


sweetcindylouwho
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I would like to know how people are coping using their faith/belief system(S).

I am a born-again believer and my faith has staunchly been a part of what little sanity I have on some days. I know that my faith has kept me from following thru with suicide.

Christian faith is much more than many know. I have explored various venues and this is what works for me. I was raised catholic, learned about a true GOd in 12 step groups, was saved in a southern pentacostal church and now attend a weslyan church, although I am not a "formal" member. I go there because I get "fed" spiritually, I enjoy the worship team and the pastor and the location is great as well. They have had an excellent children's ministry for years and the youth minister and his wife have literally helped raise my daughter to her maturity level (in various ways). They have tried w/ my son but he is harder to reach, 15 and very liberal thinking. I try not to force him, that's what happened to me and I turned away.

I also want to say that faith and going to church are not religion like alot of people think. To me religion is following a bunch of rules and even idol worship in some circumstances. Faith and church and being saved to me are about having a mutual loving relationship with GOd, my creator and Father.

I have a lot of issues about my biological father and my vision of GOd as my heavenly father has helped me heal past some of that. WHen I feel sad and need a hug I envision God reaching out to me and embracing me and if He is soooo busy with everything He is doing to make time for me in my pitiful state sometimes I can't help but love Him back. He has given me peace and reassurance beyond my understanding and His grace and wisdom (when I will listen to my heart) are far better than I could ask from any human. BUt that is not to say that God hasn't used many people to touch me either, he has....including this website and community and another one I have become a part of ....

Let me know what you all think about your spiritual coping methods or your need of one!

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Sweetcindylouwho,

I am pleased that you find support and meaningfulness in your faith. Many people do and that is a good thing.

At the very same time there are those who find no comfort in religion or faith and have tried but just cannot connect to it.

For those of you who, for one reason or another do not have either faith or religious belief, how do you comfort yourselves??

Allan

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For those of you who, for one reason or another do not have either faith or religious belief, how do you comfort yourselves??

I don't really claim to be a believer. I really am a nonbeliever. Yet at the same time I can't know everything with absolute certainty. So with that said, I cannot be sure that there is NOT anything beyond here. But I can hope. Logic comes in handy here. Why am I here now, and why for such a short time. Now is important, for in this reality that is all we really truly have. The past is gone, and we never see tomorrow. Never.

I know from past experiences that everything will be okay because I've gotten through worse spots before. Bad times always pass and I can feel relief once again. Also, knowing that I am not alone in this world, that there are others out there in the many billions of people here that can relate to me and my experiences, it brings me great comfort. If you take the masses and bring them together, it is like a higher power in a sense. There is strength in numbers. Remember after 9/11 when they all gathered in Yankee Stadium? That crowd had a mind of its own. What power, what strength.

I don't need a higher power to have personal power. I take credit for what I accomplish, and that gives me confidence and strength. At the same time, I am not an island and need support from other humans in order to achieve my goals. None of us are meant to be alone. We humans are social animals. And having that connectedness brings me hope.

When I was a little child, I knew nothing of God. My parents and older siblings were like gods in my eyes. I think having that at a young age has helped to make me into who I am today. Not having a religion is not a bad thing in my mind. We all have a philosophy of life. And y'all just heard mine.

P.S. I mentioned hope in having something after this time, and it made me think. It made me realize that if I hadn't experiences losses during this time, I wouldn't be concerned about what happens after this.

Edited by WinterSky
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I was raised to be Spock. All logic, all science, all uptight. My Dad was an angry athiest, and my mother only referred to a " man upstairs ". I was so adamant that there was no God that I'd get angry at how stupid people were who needed to believe in something. Then, panic and anxiety came into my life... with a vengance! I wound up lost in what one doctor called an existential depression. I couldn't see the point in anything in the world, or in fact the universe because I came to the conclusion that everything we experience becomes a memory, and memories are stored in the brain and when we die, the brain decays into it's component parts, it's molecules. At that point all memory is lost and therefore the experience of my life is lost. More than that, the universe is in a constant state of decay, entropy, wherein everything we see, interact with, create, work for and so on, one day goes away. Kind of a dark place to dwell.

It wasn't until I at least allowed for the possibility of some kind of spirit world that things started making a little sense... for me that is. I realized that everyone sees the world as they wish to see it, and that religions are basically phone companies. People can choose whichever plan works best for them to 'reach out and touch' god as they understand that concept. I learned not to judge other's viewpoints because that is the only viewpoint they can have. none of us can ever experience another human beings perspective, and that is beautiful! That means that there are 5 billion separate 'worlds' on this one planet. I've learned not to belittle peoples need to believe in something, and to not expect them to remain static in their views or beliefs. More importantly for me, i've found that by simply allowing the possibilty of an afterlife, in what ever form that may take, it gives me a glimmer of hope in my darkest moments. The realization that perhaps all of this transient reality is just a school that we are attending, and that somewhere, out there, or after 'here' are the answers. I tend to rely on what rings true to me when I am calm and centered... that is how I find my peace of mind, and what I perceive as truth.

I could go on for hours... and often wish I could. I really wish people were more willing to discuss this topic without fear or pre-judgement... it seems like maybe I've finally found a place to voice my opinion and learn from the opinions of others...

-Jimmyfay2

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I am happy to know that there are still people believed to heavenly father,I am not born again christian, but feel also to attempt suicide, at times like that, I just close my eyes and say, God pls help me, I know you're te one who could help me. Nothing is impossible with him. i know it..

The reality of life

Consolidated articles by the reader.

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Alot of really good dialogue here,which is what I was hoping for.

Jimmyfay, I love your response = depth and eloquence.

And Klintmad I appreciate your comaradrie ....

I wasn't trying to sound pompous or all-knowing, Really.

I have been in the pits and experienced the full range of emotions and despair that Bipolars can experience. Even tho I have a new diagnosis, when I look back and see the ups and downs in my life and recall the periods in my life when I knew no God and was angry at God and defied Him and mocked him, I realize the peace that I now can attain was not attainable by myself. In the recent weeks before I was diagnosed and my treatment began I felt suicidal on many occasions. As a nurse I know a bunch of ways that would likely be successful. But when, in those moments and after a box of kleenex, I finally said....God I just can't do this anymore, make it stop...eventually I would start getting a bit better. So yeah, I believe in God, but I believe as much or more in the process of Letting Go or Crying Uncle or however you want to look at it.

I am grateful to have the opportunities I have and am grateful for this great country that allows us all to pursue our own venues of adaptation and recovery as we struggle daily with living with life-altering illnesses.

I really didn't intend to anger or upset anyone. I merely meant to share what is working for me and am interested in what works for others in the spiritual aspect of our beings, our soul.

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Nietzsche admonished the people of his time for their blind adherence to popular culture, and the pursuit of pure science without a corresponding exploration of moral principles. According to Nietzsche, such people borrowed the moral developments of their predecessors without contributing their own efforts to what it means to be human; thus, as a potential result of this neglect, humanity at any point in time is capable of creating a gap in human history where no progress is made on a moral or principled level. However, for those who were inclined to question whether their thoughts and desires were theirs or of the popular culture at large, Nietzsche suggested reviewing one's history for objects that give strength to a person – that inspired them and sparked their passion. By studying the sequence in which these objects appear in one's life and how they interact with each other, people can begin to create their own fundamental laws or rules. But, ultimately each individual must forge their own path in life by demonstrating these laws and rules created independently.

With the words of Nietzsche in mind, I am in the paradoxical position where my thoughts and desires may not entirely be of my own making, but my life is entirely mine to play out. However, people are subject to thoughts everyday that may or may not be desirable, but they are unable to choose to have them or not. Also, people who have these thoughts do not necessarily act on them. People possess the power to choose to act or to omit an act. Thus, in my opinion, the position is not entirely paradoxical, and that there is some truth in Sartre's argument that the sum of one's actions can contribute to a definition of a person.

So, I find it very comforting when I try to focus on the goals I want, and the principles I want to adhere to while I pursue them. Certainly I cannot do this effectively all the time, but in so doing, I may end up uncovering a human truth which may be useful someday. If and when I do uncover such a truth I suppose the task falls to the discoverers to demonstrate and share it in any way they can.

I am not sure if my post is relevant now, but in sum:

Be yourself and whatever you want to be

Tell others to be themselves

Respect everyone

You are not your thoughts (maybe)

Edited by kaudio
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I am also a Christian and many days faith is ALL I have left on my aside. I believe in prayer although I learned long ago that prayers for God to change my thoughts (i.e. "Please God take these suicidal thoughts from me.") are fruitless because God has made us with free will and therefor will not control our thought process for us. Having learned that, I had to find other ways to keep suicidal thoughts at bay and deal with the depression and anxiety. I was given a book called "Lord, I want to be Whole" by Stormie OMartian (authour of "Power of a Praying Wife/Mother/Husband") and it really helped me understand that depression does occur among Christians and that, even in mental illness, we can have God's comfort.

During my first inpatient stay (after a suicide attempt) my pastor brought me a list of Bible verses to look up, as a means fo distraction and coping. I decided to make index cards of the verses and I categorized them by topic (faith, anxiety, anger, provision, etc.) and keep them in a small box. When I start feeling depressed or anxious, I try to memorize one of those verses. It keeps me distracted from my thoughts and allows me to resist certain thoughts as explained in Psalm 119:11- "I have hidden your words in my heart that I might not sin against You."

Now, I am the first to admit that these coping skills do not always work for me. I still get depressed, I still get anxious, I still have panic attacks. But, through it all, I know I have a God who loves me and who wants the best for me and does not want to see me give in to an illness. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)

Oh, the other thing that helps me is to listen to Contemporary Christian music. And, I don't mean to simply have background music but to actually, actively listen to the lyrics and ponder them in your heart. One particular song that has a special purpose for me is "Praise You in this Storm" by Casting Crowns. The lyrics are perfect for me. :D

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I finally got the time to read all these entries. What an interesting community this is!

My religion professor way back when said that religion is the number one alienator and the number one dealienator, both at the same time.

For my 2 cents, I feel alienated by anyone holding strong beliefs that seem to be forcing them on me. It could be religion, politics, or any "should." I require an authentic experience with a concept to feel its value. If a person is impatient with me and just wants me to take their word for it and shut up, I feel alienated. (I'm talking in general. No one has made me feel this way here, which is what I find impressive).

As for the power of religion/spirituality/Buddhist philosophy/existentialism (etc) to dealienate, my 2 cents on that comes from my understanding of depth psychology via Carl Jung. We have to use our egos to function. To get up and go to work, care for the household, make all those decisions of daily living, interact with others, find meaning in things, etc, etc. With such an "important" role, the ego can reach a conclusion that its reality is the only reality that there is. Seemingly, nothing manifests unless the ego makes it happen. All is up to us. And that's when things can start to dry up and wither...the joy of living fades. Getting taken over and ruled by one aspect of the mind is to enter a prison and be cut off from the other aspects of human potential that offer inspiration, creativity, abilities to relate to others different from you, etc. Religion/spirituality/Buddhist philosophy/existentialism (etc) offer a way to release the grip of that aspect of mind that has taken over all control and allow in a deeper wisdom that the ego cannot control but can trust because it is wholesome (positive). That experience is dealienating.

Obviously, if egos take over again and control every thought about how that process should be for people, we're back to being alienating.

In psychology, working with a therapist, I was taught to take a step back from the thoughts that were taking me over. Not repress them. Take them off and look at them, or take them off and experience who else I could be when I'm not so identified with them. I view it as a spiritual process because my poor ego has to repeatedly learn to stop taking over everything and contact my deeper resources. It's simple but it's not. Sometimes I can do it on my own, sometimes I need help. The areas of life that touch on trauma require a lot of help to get to the more positive voice inside.

In the years that I've been learning all this, I've also started figuring out the shortfalls of being overly intellectual. I don't criticize myself for it, I was doing what I could. When I figure out how to word it, I might start a new thread to see what others are doing with "nonintellectual" coping methods such as exercise & meditation, and what are the effects.

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Finding my way, you just made my morning. You encapsulated all that I have been trying to tell myself, about the ego getting out of hand, not being totally intellectual, etc! It's as if you accessed my 'cpu' and created the perfect spreadsheet to organize my thoughts! Kinda spooky...

I just wanted to agree with all that you said. I spent all of my childhood using science as the only tool to explain the world around me, and eventually came to a dead end. It was as if the spiritual side was banging on the door, but the intellect was just ignoring it. It wasn't until I met with a rather zen doctor, who pointed out that there are many, many aspect to me as a human being, and to completely focus on one part causes the other aspects to wither. He used the analogy of boxes. My humanity is composed of several boxes of experience. I had been putting all of my experience into the science box, to the detriment of the emotional box, the spiritual box... and so on. It made me look at the way I experienced life. All Spock, no feeling... It wasn't until I allowed myself to step back from the thinking, and allow for all aspects of my self to experience life that life started to flow.

Those are my 2 cents... though I must modify that by saying I haven't had any coffee yet this morning, so I cannot be held responsible for any rambling!

-Jimmyfay2

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  • 1 month later...

Hello community,

I was born a Catholic and have found my purpose in life while belonging in this religion.

I'm not a person who usually explains religion and divinity as that is not my major (and I'm not fond of it) but for me, having a religion binds me to a certain conduct... or belief, whatever you brand it-- which preserves my identity, my purpose, and how I am to view my problems, as well as how I will react to certain situations. In short, it greatly aids me in keeping myself intact.

This also provides me with an enormous support group comprised of communities which share the same practices and beliefs which are really helpful when I encounter a problem that is difficult to deal with.

For me, I have gained priceless wisdom through religion which then allows me to grow as a person in all aspects of my life.

You may label it as phone companies if you like but there is something more which I cannot put into words which makes religion a lot more than a phone company to me.

It's nice to hold on into a promise and more than anyone else, I think Proverbs31:28 knows exactly what I mean.

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