Sleep Apnea Treatments Help Reduce Depression Symptoms

Taken from   NAMI   which is located    HERE.

A new study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center confirms that positive airway pressure, a treatment for patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), also lessens symptoms of depression.

Researchers found that patients who used continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) showed reduced signs of their depression symptoms even if they only partially followed a treatment plan.

OSA is a sleep-related breathing disorder where the body stops breathing during the night due to collapsed tissues in the back of the throat which block the airway. This results in disturbed sleep which could lead to serious health issues including heart disease and stroke. The most common treatment for OSA is CPAP which is delivered through a mask worn over the face of the patient.

[Check out NAMI’s updated information on sleep apnea.]

Results showed that all subjects saw improvements in depressive symptoms and patients who used their CPAP devices for more than four hours showed even greater improvements on their scores than others who didn’t follow their treatment schedule as strictly.

“The score improvements remained significant even after taking into account whether a patient had a prior diagnosis of depression or was taking an antidepressant,” said Charles Bae, M.D., head investigator of the study in a news release. “The improvements were greatest in sleepy, adherent patients but even nonadherent patients had better scores.”

This study was presented at the annual meeting of the Associate Professional Sleep Societies in Boston.

“Getting a good night’s sleep is protective of the brain,” says NAMI Medical Director Ken Duckworth, M.D. “Evidence suggests that good sleep and a regular routine help protect against the recurrence of mania.” For a better night’s sleep Duckworth recommends cutting down on alcohol and caffeine as well as skipping afternoon naps.

For more information about better sleep techniques, view Duckworth’s article in NAMI’s Advocate.

How Your Behaviour Affects A Person With Depression

Taken from  Mental Wellness Today  which is located   HERE.

The behavior of family and friends around those who suffer from depression can have detrimental effects to their mental health, according to a report from U.S. researchers.

Negative comments from friends and relatives not only lead to emotional pain, but can also cause those with depression to close up and be unwilling to discuss their illness, even with health care professionals, which could impede treatment.

The study was conducted using audio recordings from 15 focus groups, totaling 116 patients dealing with depression. Researchers noted four message themes that made patients feel labeled, judged, lectured, or rejected.
If patients were referred to as “always so serious” by family and friends, or called “sissy” for discussing their feelings, they felt labeled.

Some patients felt judged when friends and family made comments such as “But you’ve got so much to be glad for,” or “You have this, you have that… Why are you so miserable all the time?”

Feelings of judgment were also present when depression was referred to as an inheritance or genetic predisposition, such as, “You inherited from your dad this chemical imbalance.”

Lecturing also had an effect on those with depression—such as when family and friends told them to “Snap out of it” or “Get over it.”

Participants also noted that when they attempted to discuss depression with family and friends, they felt shunned, rejected, and disengaged.

“Importantly, such rejection may have inhibited further depression-themed discussion at the time and in the future,” say the researchers, who report that several of the participants’ relatives said that they did not “believe” in psychologists or “agree” with counselors.

“By serving as one of many potential normative counter-weights, primary care clinicians can help patients interpret and respond to their often unforgiving social environments,” said Erik Fernandez y Garcia and colleagues, who authored the report. “[A] clinician’s knowledge of patients’ sources of positive and negative social support can help enhance positive social influences and mitigate those that are unhelpful.”

New Questions After Jesse Jackson Junior’s Mayo Clinic Transfer

 

Taken from  philly.com   which is located    HERE.

 

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s transfer to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota could indicate a complicating physical illness arose during the his treatment for depression, several experts in psychiatric care said Saturday.

The Chicago Democrat has been on a secretive leave of absence for nearly seven weeks, during which his office has released only occasional snippets of information, including that he was undergoing treatment for a “mood disorder” at an undisclosed location.

On Friday, the Mayo Clinic distributed a statement from the congressman that said he had been transferred there for “extensive inpatient evaluation for depression and gastrointestinal issues.” The clinic would not release more information Saturday.

John Anderson, of the Associates in Psychiatry and Psychology in southeastern Minnesota, said people receiving psychiatric care are often transferred to the Mayo Clinic when a physical illness develops because both can be treated there.

“Mayo does an excellent job in terms of combining those, so they can treat what’s essentially a dual diagnosis,” he said.

He noted specifically that the Mayo Clinic has a highly rated gastrointestinal department as well as a free-standing inpatient psychiatric unit.

Jackson, 47, underwent a procedure in 2004 to help him lose weight that involves removing part of the stomach and rearranging the intestine.

Phone messages left Saturday for Jackson’s spokesman were not immediately returned.

Friday’s statement was the first to mention a gastrointestinal illness, and it was not known whether that was related to his depression or an entirely separate medical issue.

The statement did not disclose where the congressman, the son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, had been staying previously.

He went on leave June 10, though his office did not disclose it until weeks later and has been mum on details ever since.

Initially, his office said Jackson was being treated for exhaustion. But his staff later said Jackson’s condition was more serious and required inpatient medical treatment. They also said Jackson has been grappling with emotional issues.

Under mounting pressure from his colleagues and constituents, his office released a statement last month from his unnamed doctor saying Jackson was receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder.

The timing of his medical leave has raised questions, in part because Jackson is facing an ethics investigation in the U.S. House connected to imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.

The House ethics committee is investigating allegations that Jackson was involved in discussions about raising money for Blagojevich’s campaign in exchange for the then-governor appointing him to President Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat. Blagojevich is serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption.

Jackson was not charged and has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

The Path To Blessing: Streams In The Desert, July 27th, 2012

“To him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon because he hath wholly followed the Lord” Deuteronomy 1:36
 
Every hard duty that lies in your path, that you would rather not do, that it will cost you pain and struggle or sore effort to do, has a blessing in it. Not to do it, at whatever cost, is to miss the blessing.
 
Every hard piece of road on which you see the Master’s shoe-prints and along which He bids you follow Him, surely leads to blessing, which you cannot get if you cannot go over the steep, thorny path.
 
Every point of battle to which you come, where you must draw your sword and fight the enemy, has a possible victory which will prove a rich blessing to your life. Every heavy load that you are called to lift hides in itself some strange secret of strength.  –J. R. Miller

***

 
“I cannot do it alone;
The waves run fast and high,
And the fogs close all around,
The light goes out in the sky;
But I know that we two
Shall win in the end, Jesus and I.
 
“Coward and wayward and weak,
I change with the changing sky;
Today so eager and bright,
Tomorrow too weak to try;
But He never gives in,
So we two shall win, Jesus and I.
 
“I could not guide it myself,
My boat on life’s wild sea;
There’s One who sits by my side,
Who pulls and steers with me.
And I know that we two
Shall safe enter port,
Jesus and I.”

Praise & Worship: July 27th, 2012

Song List

1.  Beautiful-  Vineyard UK

2.  The Lord Is Gracious And Compassionate-  Vineyard UK

3.  Breathe-  Marie Barnett/Vineyard

4.  You’re Beautiful-  Phil Wickham

5.  Waiting Here For You-  Christy Nockels

6.  The World Needs Jesus-  Malcolm & Alwyn

7.  The Wonder Of Your Cross-  Robin Mark

8.  Fall On Me Set Me Free-  Vineyard

9.  I Will Rise-  Chris Tomlin

10.  How He Loves Us-  Kim Walker

11.  Revelation Song-  Kari Jobe

When It’s Just Not Nerves

Taken from Hope To Cope  which is located    HERE.

 

“Stop worrying.”

“Oh yeah, right,” you say to yourself, “that’ll happen.” Then look around. Do you think the person next to you is totally worry-free? Not likely. Just ask criminal lawyer Tommy T., who has a good grip on reality.

“We all have a weakness, perhaps not always easily identifiable,” says Tommy, 60, of Port Allen, Louisiana, who has panic disorder, a major type of anxiety disorder. He knows that nobody’s perfect and that his disorder does not define who he is. “I do think I’m important, good, and worthy,” he says with conviction, and he’s right.

Tommy has plenty of company. Approximately 40 million American adults 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of those in this age group, have an anxiety disorder-the most common mental illness in the United States.

Because words matter, it’s important to understand that “anxiety disorders” are different from “anxiety,” according to Jerilyn Ross, MA, LICSW, psychotherapist, author, and director of The Ross Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders in Washington, DC. The association was formed so that people like Thompson “can know they’re not alone, that they can get help, and that there’s a name for what they’re experiencing,” says Ross, who is also president and CEO of the nonprofit Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA). She points out that anxiety disorders are real, serious, and treatable, adding that the ADAA (www.adaa.org) promotes early diagnosis, treatment and cure of anxiety disorders, and furthermore is committed to improving the lives of those who have such a disorder.

So if you think you might have an anxiety disorder, don’t suffer in silence. Up to 90 percent of [those affected] can be effectively treated, Ross states. If you think you might have an anxiety disorder, compare your own notes with Ross’s descriptions of common anxiety disorders:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):

Some anxiety is normal and useful. However, when it’s excessive, ongoing, or interferes with life, or if you’re aware that your anxiety is irrational, it may be an anxiety disorder.

“A wife who has the greatest husband in the world, but who lies awake needlessly worrying about him cheating may have GAD,” says Ross. Another example: “Her kids are bright and healthy, but she is preoccupied with them getting sick or flunking out of school.” Overall, it’s a sense of not being in control of your anxiety, even with correct information. Worrying about two or more issues for six months or more-when worry is far disproportionate to any real threat-may indicate GAD, as may physical symptoms such as muscle aches, tension, headaches, stomach aches, or insomnia.

Panic Disorder:

Seemingly unprovoked, overwhelming, and out of the blue, a panic attack occurs-and you soon fear the next one. You’re driving over a bridge or simply talking on the phone. Suddenly, you experience an overwhelming sense of impending doom, terror, and fear. “You may have trouble breathing, [feel] chest tightness, a pounding heart, lightheadedness, and you think: ‘I’m dying! I’ve got to get out of here!'” is how Ross characterizes these feelings. “It’s as if you were in a room and a lion charges in: the flight or fight response.”

Some of us live with panic, Ross explains. We wait for “the other shoe to drop,” or we avoid places we think might bring on a panic attack, leading to agoraphobia-the fear of going into a public place like a stadium-or in extreme cases, not wanting to leave home. (One in three individuals with panic disorder develops agoraphobia.)

Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia:

This disorder includes fear of self-embarrassment, or of being scrutinized or judged. Specifically, says Ross, you might avoid giving a speech or introducing yourself at a meeting. More generally, you may eschew talking to salespeople in a store or even ordering food while out to dinner, as you blush or your throat closes. “You fear others will sense your anxiety, that you might say something stupid and thus embarrass yourself.”

Specific Phobias:

These are irrational, involuntary fear reactions that lead to avoidance of common, everyday places, objects, or situations-or a person endures these under tremendous stress. You may feel trapped and want to leave, Ross says, even when you know there’s no threat of danger. More common phobias include fear of escalators, heights, bridges, tunnels, elevators, or spiders and other insects.

Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder (OCD):

Are you spending more than an hour a day with repetitive behaviors, or with useless, uncontrollable thoughts you can’t lose that create anxiety or compulsions? “These patients are almost afraid that if they don’t think about it, something bad might happen,” says Ross. Other OCD examples include washing and cleaning incessantly, rechecking appliance power switches, or hoarding. One of Ross’s patients kept-or hoarded-years of old newspapers. Another example: So-called well-meaning individuals who say they “love animals too much” collect too many pets. Fear of harming something or someone is fairly common with OCD.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

If you’ve been exposed to or witnessed a horrific experience, “a certain amount of anxiety and symptoms are normal,” Ross confirms. But if they persist for more than a month with nightmares, if you’re easily startled, are having flashbacks or trouble relating to others and are feeling numb, agitated, or irritated, it may be PTSD, which differs from other disorders. “A specific trigger or stimulus really does cause PTSD,” she says.

If anxiety disorders are “all in your head,” it’s important to realize that medications absorbed by your body provide many effective treatments, says Steven Taylor, PhD, professor of psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Anxiolytic drugs such as benzodiazepines were widely prescribed 10 to 20 years ago, but had addiction potential, he explains. Trycyclics with antipanic qualities (medicine that was intended to do what its name suggests) were less widely used and presented annoying side effects.

Now selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are prescribed for most all disorders except specific phobias, Taylor says. Additionally, newer selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) hold promise while undergoing evaluation as science seeks better treatments. “Some patients are frightened of medication, while some are wary of psychotherapy and of discussing intimate problems,” he says. “Control of choices is so important, since feeling out of control is an important component of anxiety disorders.”

 

The good news on treatment

Indeed, research shows that cognitive behavioral therapy or psychosocial intervention may be more effective than medication in the longer term, as patients learn to desensitize themselves, Taylor reports. “We used to imagine lying on the analyst’s couch three hours a week for 20 years. This isn’t what’s involved.” Only four sessions may do the trick, although a typical panic treatment program is 12 to 16 sessions. “Identifying self-defeating beliefs and the overestimation of danger is key to success here.”

People dealing with anxiety disorders know they’re real. And increasingly, more health-care professionals know it, too. “Happily, the primary care physician is becoming more aware of anxiety disorders, rather than treating them casually and simply prescribing a tranquilizer,” says Harold Pass, PhD, associate professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University’s School of Medicine in Long Island, who is in independent practice with a specialty in anxiety management. “Doctors are much more aware that anxiety must be treated, that long-term consequences are profound, including a compromised immune system and stress-exacerbated medical illness,” Pass says.

Ross agrees there’s no time to waste. “Risk factors for suicide rise with untreated anxiety disorders,” she says. “We need to identify and treat people early to stave off damaging physiological symptoms.”

That goal has become more achievable with the “coming out” of mental disorders among media personalities, and with the availability of reliable information on the Internet. Taylor cites two inventive education and treatment resources: Birmingham, England’s FearFighter.com and the Dutch site, Interapy.com.

As you learn about various anxiety disorders, you may think: “Hmmm, this sounds like me and … this one, too.” Comorbidity, a psychiatric term describing overlap of conditions, is common, Taylor explains. Odds are if you have one disorder, you’ll have another, with unipolar depression or substance abuse being most common partners to anxiety. With GAD, it’s not unusual to have panic attacks, while social anxiety may include features of OCD. PTSD frequently brings along its unwelcome cousin, panic disorder.

Unwelcome thoughts can stick like glue, Taylor says. Ironically, the steps you take to block them-with their accompanying psychological significance-actually become reminders. They keep returning to your consciousness-the exact opposite of your goal. Like it or not, he says, “that’s the way our human brains are designed.”

 

Inside and out

If you’re contemplating psychotherapy for your disorder, you may be introduced to the integrative model, which is the latest trend. For many years, explains Pass, “every analyst felt he was a hammer and every patient was a nail,” yet one size did not realistically fit all.

Now therapists use techniques borrowed from each of the theoretical psychotherapy models that best constitute the patient’s “recipe,” taking a “pinch” from disciplines like behavior therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and interpersonal and psychodynamic therapies. Pass also successfully implements relaxation training, guided visual imagery, and self-hypnosis as treatment protocols. “All may be used in combination in a very synergistic way, so patients shouldn’t be discouraged,” he says. “Most anxiety disorders may definitely be treated and successfully managed,” he reminds us, although not all anxiety disorders can be completely “cured.”

Disorders have roots. These are indeed stressful times, says Pass, and none of us is immune, insulated, or cushioned from them. Yet when anxiety disorders affect our ability to relax-and they compromise attention, concentration, and ultimately, quality of life-it’s time to take action. Research shows that symptoms are initially manifest “around critical life events,” [for example] when children go to school, leave home to start a job, or when tragedy occurs.”

Anxiety also carries a very strong genetic component. Tommy’s father, for instance, suffered panic attacks, as do his two daughters now, and he believes responses are also learned. “I try never to tell the children ‘be careful.’ Instead, I encourage them to ‘have fun,'” he says.

Physiologically, if a family member responded to a certain medication, genetics suggest the same will be true of a relative, or, conversely, “if that person had side effects [to a medication], the relative is not going to respond as well, either,” says Pass. “The brain plays a very important role in the way anxiety disorders manifest and respond to treatment. We know it is influenced by genetics and one’s environment, so we manage the brain with psychological and pharmacological treatment and intervention, which should include the most recent and sophisticated developments in drug therapy.”

Besides taking advantage of consistent advancements in health-care resources, we can also help ourselves. Yes, it’s perfectly okay and not too egocentric for this to be “all about you,” as you take charge of your own piece of the treatment pie.

“Our bodies, when stressed, have no place to turn but inwards,” observes Ross, who advises doing more “to give anxiety a place to go.” In addition to breathing, aerobics, and stress management classes, yoga and meditation also help encourage that much-needed sense of control. So eat, sleep, and exercise correctly, while resisting the temptation to self-medicate. In so doing, “you’ll provide yourself a welcome sense of self-mastery.”

As with any life challenge, however, bumps in the road are bound to occur. No one says the trip to controlling anxiety disorders will always be easy, something a resilient Thompson understands as he navigates his continuing recovery. “I tell myself, ‘This panic disorder is just a disease. None of this is real.’ I am stronger than it is,” he says.

“Inside of me is Superman. Sometimes, I just can’t find him.”

—–
Stephanie Stephens is an award-winning journalist, specializing in health, who lives in California and New Zealand.

 

Tommy T.

60
Criminal lawyer
Port Allen, LA

DIAGNOSED: Panic disorder, at 35 (“decent treatment, mid-40s”).

WHAT IT’S LIKE: Symptoms for me began around age 12 or 13. When I was young, I would say, “I don’t feel good, take me home.” I’d get really quiet. In the Army, I went to a psychiatrist who said, “Grow up and be a man.” Now, I look in the mirror: Am I really there? It’s a feeling of detachment more than of sweating or a pounding heart. I am aware of my breathing.

I have multiple, unidentifiable triggers when I perceive there’s danger. Driving long distances bothers me, and then I fear a panic attack, becoming tense, staying on guard.

I would never want anyone to know I’m having a panic attack or try to help me. Don’t question me. That makes it worse.

MANAGEMENT STRATEGY: I’ve had different kinds of therapy, which is helpful, but it can be slow and expensive—especially if insurance doesn’t cover it. I take two different types of medication now (an SSRI and an anxiolytic drug).

Relaxation is an excellent skill. I sit in a chair and get quiet. I used to listen to a tape of the seashore and ringing buoy bells. I used to imagine I was taking a ride down a big river, which gave me a very pleasant experience. I used biofeedback; I had a tape made of leaving my house and driving to Baton Rouge, and when I hit a stress point, I’d stop the tape and relax enough to stop the machine from beeping, then continue the tape.

Or I’ll do silly things like look in the mirror if I’m getting stressed. More than anything, I tell myself the truth: All the power of the universe is within me, and no matter where I am, that power is there, also.

I tell myself home is right there, wherever you are. The goal is to learn that and really believe it. I haven’t gotten to that point yet completely, but sometimes it does help.

 

Cecil K.

68
Commercial real estate
Broker, Charlotte, NC

DIAGNOSED: OCD at 46, GAD at 58.

HISTORY: I saw a psychiatrist on a regular basis from 1962 through January 1984 and was not given a name for my disorder. I thought it was anxiety and/or depression. The Christian faith saved me and helped me build my life. I’ve been an OCD support group leader for 16 years.

WHAT IT’S LIKE: You don’t get this because of what you do or think; it’s the way you’re wired as a human being. OCD can leave you, come and go, but anxiety stays with you. If it dominates or interferes, that’s when it’s a problem, so get help.

MANAGEMENT STRATEGY: I take antianxiety medication, and I’ve undergone several talk therapies, but one of my main coping skills is something my doctor taught me years ago. If I’m in a stressful situation, I tell myself “relax and be responsible.” It’s called a positive affirmation; you want your conscious mind to believe. Eventually, it does kick in. That covers a lot. Don’t be frightened by the situation. Do what a responsible person would do.

And walking is very good. I try to stay away from piercing noises. I keep my TV and radio in the off position. And I know a lot of Bible verses. That helps me. There’s no question about that.
 

Jonathan

25
Public relations practitioner
Atlanta, GA

DIAGNOSED: April 2007, GAD and panic disorder.

WHAT IT’S LIKE: At times, I find myself unable to articulate even the most basic thoughts. I can understand how it’s difficult to help someone with anxiety if they can’t effectively communicate how they’re suffering. It’s like a rush of emotion, ideas, and needs all at once, and I feel incapable of giving precedence to any one because they all feel overwhelmingly critical. There’s an implicit fear that I’m going to embarrass myself or sour a relationship if I can’t “keep it together.”

MANAGEMENT STRATEGY: I’ve made strides toward recovery by accepting the responsibility to make healthy decisions and confronting anxiety head-on. Relying on medicine alone only decreased my self-control. I needed to develop a more open dialogue about my anxiety. I learned to open up to people who could serve as a support group. I told people who were close to me, “This is what I’m going through, and I need to know that you understand that.”

I began to keep a journal. It’s not a great literary work, but it’s a safe place to jot down my concerns. It seemed at first like a daunting task—that I couldn’t possibly write everything that was running through my mind. I learned that I don’t have to account for everything, but that expressing what I was going through little by little made me look directly at my thoughts and come to terms with them.

I still have panic attacks, but I’m comforted knowing that I’m working in a positive direction, and that makes every day a little more tolerable.

 

 

Earla D.

53
Chair, Consumer Advisory Committee, Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada
Founder, Social Phobia Support Group
Toronto, ON

DIAGNOSED: Social anxiety disorder, 1998, at age 44

WHAT IT’S LIKE: My recovery included medications and cognitive behavior therapy. When I first went to see my psychiatrist in 1998, I had no idea what was wrong with me other than being suicidal and thinking I was completely “nuts.” I knew I had to trust this man to get well, and after a few sessions, I did. I had a decision to make: I chose to live, and am so glad I did.

MANAGEMENT STRATEGY: When I started cognitive behavior therapy, the first thing I had to do was write out a hierarchy list of my fears; the most-feared to the least-feared situation. From this list, I practiced my exposure at the lower end of my fearful situation list and continued up the list.

I did the exposure as often as I could. And I had to do thought records. I would write down the time and date, which helped because for me my anxiety would grow as the day would go along, and I really was not fully aware of this. So I would do my exposures as soon as I got up in the morning.

Also, I learned that the day may affect me; on Sunday, anxiety could be greater if I was working or going to school because I knew the next day I would have to attend these outings. I would write how I felt a situation would be; then write what exactly happened during the situation. Writing all this down is so important because it reinforces what really does happen.

I did these exposures over and over again until there was only mild anxiety or none. Then I moved on to another fear. But I learned that what is just as important as doing the fear is to note my thoughts. Until you change your thought process you will always be anxious. You have to examine your fears; dissect your fears.

As I faced my exposures, my confidence grew. The more I did the exposures, the more my confidence and self-esteem grew. After awhile I found the exposures a challenge and looked forward to them.

I felt like I was climbing a mountain—I would walk up two feet then come back one. But I made it to the top. There were setbacks, but I had to remember how good my life was feeling. And I got myself going again.

 

 

As I Think About The Events In Aurora, Colorado

 

Again our nation is struck with tragedy that defies the imagination.  Today I am sharing some thoughts that I have.  They don’t touch on a lot but they express what has been on my mind since this tragedy unfolded.  Allan

 

Last week our nation was grabbed by the neck and shaken as we learned of the mass killings in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.  Twelve people were killed and dozens more were injured.

News coverage of this tragedy was wall to wall as we tried to come to grips with how something so evil could take place as people left the realities of the real world to spend a few hours watching a movie.  No one could have seen what was coming and as we mourn for the victims a nation is asking  why.

I’ll be honest and say up front that I don’t know.  I’m sure you have your own thoughts and have read or heard the thoughts of various experts as they seek to make sense of this tragedy.  I wonder if making sense of this is even possible.

I would like to comment on a few things that I believe are important and relate to the presence of this blog.

This tragedy will present a ripple effect as time moves on.  Those who were in the theater and survived undoubtedly have a very difficult road ahead of them as they heal both physically and emotionally.

Some in the theater are alive because someone literally sacrificed their life in protecting them from the onslaught of flying bullets.  Others have burned into their minds the things that they heard and saw as this tragedy unfolded.  First responders can’t help but be impacted by something they were never prepared to witness.  Family members and loved ones of the victims had to first wait for news on their loved ones and then are now going to have to live their lives with the news they received.  Children who saw the news may be afraid to go back into a movie theater.

I have posted many articles through the years on the impact of tragedies like this have on the survivors.  Be it a tsunami, a large earthquake, a veteran returning home from the middle east, or a victim of sexual abuse these unfortunate victims will need help in regaining some sense of normalcy in their lives.

As history has proven these victims are going to need some sort of emotional support to in moving forward.  That support can come in any number of ways but one of those ways is professional help.

Other ways will be talking with friends and loved ones, sitting down with someone on staff at church to stand by you as people seek to understand things from a spiritual point of view.  And when it comes to professional help some may require medication as their symptoms are so severe.

Thankfully these are things that are available to us and we as a society must do all we can to help heal the physical and emotional wounds that so many have been experienced.  There is no one protocol that will address the needs of everyone.

As Christians we are not excluded from the things I have described above.  We should not let others tell us we are or condemn ourselves because we aren’t.

I wouldn’t know what to say to the believers who have lost loved ones in unspeakable ways while at the same time there were believers who came through the same tragedy unscathed.  I simply don’t know the mind of God in these matters and to presume I did would be the height of arrogance.

So what are we left with?  We are left with one another to operate as the body of Christ ought to.  Rejoice with those who rejoice and hurt with those who hurt.

We have the eternal truths contained in God’s word to seek comfort from.  We have God Himself who indwells us via the person of His Holy Spirit.  We have a God we can pour our complaints to as have all the saints of old knowing that He hears us.  And we cling to whatever faith we have knowing our God is not a respecter of persons.

As I have done so often in the past I leave you this from the book of Romans.

35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ? 36 Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.