The dew is a source of freshness. It is nature’s provision for renewing the face of the earth. It falls at night, and without it the vegetation would die. It is this great value of the dew which is so often recognized in the Scriptures. It is used as the symbol of spiritual refreshing. Just as nature is bathed in dew, so the Lord renews His people. In Titus 3:5 the same thought of spiritual refreshing is connected with the ministry of the Holy Ghost–“renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
Many Christian workers do not recognize the importance of the heavenly dew in their lives, and as a result they lack freshness and vigor. Their spirits are drooping for lack of dew.
Beloved fellow-worker, you recognize the folly of a laboring man attempting to do his day’s work without eating. Do you recognize the folly of a servant of God attempting to minister without eating of the heavenly manna? Nor will it suffice to have spiritual nourishment occasionally. Every day you must receive the renewing of the Holy Ghost. You know when your whole being is pulsating with the vigor and freshness of Divine life and when you feel jaded and worn. Quietness and absorption bring the dew. At night when the leaf and blade are still, the vegetable pores are open to receive the refreshing and invigorating bath; so spiritual dew comes from quiet lingering in the Master’s presence. Get still before Him. Haste will prevent your receiving the dew. Wait before God until you feel saturated with His presence; then go forth to your next duty with the conscious freshness and vigor of Christ. –Dr. Pardington
Dew will never gather while there is either heat or wind. The temperature must fall, and the wind cease, and the air come to a point of coolness and rest–absolute rest, so to speak–before it can yield up its invisible particles of moisture to bedew either herb or flower. So the grace of God does not come forth to rest the soul of man until the still point is fairly and fully reached.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease:
Take from our souls the strain and stress;
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
Breathe through the pulses of desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, its beats expire:
Speak through the earthquake, wind and fire,
O still small voice of calm!
Taken from the Huffington Post which is found HERE.
I am 26 years old, and I currently live at home. I flunked out of university my freshman year as a basketball player on a partial scholarship, and I was in and out of community college for several years until I could gain some focus. I guess you can say it’s taken me some time to find direction in my life. I’m someone with mental illness, and mental illness has a way of consuming a person. I’ve got depression and anxiety, which is just a concoction of f*ckery, and the effects can feel agonizing. Anxiety and depression can be very crippling. Getting through each day can feel like a chore, waking up each morning can feel like a curse, and overall it’s just miserable. Throughout the years I’ve had a handful of different therapists. I have been fortunate to find a psychotherapist that is affordable and sincere, and I have been consistently seeing her for a few years now.
I have made a lot of progress since working with my therapist, and this past year I made it through something I never thought I would be willing to share. Last year I had some of the most trying months of my life. I felt like a zombie. I was going through the motions of my everyday life. I didn’t recognize myself. I didn’t feel like myself. I would fake many of my emotions and tell loved ones I was “fine” and that I was just going through a “rough period.” This was not a rough period. Being disappointed at the fact that I would wake each morning was not fine. Hating my existence was not fine. Wanting to end my life was not fine. If I wasn’t locked in my room then I was either at work or at a therapy session. Having to hear your therapist ask in almost every session, “Do you have a plan?” This is not a sign of being fine or just having a rough period. I was dishonest with many people: my friends, my family, and even my therapist. I had plans to end my life; however, I was not convinced any of them were foolproof.
I was more concerned with burdening loved ones than wanting to live. How do you explain to someone that you’re having difficulty coping with life? How do you begin to tell someone that you no longer wish to be alive? Almost every day I found myself reading through Reddit’s thread: [Serious] Parent’s of children who have committed suicide, could you explain the experience? I don’t think deep down I wanted to end my life. I did want to end my suffering. I was convinced that my life did not matter, that all I did was take up space, and that no one understood what I was feeling.
These are all things I once felt ashamed to admit. The shame I associated with needing professional help, the shame I’ve associated with my journey in life taking a bit longer than others, the embarrassment I’ve felt for my parents and myself because I could never seem to get things right — these are burdens I no longer wish to carry.
The truth is, I have no reason to be ashamed. This is not something a person can just snap out of. There is no quick fix. There is no waking up each day and telling myself to be happy. There is no off switch for depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, thinking positive is not something that can defeat mental illness, and I can’t pray mental illness away. What I can do is acknowledge the feelings and thoughts that arise each day. I can remind myself that I am not alone, and I can be patient with myself and just continue to take things one day at a time. This is what mental illness looks like.
Taken from the New York Times which is found HERE.
Sitting at the heart of much anxiety and fear is emotional memory — all the associations that you have between various stimuli and experiences and your emotional response to them. Whether it’s the fear of being embarrassed while talking to strangers (typical of social phobia) or the dread of being attacked while walking down a dark street after you’ve been assaulted (a symptom of PTSD), you have learned that a previously harmless situation predicts something dangerous.
It has been an article of faith in neuroscience and psychiatry that, once formed, emotional memories are permanent. Afraid of heights or spiders? The best we could do was to get you to tolerate them, but we could never really rid you of your initial fear. Or so the thinking has gone.
The current standard of treatment for such phobias revolves around exposure therapy. This involves repeatedly presenting the feared object or frightening memory in a safe setting, so that the patient acquires a new safe memory that resides in his brain alongside the bad memory. As long as the new memory has the upper hand, his fear is suppressed. But if he is re-traumatized or re-exposed with sufficient intensity to the original experience, his old fear will awaken with a vengeance.
This is one of the limitations of exposure therapy, along with the fact that it generally works in only about half of the PTSD patients who try it. Many also find it upsetting or intolerable to relive memories of assaults and other traumatizing experiences.
We urgently need more effective treatments for anxiety disorders. What if we could do better than creating a new safe memory — and actually get rid of emotions attached to the old bad one?
New research suggests that it may be possible not just to change certain types of emotional memories, but even to erase them. We’ve learned that memories are uniquely vulnerable to alteration at two points: when we first lay them down, and later, when we retrieve them.
Merel Kindt, a professor of psychology at the University of Amsterdam, and her colleagues have seemingly erased the emotional fear response in healthy people with arachnophobia. For a study published last month in the journal Biological Psychiatry, she compared three groups made up of 45 subjects in total. One group was exposed to a tarantula in a glass jar for two minutes, and then given a beta-blocker called propranolol that is commonly prescribed to patients for performance anxiety; one was exposed to the tarantula and given a placebo; and one was just given propranolol without being shown the spider, to rule out the possibility that propranolol by itself could decrease spider fear.
Dr. Kindt assessed the subjects’ anxiety when they were shown the spider the first time, then again three months later, and finally after a year. What she found was remarkable. Those who got the propranolol alone and those who got the placebo had no improvement in their anxiety. But the arachnophobes who were exposed to the spider and given the drug were able to touch the tarantula within days and, by three months, many felt comfortable holding the spider with their bare hands. Their fear did not return even at the end of one year.
How does this work? Well, propranolol blocks the effects of norepinephrine in the brain. This chemical, which is similar to adrenaline, enhances learning, so blocking it disrupts the way a memory is put back in storage after it is retrieved — a process called reconsolidation.
Arachnophobes have an emotional memory that involves an association between spiders and a dreaded outcome, like a spider bite. This “fear memory” is the source of their phobia — even if (as is often the case) it never actually happened. The basic idea is that when Dr. Kindt briefly exposed the subjects to the spider, she reactivated their fear, which made the fear memory susceptible to the influence of propranolol.
Reconsolidation is a bit like pulling up a file on your computer, rewriting the same material in a bigger, bolder font and saving it again. Disrupting reconsolidation with propranolol or another drug is akin to retrieving this document, erasing some or all of the text and then writing something new in its place.
Dr. Kindt is not the first to demonstrate that disrupting reconsolidation can weaken or erase emotional memories. Several studies of rats done in 2000 showed that a drug called anisomycin, which blocks the synthesis of proteins in the brain, could reduce fear associations. In one, researchers taught rats to fear a sound by pairing it with a shock. After the animals were fear-conditioned, they were presented with the sound and then immediately given the drug. When the animals were exposed to the sound again, they no longer appeared afraid; they had forgotten their original fear.
Curiously, there is a very narrow time window after retrieving a fear memory when you can disrupt that memory — hours, in the animal studies — before it closes and the drug has no effect.
These studies suggest that someday, a single dose of a drug, combined with exposure to your fear at the right moment, could free you of that fear forever. But there’s a flip side to this story about how to undo emotional learning: how to strengthen it. We can do that with drugs as well, and may have been doing it for some time.
ANXIETY enhances emotional memory. We all know that — it’s why you can easily forget where you put your wallet, but will never forget being attacked. This is the case because anxiety leads to the release of norepinephrine in the brain, which, again, strengthens emotional learning. It is also why we should think twice about casually prescribing stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall for young people who really don’t need them. Stimulants also cause the release of norepinephrine and may enhance fear learning. So it is possible that taking stimulants could increase one’s risk of developing PTSD when exposed to trauma.
Indeed, a study that will be published next month found that the escalating use of stimulants by the military in active duty soldiers, including those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, was strongly correlated with an increase in the rates of PTSD, even when controlling for other factors, like the rate of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The study examined the use of prescription stimulants, like Ritalin and Adderall, and the rates of PTSD in nearly 26,000 military service members between 2001 and 2008, and found that the incidence of PTSD increased along with the prescriptions.
By blocking the effect of norepinephrine and disrupting memory reconsolidation, we could perhaps reverse this process. The clear implication of these studies is that emotional memory is not permanent after all.
Before you rush off into a panic about the dystopian possibility of mind control or memory deletion, it’s important to recognize that the procedure in Dr. Kindt’s study only weakened the subjects’ fear memory and avoidant behavior. Although the procedure is able to alter or perhaps delete the fear memory (something exposure therapy cannot do), it does nothing to the factual, or biographical, memory, which remains intact.
This is not “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” the movie in which a dysfunctional couple decides to erase their memories of each other and start their lives all over again. To the contrary, you still remember your biography, but your fear would be stripped of its force. The subjects knew perfectly well after the study that they previously feared spiders and that they now — strangely — felt little to no anxiety around them.
If this new approach is effective in other anxiety disorders, like PTSD, you would expect someone who was assaulted in his home to remember the attack perfectly well, but no longer feel afraid of being at home. What’s so bad about that?
It would certainly be superior to exposure therapy, which is far from a permanent fix. Once, while on vacation in Costa Rica, I was standing next to a young man on a zip line platform in a rain forest when he began to hyperventilate. I learned that he had a fear of heights and had had exposure treatment a year before, which he felt had fixed the problem. But now, his old fear was triggered and he was having a full-blown panic attack. I suppose he was lucky to be stuck with a psychiatrist in the jungle; I talked him down the ladder to the ground.
How effective this new memory-disrupting approach will be in treating more serious anxiety disorders like PTSD or panic is unclear. A few preliminary studies using propranolol in PTSD showed mixed results. Some found no effect, but a 2015 review of PTSD treatment studies published in Biological Psychology found that propranolol administered with six brief trauma reactivation sessions significantly improved PTSD symptoms compared with a placebo.
Study results may well change with the development of better methods for administering propranolol or new drugs that are more effective in disrupting memory reconsolidation. Marieke S. Tollenaar, a psychologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands who has studied the effects of propranolol on memory, told me that the “final test” would be to “examine in real life whether propranolol in addition to standard exposure treatment procedures would be beneficial. Little has been done there yet; most work is still done experimentally in the lab.”
Some may view any attempt to tamper with human memory as disturbing because it seems at odds with what we ought to do as a culture with the darker aspects of our history: Never alter the facts, even if we have divergent interpretations of them. And it is critical not to destroy places where crimes of humanity and collective trauma took place, like the concentration camps, so we never forget what we have done and remain capable of doing. Fair enough. But I see no reason not to help frightened individuals soften their painful emotional memories.
Some may also argue that it’s a mistake to tinker with our fear responses because they’re natural — they evolved this way for a reason. Like most other animals, we come hard-wired with a flight or fight response along with its associated anxiety and fear. Without this warning system to protect us from predators and other dangers, we’d have been dinner long ago on the savanna.
But what was once adaptive millions of years ago isn’t always so helpful today. People who suffer panic attacks hyperventilate and have an intense desire to flee in situations where there is rarely actual danger. It turns out that panic disorder is associated with an increased sensitivity to carbon dioxide in the brain. If you lived in a cave with a clan of hominid fire-dwellers, you’d have been one of the first to get out when the oxygen supply was dwindling.
Curiously, that might help explain why some people have panic attacks that wake them at night. These patients don’t panic during so-called REM sleep, when dreams occur, but during non-REM sleep, when they are deeply relaxed, when breathing slows, and the levels of carbon dioxide rise, generating a false suffocation alarm.
Evolutionary design has left us a few million years out of date; we are hard-wired for a Paleolithic world, but have to live in a modern one. The irrational fear of anxiety disorders was once probably useful and lifesaving. No longer.
But maybe that modern world can help. I see nothing wrong with doing all we can to rid ourselves of pathological anxiety, including using drugs to alter our painful emotional memories.
Correction: January 22, 2016
An earlier version of this article incorrectly described some of the details of a study. Arachnophobes who were given a drug and exposed to a tarantula were able to touch the spider four days later, not hold them in a jar on Day 1.
Richard A. Friedman is a professor of clinical psychiatry and the director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College, and a contributing opinion writer.
God is “a very present help in trouble.” But He permits trouble to pursue us, as though He were indifferent to its overwhelming pressure, that we may be brought to the end of ourselves, and led to discover the treasure of darkness, the unmeasurable gains of tribulation.
We may be sure that He who permits the suffering is with us in it. It may be that we shall see Him only when the trial is passing; but we must dare to believe that He never leaves the crucible. Our eyes are holden; and we cannot behold Him whom our soul loveth. It is dark–the bandages blind us so that we cannot see the form of our High Priest; but He is there, deeply touched. Let us not rely on feeling, but on faith in His unswerving fidelity; and though we see Him not, let us talk to Him. Directly we begin to speak to Jesus, as being literally present, though His presence is veiled, there comes an answering voice which shows that He is in the shadow, keeping watch upon His own. Your Father is as near when you journey through the dark tunnel as when under the open heaven! –Daily Devotional Commentary
What though the path be all unknown?
What though the way be drear?
Its shades I traverse not alone
When steps of Thine are near.