Reset – Nick Hall

Reset: Jesus Changes Everything – Nick Hall

Something I quickly noticed while reading Reset is that it is written primarily for youth. That isn’t a bad thing, and there is still plenty of valuable insight to be had from reading this book. What that does mean, though, is that stories from the Bible are told in a “creative” way (pg. 99). Although people could be upset by this, it makes sense for Hall to speak in a way his readers will understand. Hall tells the stories as if from modern times, so a younger reader can more easily relate. Reset would actually be a really good choice to include in a youth Bible study.

In Reset, Hall writes a refreshing book that is focused on spiritually encouraging Millennials instead of bashing them for their shortcomings. A book review.

Even as someone that no longer fits that age group, Reset has already impacted my life. Upon reading the section on “The Modesto Manifesto” and Billy Graham, I actually read the whole section aloud to my husband (pgs. 125-128). I love that Hall frequently incorporates scripture as well as stories he has been told or read about throughout Reset. 

Layout:

Reset has two parts, “The Setup” and “Hitting Reset”. The first part helps you realize if you need a reset in your life by telling you stories of people who decided they needed a reset (and why). In this section, Hall also refreshingly tells us something good about our generation. As Millennials we don’t hear good about our generation often, but Hall refuses to only see the negative here. He states, “This is a generation – often referred to as Millennials – that is filled to overflowing with energy and passion and compassion” (pg. 25). There’s a little more to read there, but you’ll just have to pick up Reset. In the second portion of the book, Hall teaches us how to actually reset our lives. Each chapter focuses on different portions of said lives.

For someone in need of encouragement, Reset is a good place to start. Hall points towards The One who has all of the answers, and is honest about his own struggles (even embarrassing ones). Notably, that makes him easier to relate to as a person. He doesn’t hide the fact that even while leading a powerful ministry (Pulse) he still has shortcomings.

I enjoyed Reset, and I think if you want to see change in your own life, then you will too.

 

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Working & Mental Illness

If you have a mental illness, then you have likely already experienced what I’m going to talk about. If you’re reading All Behind A Smile because someone you know has a mental illness, then maybe you’ve heard about it from them, or have seen it in their lives. Mental illnesses affect every area of our lives, especially jobs. Working is already difficult – getting ready and arriving on time, getting your work done, dealing with difficult co-workers – nobody needs one more thing dragging them down.

Unfortunately, we weren’t given a choice to have a mental illness or not. We didn’t get to choose a ‘normal’ life or a ‘sick’ one. This is simply the hand we were dealt. Have you ever considered how much more effort it takes for someone with a mental illness to keep a job? Keep in mind that symptoms vary by illness and also by how severe the illness is. Due to those reasons, I will be speaking primarily of general struggles of working and having a mental illness.

Working is hard on nearly everybody, but it's even harder when you are dealing with a mental illness on top of it. These are some of the struggles of someone with a mental illness in the workplace.Working & Mental Illness:

With a typical 9-5 Mon.-Fri. job, someone with a treated mental illness would have to get time off regularly. Why? Well, if you are on medicine, you have to see a psychiatrist at regular intervals. Since psychiatrists typically work normal hours, appointments tend to fall smack dab in the middle of the time you should be at work. It’s scary going up to most bosses and asking for time off. It’s even scarier when you have to get time off once a month. (It would be more frequent if your meds weren’t under control yet or you have counseling.)

Skipping appointments isn’t an option, or your psychiatrist will stop refilling your prescription. When your boss starts asking questions, you might have to prove that you are actually going to the doctor and not lying about it. So are you going to tell your boss about your illness? They aren’t allowed to discriminate, that’s true, but I tend to be a bit cynical. Too many appointments, too much time off – even if you are a good employee, your boss will likely start looking for a reason to let you go. (If you have an awesome boss who does not have an issue with you missing time to go to appointments, that’s great! That doesn’t seem to be too common, though.)

Even with the rare, accepting boss, co-workers notice. There might be snide comments, or jealous remarks. (They probably think you are missing work for something fun.) If most of your co-workers are awesome, there is still usually at least one who doesn’t seem to take a hint or want to leave you alone.

Acting Normal:

While at work, especially if dealing with customers, it is important to seem normal. We wouldn’t want to give the company a bad name, now would we? Note that some companies are much more likely to hire an individual with certain mental illnesses. These are not the companies to which I am referring. We also don’t want to be known amongst co-workers as the “weird” one or any other inconsiderate term that might be cooked up for us. Trying to seem normal the entire workday is exhausting! Just like most everyone else, though, your day doesn’t end with work. The house (or apartment) still has to be cleaned, you still have to eat, and shower, and there are many more chores to do.

The stress of everything keeps piling up. Unless you are super organized (and energetic) there is always work to be done. Mental illnesses or not, this can get to anyone. Some other people with mental illnesses I’ve known consider being baker acted a sort of ‘vacation’, because the hospital is a whole other (crappy) world. They don’t have to drive to work, or act normal all day, or be responsible.

When being baker acted is a vacation, we need to take a good hard look at our workplaces and how employees are treated. We need to look at how we treat our co-workers, and take a moment to consider that they probably have problems in their lives too. Working is hard. We don’t have to make it harder on each other.

Nicole

From a Delusional Mind

Trouble Begins (or continues):

For about a month now, I’ve only been taking half of my prescribed dosage of medicine in order to stretch my remaining medicine further. This is due to insurance issues related to our recent move. Unfortunately, lowering my intake of medicine that already wasn’t working very well (of course) has not had very good results. (*Cough* delusional *Cough*).

A symptom I only just realized, right before typing this, has been rather frequent: delusions. I’ve known for quite a while that my beliefs didn’t make any logical sense, and yet I still firmly believe them – even after this realization. My thoughts are so chaotic and confused – I know they don’t make sense, that my beliefs can’t be real, but I cannot shake them.

It's not a secret that those diagnosed with a mental illness can often be delusional, and I am no exception. Running out of medicine, and living on half of my dosage, symptoms are returning full force. In 'From A Delusional Mind', you can read some of the delusions that I can't quite shake off.

 

Delusional Thoughts:

It’s stupid beliefs, too. One in particular is that my fingernails are starting to flatten out (before they had a rather nice, rounded curve) because in high school I thought one of my friend’s fingernails weren’t very good (she had flat fingernails). For perspective, I have been out of high school for about five years. Even though I know it doesn’t make sense, I keep thinking that my fingernails are flattening because I’m being punished for being so critical of her fingernails.

Other nonsensical beliefs relate to my gaining weight, and even problems people I know are having. Without giving too many details, someone I know is going through a tough time, and I keep thinking she’s being punished because of something I complained about. Mind you, I only complained to my husband, and regretted the decision after. Not because my husband would say something (he wouldn’t), but because complaining doesn’t fix anything. Aside from that, complaining leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That’s not the person I want to be (it’s something I’m working on).

Nonsensical, but Still Real:

These pointless thoughts keep circling around in my head, keeping me awake and convincing me that I’m being punished; even that the people I care about are being punished because of me. As I have said far too many times already, these thoughts don’t make sense. I can’t shake them, though. They are firmly rooted and refusing to let go. Knowing something isn’t real isn’t enough to allow me to believe it isn’t real.

This doesn’t even make sense to me, but I suppose that’s to expected. Not much makes sense to me anymore. This thoroughly sucks, but there is little that can be done at the moment. Here’s hoping you are far less delusional than I am.

Sincerely,

A Delusional Mind

Self Therapy: Avoiding Self-Harm (Stop Me)

Art, in all its forms, is amazing. You can express yourself through a pencil and paper, or through paints, or through clay. If you have a mental illness, then there is a whole other side you can reflect in your art, an understanding that everyday people don’t have. There are so many options. One could sit and list options for hours and still miss different forms of art. A great thing about art, is that it is a great way to express yourself. If you are feeling low (or having bad thoughts) you can pass them onto the paper or whichever medium you like and stop them from intruding in your head. Don’t think that every work has to be a masterpiece, or because you aren’t creatively inclined that art can’t help. If you give art a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised.

That was what I was attempting to achieve with this Stop Me sketch.

As someone who struggles not to self-harm, coping skills keep me on the right track. I love art, and sketched 'Stop Me' to help distract from the urges.

Trigger Warning: This sketch may be triggering to those who self-harm.

At the time this sketch was created, I had recently gotten out of the hospital (it was a 5 month stay) and was living in a new facility. I was homeless, and it had been a long, hard year. Everything was uncertain. With a history of self-harm, standing on such fragile ground was triggering in and of itself. Rather than self-harm, I poured those desires onto my sketch pad and created this sketch.

As someone who struggles not to self-harm, coping skills keep me on the right track. I love art, and sketched 'Stop Me' to help distract from the urges.

If you or someone you know is struggling with urges to self-harm, there are many outlets to express yourself that don’t leave a scar.

The butterfly project is fairly popular, and involves drawing a butterfly on your body where you want to cut. You can read more about it at Recover Your Life. On the link they also suggest a great alternative instead of drawing a butterfly, and even an addition to drawing a butterfly so it lasts longer. Check it out!

Some other ideas to stop self-harming:
  • Create a ‘love’ jar (This would be for someone you know who self-harms):
    • Collect love notes or nice comments from friends and family of the person who self-harms, put them in a jar, and give them to the person. Tell them that whenever they want to self-harm, pull a note out of the jar and read it. Then they can remember how worthwhile they are, and how much everyone loves them.

 

  • Sketch or create art in some form:
    • This is what I did above. You can take whatever you’re feeling, and express it in a tangible, non-self-harm way.

 

  • Listen to positive music:
    • Although it will be difficult, avoid sad or aggressive music. It will most likely make the desire to self-harm even worse. Try to listen to music that is positive or uplifting.

 

Search engines or sites like Pinterest can also provide great ideas on what to do when the urge to self-harm strikes. You can do this!

 

Disclaimer: I do not support or encourage self-harm or any form of intentional injury to anyone or anything. If you self-harm or are considering self-harm, please seek professional assistance. I am not a mental health professional and do not offer medical advice. If you are considering suicide, please get help immediately. The National Suicide Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, everyday.

National Suicide Lifeline #: 1-800-273-8255
Resources:
H. (n.d.). The Butterfly Project [Web log post]. Retrieved September 1, 2016, from http://www.recoveryourlife.com/index.php?categoryid=148

Energizing: Greek Potato Salad

Based on the Summer Greek Expat Potato Salad in the cookbook Modern Potluck by Kristin Donnelly.

Potatoes are a complex carbohydrate, which is good for energy. Complex carbs are especially good paired with chicken or fish to help keep your blood sugar stable. That is important – blood sugar quickly rising and then dropping causes a ‘crash’, which can affect our energy levels. “This crash can make us feel fatigued, light headed, affect our concentration and produce other symptoms akin to panic.” (G. Fantelli & C. Fantelli, n.d.). Let’s go make this Greek potato salad!

My husband and I just moved into our new apartment recently, with a roommate this time. It rains practically daily here, but since the weather forecast said it shouldn’t rain until five, we thought it was safe to grill (it was only four). Greek potato salad would be a perfect side to nearly anything grilled, right? Out came the grill, and just as my husband started to grill the (delicious) jalapeno cheddar brats, it started to rain.

If you like potato salad but are tired of the same old thing, then this greek potato salad is perfect. It's so unusual that even my potato-hater husband loved it!

 

Champ that he is, my awesome husband just held an umbrella over his head when he checked on the brats, and otherwise stood under an overhang. While he was hard at work, our roommate made this delicious potato salad. (I was walking back and forth between the grill and the kitchen, assisting wherever necessary).

Greek Time:
  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp celery seed
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 c roasted almonds
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • olive oil (to preferred consistency)
  • dash vinegar
  • 4 tbsp pickle juice
  • 1/4 c mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c plain greek yogurt (vanilla would also work)
How to:

In a large pot, add freshly scrubbed potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook on med heat, until potatoes are soft enough to be pierced with a fork but still firm enough to hold their shape. Drain the water and cool the potatoes. Once the potatoes are cool, dice them to the desired size. We did not peel ours.

While the potatoes are cooking (or cooling) roast the almonds in a 300 degree oven for about 10 min (give or take). We roasted whole almonds and minced them in the Ninja after.

Mix all of the spices together with the olive oil, vinegar, pickle juice, mayonnaise and greek yogurt. Add potatoes and almonds, and toss with dressing. Serve at room temperature (if desired), or chill.

Serves about 8 people.

If you like potato salad but are tired of the same old thing, then this greek potato salad is perfect. It's so unusual that even my potato-hater husband loved it!

Note:

This potato salad relies on very heavy (but not at all spicy) seasonings. It is unlike any other potato salad I’ve tried. I hope you love it as much as we did.

Resources

Fantelli, G., & Fantelli, C. (n.d.). Carbohydrates. Retrieved September 2, 2016, from http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/lifestyle/food/carbohydrates.html