1. Don’t try to fight it:
Work with it – ask friends to pray for you – depression is an illness, not a sin.
2. Poor concentration:
Do what you can do. Don’t try to read a book. Browse magazines or newspapers instead.
3. Poor appetite:
Try to eat little and often – light, easily digested, healthy foods.
4. Poor sleep:
Rest whenever you can. if you are sleeping excessively, aim to normalise gradually – an hour less every few days.
Try to get a little fresh air and exercise each day – a walk round the block or to the nearest shop – even a stroll round your own garden / yard.
6. Set a goal:
Aim to complete one task each day. Gradually increase this as you begin to feel more able. (A task may be washing, shaving or dressing at first).
7. Seeing others:
Don’t feel obliged to answer the telephone or door. But warn family and friends so they know what is going on!
8. Be kind to yourself:
What do you enjoy? What helps you relax? Listen to favourite music, soak in a warm bath, watch a favourite film, suck a lollipop!
9. Occupy your time:
Find something simple to do to occupy your time – colouring in, painting, gardening, knitting, jigsaws, cooking, model-making, cleaning, reading, easy DIY.
10. Thoughts and feelings:
Accept and deal with any thoughts / feelings which come up – keep a journal where you can work through for yourself to begin with. Later you may need to pray them through and / or talk to someone else; i.e. a counsellor.
1. Make Your Spouse Number One
Make it clear that you are each other’s number one. Do all you can to maintain your husband / wife as your number one human relationship. Avoid any other relationship having greater priority, affection, time or attention.
2. Appreciate Each Other
Express your appreciation of your spouse regularly. Do not take each other for granted. Express thanks – even for routine things like cooking and cleaning. Continue to plan surprises.
3. Spend Time Together
Make Quality time for each other, rather than just working for a better home or car. Avoid working long hours regularly. Ensure you make time for things you enjoy doing as a couple.
4. Talk And Listen
Spend time talking and listening to each other. Be interested. Express sympathy when necessary. Give support and comfort. Sympathy and good attentive listening will usually be appreciated by your spouse much more than suggestions. It’s important to laugh together too.
5. Agree on How to Use Your Income
Agree a budget together, with a margin for unexpected costs. Try to avoid using credit cards unless you can pay off the full amount monthly. Avoid the trap of debt. It’s better to wait.
6. Show Affection
Learn how to show and receive affection without it having to lead to sex. Just a touch, holding hands, a light kiss, a quick hug, a few words spoken: ”I love you”.
7. Meet Each Other’s Physical Needs
Talk about your sex life and aim to meet each other’s needs. God says that our body belongs to our spouse. That will mean compromises. Each learn what the other enjoys.
8. Trust Each Other
Trust is a priceless commodity, but it is difficult to restore when broken. So always try to be as honest as possible and faithful with each other.
9. Deal with Difficulties Quickly
Become skilled at resolving conflict. Focus on one issue at a time. Listen to and understand the other’s point of view − then share yours. Deal with situations quickly; don’t sulk and don’t withdraw. Remember: Love keeps no record of wrongs. ‘Don’t let the sun go down on your anger’.
10. Try to Build a Foundation of Agreement
Aim to discuss and agree your approach to discipline and relationships with others. Find ‘our’ way of doing it. Seek to re-negotiate adult to adult relationships with parents and parents−in−law. Discipline children with consistency and rewards. Discipline should be calm, fair and firm. Try to avoid disciplining children when you are angry.
1. Assess your weekly timetable:
Remember we all need time with friends, time with family and especially time with God.
if you can’t fit everything in, you are doing too much!
2. Learn to say ‘No’
And mean it! Draw your own boundaries and be prepared to protect them.
3. Focus on one task at a time
Stop what you are doing while you answer the phone, if it’s not convenient to talk, say so and suggest a time more convenient to you.
Don’t work and eat at the same time. Take time to enjoy your food and relax.
4. Don’t bottle up your emotions
Find safe ways to express them – Popping the bubbles from bubble plastic can help. Physical outlets, keep a journal, talk to your mirror, tell God all about it.
5. Learn some simple relaxation and breathing techniques
Try this for a start: Take a deep breath; lift your shoulders, push them back, drop them; then breathe out in a long sigh.
6. Exercise regularly
Take a brisk walk, swim, take up dancing – anything fun to do.
7. Always take a lunch break
Even if it’s only for half an hour – stop work for that time, relax. If you work in a shop, factory or office try to get out for some fresh air.
8. Don’t think about work
Until it’s time to start. Read, do a crossword, listen to music / radio.
9. Rest before bedtime
Stop any type of work at least an hour before bedtime. Resist the last cup of tea / coffee – give your brain a chance to slow down. Have a milky drink if you need one.
10. Bedtime Routine
Develop a definite, relaxing bedtime routine. Check your diary for the following day. Have a warm, milky drink. Soak in a warm (not hot) bath. Listen to relaxing music. Read a little.
1. Don’t put limits on yourself:
Every relationship is different and grieving its loss will take its own time.
2. Accept your own feelings:
Whatever they are, they are your feelings and they are valid. Talk them through in prayer.
3. Allow yourself to ‘finish’ conversations:
Imagine holding a conversation with the person you have lost, accepting the response you know they would make.
4. Be Angry:
Give yourself permission to be angry / resentful – speak to yourself or write it out if necessary, but don’t act on it immediately.
5. You are allowed to cry:
Have a safe place where you can cry when you need to.
6. Talk to others:
Talk to other members of the family. Remember they are grieving too. Cry together if and when necessary.
7. Painful memories:
Accept the pain of memories which might be triggered by music, TV programmes or other external reminders. The pain will gradually subside with exposure and other memories will eventually bring comfort.
8. ‘First times’ hurt:
Expect ‘first times’ to hurt – subsequent times will become easier as new memories are established without your loved one.
9. Don’t make sudden decisions:
Allow change to creep into your routine gently – resist the urge to alter everything, you may regret it later
10. Moving on:
Gradually pick up the threads of your life at your own pace – do not allow others to rush you
1. Talk to Someone:
Find a safe reliable person you believe you can trust to talk to. If you have not done so already, try and pluck up the courage to tell someone what has happened to you.
Aim to find a trained, experienced professional counsellor who works within a reputable organisation and is accountable, possibly someone who has been recommended to you.
Some people feel they can work through, and cope with, the damage and effects of sexual abuse on their own, but it is more usual for people to need help from someone else.
2. Break the Silence
Sexual abuse can often be kept a secret for many years. Try and break the secrecy by sharing what happened to you with a few people you can depend upon and trust.
Keeping sexual abuse a secret, can increase the effects on victims as they keep it all locked away inside them. Sharing with someone else can bring relief and then give opportunity for those who have been abused to be helped.
God knows everything about us and still loves us unconditionally and accepts us as we are.
3. Sexual Abuse Affects Your Whole Life
Sexual Abuse affects every area of your life but it can be faced, worked through and in time overcome.
Those who have been abused may feel they are different to other people: that in some way they have been stained or contaminated: that they respond differently to other people.
They may struggle to cope with close, intimate relationships. This is because sexual abuse happens within a relationship, and can affect their ability to relate to others.
Sexual abuse victims can experience things in their present lives that have become wrongly linked. Sex can be linked with pain or fear. Pleasure can be linked with pain. All men and women may be seen as possible abusers. But these wrong links can be identified and changed.
4. A Sense of Betrayal:
If you have been sexually abused you have also been betrayed. When someone is betrayed it causes a very deep reaction within them.
The effects of betrayal can be worked through and it is possible to learn how to begin to reach out and trust people again and therefore develop good, positive, meaningful relationships.
Jesus knows what it is like to be betrayed by people who were close to him, and said they loved Him. He can understand your pain because He has been there himself.
5. Learn to Like Yourself:
People who have been sexually abused can find it hard to like or even love themselves. Try and look after yourself.
Try to eat well, regularly and healthily. If eating is difficult try to eat something light, easy to digest and nourishing. Cereal and milk is good.
Aim to get a good balance of exercise, rest and sleep.
Do something each day that you enjoy doing. If it is difficult to think of something at the moment, try doing something you used to enjoy.
Be kind to yourself and treat yourself regularly even if you find it difficult.
God has designed us as tripartite beings. We all have a body, a soul and a spirit, when things happen they affect all three parts; when we begin to deal with the effects of abuse every part of us is affected.
6. Most Abuse Happens to Children
A lot of sexual abuse takes place with children i.e. under eighteen years of age. If this is the case for you; remember you were only a child when it happened.
Your understanding and perception of things would have been very different to what they are now as an adult.
Children feel pain and emotions much more intensely than adults. Because the abuse happened when you were a child, your emotions linked to the abuse can be very intense and childlike.
God knew you from the day you were conceived; from when you where in your mother’s womb. Because He is Lord of time He can heal you of damage from the past even when it happened to you as a child.
7. Building Good Relationships
Although you may struggle to make good relationships, it is important that you gradually begin to reach out and learn how to build and regain your trust in people.
Join a support group: this can help to break some of the isolation and provide a measure of support and relationship.
Gradually allow others to get close to you, even though intimacy may be very hard for those who have been abused.
Those who have been abused can struggle to be able to tell who is or isn’t trustworthy, but this can be discovered and learned.
Aim to discover who is trustworthy by trusting a person with something that feels meaningful but not absolutely crucial. Building trust means being patient, taking time and being willing to take risks.
8. Working Through These Issues Will Involve:
Being honest and real about how you have been damaged and affected.
Disclosing something of the detail of what happened to you.
Being willing to put the responsibility and blame where it rightfully should be.
Being willing to work towards forgiving the person / people who were to responsible and to blame.
The effects of sexual abuse can be devastating, but it is possible to work through them to a place of healing and restoration.
It is not a sign of weakness to admit you need help, but a sign of maturity.
You do not have to stay a victim, you can become a survivor and then hopefully an over comer.
If you let Him, God longs to heal you and help you to have the life He always wanted you to have.
I am very grateful for the help that we received. I do not think that our marriage would have survived without it. It was really good to have someone listen without judgement. It felt like a positive experience even when I was at my lowest ebb.