Lifestyle

No Shame in Seeking Help

Hello everyone! Sorry, I neglected this blog in the past period, but there has been a lot going on in our community church. Although I love serving other people, sometimes the everyday needs of people do not leave enough time to engage in updating this blog on a regular basis. Nevertheless, serving people is my calling after all, so I am certainly happy to do my calling. Anyway, I would like to share a recent experience with you, concerning a woman who was grieving. I hope it will inspire you to reach out for help if you ever need it, and understand that there is no shame in asking for help.

A few days ago, a woman called me to ask for help. Her best friend’s dog had died and he was grieving. However, he was too shy to ask for help because he thought it was embarrassing for a grown man to get depressed over the loss of his dog. In fact, this is far from being an exception: in general, men are less likely to seek mental health help than women. But it is important to go beyond stigma like this and to understand that people cope with different things differently. While for some, a wartime experience could lead to post-traumatic stress, for others it could leave no lingering effects. For this man, his dog was his only companion for over 10 years. He was not married, he had no children and lived alone. So it is not so strange that he had developed a deep attachment to his dog.

I have written before that sometimes when people go through grief, the pain is so overwhelming that they forget to take care of themselves. They can even forget to take care of their most basic needs or to maintain personal hygiene, including bathing, brushing their teeth, or washing their hands. This was also the case with this man. When I went to visit him, he was in an awful condition. It was apparent he hadn’t been maintaining his personal hygiene. Even though at first he was a bit embarrassed over his situation, after I shared with him that I have met many people that go through the same things and that there is nothing unnatural about this process, he started to open up.

We chatted for about three hours. A lot of sorrow and pain were released, but I was pleased to see him willing to get help at least. We agreed we would meet again next week. In situations like these, it’s important to encourage the person to take control over his own life and to feel like they are still valuable and needed in the world. For example, since he was a mechanic, I encouraged him to help me find a tankless water heater for my home, and he said he would be glad to help out. He referred me to some websites such as tanklesscenter.net, which I promised I would browse before our next meeting. He even promised to help me install it once I buy the model I prefer. This, of course, does not mean that you should always encourage the person undergoing grief into doing all sorts of things. This will depend on how severe the situation is, and sometimes, it is understandable that it will take a while before the person decides to get involved in everyday activities again.

Keeping the Lights On

The weather can get extreme where I reside and it is not surprising to have a power outage every so often. They seem to come at the most inopportune moments like when you are cooking dinner or watching your favorite TV show. You sit in the dark and ponder your bad luck. You know you will just have to wait it out. You call the utility company and they say, we know sit tight. It could be a few hours. I know you have experienced something similar whether you live in the snow belt or the sunbelt. Extreme temperatures can tax utilities causing rolling blackouts or brown outs as the shorter ones are called.

The inconvenience of power outages is such that it has prompted me to find a home generator. I got the idea when we had a church raffle and it was the grand prize. Oddly enough, we sold a lot of tickets because people really wanted one. Even those who have an old workhorse, could use a new model. I got one at Home Depot that is versatile and portable. It is not a whole-house unit, but I only need to power up certain appliances if we have an outage. I am sure you have seen the kind I bought at job sites that takes care of currently-used tools. I wanted one that uses propane so I could keep that on hand and not worry about battery operation that may fail.

I got a good quality, and not by all means cheap, Generac. The 212cc engine runs on propane fuel (that runs the generator for up to 9 hours). It has automatic low oil shutoff to prevent engine damage. According to the salesman, it is precision balanced for stability and effortless mobility.

Generac’s LP3250, also according to the salesman, is the first portable propane generator to bring together the benefits of liquid propane with an easy-to-transport design. The result is a surprisingly compact and easily maneuverable portable generator ideal for a variety of uses. Until now, the only options available required the propane tank to be separately carried, where it would then sit to the side of the generator while in use. The LP3250 incorporates a tank holder into the frame itself, so the standard size 20 lb. propane tank sits securely out of the way. It eliminates the hassle of a stand-alone tank and the awkward fuel line that goes along with it. Take the LP3250 along for outdoor events, camping or job site use or use it around the home for projects and emergency backup. So I will get double duty out of this device. Here are some other features:

  • Two 20 Amp 120-Volt 5-20R outlets and one 20 Amp twist-lock L14-20R outlet
  • Outlets are covered for protection from the elements
  • Muffler helps ensure quiet operation
  • Fuel gauge shows you when the generator needs refueling
  • Low oil pressure protection safeguards the engine from damage
  • Circuit breakers provide overload protection
  • Conveniently located fuel line quickly connects to standard size LP tanks
  • Dolly-style handles and low grab bar increase maneuverability
  • Handles fold down for compact storage
  • Rugged 1-1/4 in. hardened-steel tube cradle

Taking Care of Oneself

One of the people I counsel isn’t doing well and has lost a lot of weight as a result of his troubles. He recently lost a spouse which is one of the worst things a person can experience apart from losing a child. At first I was in a quandary how to help other than the usual remarks that begin the healing process. There are times when words alone do not suffice. I had to take some other kind of symbolic action that would draw attention to his lack of self-concern.

I searched the web and read digital scale reviews to help me find the best one for him, that he could use as a reminder to “check in” every day and start taking better care of himself. I assumed that he only had an old one in the bathroom at home. The digital model is a handy item to have around, especially with the large readout panel that comes with it. It lights up. The accuracy is also phenomenal. He just needed a helping hand at this point since my current approach was not putting any meat on his bones. He was drowning in sorrow. When people are grieving or are in mental pain, they lose sight of their basic needs such a nutrition. As the experts say it, they forget to eat. They don’t exercise or attend to personal grooming. They enter a no man’s land of escapism and they can wallow in self-pity or re-experience the initial loss over and over again that got them in such a sorry state to begin with.

I got a digital scale that syncs with his personal computer since I knew that he was the type of person who spent a lot of time in cyber space. He would appreciate being able to track his weight while on line and could compare himself to other people of his height and age. This would be a good diversion for him. I could think of nothing better, and according to his report back to me, it worked.

Taking care of oneself goes without saying, but people just don’t always believe it. If you forget to eat or have trouble sleeping, it makes matters worse and you can become truly ill. There are psychological maladies that accompany grief and loss and they can be every bit as bad as the physical ailments that plague the same group. I can’t say too much on the subject to people in need so help them through a rough patch. Sometimes it takes an object to wake the person up. It can be a book to read or it can be something as mundane as a digital scale. Weight loss can be disturbing and I worried that the scale would have the opposite effect. In his case, he just wouldn’t acknowledge it which is a prerequisite to doing something concrete to remedy it, so the scale was a wake-up call. I think I hit the nail on the head with this one. Not everyone would react in the same way. But he did have a positive, self-curing response.

Staying Mentally and Physically Healthy

My job can be very stressful and I have found that exercise can help me stay positive. It is important to be on an even keel physically and mentally when you deal with people on a regular basis. Something as simple as installing a pull up bar in my office has been keeping me going. I don’t have time to run off to the gym most days or even nights. When you are doing grief counseling, people need you at that moment—not three hours later. It is a very demanding kind of job. I used to like working out a lot to stay fit as a fiddle, but work has gotten in the way over the years, even when I was employed at a hospital in a similar role. I just didn’t have adequate time even though I supposedly had regular hours. I have to make do with what I call a makeshift exercise program. You know, the kind where you stand up when seated at your office chair and repeat the motion endless times to work the quads. You also rotate your shoulders while seated and also the head. It helps get the cobwebs out and the blood circulating. You can even rotate your ankles for that matter. You can do lunges or deep knee bends across the floor or you can use small weights to perform curls and over-the-head movements. You can in effect make your office a mini gym as long as you are discreet. If clients come in, you don’t want weights strewn about the floor. They aren’t in a position to understand your need for exercise so you can perform your job better.

I thought adding a pull up bar to the room would add another and different dimension to my exercise routine and I could put it in the ceiling out of view. It would be there to prod me into action. I would try to do chin ups a couple times a week. Of course, I don’t have room for a multi component bike station or a treadmill. That would be ideal. They make them suitable for home use and small spaces. In any case, the pull up bar hardly takes space at all. I reach up and grab it and go.

This ceiling pull up bar I chose has dual position risers. It was suggested as the best option. The bars drop 14″ from your ceiling providing plenty of headroom and a full range of motion. You have the confidence of knowing it fits your desired placement now and in the future. This bar fits 16″ and 24″ joists and is ergonomically designed to reduce strain and increase gains during workouts. Featuring ideal 20″ spacing on the parallel grips and angled bars for a more natural grip position, the all-steel construction bar delivers good workouts every day. I do feel better having taken the action of installing the bar. I highly recommend it for people like me who are stressed and pressed for time.

New and Improved Community Kitchen

Our church community kitchen gets a lot of wear and tear. It is in the basement but that doesn’t deter anyone from climbing down a flight of stairs to access it. It is used throughout the week to prepare for social functions and on Sunday for special events after the service. There always seems to be a celebration in store. A kitchen like ours can feed hundreds in a pinch. People seem to come and go on a regular basis as a result. The large space can house dozens of people in the process of making preparations. There is a six-burner oven and a huge expanse of countertop, which you need when doing large catering jobs. The fridge is practically new as it was donated by a church member. That saved us a bundle so we can take care of other concerns. All in all, it is a fairly updated space. There is only one thing missing: a new kitchen faucet. The old one leaks and is too small to easily fill large pots. It isn’t that the sink itself is small—it is one open area—but that the faucet seems more suited to a single family home.

We took a poll of the people who frequent the kitchen. They seem to know their way around it. They seemed to like Delta faucets for a replacement. The brand has multiple price points and gets good reviews. I loved the website where you could select your finish and then the components one by one. They would then display the relevant models.

Everyone was ecstatic about getting an upgrade. The communal kitchen faucet works hard. Filling pots. Washing dishes. Rinsing food. But could it do more? Many homeowners and kitchen workers are making their kitchens even more hardworking by selecting the best kitchen faucets that help them use water smarter. From the beginning, Delta has sought out innovative solutions to help people use water in better ways. These smart features, found across their offerings, are helping to improve the lives of more and more people every day. While this applies to any family kitchen, it certainly would be true for our church version.

What we liked in the Delta was the technology that made cleaning up messy hands easy. Beverage faucets let anyone get a cold drink while washing the dishes. And pull down faucets deliver water right where you need it. That is a real boon in an industrial type kitchen. We saw that Delta has a range of kitchen faucets—in finishes to suit every preference—so you can customize your kitchen around your needs.

Then other decisions have to be made. Single handle or two handle? Pull down or wall mount pot filler? Yes to touch technology. Delta has a kitchen faucet for every preference and in a variety of finishes including bronze and stainless. We selected a nice polished chrome. It would match the finish on the stove, dishwasher, and refrigerator. Even a church kitchen has to look nice!