A Psychiatrist's Take: Physical Self-Care

In honor of Self Care Month, we are continuing our series on the various aspects of self-care. I sat down with Barney, one of our psychiatrists, to get a physician’s perspective on physical self-care. Over the years he has served global workers in many locations, both in person and via videoconference, and has unique insight on the challenges faced in caring for oneself in a cross-cultural setting.

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Ready To Throw in the Towel!

Tyler* couldn’t believe he was saying the words out loud, but they had been bouncing around inside of him for a while. One year into a 2-year commitment serving in Asia, Tyler found himself admitting to his brother over FaceTime, “I can’t imagine doing another year here. I just want to quit and come home.”

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Why Are Transitions So Difficult?

“I’ve been through this so many times before; why is it still so hard?”

Angie* has served overseas for 11 years. She has lived in three different countries and changed roles and cities more times than that. Friends and teammates have come and gone. But this latest move, prompted by unexpected visa issues, has left her floundering.

“I should be used to starting over by now, but I’m just tired.

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A Psychiatrist's Take: “It’s Not PTSD, Is It???”

As early as the American Civil War, we have record of awareness that some individuals developed physical and emotional symptoms in response to wartime stress exposure . Over time, the terms changed, but were still primarily connected to some form of combat trauma; “soldier’s heart,” “shell shock,” and “combat fatigue” were a few of the terms offered to describe the cluster of physical symptoms that resembled sudden feelings of impending doom, panic, and overwhelming anxiety. All of these implied that there was something internally “wrong” with the person that would lead them to respond in an excessive way.

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Psychiatrist's TakeJim
What Happens When You Try To Give Too Much Out Of Stores That Just Aren’t There?

How often do you find yourself reaching a breaking point? How often do you try to give more than you have and need to stop and refuel? And when you do try to stop and take a breather, how often are you filled with guilt? Who am I to sit down and take a break? Do I really deserve this when there are people who need me? But at the same time, you may start feeling dread when someone comes to your door because you know you have nothing left to give. We become resentful. We become short-tempered. We become tired. We start to burn out.

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Think You Might Need Counseling?

You may wonder “How do I know if I need counseling? Is this serious enough?” “How do I know if I have a ‘mental health issue’?” “What if it seems more like a spiritual issue, but I’m feeling anxious or depressed as a result?” We hope this brief set of common questions and answers will help you determine if counseling can benefit you.

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Jim
Third Culture Kids’ Challenges

Third Culture Kids experience a variety of challenges, some more than others! Consider a young teenage boy impacted by several cultures. Born in his country of origin, he was placed in an orphanage with significant levels of neglect. After a few years, he was adopted by a family that turned out to be abusive. At the hands of his new parents he suffered through physical and emotional abuse and neglect. His Father God saw fit for a global worker family to adopt him, where he finally saw the Father’s love for His children enacted in real life. He was, and is, deeply loved by his second human family. However, as a child of global workers, he now lived in yet another country;

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Jim
This Is Not What I Signed Up For!

“This is not what I signed up for!” “I thought my team would be a true community, but why do I feel so alone?” “I’ve invested three years here and have yet to see any fruit.” “My team leader expects so much; I can never measure up.” “I thought we had a good marriage, but since moving here we’ve been fighting nonstop.” “I came halfway around the world to serve God; why does He seem so far away?”

GRC care providers hear statements like these on many occasions. Often, these feelings of doubt are coupled with loneliness and isolation.

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Help Me Help Others

How many times have you tried to help someone work through personal problems and found them getting “stuck” at some point along the way? One area where this often happens is in the process of forgiveness and healing from past hurts. Many of us, despite our best intentions, have had times when true forgiveness just seemed out of reach. Sometimes forgiveness feels too much like letting the other person off the hook. Or we try to forgive and move on, but something happens and the old hurt and anger flare up as strongly as ever.


In his book Help Me Help Others: Practical Ways to Build Healthy Relationships, Dr. Larry Wagner offers tools to help people identify and overcome relational challenges.

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Jim
Fences Make Great Neighbors. Maybe Even Teammates.

“My new teammate is really struggling. She needs someone to talk to. I’m trying to love her well, to be there for her … but this is getting so draining!”

“I’m a husband, a dad, a church planter and team leader. I enjoy all these roles, but it feels like someone constantly needs something from me, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day. People tell me to prioritize and let some things go, but it’s all important. How can I say no to any of it?”

The whole idea of setting boundaries and saying no can feel selfish. Sometimes it can feel downright impossible…

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Jim