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Miranda Writes: Intervention 101




by Omar Miranda



Back in June someone posted the following question in the discussion forum at Insight’s Web site:

“I have a friend (a girl) who hasn’t been eating lately. At school she is always secluded and hardly talks to anyone. Rewind a year, and she was everyone’s friend and eating normally. At the end of the school year she is moving across the country. I have 11 days until I graduate, and I want to try to make a difference. What should I do?”

Here’s my response (which was posted online right after the question was asked):

First you should tell a trusted adult about your concerns. I’m glad you’re reaching out here, but it sounds to me like you’ve got a real reason to be concerned and you’re not just being weird.

Does she want to move? Is she excited about moving? What’s going on in her life? with her family? with her relationships? at school? Have there been any serious, sudden, or drastic changes in her life recently? Have there been any kind of birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special days or occasions that could explain why she’s been acting this way?

Regardless of what’s happening, it sounds to me as though she might be dealing with some signs and symptoms of depression. Those signs and symptoms include such things as a change in eating or sleeping (either too much or too little); a change in energy and motivation; an increase in isolation and/or withdrawal from others; feelings of guilt, hopelessness, worthlessness, or general sadness all the time; and not being able to enjoy the things she used to enjoy (for instance, she just stopped doing extracurricular activities or hobbies). Other more serious changes could include feelings of anxiety or thoughts of self-harm (such as cutting), suicide (wanting to kill oneself), or homicide (wanting to kill somebody else). If you find out that she has been having feelings of wanting to hurt herself or somebody else, you’ve got to tell an adult! You and/or that adult can also call either one of these 24-hour crisis lines: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-4357, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

After you tell a trusted adult about the changes in her you’ve already seen, ask her about the other stuff I mentioned. Here’s the most important thing: even if she tells you that everything is “cool” and she doesn’t want you to tell anybody anything . . . tell anyway! I would rather her be alive, healthy, and angry at you for a little while than to have her continue to be depressed and thinking about hurting herself—or actually doing it. The bottom line is this: Now that you know this information, you can do something to stop the problem and make the situation better! Remember what the Bible says in Proverbs 25:5, 6: “A truly good friend will openly correct you. You can trust a friend who corrects you, but kisses from an enemy are nothing but lies” (CEV).1

It’s hard to tell those you love the difficult news that they may not always want to hear, but it’s the best thing for them. When my kids—I have two precious angels—come to me and ask me for a snack, they typically have something from the six kid food groups: S2 (sugary, salty), F2 (fatty, fried), or C2 (crunchy, cheesy). Now, as their father, I want to give them what they want, within reason, but I also have to give them what’s good for them as well, so they typically get some type of raw, plain fruit or vegetable; they also typically complain, but in the end they eat it because they’re hungry and they always say thanks (after a little while). In your situation it’ll be kind of the same thing. Your friend will complain and get upset with you, but in the end she’ll thank you—and so will her parents. 

I know you’ll do the right thing to keep your friend safe, happy, and healthy. If you need any other advice, please feel free to contact me directly at omarmiranda@earthlink.net, or you can call me at 770-354-2912.

I’m praying for you and for your friend. Congratulations on your graduation! Remember what God says in Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (NIV).2 God’s got awesome, earth-shattering things in store for you and for your friend. Don’t allow your friend’s temporary problems to get in the way of a lifetime of a “hope and a future” already planned out for you guys.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

1Scripture quotations credited to CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.
2Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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