If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I make my bed in the depths you are there. (Psalm 139:8)

The last straw, the final thing that started my mind working overtime and threw me into a dangerous mood disturbance—was my renewed recognition of the need to build mental health awareness. This had been a strong interest of mine for many years. I had taken on the job of promoting the annual mental health retreat presented by the Mennonite Central Committee. Supportive Care Services in Abbottsford BC.

To do a truly good job of encouraging attendance, church leaders’ support in particular, I knew I had to address some wider issues. I would need to draw attention to the importance of spirituality to mental health. I would need to help Christian congregations understand why it is so important to support those with mental health problems, especially within their own church families. I began to draw up big plans for a media campaign—manic-sized plans. A hypomanic mood quickly developed.

Many of my manic depressive episodes follow stressful events coming together. My last episode before I began writing this book came about during a period of pressure in my life. There was only a single negative stressor. Worry about my aging mother and my mother in law, both in their 90s. The other stressors were all activities I found enjoyable and exciting. The business of Christmas, which included hosting several social gatherings, a part time photography business, enthusiasm about the publicity work I was beginning for the retreat. The excitement created problems. Good stress can harm oneself as much as bad.

During this time I read books, heard personal stories, and spoke to people all showing me that mental health issues are still poorly understood, even in this modern day. This impressed on me more strongly than ever the need for education about mental health issues. My emotions became intense. I was tossed between concern at the ignorance I witnessed and anger at the unfairness of the lack of support for those in need. I knew what I had to do, yet at the same time I feared the task before me. Nevertheless, I was determined to make a difference.

Most mornings I spent as much as two hours in meditation and prayer, reading and writing. My Bible became more precious to me than ever. I searched it, prayerfully looking for verses that would help me deal with my feelings and thoughts. God didn’t let me down, speaking to me through the Word and helping me weather the storms.

One verse I clung to during this period was Zephaniah 3:17. The Lord your God is with you. He will quiet you with his love. Repeating that promise comforted me, and slowed me down when my mind raced.

Amazing how faith in God and belief in his Word can provide such precious comfort and encouragement when we need it most! I would never abandon the pills my doctor prescribes. I know I need those for the biochemical treatment of my disorder. But when things get tough, God’s Word is the best medicine of all. It heals my soul.

This was a difficult period, but much good came of it. I’ve once more become as determined as I was when I wrote my first book, Riding the Roller Coaster, to give everything I can to help people understand the needs of those with mental disorders.

Though the retreat was still six months away. I was driven to begin work immediately. I wrote letters and articles and talked to those who needed to be informed. I also began writing this book. My feelings were strong, I was inspired. It was a struggle to harness my moods and retain day-to-day control, yet the most important thing to me, the publicity work came easily. I focused well and the issues were clear in my mind.