(July 4, 2008)

It’s hard to believe how my mental health has improved over the years. Amazing how far I have come!

The friends from my current church who have known me for four or five years think I’ve made great strides since they got to know me. But they didn’t know me in the years before that. They have no idea how much improvement I’ve made!

I recall months in a mental hospital, not able to speak – delusional, paranoid, (more than I can talk about here). Going through a series of electro-convulsive shock treatments. Twenty years of living with a diagnosis of schizophrenia with only anti psychotic drugs, when it was later found that I had type 1 bipolar disorder.

I recall weeks and months spent in my bedroom, either in deep depression or psychotic.

I recall going to the church every day for some little thing or just to hang out. At one point the secretary even lost her temper with me, letting me know that they had work to do and I was in the way.

I recall doing odd things, behaving oddly, saying odd things, being awkward socially, getting into embarrassing situations.

Today I can honestly say I have been healed…to a high degree anyway. I feel like a normal person – stable, content and at peace. There are a lot of exciting things happening in my life right now: A Firm Place to Stand ready for release with a big book launch planned, my Living Room doing well with three new groups being established in the fall (one of them all the way in New Zealand). Yet I feel calm – not high in the slightest degree – at peace with it all.

Yes I’ve found healing. I still have bipolar disorder and I’m sure I’ll have more mood disturbances, yet to a large degree I’ve found wellness and normality.

What’s making me so well?

  • a good concoction of medications,
  • the support of loving friends,
  • my faith in a God who I can trust and who I know loves me,
  • spending a couple of hours in the early morning, meditating, journaling, reading, praying,
  • living to my best ability the kind of life Jesus modeled – which mostly consists of simply loving others,
  • finding a purpose worth living for – ie, supporting others who suffer as I have in the past and dispelling the stigma towards mental illness in the church,
  • helping others learn about God’s love for them.

Totally amazing, isn’t it? All things are possible with God.