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.

Jeremiah 29:11


I’ve been writing a great deal of my story, so much of it including sad parts of my journey. But there have been some important things missing. The best parts.

I’d like to take you on a more pleasant journey that will show how—and possibly why—I was able to go from spending months in an infamous mental hospital to becoming a leader.

Despite a shy childhood, depressed teen years, and an adult life with bipolar disorder that included psychosis, I ended up doing many interesting things.

How did that come about? Are you curious?

I want to take you on a journey that will show what it was that helped me grow to eventually have a life where I dared many things. When so many with mental health issues live with low self-esteem, how did I end up with enough confidence to openly come out, writing and speaking about my mental illness?

Sometimes I think of how amazingly God has worked to help me persevere in writing weekly reflections for over seven years, despite my many ups and downs, despite traumatic times. Why didn’t I just curl up and hide during the painful years?

Over the next few weeks, I want to tell you about the events in my story that helped build confidence in one as unlikely as me. (I think I’ve figured it out.)

So many with mental health issues live with low self-esteem. How might they learn to have confidence?

How can communities be there for us in a way that does not simply support us, but enfolds us as one of their own?

These are some of the questions we’ll be exploring on this journey. It’s a journey that will take us from my months at Riverview Mental Hospital in 1965 to the period when I started reducing the stigma of mental illness in the 1990’s.

It was an exciting life. A fulfilling life. Difficult, but happy. It was a life during which the acceptance of the people around me and the power of God made some good things happen.

Praise God!

I hope you’ll come with me for new episodes to be added regularly.

This has been part 1 of my series My Journey from Patient to Leader. Read Part 2 Good Things-in-bad-places