Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17


There came a time when three events magically occurred, all pretty well together. I’ve always marvelled how it happened this way—all around my fortieth year. Important changes came into my life, not perfectly connected, but as though in a single fluid motion. Every one of them was wonderful.

I’m sure that having God come into my life had everything to do with it. Or was he only on his way in, me not having made a decision for him just yet? Although I’m sure God was the most responsible and the most important, we’ll spend more time exploring his role later when there’s more space.

Around this same time, a new psychiatrist decided that the schizophrenia diagnosis I had lived with for twenty years should actually have been bipolar disorder (at that time referred to as manic depression). Times had changed since my Riverview days. My illness had not changed, but the diagnosis had been wrong all this time. Psychiatry had gained knowledge and understanding. The chlorpromazine I had been taking all those years was replaced with more modern medication.

I became more stable and there were less psychotic episodes. This better health gave me a new lease on life, a new sense of freedom. I found courage I didn’t have before. Courage to enter a wider world. Courage to undertake greater adventures.

I approached the Burnaby Now Newspaper and got a job as a freelance photographer, travelling all over Burnaby and beyond to do assignments. I also took on personal projects developing photo stories. Many of these were published as well.

Unfortunately, this excitement lasted only two years. I may have been overdoing a good thing. This has been a mistake at other times of my life too. But what I accomplished during those two years gave me joy that will last the rest of my life.

Of course, that new freedom and courage, made other adventures possible later on. The biggest was my decision to try reducing the stigma of mental illness. This is a huge part of my story which has been covered by other writings. In fact, this series you’re now reading is a part of that work. I hope that what I write will help understanding grow about how people with mental health issues can become confident individuals.

When I look at the improvements in my meds and subsequent feelings of increased freedom, I wonder:  Were these improvements preparing me for having God come into my life and for my becoming his servant? God’s hand must have been at work in these changes—in this new life.

Anyone who knows God will realize that he is fully able to design such life events to happen. He knows when the time is right. He knows when we’re ready to give our lives to him. And he prepares us for that moment.

Is God part of your life too? Can you identify in any way? But your story will be different from mine. We’re all unique.



This has been part 10 of my series My Journey from Patient to Leader. Read part 11: I give in to Him