Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Colossians 3:12


Let’s pause for just a moment:

So far, you have seen three significant people who came into the early part of my adult life. There will be more.

Note how the emergency room doctor cared for a mentally ill patient who had come in yelling and screaming. He went beyond his normal form of treatment at what was to become a key moment in my life. The poem he gave me to read would give me a pattern to live by for years to come.

Note how a compassionate psychiatrist became more than a doctor to me, but a friend as well.

Note the man who became my life partner, loving me enough to stay with me through six months in a mental hospital and beyond.

These individuals saw me as a real person—every bit as much of a human being as they themselves were.

I started this story in an effort to show how I gained confidence to talk openly about my mental illness. Why did that not embarrass me? Why was I not ashamed?

More and more I’m seeing that my confidence didn’t come from myself alone. It was instilled in me by the people who touched my life. Those I’ve talked about so far were humble and did not see themselves standing above me. I believe they considered me as equally worthy as themselves.

How good of God to put such people into this world!

Over the next few weeks, I’d like to show you a kaleidoscope of colourful events in my life. Things that happened, and things that I was able to make happen. When I look back, I realize how much fun it all was!

As always, I suffered from my ups and downs, and even from psychosis for a part of that time. A lot of deep depression—some for long periods—and hypomania. The good part was the hypomania—the highs that did not harm me, but made me into a creative person. Despite all this, when I look back, it’s the good that stands out.

Soon after Wes and I married, we joined the Lions Gate Camera Club. Neither of us went to church at the time, but this club became our most meaningful community. It was a big part of our life. Wes is still active, though my interests have gone elsewhere.

This club was formative in my life. This is where I gained the confidence to become a leader.

But, before I tell you about that, I need to take a little detour…

This has been part 5 of my series My Journey from Patient to Leader. Read part 6: Making books