About tonyroberts

I am a man with an unquiet mind who delights in the One who delights in me.

Shame on You: When Mental Illness is Taboo

Shame is a soul eating emotion.  ― C.G. Jung Guilt can be good, if it leads to a change of heart, a transformed mind, reformed behavior. Shame, however, is a wicked parasite that feeds off not what we have done, but who we are. Shame is an external imposition. At least it starts that way. We are taught to feel ashamed. The 3-year old child of a friend once hopped out of the bathtub and took off running through the halls, shouting "I love my body. I love my body." This innocent exuberance is soon replaced by quiet discretion which, if handled too roughly, can become shame the child feels over his body. Shame is not part of God's created order. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.  (Genesis 2.25) Shame only came about as a result of disobedience. It is not God's good [...]

Shame on You: When Mental Illness is Taboo 2017-12-11T14:09:30+00:00

How/Can we prevent suicide? {Note: Trigger Warning}

“When people are suicidal, their thinking is paralyzed, their options appear spare or nonexistent, their mood is despairing, and hopelessness permeates their entire mental domain. The future cannot be separated from the present, and the present is painful beyond solace. ‘This is my last experiment,’ wrote a young chemist in his suicide note. ‘If there is any eternal torment worse than mine I’ll have to be shown.” ― Kay Redfield Jamison, Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide "When I came to my senses in the hospital bed after my suicide attempt, I had to face the reality that I had tried to abandon God. At the same time, I discovered that God had not abandoned me."  --Tony Roberts, Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission. I have walked closely with suicide, both in my pastoral and personal lives. I have seen it in the bandaged wrists of a teenage girl. I [...]

How/Can we prevent suicide? {Note: Trigger Warning} 2017-12-11T14:09:23+00:00

I am ; even me.

;     ;     ; I have been asked to speak about Suicide Prevention at a local library this Saturday. Whenever I am invited to speak on the subject, if at all possible, I accept. Largely because of I am a survivor. God has raised me from death and given me a mission to share my testimony with others. Here's how I share it in my book, Delight in Disorder: ;     ;     ; But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. (Psalm 10:14) ;     ;     ; I learned growing up the importance of being in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I was taught to maintain this relationship with daily prayer and Bible reading, weekly worship, [...]

I am ; even me. 2017-12-06T17:03:45+00:00

The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness

I start this post with one basic assumption. Not all persons with mental illness are creative. Some sit around all day playing video solitaire, watching episodes of Judge Judy, counting the cars that pass by. Some persons with mental illness have neither the desire or the capacity (or both) to do anything that resembles creative expression. (Though you never know the depths of creativity lodged in their brains.) At the same time, I find my mental illness plays out in a creative way, primarily in my way with words. I'm not Hemingway. It's not quality, but quantity for me. Most of my waking and sleeping hours are spent plotting how I can use my words to the best effect. When I am under unusual amounts of stress, you will likely find me tucked away in a corner, Pilot G-2 gel pen gliding across a composition journal, describing the world [...]

The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness 2017-12-06T17:02:03+00:00

Love for the Unlovable

I have been mired in a holiday depression. I texted a friend about it and we had this exchange: +.    +     + Friend: What do you think started the decline. Let's break it down. Me: Nostalgia over past holidays. They were not likely as good as I remember them. But my loss still seems palpable. Friend: In Hebrews, the author talks about hearing God's voice. and entering God's rest. He ends up talking about the power of God's Word. That has helped me. The idea we can enter God's rest here -- today. Me: I'm not really connecting on the "rest" part. It's more like I sleep and lie in bed to escape. Friend: Would you say that nostalgia over past holidays is fundamentally a belief that there was a time when God was with you, and now God is not? Me: I have always believed [...]

Love for the Unlovable 2017-12-06T17:01:41+00:00

How Do You Help People?

Today I woke up at the crack of dusk, after having spent a restless 15 hours in bed. I was anxious about things beyond my control, tortured by my past failures, questioning my purpose. Some people compare themselves with others who do less and feel good about themselves. I compare myself against my best self and feel miserable. At my best, I wake up, take my meds, brew some coffee and nurse it while doing a devotion. But I'm not at my best. The first thing I did was pull up my emails to see if there were any more contributors to our upcoming mental health podcast, "Revealing Voices."  There was not. I felt very discouraged. Was I doing something wrong? Had I sensed a need that isn't there? So many unanswered questions. So many unanswered prayers. I took a deep breath and pressed on. I checked my LinkedIn [...]

How Do You Help People? 2017-12-06T17:01:18+00:00

Giving Thanks for My Illness

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5.16-18) “While she might not have opted for this illness, neither does she entirely regret it; she prefers, as she writes so movingly, a life of passionate turbulence to one of tedious calm.” ― Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness. This Thanksgiving I am grateful for many things. I'll name five: Food to eat. A roof above my head. Family members who care for me. Faithful friends who make me laugh. And my mental illness. Yes, I am grateful for my mental illness. I have come to prefer the "passionate turbulence" of bipolar disorder to the "tedious calm" of being "normal". This is not to say I enjoy all aspects of my illness. Sometimes it is a pain in the ass. Sometimes [...]

Giving Thanks for My Illness 2017-11-24T14:48:35+00:00

Revealing Voices: Cultivating Community

Tonight (November 20), we launch our Indiegogo campaign for our upcoming podcast, Revealing Voices. My associate producer and co-host Eric Riddle and I are very enthusiastic -- not so much about the dollars collected as the number of people who will become our partners in offering hope and cultivating compassion. Many of my friends with troubled minds feel alienated by faith communities. Many of my brothers and sisters in Christ fail to understand how best to respond to people with mental illness. Our mission with Revealing Voices is to bridge the gap between faith communities and the world of mental health care in order to better promote healing. Studies show that roughly 1 in 5 persons in the US experience mental illness in a given year. Research also suggests that few churches feel equipped to respond to persons with mental illness.  Added to this dillemma is that 25% of pastors struggle with [...]

Revealing Voices: Cultivating Community 2017-11-20T15:58:16+00:00

Revealing Voices: The Launch

I love to write. I love it even more when people read what I write. And I love it the most when people respond to what they've read that I've written. Today I got an email from Natalie M. She writes about our upcoming podcast, Revealing Voices: the mental health podcast raising unanswered questions, sharing unanswered prayers -- What a wonderful, amazing, much needed and Holy Spirit-filled idea... My husband just six months ago took over as a Senior Pastor of a small church... and being in ministry we realize how important mental health is...It's something I've struggled with over the years, it's something  that God brought me through, though I have occasional  down days. God brought healing and beauty from the ashes and has allowed me to share my testimony. Depression is not something that Christians don't experience. It's a growing issue that pastors need to speak about, [...]

Revealing Voices: The Launch 2017-11-20T15:57:31+00:00

Revealing Voices: The Voices Begin

Wednesday night (11/8), my good friend and pending podcast co-host came over. The podcast will be called "Revealing Voices: The Mental Health podcast raising unanswered questions, sharing unanswered prayers." It is an extension of our mission here at Delight in Disorder. Our goal is to produce 20 episodes each year filled with news, views, reviews, and interviews about the relationship between faith and mental illness. Eric and I will share our own experiences as followers of Christ who both have bipolar disorder. We met in my basement studio (now dubbed "Revealing Voices World Headquarters.") Eric brought a Chik Fil A Southwestern salad topped with fried crinkly things and pistachios. I nursed the last of my dark roast Green Mountain Magic Espresso. It was 8:30 pm and the next 2 1/2 hours were filled with creative dialogue, respectful debate, and healing laughter. Much laughter. We discussed many things. What other [...]

Revealing Voices: The Voices Begin 2017-11-20T15:56:33+00:00