Resolve to be Loving, Kind, and Just

One feature of the bipolar disorder illness I have is that my goals are high and when I don't reach them, I plummet into a pit of depression. When I am manic, I think I can conquer the world and when I don't, the world comes crashing down upon me. It's a vicious cycle and I know of no sure way to prevent it. Spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible study, worship and fellowship, can temporarily temper the extreme highs and lows. Yet, try as I might to remain positive, too often I wind up sitting on the edge of the cliff with Jonah, the sun burning hot on my flesh, wallowing in waves of self-pity. When I'm manic, I think I can conquer the world and when I don't, the world comes crashing down upon me. Mental illness is extremely self-centered. Some people find this very offensive, [...]

Resolve to be Loving, Kind, and Just 2018-01-19T16:10:24+00:00

Top 10 Delight in Disorder Posts in 2017

I've been wondering how I might mark the end of an incredible year here at Delight in Disorder. Would I chronicle my own year in mental health, from my confinement on a psychiatric observation unit of the hospital -- "Examining Medicine; Observing Faith", to my liberation as I channel my illness in creative ways -- "The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness."? Would I revisit good posts that went largely unnoticed, like "Discovering Delight in Disorder,";"Cracked Pots" ; and, "A Close Encounter with a Crazed Commentator." Maybe I would feature one of the many reader responses I've gotten in 2017 -- like: Yesterday was my birthday and still, I was a bit depressed. Some does come from my past childhood abuse, not that it was all bad, but my father has not spoken to me since my diagnosis in 2002 and my mom passed in 2003, but she understood before her [...]

Top 10 Delight in Disorder Posts in 2017 2017-12-28T22:21:29+00:00

What Child This Is!

… Christmas is not only the mile-mark of another year, moving us to thoughts of self-examination: it is a season, from all its associations, whether domestic or religious, suggesting thoughts of joy. A man dissatisfied with his endeavours is a man tempted to sadness. And in the midst of the winter, when his life runs lowest and he is reminded of the empty chairs of his beloved, it is well he should be condemned to this fashion of the smiling face. Noble disappointment, noble self-denial are not to be admired, not even to be pardoned, if they bring bitterness. It is one thing to enter the kingdom of heaven maim; another to maim yourself and stay without. And the kingdom of heaven is of the childlike, of those who are easy to please, who love and who give pleasure.  (from “A Christmas Sermon” by Robert Louis Stevenson) This weekend, [...]

What Child This Is! 2018-01-19T16:08:36+00:00

All the Difference in the World

In 2008, my mental illness progressed to the point that I became unable to work in my profession. I had served as a pastor for over 20 years. It was more than just my job. It was my calling. My vocation. I did not work as a pastor; I was a pastor. I delivered God's Word week after week to help people, my people, see their stories in God's story. I led Bible studies at a local addiction treatment center, extending the hope of Christ's forgiveness for those ready for a new path in life. I prayed with wailing women as they sat beside their dying husbands. After I resigned from pastoral ministry, I didn't know what I would do. I tried many things. Weeding. Cleaning furnaces. Roofing. Volunteering at the VA. Building mini-barns. I had no idea what I was doing. I tried to stay busy, but I [...]

All the Difference in the World 2018-01-19T16:08:56+00:00

Living Prepared to Die

A friend of mine, who also has bipolar, was in an auto accident when she was in college. She was taken to the emergency room where she had an x-ray and cat-scan. Neither showed any physical damage. She called her resident adviser to come to the hospital to pick her up. By the time he got there, she was livid with the staff, crying out to anyone who would listen, and many who wouldn't, that she was paralyzed. Three doctors and several nurses examined her and found nothing physically wrong. As the night wore on, however, she became hysterical. She said she had a massive inflammation in her spine. She was admitted to a medical-behavioral unit where she was diagnosed as having an acute manic episode. She was given psychotropics. They also performed an MRI and found a mass in her lower spine.  Another cat-scan also revealed a mass in [...]

Living Prepared to Die 2018-01-19T16:10:04+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

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

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

What’s Next? Revealing Voices

I've been almost maniacally exuberant about a project that is a natural extension of our Delight in Disorder mission. I want to share it with you. But first, a story... In January of 2013, I had fallen into a deep depression. It wasn't the first time, but it was the first time it happened when I was living alone.  I had moved from Rochester, NY to Indianapolis, IN. Out of loneliness, I became involved in a toxic relationship. Within a few months, I broke it off. Now, I was alone in the dead of winter in a sterile apartment. I was miserable. My sister sensed it and encouraged me to move in with my family. I felt relieved. On the one hand, I thought it was pathetic for a 48-year old man to move back home. On the other hand, living alone was doing me in. So the other [...]

What’s Next? Revealing Voices 2017-11-10T11:31:58+00:00

Does Suicide Destroy Faith?

I just received word today that a family member died by suicide. I didn't personally know this young man, but each time I hear of someone who has suffered greatly and lost hope for this life, I feel sick to my stomach. I didn't used to feel this way. I used to feel angry. I used to believe suicide was a terrible act of cruelty against one's self. I used to believe it was horribly selfish against one's loved ones. I used to believe it was an ultimate act of ingratitude against God. I used to believe this. No more. Suicide is not the unforgivable sin named in the Bible as "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit."  It is more a symptom of our human condition than a sinful action. It is far from a selfish act. Instead, it is more a desire to unburden loved ones of the suffering [...]

Does Suicide Destroy Faith? 2017-10-23T14:50:53+00:00