The mission of Delight in Disorder is to share the hope of Christ with persons who have troubled minds, and to shatter stigma towards mental illness within and beyond the church. One of the best ways I know to do this is to tell our stories.
Me: How did you mark your ten-year anniversary?
Susan: I looked back at some things that occurred right after I accepted Jesus. One of the biggest things was six months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was almost as though the devil had been lurking for an opportune time to tempt me into forsaking God. But I never went there, never even went into fear. I just knew God was holding my hand and would walk me through it.
Me: That’s great. Has this confidence in faith been a consistent feature for you in the past ten years? And, has this impacted your mental health as well?
Susan: I think it has. You know, I think I’ve had two things going for me in terms of faith and mental health. I just finished reading your book, Delight in Disorder. And one of the things you said resonated with me. You quoted Kay Jamison about bipolar allowing us to feel more deeply, more intensely, allowing us to love more, laugh more, cry more. I really identified with this. Before coming to faith, I thought something was wrong with me because of this intensity. But because of God’s love, I know it is who He made me to be.
Me: Well, I’m delighted you found my book meaningful. Your own work seems to be “thoroughly bathed” in Scripture. When you were first led by the Spirit to “pick up and read.”
Susan: Probably after going through chemo. It left me with a severely compromised immune system. I had been teaching for over 20 years – elementary school – and I somehow knew my teaching career would be over soon. And the Spirit led me to begin writing the devotionals that are now up on my website. It took me just over six years to write those, and in the process, God discipled me on the Bible and on being a follower of Jesus.
Me: How would you respond if someone said to you, “Mental illness is demon-possession”?
Susan: Mental illness is an illness of the brain. Would you consider diabetes to be demon possession? Mental illness has too long been stigmatized because of ignorance. We need to do more to educate the public and especially our churches about disorders of the brain. You know, we used to lock up women who had PMS – we still have a long way to go.
Me: One primary mission for Delight in Disorder is to share the hope of Christ with people who have similar stories, people with “unquiet minds.” Has God given you such opportunities?
Susan: Yes, when I finally opened up and wrote my first blog about being bipolar. I had only told two people, I think. My best friend of 20 years, and a very good new friend who suffers from anxiety attacks and depression. The post was called, “Coming Out of The Closet.” I got so much response from folks who suffer with depression, bipolar, anxiety etc… that I realized it’s something I’m going to do on a regular basis now. In fact, I also connected deeply with the wife of a nephew of mine who happened to read my blog. She suffers from depression and debilitating anxiety attacks. Again, I think the timing was perfect, because I followed the Spirit’s lead to post the blog on my 66th birthday.
Me: I read that post. That was one thing that led me to ask you for this interview. So, what is God doing in your life right now that you’d like to share?
Susan: Truthfully, just keeping me at peace and daily encouraging me to write truth about His love. We’re in such chaos that I know my task this year is to emphasize those red letter words of Jesus over and over again. And continuing to focus on my Trifecta of safety and sanity: faith, my online fellowship and the medications that saved my life.