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 hand won out.
My sister got me hooked up with a doctor who prescribed some supplemental medication to combat my depression. It took a while, but eventually, I developed the energy to get back into life. I re-devoted myself to writing. I became very active in the blogging community and I completed the first draft of the three-part generational novella. It needed a lot of work, so I contacted Leanne Sype, an editor I had met online. She agreed to take on the project.
Then, I woke up on April 5 to the news that Christian author Rick Warren’s son Matthew had died by suicide. After a protracted battle with bipolar, he just, died. He was playing board games with the family. They were all laughing. Then, he went upstairs and, he,… just…
I spent the next three days in bed, reading commentary about Matthew’s life and death. One blogger said it was God’s punishment on Pastor Rick for teaching heresy. Another said Matthew was gay and the family never accepted him, so he killed himself. So much worthless and harmful speculation from people who had no fucking idea what the hell they were talking about. It made me sick to my stomach. Yet I also felt buoyed with a purpose. I had a story to tell.
I called Leanne back and said I’d like to move in another direction. Over the past 5 years, off and on, I had been writing my spiritual memoir, my story as a pastor with bipolar disorder who had attempted suicide. We spent the next 10 months drafting, editing, submitting, drafting, editing, submitting. Finally we decided to self-publish. This required fund-raising, promotion, typesetting, graphic design, printing.
In March of 2014, the book was released. I had a book signing at a local library and over 100 persons were there. One young man there was named Eric Riddle. Eric had contacted me after a story promoting my reading appeared in the newspaper. Like me, Eric had been diagnosed with bipolar. He had just come out of the hospital and was still in a bad way. Yet, he was clearly intelligent, creative, and spiritual. His senses had just been dulled by his illness.
So, we agreed to meet weekly to pray, encourage one another, and see what God might have in mind for us. Early on we sensed that one thing lacking in the world of mental health was a way to integrate faith with therapy. We prayed for and with each other and pursued what the Lord laid on our hearts. The following winter, we began a faith-based weekly mental health support group. It’s called “Faithful Friends” and it is growing strong into its fourth year.
And now…? Another opportunity. A podcast about faith and mental illness. “Revealing Voices: The Mental Health Podcast That Raises Unanswered Questions and Shares Unanswered Prayers.”
We are still in the early stages of production. Our target date to debut the show is March of 2018. If you want to learn more about Revealing Voices, just click the link on the name. If you like to follow our progress, subscribe.
Who knows what God will do when two wild and crazy guys meet together for prayer?