About tonyroberts

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

Brain Balm; Volume 1, Issue 1: The Day the Voices were silenced.

"There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole."** **Songwriters: Nana MOUSKOURI / Roger LOUBET   Balm in Gilead lyrics © Raoul Breton Editions Brain Balm is a once weekly newsletter exploring topics related to faith and mental illness. This week, and this week only, you will receive bonus devotions taken from my first book Delight in Disorder, available through Amazon. It started when I was taking a test Mr. Lang's Algebra II class. I was a precocious sophomore. I heard a voice. It started in my brain then shifted to the walls, the ceilings around me. "You're stupid. You're a phony. You are a failure." What started as one voice became two, three, ten, a cacophony of chaotic voices that would become my constant companion for over three decades. I have sought the best psychiatry. I have found a measure of relief to cope with the symptoms, but no lasting relief. [...]

Brain Balm; Volume 1, Issue 1: The Day the Voices were silenced.2022-05-22T13:44:59-04:00

Prayers Inspired by Psalms with a Friend by George Love

In his book Psalms with a Friend George Love recommends writing Psalm prayers after reading and reflecting on them. Here is my Psalm 18 prayer: God of the Sabbath, my enemies surround me and disturb me. I have been restless and have desperately tried to fight back, overextending myself. I panicked. Then I cried out to you. I asked my friends to pray for me. You heard my cries. You answered our prayers. You delivered me from the deadly ways of desperation and gave me restorative rest. And from Psalm 35: Then I will rejoice in the LORD.      I will be glad because he rescues me. With every bone in my body      I will praise him. Lord, who can compare with you?     Who else rescues the helpless from the strong? (Psalm 35.9-10) ... give great joy to those who came to my defense.   [...]

Prayers Inspired by Psalms with a Friend by George Love2022-05-11T19:24:18-04:00

#remissionispossible

I have big news! I noticed yesterday I was feeling mellow. The only word I had for it was effortless. Today, I realized the voices in my head that have been constantly demanding my attention for over three decades have been silenced. Praise God and pass the sugar free sweet potato pie! #remissionispossible

#remissionispossible2022-05-10T12:09:56-04:00

Hope for Troubled Minds: Dear Bobby, from your grateful mom.

Dear Bobby, One of my greatest accomplishments in life was becoming your mother - I had hopes and dreams for the man you would become. Your intelligence, compassion and determination in everything you did brought me a great sense of pride. Bipolar disorder no doubt changed the way I see the world and what I now want for you, my loving son. This brain illness at times has made you say and do things uncharacteristic of the person that I know is deep inside of you.  It is an illness that has caused much turmoil for you, for this I am deeply sorry and only wish that as your mother I could take the pain away. Despite great suffering, despair and heartbreak, bipolar disorder has taught me so much. It has taught me that we live in a world where those with serious brain disorders are discriminated against.  We live [...]

Hope for Troubled Minds: Dear Bobby, from your grateful mom.2022-05-07T17:49:20-04:00

Mental Health or Brain Illness Awareness?

Recently I've been sharing my story in a variety of places that reach people interested in faith and mental health. I've gotten a wide ranges of responses and I'm delighted for this. I want to share one with you that I found very thought provoking. Hi Tony, am appreciating your posts on FaithNet but how come you’re promoting brain illness instead of focusing on nervous system dysregulation and recovery? Things like the importance of restorative sleep and techniques to calm our nervous system? My short answer is borrowed from a quote of Jesus in Mark 2.17a -- It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  May is known as mental health awareness month and, from one perspective, this is unfortunate. While it is true that the mental health needs of many need to be addressed, it seems lately we have tipped the scale to favor those [...]

Mental Health or Brain Illness Awareness?2022-05-03T17:26:00-04:00

Sharing My Story with Law Enforcement and Facebook Responses

I published the following post and it elicited much response: My name is Rev. Tony Roberts and I live with my wife Susan and lab Briley in Columbus, IN. I have a diagnosis of rapidly cycling bipolar disorder with psychotic features. Every day is an adventure. Some are joyous. Others are volatile. Thanks to the grace of God, the miracle of medicine, and the support of my caregiving team, I do relatively well, though I have limitations others do not have. On my best days, you could never tell I have a severe mental illness. Then there have been days when I’m confined to bed and see no future beyond the next labored breath. In February of 1995, I was riding high — an ambitious pastor with a young family at a church poised for growth. I was driven to succeed, to make a difference in people’s lives and have [...]

Sharing My Story with Law Enforcement and Facebook Responses2022-05-02T01:47:52-04:00

Psychotropics and Side Effects: You are getting very sleepy.

“I was not taking [my prescription] quite as often as I was technically supposed to. Partly, I kept forgetting, but also there was something else I couldn't quite identify, some way-down fear that taking a pill to become myself was wrong.” ― John Green, Turtles All the Way Down “Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don't believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it's good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.” ― Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression   I have been taking psychotropics in one form or another for nearly thirty years. As someone diagnosed with rapidly cycling bipolar disorder with psychotic features [...]

Psychotropics and Side Effects: You are getting very sleepy.2022-04-20T20:52:36-04:00

My Unquiet Mind: A Recent Bout with Anxiety

Anxiety's like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you very far. ― Jodi Picoult, Sing You Home Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippiansn 4.5-7) Have you ever had a panic attack? I had one this week. I was feeling fine, hopeful after getting the first sound sleep I had gotten in days. I was going about my morning routine, doing a devotional in fact. Suddently out of nowhere a tightness gripped my chest. My breathing became labored. I had no idea what was happening to me. I called the pharmacist. He reviewed my medication. He said nothing would indicate that [...]

My Unquiet Mind: A Recent Bout with Anxiety2022-04-16T18:23:42-04:00

Hope for Troubled Minds: To my best friend, I call you mom

Jonna Terhune is a social worker living with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. She writes, "... [my diagnosis] does not define me.  By the grace of God, I am still alive and blessed to have the support of my best friend/mother.  I know this letter cannot show the extent of sacrifice and love that my mother has given to help me live but I do hope that it gives a glimpse into our experience.  I pray that one day I can give back as well as pay it forward.  Thank you for spending a few moments to read my letter to my mom."   To my best friend, I call you mom, I never thought I would make it this far.  You stood by me through all the sleepless nights, not just as an infant but as a teenager and adult when mania engulfed me or depression strangled my heart [...]

Hope for Troubled Minds: To my best friend, I call you mom2022-04-13T14:32:55-04:00

Will you lay down your life for me?

Jesus asks his disciples and us this pivotal question of discipleship. It has often been interpreted as martyrdom. Will you die for me? But I learned this week that the Greek word translated life here is not bios, or physical life but psuche, which describes our inner life of thoughts and feelings. So Jesus is asking: Will you lay down your internal orientations and agendas? Are you weilling to pattern your life around my example? Will you let your heart come into sync with mine, until you care about the same things as I do. (from The Reservoir: A Fifteen-Month Weekday Spiritual Formation Devotional by Renovare). This insight makes all the difference in the world to me. It affirmed my decision to go on psychotropics, for instance, in an effort to experience relative balance and continue to provide and be present for my family. Had I not been a husband and a [...]

Will you lay down your life for me?2022-04-10T18:49:49-04:00
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