About tonyroberts

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

The Fruit of Faithful Friends

In March of 2014, I met Eric Riddle, a fellow pilgrim on the road to faithful recovery from mental illness. We had both seen the good and bad of mental health care and faith community ministries and thought God might use us to contribute to the solution rather than just complain about the problem. We committed to meet weekly for walks, Scripture study, intercessory prayer, and brainstorming. We spent a great deal of time at first dealing with our own brokenness. Eric and I both had received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and had been treated both as inpatients and outpatients. Beyond our mental health diagnoses, we shared the pain of broken relationships, the joys and concerns of parenting, our hopes and fears for the faith communities, our local community, our nation, our world. Our genuine prayer was that God might use us as wounded healers, partnering with churches and [...]

The Fruit of Faithful Friends2018-08-12T20:42:52+00:00

How Can I Best Respond to Depression

Originally published April 23, 2017: I had coffee and scones with a good friend the other morning. One thing I greatly value about our friendship is that we quickly dispense of pleasantries, moving right to prayer and the sharing what is deepest in our hearts. I told him that after a lengthy period of emotional and spiritual high, I had fallen into a depressive low. At my peak, I was spending as much as three hours a day in intensive prayer and Bible study. Lately, however, my time with God had become desperately pleading for some sustenance in a verse or phrase of Scripture – “Get up and eat,” “Jesus wept,” “God is love,” and the like. My friend, who has some close loved ones battling mental health issues, asked me a very sincere and poignant question, “How can I best respond to someone who is depressed?” I thought back [...]

How Can I Best Respond to Depression2018-08-10T20:53:04+00:00

How Women Are Crazy: Pyschiatric Abuse Through the Ages

I was speaking with a friend this week about his grandmother who had been a missionary to one of the Asian nations. She had kept personal journals of her years in the mission field and my friend was prayerfully hoping to obtain them and possibly write a biography. One of his motivations was to celebrate the life and service of a woman of faith who had gone largely unnoticed in the shadow her famous husband cast. To acknowledge that women have been unfairly silenced for no other reason than their gender is more than just a radical feminist statement. It is a harsh and sometimes cruel reality. For centuries, women who somehow deviate from the societal norms placed upon them have been "put in their place" by the psychiatric profession. ... psychiatrists were often hired by husbands and fathers to probe their wives’ and daughters’ “abnormal” behaviors. The reasons men [...]

How Women Are Crazy: Pyschiatric Abuse Through the Ages2018-08-05T16:57:36+00:00

Postpartum Psychosis by Bipolar Mumma

I can remember quite clearly the moment that I realized that I might have had postnatal depression. It was in the middle of a Canberra winter; cold grey skies, it was windy outside and I was stuck inside with newborn. I had tried everything to get my child to go to sleep. I had rocked him, bounced him on my exercise ball, walked laps around the house, I even pleaded with him in case that might have worked. But nothing was going to get my child to go to sleep. I ended up placing him carefully in a pram and rolling him over the ledge between my carpets and flooring, over and over again. I was crying as I was doing this. Pleading with myself that this was something that most mothers went through. But what most mothers did not go through was voices in their heads. I heard a [...]

Postpartum Psychosis by Bipolar Mumma2018-08-04T22:32:29+00:00

He Was in Heaven Before He Died

The following is not a story based solely on facts. I did have a Grandpa George and this was pretty much how he lived and died. But I didn't make it to the funeral. Instead, I was in a hellish heaven of my own on the psych unit of Columbia Presbyterian.   I got the call late at night that Grandpa George had died.  He had lived a hard life.  He didn't have the opportunity to get a good education.  He never learned to read or write because his demanding father made him quit school to help in the fields.   He worked hard to get by and managed to scrape together a living.  He met a woman - Maize - at the tomato factory where he worked.  She says he was throwing tomatoes at her, so she knew he liked her.   They were married in less than 3 months. [...]

He Was in Heaven Before He Died2018-08-02T00:11:28+00:00

Who Are You?

I am a Christian who has bipolar disorder. I cycle from extreme mania to pits of depression, but I am not a manic-depressive. My identity is not in my illness. My identity is in Christ. Where do you find your identity?  This morning my pastor shared a story of a teenage girl who had lost a sense of her she was. Like many her age, she had looked for her identity in relationships with others just as lost as she was. Her self-worth plummeted. Whatever confidence she once had crashed to the ground. She desperately needed someone to pick her up, someone to share with her the hope that was rooted in her faith. Not just some wish for better days, but a genuine hope that would hold onto her when she fell. Somehow, she found her way to the pastor's study. He sat quietly with her. Listened to her. [...]

Who Are You?2018-07-29T21:47:27+00:00

Van Gogh & Our Vocations

On July 2, 2018, I published the following post entitled "Van Gogh & Me: Pursuing Our Vocations." My friend Mark Rockwell shared it on his Facebook page with this comment: Interesting topic that I'd love to hear from friends of mine in the visual, musical, and word art worlds. Can you imagine pouring yourself out in art, relative to your spiritual life, and not making a penny from it, but, instead, depending upon the support of just a few? Would you be able to sustain your production of art without the affirmation of the public during your lifetime? Is there a border between the art that you create out of need, as a release valve, and the art that you make public and hope that others will see/consider/purchase? Is there art that you create purely for the glory of God or as a natural fruit of your relationship with Him? [...]

Van Gogh & Our Vocations2018-07-26T01:11:19+00:00

A Church With No Walls

This has been a particularly good week to be part of a faith family that cares and shares. Last weekend, my prayer partner contacted me about how I was coming along in a terribly difficult family conflict. We prayed for each other as brothers in Christ. This week, an elder followed up to ask if I needed any financial assistance. I told him I was holding up so far, but that the offer was a huge show of support. Yesterday, my pastor and his family showed up at an author fair I was featured in. Their smiles made my whole day. Today, a man came up to me to tell me how much he appreciated my article in the local newspaper. Yes, it has been a particularly good week to be a receiving and contributing member of my faith family. A healthy, holy church includes all God's children both by [...]

A Church With No Walls2018-07-22T20:29:43+00:00

Dealing with Suicide

I'm doing an interview with Brainstorms tomorrow.  Brainstorms is a radio show hosted by Megan Malfi on Hamilton Radio focusing mostly on mental health and mental disabilities or disorders. On Brainstorms they are always striving to learn more about different mental disorders, how they can help others stay mentally healthy, and how to cope with mental illness in ourselves or a loved one.  "Whether we’re talking about things we love that make us happy or things that give us stress, our goal is always to convey the message that YOU HAVE VALUE." Megan and I have been communicating for about a month on how we can be mutually supportive in our ministries. She very graciously offered to take the first step and invite me on her program. As a diligent host, she has since read Delight in Disorder and has asked very soul-searching questions. One is this -- A lot of [...]

Dealing with Suicide2018-07-18T23:28:51+00:00

Flight Risk

July 9, 2018, 6:30 a.m. Indianapolis airport... I sit in a cafe sipping mediocre coffee to cap off a $20 breakfast. It’s a price I’m willing to pay for the peace of mind to be at the gate several hours early to collect myself. December, 1983 to Kansas City... I become jazzed for Jesus at a New Year's Eve prayer party sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ. I return and discover all my possessions had been taken from my apartment. I spend the night at a local IHOP, witnessing to the waitress. For a tip, I leave two quarters and a tract, all I have left to give. March, 1988 to Boston... I visit a woman I met on a mission farm in Georgia. I spend the days reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the nights belittling her for being an upper-class liberal. October, 1992 to San Francisco... I travel [...]

Flight Risk2018-07-10T21:29:30+00:00