Hope for Troubled Minds: Living Our Wedding Vows by Janet Coburn

Born in Kentucky, Janet Coburn now lives in Ohio with her husband of 39 years, Dan Reily. She also lives with bipolar 2 disorder. Janet loves reading and country music. Dan loves gardening and archaeology. Together they love travel, science fiction, and cats (they have two at the moment, Toby and Dushenka). A graduate of Cornell University and the University of Dayton, Janet writes two blogs, bipolarme.blog and butidigress.blog, which she posts in every Sunday. She often contributes articles on mental health to The Mighty website. Janet has also written two books on bipolar disorder, Bipolar Me and Bipolar Us, which are based on her decades of experience with the disorder, and frequently answers questions about mental health on Quora.   The man I married didn’t know I had bipolar disorder. To be fair, I didn’t know either. I was famously moody and given to what would now be called [...]

Hope for Troubled Minds: Living Our Wedding Vows by Janet Coburn2021-10-17T04:04:01-04:00

Profiles in Advocacy – Janet Hays, Reimagining the Office of Sheriff

Janet Hays is reimagining the office of sheriff and has proven experience putting vision into practice. She is a New Orleans resident and national leader in the advocacy movement for those impacted by serious brain illnesses. In her work with Healing Minds NOLA and Mental Illness Policy Org she is putting broken bones together and breathing life into them. Now she is running for Sheriff in her Orleans parish. Kathy Day, Senior Family Liaison at Treatment Advocacy Center calls Hays, “... a passionate advocate who works harder than anyone I know. Her persistence often pays off in ways that help families dealing with serious and persistent brain illnesses.” Leslie Carpenter, a leading advocate for people with no fault serious brain diseases, cites the Zoomcast series Hays produced in 2020 and into 2021 as, “... one of the best compilations of both what is wrong with the present system and... what [...]

Profiles in Advocacy – Janet Hays, Reimagining the Office of Sheriff2021-10-14T14:03:34-04:00

What’s So Funny About Mental Illness?

Some time ago I posted a meme that has been going around in various places. It goes like this: Being popular on Facebook is like eating at the cool table in the cafeteria at a mental hospital. I posted it because I identified with the humor. Two of my goals in life have been to be popular on Facebook and sit at the cool table when I’m in the mental hospital. One of the things that keeps me relatively sane is my ability to laugh at myself and I find particular pleasure in making people laugh with me. Certainly, I have a serious mental illness; that's a part of who I am. Not taking myself too seriously diminishes the power of my disordered ego. Thus, more often than not, the things I find funny are self-deprecating jabs. But self-deprecating humor may be misleading when used in non-intimate settings such as [...]

What’s So Funny About Mental Illness?2021-10-10T13:53:38-04:00

The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness

I start this post with one basic assumption. Not all persons with mental illness are creative. Some sit around all day playing video solitaire, watching episodes of Judge Judy, counting the cars that pass by. Some persons with mental illness have neither the desire or the capacity (or both) to do anything that resembles creative expression. (Though you never know the depths of creativity lodged in their brains.) At the same time, I find my mental illness plays out in a creative way, primarily in my way with words. I'm not Hemingway. It's not quality, but quantity for me. Most of my waking and sleeping hours are spent plotting how I can use my words to the best effect. When I am under unusual amounts of stress, you will likely find me tucked away in a corner, Pilot G-2 gel pen gliding across a composition journal, describing the world as [...]

The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness2021-10-06T05:30:37-04:00

Hope for Troubled Minds: I Didn’t Marry Bipolar Disorder

Dear Tony, I love you. I knew from the start of our relationship that you had bipolar disorder. I appreciated your openness and candor about your illness. In the beginning, we talked for hours on end. Your laugh was (and is) infectious. I don't regret that our relationship moved quickly.  After being on my own for seven years, I was happy with my independence but I missed companionship.  You became my companion. It was easy to be with you and to love you. You are complex, just like any other human being. Ironically, I fell in love with your mind. You have a keen ability to observe people and offer insight into their circumstances. You are helpful in offering me an objective perspective whenever I am frustrated by life's circumstances.  You are very intelligent and a deep thinker. You inspire me to do things I never thought I could do. [...]

Hope for Troubled Minds: I Didn’t Marry Bipolar Disorder2021-09-25T16:32:45-04:00

One Angel Who Did Not Fear to Tread

I want to tell a story I've told many times before. But I can't tell it enough. It's the story of what happens when someone with a mental illness falls into the pit of despair is lifted up by the loving faithfulness of one who cares. December 1, 2016. I am in the Goodman exit lane off I-490 in Rochester, New York. An unusual light shines in my rearview. In seconds, I hear a loud crack and feel a tremendous lurch. Someone traveling too close, going too fast, hit me. Hard. I called 911 and a policeman showed up, followed by an ambulance. I was taken to Strong Memorial hospital where they ran tests and found nothing conclusive. But I became increasingly agitated. I became convinced that I was paralyzed. Three doctors ran tests on me at separate times and concluded that nothing was wrong. Physically. That's when I called [...]

One Angel Who Did Not Fear to Tread2021-09-21T21:58:37-04:00

10 Reasons to Leave Your Psychiatrist

It's time to leave your psychiatrist when s/he says...      1)   Enough about your mother, let's talk about mine.      2)   Sure, the blue meds are working, but the pink pills are so much cuter.      3)    In my professional opinion, you're crazier than a loon.      4)     Suicide, smooicide.      5)     If you want a taste of E.C.T.  just stick your tongue to this car battery here.      6)     What was that you said?  I was too busy picturing you in the nude.      7)     Before we treat your O.C.D. I'd like you to clean out my garage.      8)     You think you've got problems!  My Porsche has a flat tire.      9)     I can see now why your wife wants to leave you.      10)   You think, you're fat because you are fat.

10 Reasons to Leave Your Psychiatrist2021-09-15T03:21:24-04:00

Mental Illness or Demon Possession?

Let me make this clear. Mental illness is not demon possession. If you are a faith leader and someone asks you to exorcise a friend or family member, don't do it. What can you do instead? A good pastor friend of mine has shared with me a screening process to rule out lesser afflictions before one might consider a chronic diseased soul. Examine the environment. Take a particularly close look at the relationship dynamics of the person presented as the problem. Often families and other intimate groups target one member and poured all their disruptive thoughts and feelings into a scapegoat who responds with peculiar and sometimes even volatile behavior. It can be very difficult to examine the lives of those convinced they are only acting out of love. They may themselves become angry with you, even abusive. Be sure to tread lightly and have back up before you take [...]

Mental Illness or Demon Possession?2021-09-12T20:52:30-04:00

Shame on You: When Mental Illness is Taboo

Shame is a soul eating emotion.  ― C.G. Jung Guilt can be good if it leads to a change of heart, a transformed mind, and reformed behavior. Shame, however, is a wicked parasite that feeds off not what we have done but who we are. Shame is an external imposition. At least it starts that way. We are taught to feel ashamed. The 3-year old child of a friend once hopped out of the bathtub and took off running through the halls, shouting "I love my body. I love my body." This innocent exuberance is soon replaced by quiet discretion which, if handled too roughly, can become shame the child feels over his body. Shame is not part of God's created order. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.  (Genesis 2.25) Shame only came about as a result of disobedience. It is not God's good [...]

Shame on You: When Mental Illness is Taboo2021-09-09T01:47:01-04:00

How Does God Feel About Mental Illness?

Some time ago, I began a subscriber survey that has proven very fruitful. I've learned more about who my readers are and what they are looking for when they come to Delight in Disorder. Some of the most revealing content came from the comments provided in the "other" category. When asked what sort of posts would be most helpful, one reader replied: "... how God feels about mental illness and why He allows it." This thoughtful response raises many profound questions. I want to carefully and prayerfully respond. Yet, please understand that I am not an expert theologian or a mental health professional. Instead, I am a believer in Christ who has lived with a mental illness for over 30 years. This doesn't give me all the answers, but helps me better understand the questions. I feel much more confident answering the former question than the latter. The depth of [...]

How Does God Feel About Mental Illness?2021-09-06T18:02:33-04:00
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