Family Support of the Seriously Mentally Ill by CJ Hanson

Beginning with this post and continuing through 2021, I will be featuring guest posts from persons who have been impacted by mental health challenges, from such things as bouts of anxiety and depression to serious brain disorders (SBD) such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. My first featured author is CJ Hanson. Catherine J (CJ) Rippee-Hanson is 63 years old and a lifelong, social activist, writer, and singer - maneuvering through tragedies that have led down many different paths.  One of a set of identical twins who now work together to advocate and personally challenge our broken mental healthcare system.  Also known as the 'Twin Tag Team,' after 33 years of tending to the needs of our brother. He had a horrific accident in 1987, resulting in a TBI and loss of his eyes.  Three years later he began showing symptoms of Schizophrenia w/Psychosis with chronic and severe Anosognosia.  He has [...]

Family Support of the Seriously Mentally Ill by CJ Hanson2020-12-23T17:58:22-05:00

Life in South Africa during COVID 19 by Marlene Bartlett

Marlene writes: I grew up in Johannesburg and spent 38 years there. I am a Graphic Designer with a Diploma in Art Direction (Advertising). My struggle with mental illness began 24 years ago at the age of 16 when I hit my first major depression – the journey to accurate diagnosis, understanding and management has been complex – as with us all. I am a divorced, single mother and an anti-Child Abuse Activist.  My fight in this sphere dropped me onto the radar of some extremely evil people at the end of 2018 and I was forced to lay low for the sake of survival.  I had to leave Johannesburg and now live in a picturesque little town on the ‘Garden Route’ in the Western Cape surrounded by rainforests and blue flag beaches.  The perfect setting to recover, heal and regain strength for the work that lies ahead. God has [...]

Life in South Africa during COVID 19 by Marlene Bartlett2020-11-16T15:39:27-05:00

Prophet for People with Mental Illness

True prophets speak the truth no matter what the cost. The Word of God burns inside them until they have no choice but to speak and to act. Through stories, dreams, visions, God speaks through prophets that others may hear and hold onto the promise or heed the warning. In the Bible, true prophets are a mixed breed. Some are royal advisers. Some are outlaws, opposing unjust rule. Some are simple farmers, or shepherds, like the prophet Amos. The credential for becoming a prophet is not wealth or intelligence or popularity. For each prophetic occasion, God hand-picks the prophet who will deliver the authentic message from God to the people. At times this was a message of hope, reminding the exiled community of God's covenant promise. This message was encouraging, uplifting words like: "Keep moving forward. God is with you." Other times it was a word of warning: "Change [...]

Prophet for People with Mental Illness2020-11-19T00:14:46-05:00

Nurse Ratched Now

{from Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest} [Nurse Ratched] reached in the basket for the log book. “Must we go over past history?” That triggered something, some acoustic device in the walls, rigged to turn on at just the sound of those words coming from her mouth. The Acutes stiffened. Their mouths opened in unison. Her sweeping eyes stopped on the first man along the wall. His mouth worked. “I robbed a cash register in a service station.” She moved to the next man. “I tried to take my little sister to bed.” Her eyes clicked to the next man; each one jumped like a shooting-gallery target. “I—one time—wanted to take my brother to bed.” “I killed my cat when I was six. Oh, God forgive me, I stoned her to death and said my neighbor did it.” “I lied about trying. I did take my sister!” “So did [...]

Nurse Ratched Now2020-10-29T19:26:20-04:00

The Bittersweet Blessing of Bipolar Revisited

The past three weeks I've been enjoying the blessing of bipolar. By this I mean I've been full of energy and positivity. I've been creative and very productive. What has been different in this manic binge is that I am still engaging in some self-care through prayer, diet, and sleep. I wouldn't say I've been perfectly balanced, but I'm making progress. I know this won't last. In fact, I have slept 20 out of the last 24 hours. My emotions are on edge. I snapped at my wife over a perceived slight that was anything but. This is the part I hate about my illness, but I still appreciate what it has given me. I say this realizing some experience more extreme symptoms and don't felt any redemption in their suffering. I grieve for this. This isn't my story. I find a bittersweet blessing in bipolar. This is what I [...]

The Bittersweet Blessing of Bipolar Revisited2020-10-22T21:27:07-04:00

from When Despair Meets Delight – a spiritual encounter

I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.  ~ Edgar Allan Poe Share with the LORD’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12.13)   chapter five - spiritual encounter   I had a good friend in college, Steve Franz, who used to say, I drink and smoke because they are the best ways I know to commit suicide in a manner deemed acceptable by society. I’m convinced no one really wants to kill themselves. We just want to stop the pain. We want to silence the voices. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.2 [...]

from When Despair Meets Delight – a spiritual encounter2020-09-14T19:45:55-04:00

from When Despair Meets Delight: Denise on a Mission (TRIGGER ALERT)

"Look to the living, love them, and hold on." ~ Kay Redfield Jamison. "O God, who gave us birth, you are ever more ready to hear than we are to pray. You know our needs before we ask, and our ignorance in asking. Show us now your grace, that as we face the mystery of death we may see the light of eternity. Speak to us once more your solemn message of life and of death. Help us to live as those who are prepared to die. And when our days here are ended, enable us to die as those who go forth to live,so that living or dying, our life may be in Jesus Christ our risen LORD. Amen." ~ Book of Common Worship Daily Prayer   from CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: denise on a mission   The best opportunities I had to serve in ministry together with youth and adults [...]

from When Despair Meets Delight: Denise on a Mission (TRIGGER ALERT)2020-09-10T23:10:41-04:00

Mental Health Ministry with a Faithful Friend

Something HUGE is happening for me this weekend and the only thing better than its magnitude is that my good friend will share it with me. This Saturday from 10:15 - 11 am I will be participating in a Zoom dialogue with my partner in mental health ministry, Eric Riddle. Eric and I first met in 2014, when an article about me and my first book came out in the local newspaper. Eric and I share similar diagnoses and also had experienced a measure of healing from both prayer and pills, worship and psychotherapy, Bible studies and support groups. We met weekly for nine months with no agenda but to walk around Eric's neighborhood, talk about what was in our hearts, and listen for God's guidance. Over that period we conceived of a faith-based mental health support group called Faithful Friends that has touched the lives of dozens of men [...]

Mental Health Ministry with a Faithful Friend2020-08-13T16:20:42-04:00

When Despair Meets Delight: Growing Closer Each Day

Things are speeding up as I progress toward the publication of When Despair Meets Delight. This week I have: Messaged prospective buyers about advance orders. Conducted an interview with a local reporter for an feature article. Met with a librarian about an upcoming virtual book launch. Spoke with a Christian radio station about appearing on one of their programs. Scheduled appearances on two Facebook live podcasts. All this while attending to my dying father and coordinating his funeral service. Am I manic? Perhaps. Should I slow down? Maybe. What happens if/when I crash? I don't know. One thing I'm sure of is I'm not manufacturing my mania. I am getting plenty of sleep. I'm taking my prescribed medication on time. I have a relatively good rhythm of work and rest. There are certainly improvements I could make in such areas as diet and exercise, but I'm doing my best. I'm [...]

When Despair Meets Delight: Growing Closer Each Day2020-08-07T15:28:38-04:00

Around the World in 80 Key Strokes: Writing as Global Mission

I have been more active on social media than ever before as I promote my book. While I worry of becoming grandiose by focusing on my own story, I am delighted at the friendships I am forming around the world with people who share the same passions about reaching out to those impacted by brain illnesses with the compassion of Christ and the consolation of the Holy Spirit. One friend I've recently made is Rosette. Rosette is from Uganda and is part of a faith community which takes seriously the call of Christ to engage in healing ministry. She shared a story of a woman with severe schizophrenia who had been left to flounder in isolation. Members of the church visited her, prayed with her, advocated for her to get and take the medication she needed. Now, while not cured, she functions fully in the life of the community. She [...]

Around the World in 80 Key Strokes: Writing as Global Mission2020-07-23T03:13:53-04:00
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