Two Books to Get, that Get It: Companions in the Darkness & Unravel.

Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window. ― William Faulkner One of the perks of being a writer is fellow authors send me their books. This week I've been blessed to read two books that have helped me expand my literary companionships. Diana Gruver and Greg Ralls "get" the experience of living with mental health challenges and their stories depict this so well.   Companions in the Darkness: Seven Saints Who Struggled with Depression and Doubt by Diana Gruver, Chuck DeGroat (Foreword) The church's relationship with depression has been fraught: for centuries, depression was assumed to be evidence of personal sin or even demonic influence. The depressed [...]

Two Books to Get, that Get It: Companions in the Darkness & Unravel.2021-02-24T19:28:00-05:00

When 100% is 100% Too Much, Less Becomes Much Better

It's been two weeks now since I returned home from an inpatient stay at the local psychiatric hospital. I can't say I feel 100%, but my improvement is really quite remarkable. In fact, it may be best that I'm not 100% the way I was before going in because that 100% was about 100% too much. I wasn't living well within my limits. I was trying to be everyone for everybody, including myself. In one 15 day stretch, I slept a total of 30 hours. Thank God I had so many people praying for me and ready to intervene when I was willing to ask for help. Being on a psych unit at any time can be a bit unnerving. Being on one during a pandemic is downright frightening. At least it was for me. But the staff did a tremendous job allaying my fears. More than anything, they modeled [...]

When 100% is 100% Too Much, Less Becomes Much Better2021-02-18T20:22:21-05:00

Why I Write in Less than 500 Words

I was a pastor for almost 20 years.  A big part of my job was to take the sacred Word and inspire people to do good things.  To do this, I did a lot of writing (over 500 sermons,  300 e-devotions, 200 newsletter articles, countless pastoral letters). Then I left pastoral ministry. Why? For many reasons, some of which I'm still sorting out. Essentially, God had another ministry in mind. For the past decade I have served an author with A Way with Words publishing, an outreach of Delight in Disorder Ministries. People ask me, "Do you write exclusively about faith and God?”  My answer is “Yes and no.”  Yes, because I believe all good writing carries with it sacred a sacred duty to "speak the truth in love." Since we are created in the image of God and creation reflects God’s good order, when we write faithfully about any [...]

Why I Write in Less than 500 Words2021-02-06T07:39:23-05:00

The Pandemic and Mental Health by Jason Tapscott

Our guest blogger is Jason Tapscott. Jason's work can be found on his website is jasontapscott.com  You can find his two published books at Amazon, on Kindle, for 99 cents each. Right now, there are two installments in the series with a third forthcoming that he hopes to release in paperback. Writing is Jason's way of healing and processing some tough personal times. The story is all fabrication but actually based on some real events that happened in his own life.   Personally, I have very mixed feelings about the pandemic since it hit in March(ish).  In that month, I started working from home.  Eventually, I switched jobs in August because I wanted to be a little more on the front line, as crazy as that sounds.  I work as a CPS in mental health services.  That means I have my own issues.  In August, I started working at Einstein [...]

The Pandemic and Mental Health by Jason Tapscott2021-01-16T05:00:51-05:00

What to do when you are COVID weary.

It's mid-November. We have been living in a pandemic period for nine months now. People are anxious. About catching the COVID virus. About paying their bills. Many are lonely, lacking the physical connections we need for positive affection and support. Others are angry, convinced all of this scare is overblown, even a political tactic to usher in an autocracy. Things seem so bad and it sounds like they will only get worse before they get better. And it may be a long time before they get better. No one is immune from the challenges bearing down on us personally and socially. Those of us living with mental illness can be particularly vulnerable to the extra stress the pandemic has created. To cope with the imbalance within me, I rely on a measure of balance in the world around me. Of course, it's not possible to live in a stress-free environment. [...]

What to do when you are COVID weary.2020-11-16T10:12:46-05:00

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

April’s Cruelty in the Wasteland

 April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. (from The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot) The sun is hidden behind thick, dark clouds. A cold rain has been falling all day. I didn't know this, however, until I crawled out of bed this afternoon and asked Susan how the day was. "Not good." She said. An understatement. Cruel is more like it. Eliot could have been standing on my deck when he wrote these lines; breathing in the nascent scent of lilacs along with the stink of liquid manure; envisioning unspoken hopes and mislaid dreams floating on the surface of ruddy lawns. April has indeed been a cruel month. Look at the weather. Devastating floods along the Missouri River. Tornadoes in the Southern US, an earthquake in Indonesia, a cyclone in Mozambique causing over 1,000 cases of [...]

April’s Cruelty in the Wasteland2019-04-24T23:09:48-04:00

12 Blessings in 2018: Featured Posts to Encourage and Inspire

2018 began with modest expectations. It is ending with endless possibilities. Along the way, God has blessed me with new new opportunities, new friends, a new life partner. I still experience chaotic mood swings that require diligent treatment such as medication and therapy; but with a caring network of family and friends and a strong connection to Christ's body, my sanity is maintained and I can contribute to the common good. Most particularly I offer friendly counsel to those like me who have troubled minds by sharing the inspiration of God's word and the encouraging Way of Christ. Now that the year is winding down, I thought it would be good to look back at the journey. Below I have 12 featured posts (one/month) with a brief excerpt. The titles contain a link to the posts. I hope you will review these and enjoy reading through the blessings of 2018. [...]

12 Blessings in 2018: Featured Posts to Encourage and Inspire2018-12-30T15:38:54-05:00

Honoring God by Loving Others

One of my faithful readers sent me some thoughtful questions. First -- How does one differentiate between experiencing emotional turmoil in their life, and experiencing mental health issues that may require additional aid? (Medicine, Therapy, etc) This points to a very difficult and sometimes controversial distinction in mental health care. Some people are sad by virtue of their circumstances. Time, while it may not remove the sadness, helps to heal. Others, however, have chronic depression that can incapacitate them for weeks, months, even years at a time. Some become anxious in social situations. With the help of proper relaxation techniques, they can face their fears and persist. Others have acute panic attacks that are often confused with heart conditions. Some persons are moody, experiencing highs and lows that seem beyond what is normal. Others have debilitating lows and dangerous highs. How can we determine who is in emotional turmoil and [...]

Honoring God by Loving Others2018-11-15T18:30:24-05:00
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