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

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

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

“Joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” by Abigail C.

A baby born after a loss is referred to as a "rainbow baby," so we included this nod to our losses in my maternity photos.  Photo credits: A.McGrath Photography     “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” I have conflicting feelings about this verse (Romans 12:12), although it  has been my favorite for as long as I can remember. For one thing, I fail at every part of it. On the other hand, it contains everything I need to survive even the depths of despair.   I’m Abigail, and I am many things—a friend of Tony’s, a lifelong Christian, an occupational therapist, a mother of three, a wife, and hopefully a future entrepreneur (you know, in my free time). I have also struggled with an anxiety disorder since high school and more recently added PTSD to the mix.   Quick background: I started having panic attacks [...]

“Joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” by Abigail C.2021-07-08T06:27:04-04:00

The Pandemic and Bipolar Me by Janet Coburn

Our guest post today is written by Janet Coburn. Janet is a freelance writer/editor with bipolar disorder, type 2. She is the author of Bipolar Me and Bipolar Us, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and through other outlets.  She writes about mental health issues such as talk therapy, medication, books, bullying, social aspects, and public policy, but mostly her own experiences with bipolar 2. As she always says, "I’m not an expert and YMMV – Your Mileage May Vary."   I can’t say that the pandemic has had all that much effect on my life. After all, I have bipolar disorder and anxiety. It’s not like I ever left the house much anyway. This has given me the perfect opportunity to “cocoon” without stigma. Perhaps the major change is that I no longer feel comfortable going out to eat, which was one of my husband’s major method of [...]

The Pandemic and Bipolar Me by Janet Coburn2021-04-18T22:50:27-04:00

“We’re going to be okay.”

One of the labels for the mental illness I have is bipolar disorder 1, rapid cycler. This means that my mood state constantly changes. I often go from abject despair to supreme elevation, and back again in less than the time it takes to complete a sentence. It is exhausting. It's like running a marathon at a sprinter's pace, with no water stations to rest. The body can't take this for long, much less the mind and spirit. The challenges we have faced in 2020 have tried the souls of many, even those with no mental health diagnosis. Added to this the death of both my parents and it is little wonder that the First Quarter of 2021 has hit me like a horrendous hangover. But there is hope. Even when circumstances around us seem bleak, there is a glimmer of hope. As a follower of Christ, I celebrate this [...]

“We’re going to be okay.”2021-04-04T20:10:37-04:00

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

Hear the Good News: When Despair Meets Delight Audiobook Launches Ash Wednesday

Most pastors would be shocked to know how many people in their church family live with or are directly impacted by mental illness. Stigma continues to keep mental illness silent in the church. Parents who sit in church pews week after week feel completely alone in bearing the pain of their son’s or daughter’s mental illness because they are embarrassed or afraid to say anything. The person sitting next to them may be carrying the same burden but who would know. And they will continue to carry these burdens alone until the church is willing to talk about it. -- Mark Teike, Pastor; St. Peter's Lutheran LCMS (Columbus, IN), from the Foreword of When Despair Meets Delight. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. This year it lands on February 17 -- this week! Lent is a season to take spiritual inventory of our relationship with God, others, and self. [...]

Hear the Good News: When Despair Meets Delight Audiobook Launches Ash Wednesday2021-02-16T17:17:32-05:00
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