I was first diagnosed with a mental health condition in 1990, the heyday of what were becoming known as "second generation antidepressants." Alternatives to lifetimes of misery in locked wards of psych hospitals gave psychiatrics a whole new tool to treat those desperately depressed. Even "family doctors" were getting into the act as drug representatives passed out samples like happy pill candy of the dubbed "Prozac generation." But my depression in 1990 was not garden variety and these pills I took sent me into a medication-induced psychosis, keeping me up in a manic frenzy for six days and six nights concocting mission schemes and conducting ministry initiatives (as documented in my memoir When Despair Meets Delight). Ultimately, I would break with conscious reality and become a danger to myself and others. Were the drugs the cause of the psychosis or, because they were not properly prescribed, did they just light [...]
Dear Fellow Traveler, Did you think life was going to go like this? You had plans and dreams about work, life, accomplishments, where you wanted to live and with who. Then mental illness stepped in. Now what? I was 14 when the darkness fell on me. I had been a freshman: insecure, loud, loving, caring, smart, prideful, naïve, hopeful, occasionally hardworking, unfocused, etc. I played drums in bands, played goalie in soccer, and played risk with my friends, sometimes for days. Then I was nothing. I was a contaminant. I was walking anguish. I got home every day and carried myself upstairs to my room. I would turn on the radio, collapse into my comforter, and sob. The music drowned out the crying so no one else could hear. I was not alone. Kay Redfield Jameson had bipolar disorder, like I do, and she survived. She had become a clinical [...]
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.
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. [...]
Some time ago a woman asked a young pastor to perform an exorcism on her. She was tormented by a commanding inner voice and she had come to believe she was possessed by a demon. He didn't know what to do. He hadn't taken any "Exorcism 101" class at seminary. He wasn't sure he even believed in demon spirits. Sure, Jesus cast out demons. Paul wrote of evil "powers and principalities" that subverted a believer's faith. The history of Christian literature is littered with stories of possessed persons. But in the modern world? Didn't demons die with the Enlightenment? But the woman was persistent. She was clearly vexed and as her pastor he didn't want to simply dismiss her need. So, he consulted a mentor who had many years of experience in pastoral ministry. This pastor advised him to ask three questions to better assess if the disease was at [...]