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RubyMARCH2017


Sadness

The Bipolar Experience (Book Review)

 
Hi, friends!
 
Have you read The Bipolar Experience: Your Dreams Are Bigger than Bipolar Disorder by LeeAnn Jefferies and Eva Marie Everson?
 

 
As a person who struggles with bipolar disorder, I was naturally drawn to LeeAnn Jefferies’ story. The fact that she was a top model for more than 16 years added to my intrigue.
 
I felt like I was sitting on a wicker chair on a wrap-around porch listening to LeeAnn tell her story, her Southern accent and flare on display between our sips of sweet tea. I appreciated her authenticity.
 

 
I know what it’s like to be afraid of my own mind.
 
 
Oh, I hated it, I hated it! But I learned to live within the hell of it. Because that’s what it was. Hell. With all the good going on in my life–with all the God at work–I had come to a sure truth: I knew exactly where the devil’s playground resided. And it was with me all the time. Right there, in my mind.
 
 
Most of us can only live each day as it comes. But those with bipolar disorder will either live those days bouncing off the clouds or clawing our way through the mud.
 

 
I’m thankful I’m neither in the clouds or the mud these days.
 
The Bipolar Experience is a good resource for family and friends of those with bipolar disorder. Eva and LeeAnn sprinkle facts about the illness throughout the book, but they approach it in the context of her story, not as a medical encyclopedia.
 
I could relate to LeeAnn’s goal-oriented side of bipolar disorder. It’s a little known fact that a bipolar person tends to fixate on a goal–however big or small–until they achieve it. Many times, a person with bipolar disorder is viewed as extremely productive. I could see that in LeeAnn’s story–and in mine.
 
As much as I wanted to read The Bipolar Experience in one sitting, I struggled to read non-stop because I swing more to the depressive side of bipolar. I needed to take some breaks from reading it when I found myself swinging low. I would caution those who struggle with mental illness to be aware of that possibility prior to reading it. Awareness is key. 🙂
 
The story hops back and forth through key events in LeeAnn’s life, which as, LeeAnn herself admits, is a glimpse into the life and mind of a person with bipolar.
 

 
There are times in the telling of this story when I worry that I cannot keep the reader on track. Then again, this is a book about the bipolar experience, so why should I be able to do that? After all, my life has been up and down, down and up. Around a left-turn corner. Around a right-turn corner.
 

 
I can understand the rationale for that approach. However, as a person with bipolar disorder, I found it difficult to follow her journey. People who struggle with the illness are often obsessed with things being in a specific order–to the point of OCD. (LeeAnn mentioned her struggles with OCD too.) In order to create a linear progression of her life, I had to, as a classic sign of a bipolar person, go back and highlight the year in each chapter to understand what happened first, next, and so on. Nonetheless, the non-linear approach is a good representation of a bipolar mind for those who don’t face it firsthand.
 
I know family and friends of bipolars will appreciate the chapters by her husband and daughter. They were honest, heartfelt, and demonstrated the power of a strong support system. The importance of a good doctor is a continuous thread in the book.
 
Overall, I recommend The Bipolar Experience by LeeAnn Jefferies and Eva Marie Everson to family and friends of those struggling with the nauseating see-saw of this illness. For those who face this struggle, The Bipolar Experience is a reminder that God can use our circumstances (including illnesses) for good, but only if we let Him. LeeAnn is a great example of that. I am. You can be too.
 
 
***
 
 
Come alongside… Do you know someone with bipolar disorder or another mental illness? How can you support them? Do you see signs of mental illness in yourself? What can you do to get help? If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, how are you managing your life? Comment in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.
 
 

Resources to Help You Cope with Holiday Blues

 
Hi, friends!
 
I haven’t written for several months, and I’ve missed you, but family members have been going through unexpected health issues since this summer. Although we’re still dealing with these things, we hope for a better tomorrow, trusting God knows all and takes care of us all–even when we can’t see Him.
 
 
resourceschopeholidaysrevisedSo… as you know from some of my previous holiday-related posts, I have a hard time during this otherwise joyous season. But I’m not the only one. Thousands–actually, millions–of people are depressed and hurting during the holidays for a number of reasons.
 
 
This year, I’ve compiled some of my favorite posts and resources from around the Internet about how to deal with anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder, difficult memories, or other mental and emotional concerns during the holidays. You’ll want to bookmark this page for future reference. 🙂
 
 

  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has an entire section devoted to the holiday blues, as well as a video and fact sheet on the “Holiday Blues,” including a section on children and holiday anxiety.
  •  
     

  • The Huffington Post has two great articles (Part 1) and (Part 2) on how art therapy can help people de-stress during the holidays. I’m definitely trying some of these!
  •  
     

  • On LinkedIn, one of my connections posted an article about how Jesus dealt with depression. It’s brief, but he makes great points.
  •  
     

  • PsychCentral gives some suggestions for how to help those who are struggling during the holidays, as well as the impact of not getting enough sunlight during this stressful time.
  •  
     

  • My friend and fellow author Rachel Wojnarowski wrote this ebook, 12 Days of Christmas for the Hurting. It’s available on Amazon.
  •  
     

  • Also, Dr. Wayne Dyer writes about how to recapture the spirit of the holidays, particularly Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s in his book, No More Holiday Blues. It’s an older book (2010), but the information still applies. Dr. Dyer’s book is available on Amazon.
  •  
     

  • Finally, The Skit Guys have a humorous take on all the busy-ness during the holidays, which can lead to increased anxiety from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

 
 
I know there are more resources out there. Do you have any you would like to add to this list? Share them with us in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Also, if you know someone who struggles with depression during the holidays, please share this post with them.
 
 
I hope you remember during this season–and always–that Jesus is close to you when you’re brokenhearted, depressed, and feel like giving up.
 
 

 
If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there. (Psalm 34:18)
 

 
 
 
 


Related Products

 
 
Groove: Stories to Refresh the Way We Think and Feel About Our Mental Illnesses
 

Dec 2014

Dec 2014


 

(click on book cover to find out more about Groove.)

 
 
 
 

Help! I’m Stressed and It’s Snowballing!

 
Hi, friends!
 
StressedSnowballTitlerev
I’ve read a lot of articles lately about being overwhelmed and handling stress. Have I needed them! 😉
 
I wanted to share some of these with you and hope they help you too:
 
 

Work Stress

This is a biggie, whether you work in or out of the home. Deadlines are stressful, aren’t they? Blogger Barb Raveling gives us “7 Ways to Stop Being Overwhelmed.” She teaches us ways to renew our mind and has several Bible studies on it.
 
 
 

Financial stress

If you’re low on money, you’ll want to check out Bill and Pam Farrel’s article at Just Between Us: “His and Her Financial Needs.” They list some great ideas for couples with different financial priorities.
 
 
 

Relational Stress

It’s difficult to know what to do when your loved one is stressed. Eric and April Motl have written an exceptional article over at Crosswalk: “Helping Your Spouse Through Seasons of Stress.”
 
 
 

Stress Specific to Women

Life coach and speaker Elisa Pulliam gives women “10 Stress-Management Tips” from a Biblical and practical perspective. Caution: She suggests “unplugging.”
 
 
 

Parenting Stress

I’m a newbie parent, so I know about parenting stress. 🙂 If you’re having issues with your kiddos and are beating yourself up over things you shouldn’t have said, head over to Stress-Free Kids. This is an older article, but still very useful. In it, Jill Hope shares “Four Strategies to Lessen Tension and Live More Peacefully.” Just a side note: One of these strategies involves asking for your kids’ forgiveness. I’ve had to do that a lot lately. 🙁
 
 
 

College Stress

When I think back to college, my heart races. So many stressors and the pressure to perform. ULifeline offers “Helpful tips on how to manage everyday stress” as a college student.
 
 
 

Stress Related to Life Changes

Life is about change. But sometimes–many times, change stresses us out–even when it’s a good life change like buying a house. I re-read my 2012 post about “Coping with Change” and it has helped me to regain my focus and to balance the different emotions that accompany any life change.
 
 
 

Is it More Than Stress?

When stress lingers and we don’t address it, we can dip into anxiety and depression. Huffington Post has a great article on “The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety.” Hint: One is caused by internal factors and the other external. Which one might you be experiencing?
 
 
 
I hope these resources help you cope with the many ways stress can impact your life. Bookmark them, re-read them, and share them with your family and friends. You can’t avoid stress, but you can manage it. Remember, stress in one area of your life can snowball into other areas.
 
 
AddressStressrev
 
 
 
Come alongside… Are you stressed? What is causing you stress? Has it dipped into depression and anxiety? What can you do to address it? Who can you call? What one thing can you change? Share with us in the comments section below. Remember, you can comment anonymously.
 
 
 

8 Ways to Deal With the Blues at Christmas

 
Hi, friends!
 
I tend to get depressed during the holidays. I wrote about that last year. So as the holidays approached this year, I was pleased to hear my pastor, Dr. Jay Dennis of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida, preach about depression during the holidays.
 

Image from First Baptist Church at the Mall, Lakeland, Florida, USA

Image from First Baptist Church at the Mall, Lakeland, Florida


 
Today, I am sharing his sermon and his notes with you in various formats. You’ll want to watch, listen, or read the information below. It really encouraged me this past Sunday, and I’m sure to refer to it again and again during the holidays.
 
 
 

Watch

 
[vimeo 80830395]
 
 
 

Listen

 

[powerpress url=”http://fbcm.bc.cdn.bitgravity.com/2013/20131201.mp3″]

 
 
 

Read

(click on the image of the study notes)

 
BlueChristmas-spread
 
 
I know you will find these eight steps helpful as you navigate the holiday season.
 
 
Come alongside… Have you struggled with depression during the holidays? How did you handle it? What steps did you take? Which of the eight steps in Pastor Jay’s sermon resonated with you most? What steps can you take this year to help you through the holidays? Please share with us in the comments below. Remember, you can share anonymously.
 
 
Note: All information in the video, audio, and study guide is copyrighted by Jay Dennis, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida. Used with permission.
 
 

Do You Know Someone with a Mental Illness? Yes, you do.

 

Do you know someone with a mental illness?

  • Depression
  • Bipolar depression disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Another mental illness

 

Maybe you yourself have a mental illness.

 

Here are some statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) that might surprise you. Did you know that…

 

One in four adults—approximately 57.7 million Americans—experience a mental health disorder in a given year.

 

One in 17 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.

 

One in 10 children live with a serious mental or emotional disorder.

 

Bipolar disorder affects 5.7 million American adults, approximately 2.6 percent of the adult population per year.

 

Of adults using homeless services, 31 percent reported having combination of these conditions.

 

Despite effective treatments, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first onset of symptoms and when people seek and receive treatment.

 

Fewer than one-third of adults and one-half of children with a diagnosable mental disorder receive mental health services in a given year.

 

Racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to have access to mental health services and often receive a poorer quality of care.

 

 

And this doesn’t account for the millions of people who go undiagnosed—or are willing to admit—and accept—they have a mental illness.

 

 

I say all this because…

 

I have bipolar depression disorder.

 

People near and dear to me have bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, panic disorder, depression, and countless other mental illnesses. We are not statistics. Neither are the millions of people who struggle with these disorders.

 

Many people in the Bible experienced mental illness:

 

These Biblical heroes—they were pillars of the faith—cried out to God in their distress. And God answered them. He still answers today with:

  • His Word—the Bible
  • Prayer
  • Comfort
  • Support groups
  • Counselors and therapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Medicine

 

Before being officially diagnosed as bipolar in 2009, I lived a chaotic life—most people never would have known. But my mental life was in disarray. I managed—and even was quite successful, using my manic states to my advantage by being super-productive to the point of becoming a workaholic. Some would call that being successful; I would call it being in bondage to my own pride:

 

I didn’t want to get help.

 

I feared others would see me as weak, crazy, or even that I had committed some awful sin. I only sought help when I couldn’t manage any longer after experiencing a traumatic situation in early 2009.

 

I got help. And you can too. Your family and friends can get help.

 

Today, I live a very peaceful and joyful life—all due to God, family and friends, support groups, counselors, psychiatrists, and yes—even medicine.

 

In the words of Michael Fitzpatrick of NAMI: “Simply put, treatment works, if you can get it. But in America today, it is clear that many people living with mental illness are not provided with the essential treatment they need.”

 

Dear one, please get the treatment you need. Use all available resources—start with God and if necessary, say yes to medication.

 

You can do more than manage. You can have your life—the life God wants for you not only in eternity but also in the here and now.

 

It’s your time!

 

I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance. (John 10:10)

 

 

Come alongside: Which of these statistics surprised you most? Do you struggle with mental illness? Are you seeking treatment for it? Why or why not? What can you do to take that first step toward a full life? How can you help your loved one seek the help he or she needs? Please leave your comments below—and remember, you can comment anonymously if you so desire.

 

For more information on mental illnesses, please visit NAMI, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the National Institute of Mental Health.
 
 


 
 

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Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Life is Good, Positive Promotions, BloomThat, CesarsWay, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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