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RubyMARCH2017


Stories

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.
 
 

Tell Me About Your Day

 
Hi, friends!
 
When my husband and I were dating, we started a tradition of telling each other our favorite and least favorite things of the day. We learned a lot about each other, and it helped us to stay connected, especially when he was working hundreds of miles away.
 
 
This proved better for us than just asking “How are you doing?” because, as most people, we would answer, “Fine.” By asking each other about our favorite and least favorite parts of the day, we deepened our relationship. Our answers revealed so much more than a simple one-word answer ever could:
 
 

  • Interests
  • Concerns
  • Sense of humor
  • Feelings
  • Values

 
 
It could have been easy to forget about it when he returned from working halfway across the country. Instead, we kept it going. Now that we’ve adopted our children, we’ve involved them as well. They love it and look forward to talking about their day–whether it’s after church, after school, after a family outing, during dinner, at the end of the day.
 
 
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I wanted to share this idea with you in the form of my very first printable: “Tell Me About Your Day.” I hope you will print it and use it with your significant other, with your family, and even with your friends. I would suggest even laminating it. I know it will help to deepen relationships with those around you. It has helped me to be consistent in learning about the people I love.
 
 
Here is a full-color version:
 
TellMeAboutYourDay Printable
 
 
Here is a grayscale version:
 
B&WTellMeAboutYourDay
 
 
What better way to come alongside your loved ones and invite them into your life. 🙂
 
 
Let me know how it goes. I would love to hear how this tool helps you.
Hugs,
Daphne
 
 
 
P.S. — Happy Valentine’s Day. 😀
 
 
 
Come alongside. What was your favorite part of today? What about your least favorite part of the day? Share with us in the comments below.
 
 

Favorite…Least Favorite

Several years ago, my boyfriend–now my husband–and I started a tradition that has continued with our three children: “Favorite…Least Favorite.”

 

It goes like this: At any given moment, someone will ask…

 

“What’s your favorite part of today so far?”

 

Each person answers the question with a specific action, event, etc. No generic, “I liked everything” answers. Also, no one is allowed to poke fun of any answer, but anyone can ask follow-up questions.

 

After each person has answered the favorite question, then the next question is asked.

 

“What’s your least favorite part of today so far?”

 

Again, each person answers the question, and especially during this second part of the game, no poking fun is allowed–or refuting someone’s response, etc.

 

We started this game when my boyfriend went away for work, and we would call each other at the end of the day to say our goodnights. By asking each other these questions, we were able to take part in the joys of each other’s day and also the sad–or disappointing–parts of the day. It also helped us to meditate on the day and to be sure we access a range of feelings–not leaving any to pile up inside.

 

Now that we have children, we’re using “Favorite…Least Favorite” to help them process and express feelings. We’re also learning a lot about each other. Truth be told, we’re not the ones who are bringing up “Favorite…Least Favorite” these days. They are!

 

When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. (Romans 12:15)

 

I encourage you to try it out for yourselves. To get us started….

 

“What was your favorite part of the weekend?”

 

For me, it was spending Sunday with family I hadn’t seen in decades–some I hadn’t even met, and introducing them all to my husband and my three children.

 

“What was your least favorite part of the weekend?”

 

Trying to encourage my introverted daughter to interact with other children at her cousin’s birthday party on Saturday–instead of sitting on a bench with her head down.

 

Come alongside…What about you? What was your favorite part of the weekend? How about your least favorite?

 

The Story of My Life

 
Last week, my husband and I took a day trip over to Sarasota for the Ringling Museum. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it. Mr. and Mrs. Ringling–yes, I’m talking about the circus folks–purchased 20 acres of waterfront property in the early 1900s and built a home there. Well, it’s really a mansion, and oh what a mansion!

 

The Ringlings loved art, and they built an impressive art collection over the years.

 

 

As my husband and I walked the 21-gallery art museum, we saw scenes of people’s lives.

  • Biblical.
  • Historical.
  • Fictional.
  • Everyday people.

StoryLife

 

Each painting or tapestry was distinct. But all told a story.

  • A snapshot in time.
  • A turning point  in someone’s life.
  • A story of the person’s life.

 

 

 

I got to wondering–as I often do… What’s the story of my life? If an artist wanted to tell others about me, what would he paint, draw, sculpt, or weave? I just couldn’t shake that thought as I took in each of the paintings throughout the day.

 

What is the story of your life? Think about it. What would you want an artist to portray about you?

 

My husband and I talked about this on our way home. I’ll share my story, and he’ll share his in the comments. But I wanted to start us off with my painting, my tapestry, my story.

 

I see a house–my house. The scene outside is rather dark, and as you approach the house, it is warmly lit. People–adults and kids alike–are walking up to the house worn and weary. Some are looking behind them as they run to my home. Others are leaving the house. They’re smiling, standing tall, healthy.

 

You can look inside the house through the front windows and see people–lots of them– sitting all around the front room. On the sofa, on the floor, on chairs. They’re huddled together, blankets over each person’s shoulders. There is some activity in and out of the other rooms, but the central focus is on the front room. All face in one direction–toward a cozy plantation chair in the corner. I am sitting on that chair reading to them from the Bible. Other books are on my lap. My eyebrows are raised, and I have smile on my face, as I lean in to tell them what appears to be good news.

 

The title of the painting is, “The Comfort Station.” (I actually have a sign in my house today.) The subtitle is, “Comforting others with the comfort she received from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).”

 

That’s how I would like to be remembered. That is the story of my life.

 

Come alongside… What is the story of your life? Share it with us. Invite your friends to share their stories. 

 

(Remember… January is book giveaway month. The more you comment below, the more chances you have to win a copy of my new book, Women of the Secret Place.)


 

Resources for Leaving a Legacy

 
 

 

 
 

What’s Your Story?

Yesterday, my husband and I–along with our nephew and two of our nieces–headed downtown to the Polk Authors and Illustrators Festival. One of our good friends and favorite authors, April Whitt, debuted her new book, “Private Eye, Romeo Riley:  The Boy Who Saw Too Much.” Congratulations, April!

As we walked up and down the booths, it occurred to me how many different stories people had to share. Stories about…

  • Special needs.
  • Paper airplanes.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Fossils.
  • Missionary tales.
  • You name it.

 

Each person believed in their story so much–whether fiction or non-fiction–to breathe life into it and put it down on paper. But not only did they put it down on paper, they also shared it with others.

 

As we walked some more, my nieces begged, “Tell us a story, Tia.” (That’s Spanish for “Aunt.”) They, too, wanted to hear a story–not just any story, my story.

 

Dear one, you have a story to share.

  • Will you breathe life into it?
  • Will you share it with others?

 

Someone somewhere wants to hear your story. Only you can tell it.

 

Come alongside… Tell us your story.

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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