Guest Blog: Locusts’ Aftermath

joel 2-25My husband, Nelson, asked if he could share a few thoughts with you. Nelson is often my “silent partner,” the one who speaks softly and thinks deeply. As I mention in the opening of Sparks of Redemptive Grace, we believe our lives “weren’t supposed to be this way”; but Nelson has taught me over and over again that we never misplace our faith when we anchor it in the One who prepares our path.

Locusts’ Aftermath      By Nelson Downing

Years ago, when our journey with mental illness began and we started to understand the severe, chronic and persistent nature of bipolar disorder, we also learned that it is common for a person to become “stuck” at the psychological and emotional maturity of their first episode. Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, in The Road Less Traveled, describes it this way: Continue reading

Guest Blog: Let Your Longings Lead You to Hope

psalm 33-22 - shortAmy Simpson’s first book, Troubled Minds, was a great resource for me as I became an advocate in the church for families dealing with mental illness. Her latest book, Blessed are the Unsatisfied, has much to say to any of us trying to make sense of the muddled world we live in and the desire for better. I’m so grateful she is willing to share a bit of her story and wisdom with us. – Catherine

Let Your Longings Lead You to Hope      By Amy Simpson

When my mother’s undiagnosed schizophrenia finally became impossible to explain away—and then was diagnosed—my family lost a lot. My siblings and I lost a caregiver and the luxury of dependency. Dad lost the partnership in his marriage. We all effectively lost someone we loved. And we said goodbye to expectations, pictures of how we thought the future would look, as the family’s meager resources coagulated around care for Mom and we all developed our individual ways of coping. Almost without acknowledgment, many of our family’s established ways and rhythms, habits, and traditions were set aside in favor of a severe pragmatism born of necessity. Continue reading

Guest Blog: Out of the Box

As I have said many times, families dealing with mental illness are not alone. In fact, one in five families each year are impacted by mental health difficulties. There are a few who also write about their journeys.  For example, I have found Maree Dee’s blogs a great encouragement to me and I appreciate her willingness to share one of her insights with us (below). Read more of her thoughts at Embracing the Unexpected.

Romans 15-7 - sparksDo you categorize people based on differences? I honestly didn’t think I did until it hit me smack dab in the face at a recent convention. It got me thinking: What might happen if we stopped putting people in boxes? Continue reading