...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
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♥ Thank God that after the interview regarding my this blog on Bipolar Disorder - More Than Conquerors: ( http://www.lifewithbipolardisorder.blogspot.com/ ) was published in a local newspaper here in Singapore ie. The Sunday Times, 23 January 2011, several readers in Singapore have written to let me know they appreciate my sharing of my own experiences plus the resources available. They themselves or their loved ones too suffer from depression or bipolar disorder. You can read this interview here : interview
♥ I thank God that I can testified of His goodness and mercies to me through this blog. He is the One Who sustains me daily and enable me to cope and live a useful life for Him.
♥ Thank God that He is with us through all the changing scenes in life and He is working all things for His glory and our good. No matter what we go through, what illness, failures, difficulties, trials or tribulations, He promised that His grace is sufficient for us. He is my greatest comfort, peace and strength daily. May He be yours too!
♥ Thank God for providing various coping means for me so that I can cope better and live a more stable, useful and meaningful life.
♥ Thank God for 2 books that have been used by God to help me in understanding depression, bipolar disorder, and how faith in God can gives peace and hope. Thank God for these 2 real life testimonies of how God has helped 2 Christian to cope with the difficult struggles in their life with depression and bipolar disorder. I would like to introduce these books to you and I highly recommend that you read these books as you will be greatly encouraged by them.
(1) BROKEN MINDS - book on depression by Steve Bloem and Robyn Bloem
The first book is Broken Minds by Steve and Robyn Bloem.
Steve Bloem, author of Broken Minds,a book on the problem of depression Visit Steve's Blog at : http://sbloemreflections.blogspot.com/
Here is an excerpt of a review on this book "Broken Minds" by David Gregson. This article is in the public domain.
BROKEN MINDS - THE PROBLEM OF DEPRESSION
David Gregson reflects on a recent book by Steve and Robyn Bloem
In 1985, American Steve Bloem was about to make a final visit ‘with a view’ to what seemed a very suitable and attractive church in Florida. He had a wife and a young family and had successfullypassed through Bible seminary.
Up until then, Steve had been blessed with a joyful, stable personality and had coped well with the pressures of life. In 1985, however, he entered the dark tunnel of severe clinical depression — whichtook him and his wife Robyn by complete surprise.
Since then, Steve has endured further episodes of mental illness. He confesses readily that he is now a man of God ‘on pills’ and will be for the rest of his life.
Sadly, Steve and Robyn have had to contend with the tragic misconceptions about mental illness that are prevalent in evangelical circles, both in the USA and UK. That is why Steve and Robyn Bloem have jointly written a new book entitled "Broken Minds" to try to dispel the myths that seriously hinder Christians who suffer from depression.
Can Christians get depressed?
The symptoms of Steve’s illness were gloomy mornings, endless walks around the neighbourhood, poor concentration, disordered sleep patterns, loss of appetite, stomach complaints, feelings of worthlessness, intense sadness and even suicidal thoughts.
When eventually Steve suspected that he might be suffering from depression, he fought against the very idea. He writes, ‘As a born-again believer and a trained theologian, I did not want to entrust myself to a system where I would be vulnerable to mistreatment or psychological brainwashing. A deeper reason was that I had been taught that depression was for wimps. Surely if Christians walked with God, they would not get depressed’.
Steve was further bemused when well-meaning people said that his condition was due to his inability to handle stress or the consequence of anger turned inwards. Even Robyn at first thought that her husband was showing uncharacteristic signs of weakness and self-centredness. She, however, came to
see that she too had been the victim of evangelical ignorance and misunderstanding regarding mental illness.
After years of witnessing Steve’s struggles and supporting him through all his pain, she was able to write, ‘Diseases from the neck downward are acceptable, but start talking about the mind and the defences go up’. She realised that among Christians there was a real misunderstanding of depression
and that a dreadful stigma had grown up around it. She had become convinced of the reality of mental illness, not so much by scientific studies as by her husband’s suffering.
It is generally accepted in the medical field that clinical depression is due to an imbalance in the chemistry of the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances that carry electrical impulses from one nerve cell to another within the brain.
They are released from one cell (the sender) and travel to the next cell (the receiver), where it is either absorbed or returned to the sender. The best understanding of clinical depression is that there are not enough neurotransmitters to ferry these messages across all the gaps.
This deficiency leads to a change in the person’s mood, thinking and behaviour. Serotonin and noradrenaline are two neurotransmitters that increase brain activity and improve mood.
Antidepressant drugs help the brain to retain more of these substances and so stabilise the mental condition.
At the present time, an estimated 121 million people suffer from serious depression throughout the world. It is one of the leading causes of disability and we should not be surprised to find Christians among the sufferers.
One noteworthy example was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. It is well known that he had gout but the authors of Broken Minds suggest that he might also have been a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder (after a stampede in one of his services led to seven deaths) and seasonal affective disorder (SAD, due to a deficiency of light during the winter months).
He said in one of his sermons, ‘When the great wind blew at the time of the fall, a slate blew off everybody’s house; and some are more affected than others, so that they take the black view of all things’.
On another occasion he said, ‘The worst cloud of all, I think, is depression of spirit that is accompanied with the loss of the light of God’s countenance. Sickness, poverty, slander — none of these is comparable to depression’. He then quoted Proverbs 18:14: ‘The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness but who can bear a broken spirit?’..... read full review
Broken Minds by Steve & Robyn Bloem is published by Kregel Publishers at £9.50 (ISBN: 0-8254-2118-7)
Buy this book: Broken Minds by Steve Bloem and Robyn Bloem
♥ A second book that I have found very encouraging is "A Firm Place to Stand" by Marja Bergen.
(2) A Firm Place to Stand by Marja Bergen - Finding meaning in a life with Bipolar Disorder
Marja Bergen, author of A Firm Place to Stand, a book on finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorderVisit Marja's blog at : http://marjabergen.blogspot.com/
Here is a review on this book: "A Firm Place to Stand":
"A Firm Place to Stand is a must-read for Christians who struggle with mental health challenges and the faith communities who minister to them.
For too long, society has misunderstood and feared individuals who live with mood disorders. This book dispels the lingering stigma attached to mental health conditions and encourages people to lovingly welcome the sufferers into congregations by understanding them better and supporting them in practical ways.
Most importantly, for the sufferers themselves, A Firm Place to Stand shows that it is possible to have a mental disorder yet be close to God and derive strong support from a growing relationship with Christ.
In her sincere and candid style, Marja Bergen reflects on her forty-two years with bipolar disorder, showing how faith in God can help a person with a serious illness turn weakness into strength. She describes how God transformed her from an insecure, withdrawn person into a leader, an activist, and the founder of Living Room, the growing Christian support group for people with mood disorders."
Buy this book: A Firm Place to Stand by Marja Bergen
♥ Thanks for stopping by. Thank God for all of you, your prayers and encouragements. I hope you have a great week! Take care.
10 January 2011
Other articles on Depression and the Christian
Real Life Testimonies of Depression, Bipolar Disorder (manic-depressive illness), Stress, Burnout
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