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Religion and Spirituality

“The only true joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our own false self, and enter by love into union with the Life Who dwells and sings within the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls…” - Thomas MertonTo say that I grew up in a very Catholic area is an understatement. The diocese of Mobile, to which my parish belongs...
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I want to start by saying that this list of spiritual traps accompanying bipolar disorder is no scientific article. Rather, it is a list of my own experiences and those of my clients searching for ways to integrate spiritual wisdom gleaned during times of madness while also honoring the painful reality of bipolar symptoms. Just as creativity has...
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Until I was 16, I thought that my uncle had died of cancer rather than suicide. There was always a dark joke in the family that we have a history of mental illness in our lineage. There is the distant cousin who lived in a tiger cage because, well, he thought he was a tiger. My beloved older brother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when...
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Madeleine Breen

How do I pray, as someone who lives with bipolar disorder? In my younger years when I was fairly stabilized on medicine, the daily Scriptures were my prayer and my study, sometimes studying several hours with my commentaries and allowing the silence to foster the Holy Spirit’s voice. During daily Mass and throughout the day new things might...
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Finding Strength In Each Other

February 25, 2016
Sarah and her husband, Sean, each wrote a blog post about their marriage for our Couples Series. Read Sean's blog here. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of twenty-two after six months of marriage to my husband, Sean. We weren’t surprised. We actually took the news quite well. It was just such a relief to know why I was having...
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It is that time of year again. The holidays. People often think that they should be a happy time of year, what with the music and the lights and the gatherings. But, actually, they can be a difficult time of the year for many people, and I don’t just mean people who have a mental health disorder.  As we get older, people we know and love...
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This is Mental Health Awareness Week, and as a minister who has bipolar disorder, I am aware that churches tend to be filled with silence not awareness. One of my passions is helping churches become more aware of mental health issues and know that recovery is possible. A great deal of stigma stems from the church which once (and some still do)...
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I was eighteen years old when I first experienced acute manic psychosis. I had just arrived at the University of Georgia for my freshman fall semester when I suddenly had what seemed like a profound spiritual awakening. I felt as if I was waking up from a bad dream, as if my mind and body were merely figments of my imagination. I felt an...
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I have been very anxious lately although a good deal of what I feel is excitement. Combined they have made me less than completely functional lately. Over a year ago, I asked the director of Disciples Home Missions if the Disciples of Christ could put information about mental health challenges on their website. He said he couldn’t do anything...
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Support

February 4, 2015
As we go through our journey with our disorder, we need support. Whether it's from family, friends, or a higher power, it is essential that we have someone that will always have our backs. We can't do this alone. I'm forever grateful for my God, my husband, and my Mom. All of them show me support on a daily basis. As soon as I found out that...
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I Choose Life

January 5, 2015
I am just going to come out and say it.  I, Nanieve, am relieved that I can finally rip down the gaudy Christmas baubles, fold up the tree, and wipe the stupid but, expected cheerful grin off my face. To me, the festive season feels unbearably stressful.  Everything feels contrived. Every "ho ho ho", every elf in plastic...
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A Torn Yet Magical Christmas

December 23, 2014
I hope you all are having a wonderful Holiday Season and you all have a blessed Christmas. This month’s blog entry will be a poem that I wrote; I hope it brings you comfort and strength, though this time of year is a joyous time for many, many others suffer alone and in silence. Behind closed doors are individuals who can’t climb out of their...
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