The purpose of MISSION 4 MONDAY is to share YOUR MISSION each week.
I am thankful to God that I can continue to serve Him through this blog.
One of the missions of my blog is to share with others God's goodness and mercies to me in managing clinical depression and bipolar disorder, as well as resources that will benefit a person with a mood disorder and information for their family and loved ones.
Last 2 weeks, I shared two articles written by my friend and fellow blogger, Marja Bergen namely "Trust during rough times" and "Finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder".
Marja is the author of a new book "A Firm Place to Stand" on finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder.
Today, I like to share the following excerpt taken from another book written by Marja entitled "Riding the Roller Coaster: Living with Mood Disorders" :
An illness like any other
We always think of mental illness as something that happens to other people, not to us. To be diagnosed with depression or manic depression is a scary thing. But how we cope with our mood disorder is largely determined by how we look at it. If we can accept it as the illness it is - an illness like any other - we will be ready to move ahead with our lives in a positive way.
The negative view much of society has of mental disorders is partly due to the fact that people do not understand there is usually a physical basis for these illnesses, often in the form of a chemical imbalance. This imbalance is treatable with medication. With effective treatment most of us can live close-to-normal lives. Mental illness is an illness like any other.
In fact, mood disorders are comparable to other illnesses, such as diabetes. A diabetic is not to blame for his or her illness. Neither is a person with a mood disorder. Just as diabetes can cause serious disability and even death, so can mood disorders. Diabetics often require the use of medication to maintain stable blood sugar levels. People with mood disorders also require medication, in their case, to maintain emotional balance. Finally, as is the case with those who have diabetes, if people with mood disorders take their medications regularly, chances are they will live a close-to-normal life.
Nevertheless, because of the fear of having a "shameful" condition, or of being labeled by society, many don't search out the help they so desperately need. What results is much unnecessary suffering by people who could otherwise have been helped.
In recent years much research has been done and doctors, mental health associations, societies and libraries can provide much information. Mood disorder self-support groups are an especially good source of information. Here we can find pertinent literature and discuss affective illnesses with others who have problems similar to our own.
As we come to terms with our disease we learn to understand how imperative medications and other treatments are - how they form the basis for our well-being. Once we have the physical aspects of our illness under control, we can prepare to take charge of our lives and make the most of the strengths we all have.
As we walk with our friends and acquaintances, we should walk with self-assurance. In that great family of individuals who suffer from personal problems, sicknesses, and handicaps, each of us is a unique yet ordinary member.
As a sufferer of bipolar disorder, I am thankful to know that my condition is a medical condition that can be treated. This has helped me to read and understand more about my condition, and seek medical and other helps so that I can be more functional.
Bipolar Disorder or previously known as manic-depressive illness is a mood disorder with extreme mood swings ie. manic/hypomanic and depression. It is a medical condition that can be treated and with suitable medical and other helps, one can live a life that is close-to-normal.
The above excerpt is taken from Riding the Roller Coaster by Marja Bergen : Living with Mood Disorders
Mood disorders, such as depression and manic depression, affect up to 10% of the population. Marja Bergen is one of those people. Over the 30 years that she has had manic depression, she has gradually adopted a lifestyle that makes it possible not only to cope, but to live a full and productive life. In Riding the Roller Coaster, she shares very practical tips on such things as escaping the blues before they grab you, what to do when you don't feel like doing anything, and keeping life stable.
Reviews in the Media
Mood Disorders Association of BC
Robert Winram, Executive Director
This excellent first person account is filled with encouragement for those managing mood disorders. It delivers understanding, insight and very tangible strategies on how to overcome the difficulties of depression and manic depression. Marja Bergen gives us a very human perspective drawn from her experiences. Her path to recovery is exciting and positive.
Despite increased understanding by the scientific community, there is still a big gap in the understanding of these illnesses by the general public. Long-time Burnaby resident, Marja Bergen, has tried to help bridge this gap. Having suffered with manic depression (or bipolar disorder) for the past 34 years, Bergen knows what it is to experience the elation of mania and the despair of depression in the book, she draws from her experience using personal vignettes from her life as well as offering strategies for dealing with the problems that arise.
Bergen offers encouragement to the reader with essays such as: Dealing with the Stigma, Keeping a Balance, If You Can Trust Yourself...and Building Confidence.
The publication of her book is very timely as there are indications that mood disorders are a growing problem in the workplace.
Personal vignettes and real-life examples abound in Bergen's book, including frank descriptions of her own history, from her first treatments in Riverview, to problems adjusting medications in later years.
The book is easy to read, and while Bergen's style is warm and encouraging, it is also clearly written from her own experience.
The book is not only helpful to sufferers of mood disorder related illnesses, but also to their families to understand what it is that their family member is undergoing.
Wayne A. Holst
This book come highly recommended as integrated resources for pastoral counselors as well as other caregivers in parishes who are committed to working with the spiritual aspects of depression within the larger framework of holistic health.
BC IAPSRS News
Bite-sized essays. Brimming with wisdom, forgiveness, acceptance and practical advice. One can easily pick it up and read just a page.
I especially appreciated the “we” tense used throughout and her just plain good sense of things that often get overlooked in our battle with the pathology.
Marja Bergen has crafted an invaluable tool from her life experience with a challenging condition. A great deal of anguish for sufferers and their families, as well as time and money for the mental health system, would be saved if this book were standard issue for all people diagnosed with manic-depression.
I’d like to see all those engaged in psychosocial rehab reading this book to understand mood disorders better and to recommend it to their clients
The book is relatively small and easy to read.
It is excellent material, and presented simply and clearly. From her reading, research, and most importantly, her experience of living, Bergen has put together short writings on different aspects of depression and manic, and in a very readable format.
This book needs to be read by sufferers of depression and mania, as well as by their family and friends as well. I also wish that psychiatrists who treat people who suffer from depression or manic would hand out a copy of this book along with their prescriptions. If they did, they would be surprised to find out how more effective the medications would become.
If you are keen to buy books by Marja, do check out Marja's new website.
Thanks again for stopping by! Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements!
Take care and God bless :)
For more Mission 4 Monday posts, visit Peggy.
1. A Firm Place to Stand by Marja Bergen
2. A practical workbook for the depressed Christian by Dr John Lockley
3. An unquiet mind by Dr Kay Redfield Jamison
4. Broken Mind by Steve and Robyn Bloem
5. I'm Not Supposed to Feel Like This by Chris Williams, Paul Richards and Ingrid Whitton
Excerpts from Books
1. Trust during rough times (Excerpt from "A Firm Place to Stand" by Marja Bergen)
2. Finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder (Excerpt from Marja Bergen's article on canadianchristianity.com)
3. An illness like any other (Excerpt from "Roller Coaster" by Marja Bergen)