Shattering Stigma with Stories: A Reflection, Part 2

After I shared my story at “Shattering Stigma with Stories,” we were excused for a break. We were a little behind schedule, so the emcee Tara Ralstad (half) jokingly gave the 300 attendees 7 minutes for a restroom break.

I used the time to visit the prayer chapel where I prayed with four intercessors from the church that the voices inside my mind would subside such that I could focus on the stories for the rest of the day.

Back from break, a young man named Aaron Smith spoke eloquently about his fear of opening up in public about his mental illness. While a gifted writer who explores the impact of a troubled mind on his blog and in other social media outlets, this was the first he had dealt with it face-to-face, in front of nearly 300 strangers. Aaron’s step out of the darkness of fear into the light of self-disclosure was a huge leap of faith, but only for him, but for many who witnessed it who struggle in silence. (To read more about Aaron’s talk, see “Ten Minutes of Bravery“)

Next up was a woman named Carol, who talked about recovering from an addiction to prescription drugs. Carol served as a professional in the medical field and saw addicts abuse the system, but it took a long time for her to recognize she was just like them. It was only after she lost her job and was at risk of losing her license that she hit “rock bottom,” entered treatment, and joined a 12-step program for healing. Telling her story at this conference was part of her twelfth step of sharing the good news of her spiritual recovery to others.

Next on the agenda was a Panel Discussion. Parents of folks with mental illness shared how stigma had impacted them, as well as their deep concerns and often sense of helplessness not knowing what they could do to best help. Patrica and Tom Alston, Vincent and Sara Salvi, and Judy and Mike Rinkin all spoke from the heart — a heart that has been broken for those wounded and often feeling alone. One touching moment was when a parent shared how she had offered to buy a cell phone for her son and his response was, “Other than you and Dad, who would call me?”

The next speaker was one of the conference organizers — Leanne Sype, who talked about her battle with anorexia. Leanne shared how she had been warned she was on a path toward death and only grudgingly accepted treatment so her children wouldn’t be left without a mother. Ultimately, she would relapse and start the cycle downward, a cycle she continues to face to this day. Spiritually, she has come to realize that God “delights in her in spite of her disorder,” but practically she still carries an image of herself as overweight. One of the most wonderful moments of the day happened right after Leanne’s speech when her father, who admits to having been somewhat nonchalant about her illness, gave her a huge hug and almost refused to let go. Leanne describes this beautifully in “What God looks like at a mental health conference

Having been filled with emotions from such powerful stories, before lunch we enjoyed an artistic interlude.  Jennifer “Jen” Predoehl of Blue Plume Studio came on stage and, while a lovely original song she wrote and recorded played, she painted an image of a human figure arising out of the darkness. I found it to offer hope for those of us who have faced dark days, that we can discover our humanity in the midst of it.

It was time for lunch and I retreated for prayer, protein, and (prescribed) pills. I had been inspired by the day and wanted to persist to the end, with many wonderful speakers ahead, and knew I needed a break.

Shattering Stigma with Stories: A Reflection, Part 1

As I write this, it’s been just over 36 hours now since I spoke at the “Shattering Stigma with Stories: Mental Health and the Church” conference at Lake Grove Presbyterian in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Unable to sleep tonight, I thought God might be nudging me to pray and then attempt to describe some of what the experience was like. I still feel largely inadequate to the task of taking it all in. Sort of like breathing underwater. But I will take one sip at a time and hopefully in the process be nourished and offer nourishment to others.

The day started with Pastor Bob Sanders extending a welcome to the almost 300 gathered around tables, in chairs and standing in chairs against the wall. This sea of people included church and community members who had been impacted by mental illness and/or who wanted to show greater compassion for those of us with troubled minds. Pastor Bob led us in prayer and then we sang together a couple of worship songs, joining our voices with Jon Jones in praise to the One who gives our hearts and minds peace that passes understanding.

The first speaker was emcee Tara Rolstad, who shared her distinct perspective as a caregiver for children she had welcomed into her home.  These children battled very complicated mental health issues due to severe early life trauma. With a huge measure of compassion and just the right dose of humor for relief (and sanity), Tara navigated the rough terrain loved ones of those with mental illness face as they travel the road to diagnosis, treatment, setbacks, and stigma.

The next speaker was Rand Michael, a professor from George Fox University who humbly confessed he was not the first choice of the committee. His rigorous romp through some of the Biblical and spiritual roots and assumptions of mental illnesses proved that while he may not have been the first choice, he was certainly the right one. Again, with great humor, he delved into the Greek words, the cultural context, and the history of interpretation (even drawing on Google) to conclude that while Jesus did not likely have a mental illness (as some purported to suggest), he certainly reached out to the marginalized such that we can safely assume that one of our roles as followers of Christ is to share hope with those who have troubled minds.

I spoke next. My aim was simply to share my story — as a man who had battled bipolar for almost three decades while wrestled to maintain faith (serving much of that time in pastoral ministry). Starting with my wedding on October 6, 1990, moving through the birth of my two daughters and the pursuit of my career, I described my rise through the ranks. Then, I described my fall as I was struck by a psychotic episode that landed me in the hospital with little prospect to continue work, maintain my marriage, or live even a somewhat mentally healthy life. By God’s grace and through the prayerful support of many, I largely recovered and enjoyed more than a dozen additional years in pastoral ministry and father of now four children. This came crashing down again one Saturday night in March of 1998 when I tried to take my own life. Yet, thanks be to God, I did not die. Said better, I was brought back from death to new life in Christ.

What happened immediately after my talk is something of a blur. I’m going to need to consult a program and talk with other attendees n order to do justice to the other speakers. It’s not that I wasn’t interested or engaged, it’s just that I felt empty in body, mind, and spirit. It was like I had poured out myself in sharing my story and had yet to be filled. At the risk of connecting a stigmatized Biblical metaphor with mental illness, it was like in the parable of Jesus when he talks about casting out one demon and seven more entering in. Christ cast out a demon as my story had been shared, but now I was vulnerable to further attack.

The voices inside my head that are never far away got louder. I felt a chill in my bones. I asked the prayer coordinator if I might meet some intercessors in the chapel and a team was assembled. With compassionate care, they surrounded me in a circle of prayer. I felt in large measure protected and ready to return to the event and listen to more powerful stories. I won’t say I was completely free from attack. At one point, my psychiatric nurse sister noticed I did not look well and got me some Salmon Jerky for protein and Risperidone to combat the voices. But, through this all, God’s grace was abundant and his protection was mighty.

I praise God for being a part of such a special day in the life of the Church. I have no clear notion of what lies ahead0, but I’m ready to follow wherever God leads.

Finding Life (in obvious places): Columbus

Columbus Roberts was only a boy when he came to America on a boat. He moved to Kentucky and married Minerva. She gave birth to twelve children — including Zelmer, who became the family historian, and Grover, who became the town drunk. Grover married Jaretta, who gave birth to three children — among them Joe Etsy, who was lazy and shiftless. Joe Etsy married Bessie, who became Nanny in her later years and smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. They had eight children — including Veston, who was born Glen’s cousin, and Ronny, who was shot by a jealous husband. Veston married Patsy, who became the grandmother of Amber.

But it all started when Columbus came over to the new world on a boat. That’s where all this started. And it was good. At least that’s what they say.

life in obvious places

A Broad Place: Delight in Disorder Tuesday

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;

he brought me into a spacious place. (Psalm 118:5)

Before the birth of our first child, Sarah, I was battling a rough patch of depression. I was in a new pastorate and unsure of myself. Though God always provided, we had very little to live on. I was excited about becoming a father but also fearful about what kind of father I would be. I like to think I provided Alice the support she needed to have a reasonably enjoyable pregnancy, but I’m sure there were many days she wondered how I would function as a father and just how this whole marriage thing was going to work.

I turned to the LORD in some intensive prayer, asking for help to prepare for this major life change. I began to journal again, particularly on the Psalms. Not only did I lift up prayers, but I listened expectantly for God to respond. I could sense myself growing closer to the LORD, to Alice, and to this little baby growing within her.

By the time the baby arrived, it was as if God had set me in a “broad place” where I could function well. It’s actually fun to watch the video of the hours right before and after Sarah’s birth. I don’t look like my usual sullen self or like some maniac bouncing off the walls. Alice has said I look just like “the man she most wanted to marry.”

Prayer may not always be a magic panacea to cure all ills. It is, however, a lifeline we can draw on when we are in distress, when there is no place else to go. Rather than make it an occasional retreat, why not make it our first line of defense?

Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Special Note: Delight in Disorder is hitting the road. I will be speaking in Lake Oswego, Oregon on this Saturday (October 18) at the conference —  “Shattering Stigma with Stories: Mental Health and the Church” to be held at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church. We are looking for prayer warriors to lift up the conference and the on-going mission. Members of our “Delightful Prayer Team” receive regular e-mail updates with brief petitions and prayers. If you would be interested and feel led to serve, contact me at tony@awaywithwordsforyou.com .

Job’s Complaint: Throwback Thursday

The following reflection was taken from a sermon entitled “Job’s Complaint” based on Job 23: 1-9, 16-17 first delivered October 09, 1994 at Cochranton Presbyterian Church.

Last week, we looked at the beginning of the book of Job, where Job loses his family, his money, and finally his health, but still maintains his faith. Three friends came to be with Job. They sat together with him in silence.

This week, we pick up later in the story. Job’s friends have broken their silence. They have spoken against Job. “What did you do to deserve this? You must have sinned greatly,” they contend. Job maintains his innocence. Though his pain and suffering are great, Job continues to call on God. His call becomes a bitter complaint before God who is no where to be found. Job says of God,

If I go forward, he is not there;

or backward, I cannot perceive him.

Yet Job maintains faith in God’s power to restore, to heal, to bring something good out of such an awful circumstances.

 God knows the way that I take;

when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold.

Job doesn’t hide his anger, his frustration from God, nor does he hide his awe, his great respect for God’s power. He calls on God to rescue him from the darkness of suffering.

On the surface, Job appears to hold conflicting views about God. On the one hand, he experiences God’s absence and bitterly complains about his unjust suffering God has allowed. On the other hand, he still believes God is merciful, willing and able to heal – worthy of great respect. Job lives in faith in the tension of these two views. Within this tension, he longs for peace, even if it be in death:

If only I could vanish in darkness,

and thick darkness would cover my face.

People who have experienced great suffering often have deep wisdom difficult for the rest of us to understand. They have searched the heart of darkness and now see light where our eyes fail.

In his book Days of Grace, former tennis pro Arthur Ashe tells the story of his battle with AIDS. As he experiences pain, as his body weakens, he finds great comfort and strength reading the Bible and reflections from writers of spirituality. One such writer was Dr. Howard Thurman, who wrote about “the ministry of pain.”

Dr. Thurman writes, “pain has a ministry which adds to the sum total of life’s meaning and, more importantly, to its fulfillment.” Ashe reflects,

The pain of life may teach us to understand life, and in our understanding, to love life. To love life truly is to be whole in all one’s parts; and to be whole in all one’s part is to be free and unafraid.

Facing our pain, we discover hidden resources, inner strength. We can overcome our fears and be free to more fully experience life, to appreciate the abundant life God provides in Christ.

Entering the depths of pain, Job struggles with what appears to him God’s absence, only to find God right there, in the midst of his suffering. God shines a light even in the deepest darkness.

"But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." (Job 23:10 KJV)

Finding Life (in obvious places): Dad and His BMW

We talked through the spaghetti dinner. I only ate a couple forkfuls, but had three servings of the salad with Mom’s special dressing. We cleared the table, then sat down on the sofa with some coffee. Mom spoke first.

“Just what went wrong with Julie, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“I don’t know. She wanted something more stable. It was a mutual thing. We’re both better off now.”

“She was a very nice girl.”

“She’s not dead, Mom. We just couldn’t get along, that’s all. I’m sure she’ll meet someone better for her, someone with a future in banking or something.”

There was a long pause as I looked up to the ceiling.

“And things are going pretty well at work, are they?”

“Sure.”

“Son, do you need some money?”

“No, mom. I mean, thanks, but I’ll make it. Don’t worry. I’m taking out an ad for a boarder. It’ll pay the heat bill, at least.”

“A boarder?”

“Yeah. Probably some college student. Or somebody just starting off.”

“You’re going to let a complete stranger move into your home?”

“Sure Mom. What’s wrong with that?”

“What’s wrong? You won’t even consider moving in with your mother, but you’d let a complete stranger…”

“Mom, we’ve gone over this.”

“But you’re short of money. It only makes sense.”

“We can’t live together. I need to be on my own. I need to. Well, I don’t know. Think about my future.”

“Your future? Since when did you ever think about your future?”

“Let’s just forget it, okay?”

“How can I forget it?”

“Mom, I’m tired, okay?”

“You’re tired? You’re always thinking of yourself. You’re so much like your father, it scares me.”

“You always bring dad into it.”

“I don’t care. You are just like your father. A selfish, inconsiderate…”

“Stop it. I’m leaving, okay. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

I just couldn’t talk with her about Dad. I never could. Not since he fell in love with his motorcycle and they ran away together. Dad and his BMW. She couldn’t understand why I wasn’t as bitter towards him as she was. I guess I couldn’t understand, either. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t talk about it.

Man. Motorbike. Custom. Cafe racer. Gold helmet. Beach. Manly. Lone wolf. T-shirt and jeans. Fresh. Be fresh. Made fresh. Candy From A Stranger.

Intimate with God: Delight in Disorder Tuesday

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;

I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” (Psalm 91:14)

For much of my faith development, I have been a staunch Calvinist in terms of divine sovereignty. We love because God first loved us. Love comes from God for no good reason but that God is love. We can do nothing to earn God’s love in this life or the next.

For a few years, however, I worshiped and studied among conservative Mennonites. While I could not embrace some of their theological assumptions, I did find some of their beliefs to provide a refreshing corrective balance. It is good to sometimes concentrate on what we do for God instead of always looking at what God does for us. Our actions do make an ultimate difference.

I like the term I’ve heard many Mennonite ministers use – it is the “synergy” between what God does for us in Christ and what we do in response that ultimately results in a life-giving, saving relationship – one that begins now and lasts through eternity.

To use a medical analogy, in Christ, God offers us an eternal cure for physical diseases and mental disorders. This does not mean that all who “find Christ” are healed in this life. It does mean that in God’s time all who are “in Christ” will receive new bodies, new spirits and new minds that will be disease-and-disorder-free. Though we don’t see this in our present life, we trust it will happen in the life-to-come.

It is only by God’s free grace that Christ’s saving love comes to any of us. This saving love does not mean we can sit back and get everything we want. It means we now have a relationship – an intimate relationship – with One who will never leave us nor forsake us, who ultimately heals us. Within this relationship, we have a responsibility to love the One Jesus taught us to call Abba, Daddy. Only then will we divinely delight in the midst of the disordered messes we make of our lives.

Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Special Note: Delight in Disorder is hitting the road. I will be speaking in Lake Oswego, Oregon on October 18 at the conference —  “Shattering Stigma with Stories: Mental Health and the Church” to be held at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church. We are looking for prayer warriors to lift up the conference and the on-going mission. Members of our “Delightful Prayer Team” receive regular (1-3/week) e-mail updates with brief petitions and prayers. If you would be interested and feel led to serve, contact me at tony@awaywithwordsforyou.com .

The Patience of Job: Throwback Thursday

The following reflection is taken from a sermon entitled “The Patience of Job” based on Job 1.1, 2.1-10 first delivered on October 2, 1994 at Cochranton Presbyerian Church.

The book of Job tells the story of a man who has it all, who loses everything, yet still keeps his faith in God.

Job is a prosperous farmer. He is wealthy, with many people working for him. He is surrounded by a large, loving family. He has a good reputation within the community. He is known as an honest man with a great deal of integrity. All of these things flow from his deep faith in God and his persistent turning away from evil, from wrongdoing.

Then something happens. The story says that Satan, or the Accuser, contends that Job’s faith is the result, not the cause of his good fortune. Take away the wealth, the family and you take away the faith. God permits this and Job is stripped of his money.   Still, he maintains faith.

The Accuser doesn’t give up. “Maybe Job’s faith isn’t built on his fortune, but take away his health and I’m sure he would curse God.” Again, God permits this and Job is inflicted with a dreadful skin disease, leprosy. This painful disease also alienates him from his community.

Many troubling questions arise from this story. The most troubling to me is, “How could God let this happen?” If God loves Job, why let him suffer?

People who experience pain and suffering at some point come to this question. There is no easy answer. We believe God is loving. We also believe God is all-powerful. Somehow, for some reason, pain and suffering fall through the cracks of God’s care.

Trying to defend God’s love, some claim that God must not be all-powerful. God must have limits; or else God would lovingly remove suffering, gently ease our pain. This view, however, runs against our faith in God’s Sovereignty, that God in control of all life. It also limits our hope. If God is not in control, who is, and what will ultimately happen to us? Job maintains faith in God’s power and love and inspires us to do the same.

When faced with suffering, others have taken another route. If God is in control, God must not be loving or such awful things as leprosy, such as AIDs, such as abuse, war, poverty wouldn’t happen. This is the argument of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevski’s novel The Brothers Karamozov. Look around, terrible things happen, sometimes even in the name of God. How could a loving parent permit such tragedy? This question drives Job’s wife to mercifully say, “Put an end to this pain, curse God and die.”

C.S. Lewis, in his book A Grief Observed, struggles with this question of God’s love and power as he faced the death of his wife. Lewis writes that for him, there was never the danger of losing faith that there was a God, but of “coming to believe such dreadful things about God.” Pain and suffering can distort our view of God. God can become some terrifying being bent on our destruction, or some callous observer who watches from a distance and does nothing.

Job’s faith is threatened. What he believed about God was challenge by this awful disease.

It’s sad, but true that often when people experience pain or suffering, they become alienated from their faith community. This isn’t always the case, but often it happens. Part of the reason, I think, is our limited portrayal of God. We work hard in the church to present God in a positive, joyful light. We want to celebrate God’s goodness, to share the good news of God’s love. We can become obsessed with the positive, such that we turn away those experiencing negative aspects of life.

And yet, God is equally involved in the dark side of our lives. God is present in our pain. God shares our suffering. God listens and understands when we cry out, like Job, “I loathe my life. I wish I had never been born.”

I picked up a book in the library last week called No One Saw My Pain: Why Teenagers Commit Suicide. It is alarming that while we are improving our treatment options for persons in pain, still many young people opt to kill themselves rather than endure a life that has become for them a burden.

As Christians, we have hope to share. Life is worth living. We are not alone in our pain. We model this faith as we listen to someone in pain, as we stand beside those who suffer.

Job’s friends do just this. Chapter 2, Verse 11: “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all his troubles, they met together to go and console him.” Their friend is in pain and they go to be with him. They don’t pause and ask, “Just how contagious is this leprosy?” They don’t hesitate and wonder, “What will people think if we hang out with a leper?” They go.

When they see Job from a distance, they barely recognize him. They cry together, grieve with him, sit down beside his bed in silence for 7 days and 7 nights. No one spoke a word, for they saw his suffering was great.

Henri Nouwen writes, “The beginning of healing is in the solidarity with the pain.” When we discover we are not alone, that someone cares, our healing process can begin. Job’s friends have caring instincts, they know as one writer puts it, that “their tears and rituals of compassion and grief were more potent than words.” When a friend is in pain, your presence means so much. Don’t worry that you’ll say the wrong thing. Don’t worry that you can’t explain how God could let this happen. Go. Be there. Sit together in silence.

Post your Prayer Requests on Instapray. Pray with the whole world ---------> www.instapray.com

Finding Life (in obvious places): Spaghetti and Stories

I got a call at the neighbor’s yesterday. It was Mother.

“Mom, what’s wrong?”

“A phone. Why don’t you get a phone?”

“I don’t know. I was going to call you. Is anything wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. I just wanted to invite you over for dinner. I’m having one of your favorites. Spaghetti.”

“I don’t like spaghetti.”

“Oh, that’s right. Your father liked spaghetti. Well, I could…”

“Never mind, Mom. I’ll come for dinner. What time?”

“6:00. Don’t be late.”

All day I wondered what I would say to her, how I would tell her I was out of money but that I didn’t want to move back in. She wouldn’t understand and I couldn’t really expect her to.

She was waiting at the door when I drove up.

“Your car is making funny noises. You should have somebody look at it.”

“It’s the exhaust. Nothing serious. I’ll take care of it.”

“Dinner’s on the table. Go wash up.”

The table was set with her best China, and a handmade tablecloth. Plastic fruit served as the centerpiece. two plates, with silverware sat facing each other at opposite corners. We sat down beside them.

“Will you say grace?” she asked.

“You go ahead, Mom.”

“Just a small grace. You do remember how?”

“Okay. Okay.” She bowed her head. “Thank God for my wonderful mother and her marvelous spaghetti. Amen.”

“Why are you so bitter? Is something wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong.”

“Something between you and Julie?”

“We aren’t together anymore.”

“Oh my. When did this happen?”

“About a week ago. I’m glad, actually. We weren’t going anywhere.”

“Well then, what is it? How are things at work?”

“Not bad. Still welding. As good as things get for a spot welder, I suppose.”

“Do you have enough money.”

I swallowed hard on a meatball. “I have enough. I mean, the house’s expensive, but I’ll manage.”

“Why did you get such a big house? It’s not like… Well…”

“It’s not like what, Mom?”

“Well, it’s not like you’re thinking of raising a family. Are you?”

“I’m not sure. Got any particular family in mind.”

“Son, you’re 21 years old. That’s a little too old to be making jokes about starting a family. If you don’t find a wife soon, it may be too late.”

“I’m gonna write a novel.”

“What?”

“Well, actually, just a collection of stories. It’s gonna be about the past, a collection of family stories.”

“You need a big house to write a novel?”

“Mom!”

“Well, am I gonna get to read it?”

“Sure. You won’t like it, though.”

“How do you know I won’t like it?”

“It’s mostly about Dad’s family.”

“Oh.”

“Besides, you won’t like what it says.”

“Well, is it gonna be like what you wrote in high school.”

“No. Definitely not. That was sentimental garbage.”

“I liked it a lot. It meant a lot to the family.”

“It wasn’t real. It was just what people wanted to hear.”

“So what’s this novel gonna be?”

“Just what I said, stories about the family.”

“Your father’s family.”

“Mostly, yes.”

“Oh.”

life in obvious places

Living with Bipolar, Photo Companions, Surviving Mental Illness, Nacissism, and Trusting Jesus: Friday Featured Followers

BrandyMuzz: Welcome to the Jungle

Hi, my name is brandy. I am 40 years old, single, no kids. I don’t work Iam on disability due to bipolar disorder. So I have a lot of time on my hands. 

I am generally an easy person to get along with. Of course, at 40 I am pretty set in my ways.  I go to church on Sundays,  I read my bible,  and my devotions every day. I have my undergrad degree in criminology and a masters degree in religion purely academic in pastoral care.  A strange combination I know but the goal was to do prison ministry. 

OH, THE THINGS WE SHALL SEE – Photo companion blog to TheSanctuaryofmyHeart.com .

 I began blogging in January of this year.  I picked up a pen to write a Haiku for the first time in September of 2012.  I was in love with writing immediately.  Since then, I have grown deeper in love with writing poetry.  I also love writing devotions about my Lord and Savior.    Children’s poetry and stories are my next goals.  Lofty as it seems right now.

I have been blessed at WordPress by amazing friends.  I wish so much that I could gather them up and give them huge hugs. I am always here to lend a listening ear and offer prayer to you.

I was fortunate to meet someone who introduced me to photography.  Through that meeting, God opened up my eyes and heart to His world in a deep and meaningful way.   It is my wish to share the photos I take and the words of my heart with you.

Surviving by Living: The Story of How Mental Illness Didn’t Claim Me

My name is Ameera, and I’m a business student at the Sauder School of Business at UBC. There’s a lot more to me than that, though. I also love sharks, funny movies, trashy TV, Lego, and a good Merlot. People call me funny, determined, stubborn, witty, logical, considerate, and selfless. I call myself just me. I never want to be the best, because that means that someone else isn’t; I just want to be the best me I can be. I believe I can get closer to that idea through this blog. It explores my mental illness and other health struggles in a not-so-medical way. I can promise I will be as honest and open as I can, and the truth isn’t always quite what you’d expect. Some may call me a mental health advocate, but really, I’m just an advocate of my own voice that happens to have a lot to do with mental health.

TheNarcissistWrites

People with narcissistic personality disorder supposedly make up around 1% of the population, and the majority of those are male. I am a woman with NPD. Most people are incapable of realizing that they are narcissists or refuse to believe that they are despite overwhelming evidence. I know that I am. I’ve been able to recognize logically that I’m a pretty horrible person and that I’ve manipulated and hurt people for my own personal benefit.

My goal with this blog is to write down my experiences, the people I’ve hurt, the lives I’ve destroyed, and my thoughts about everything so I can remember. I can’t fix it, I can’t change it, I can’t become less this way. More importantly, I don’t want to become less this way. The realization of what I am and the resulting ability to control and use it has pulled me out of the deepest depression of my life. The only way I can atone for what I’ve done is to remember it, and so I’m writing it down, one day at a time.

{on trusting Jesus} : Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Hi! I’m currently living in the great Northwest. I am a full-time student in undergraduate studies. When I’m not studying biology or spanish, I like to go hiking. I love talking to Jesus, eating berries, and and drinking coffee. I would love to meet you!