Friday, August 24, 2007

Creating living room (part two)

This cover is really much more clear and sharp in reality. I think I must have done something wrong technically to make it look so bad.

I want to share with you a bit about how neat a thing Living Room is - some of the things I cover in my new manual.

Living Room is a Christian self-help group for people with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders. Ideally facilitators should have one of these problems; they will be better able to identify - better able to support. The group is in partnership with a mood disorder association. This helps avoid the danger of trying to spiritualize the problems too much - something Christian groups need to watch out for.

Neat thing is: "You get help, you give help, and - in the process - help yourself."

It's obvious how participants can benefit from this place where they can share with others their troubles, at the same time discussing their faith. Finding out they're not alone helps them gather encouragement and strength.

But how does the church benefit?
  1. The church responds to Christ's call to love and help people in need.
  2. It helps people who are often shunned in the community.
  3. It helps break down the stigma of mental illness by promoting prayer and support for the participants.
  4. It helps make mental illness an acceptable topic of conversation, encouraging others to be open about their struggles and search out treatment and support.
  5. It gives members of the congregation opportunities to gain a better understanding about mental health issues.
I'm frequently encouraged to hear how important Living Room is when I hear the stories from members of the group. At the last meeting there was a man his wife who were strong members of his church but never felt free to talk about about his bipolar disorder there. They kept his disease a dark secret - a burden for which they received no spiritual support. Being able to talk about his problems in the Christian setting we provided gave him a tremendous relief. It was a release he very much needed.

There are many stories - too many to share here. But I feel a passion for this program and think it needs to extend to communities everywhere. Yet I know it will take time. People have to feel free to share their problems with the disorder with their church family.

Once again, I offer this manual to you. Even if you're not ready to start up, I believe it will be an inspiration that will help you see what is possible when there is a place where people can freely talk about their mental health difficulties in the light of their faith.

To order a copy - at my cost - email me at


Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Hi Marja,
Thanks for your message of understanding and support. I really appreciate that. So sorry that I was out of circulation for sometime. Something happened to our family. Anyway, it's so nice to hear that you are vigorously pushing for the propagation of your project- living room. God bless you more for such worthy endeavor. You are such a boon to those who are suffering from mental illness, shelling out your own money for the manual. "But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) May the Lord grant you your own miracle of healing and deliverance. May He bless you with a long life devoid of any pain or suffering. May He multiply the noble projects you set your hands into. May He fill your heart with overflowing joy and heavenly peace. May you be blessed with His constant presence at all times. God bless you for all the wonderful things you do to your fellow sufferers.

marja said...

Welcome back, Mel. And thank you for the encouragement. But I should explain that Living Room and the Living Room manuals are a projects sponsored by my church, Brentwood Park Alliance. I'm not doing this on my own. And I'm so very grateful to have my church, my pastor, and my friends supporting me in this work. I couldn't do all I do without them.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

I think the cover looks great! The vibrant color is such an wonderful juxtaposition to what one would normally think about the topic. Congrats! Everyone associated with this should feel so proud!