Friday, August 29, 2008

I need some sleep!

I'm s-o-o tired. Since we got back from holidays ten days ago I only got up after 5am twice and several times around 4am. It's a good thing I keep track of this in my journal so I can see when things are going wrong. I go to bed around 10pm so getting up at 5 means that I get 7 hours sleep. That's not too bad. But I've had less hours than that. Not good.

Thing is, I like getting up early. I love that long quiet time in the morning. And, once I'm awake, I can seldom get back to sleep again, even if I wanted to. The fluanxol I take as an anti-psychotic causes this because it's a stimulant. Most of the time this drug has been good for me, but perhaps I need to reduce the dose. Will talk to my pdoc about it next week.

I'm having some mild mood problems that suggest I could be in for a depression. I'll need to watch that. But I'm on prozac so I doubt that it will happen, especially if I put all my coping strategies in place.

Rest is what I need, but not so much that I'd get bored or lethargic. I'll have to put less things on my to-do list for the next few days. I should get together with some friends. Keep busy, but not too busy. Play some good music. Try to do things that I enjoy, instead of always feeling I have to accomplish things. I need a sabbath day.

If I could just get one solid eight hour night of sleep I think I'd be fine. How good that would be!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A photograph and other stuff

This was a good day. I've been dealing a bit with the stress of the work I need to do promoting A Firm Place to Stand. Knowing that I need to get the publicity within the first three months means there's a fair amount of pressure on me to get the words out there - to have the book noticed.

I may sound kind of greedy, like I want to be famous or sell a lot of books so I can make money, but that's not it at all. The reason I wrote the book is because I want it to make a difference. I want it to help people dealing with mental illness and I want to educate Christians so that there will be less stigma. I need to get it into a lot of hands if it's going to make that kind of difference.

Yesterday something good happened. 100 Huntley Street, a popular Christian TV show, repeated an interview they did with me, my pastor, and a couple of people from Living Room. Then they announced the new book. Put a picture of it on the screen. National coverage! Wow!!

Today published an excerpt from the book, one of my favorite pieces. It tells of how I saw the kind of love Jesus has for us in the face of a young girl I photographed. If you go to the home page of the website, you will see the picture I write about. It's cropped a bit too much, but you'll get the idea.

Though I have a lot of work to do, today I no longer felt the stress. I've put together a press release, a pitch letter, a bio, and a page of endorsements and comments. Each day I will send out one or two press kits. Everything is under control and I'm having fun. I do enjoy publicity work; I enjoy promoting things I believe strongly in. Every time I promote this book, there's an opportunity to reduce the stigma a bit more. Such worthwhile work to have! I'm very grateful that God has given me this to do.

Today I also finally finished sorting through Mom-in-law's stuff. On Saturday, when the family comes over, we'll see who would like to have what as a keepsake. The rest I'll give away.

And tonight I will play a game with my husband. Time to relax.

Monday, August 25, 2008

On track

I want to thank PJ, Nancie, Jena, and Susan for your helpful comments and offers for help when I felt so overwhelmed yesterday. It was truly good to have you there.

Yesterday morning I had a great two hour quiet time, journaling, writing yesterday's post, and emailing a friend. Prayer was a big part of it. By the end of that time I felt quite a bit better.

Susan listed several things I needed to do to help me through this busy time. Actually yesterday afternoon I did some of that. After church I came home and - with the help of some books I have on how to promote your book - I made a list of the things I need to prepare to send out to the press. Then I sat down and wrote a press release, the most difficult part of it. I was happy with how it turned out. I also started on some other things. Now I feel that, although I'm still busy, I have things in control. And having control is the most important thing, isn't it?

I do love working on publicity for things I believe in. Have done a lot of it over the years, even selling 4000 copies of a little book I put together, "The Camper's Cookbook." So I think I'd like to keep control over the promotion of A Firm Place. There are so many angles from which I can talk about it. It's news, actually.

Last week there was a series in the Vancouver Sun about the stigma towards mental illness. I was able to pick up on that and talk about the stigma that some Christians still harbour...and considering they are trying to follow Christ who modelled unconditional love! I tried to focus on the tragedy of that and the damage that causes to people who believe in God but are driven away from the church because they feel judged there. A Firm Place to Stand can prompt discussion on a lot of important issues.

Susan also suggested a press release emailing service. I looked this up and found a company I'd like to use. My husband won't be happy with yet another expense, but I think this is important. I very much need to get the word out. Still not totally decided, but it's looking like I'll do that. (Just hope I don't have a divorce over it.:) Thank you, Susan, for letting me know about this opportunity.

Another point Susan made was that I should get some help with Living Room. Actually, I'm happy - and proud - to say that I get lots of help. The members have truly taken ownership and, though I lead it, I'm not alone in the work at all. I have people helping with the food and the phoning. And at the last meeting one of our members had her debut leading the devotional and discussion. I was thrilled with the job she did. Perhaps she'll one day lead a new Living Room somewhere?

Now it's time for a shower; time to get a new day started. Hope you all have a good one.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I'm healthy, but - I think quite understandably - feeling overwhelmed about all the things I have on my plate. I feel as though I'm trying to live the lives of half a dozen people, all at one time. And I don't know how I'm going to manage to do all I need to do. In fact, I don't think I will manage. What I need to do is figure out what is most important - be efficient with my time. Good thing I've had a holiday and I do have energy. I just wish there were more of me.

I've been studying how to publicize and market books...and wow! All the things I should be doing! No wonder publicists are so costly. They have a huge job to do. And, not being able to afford one, I will have to do that myself. And I need to try to do this as well as I can, because I believe A Firm Place to Stand is a book that will help fight stigma, and that is so very important. I want the book to be out there and read by many people.

The Vancouver Sun had a series of pieces about mental illness last week, pointing out the effects of stigma on the welfare of people with mental illness. It's a terrible situation. This has to change. And I believe my book and the things I have to say can be a building block in helping change come about. I want to speak to the media. I want people to learn more. I want to help compassion grow.

But I also have a 94-year-old mom who needs me. And I have Living Room and its people. Not just my group, but the other groups I'd like to help grow. I want to keep time for the people that come to me for support. I want to write articles. I want to blog.

This will be a busy week. I'm getting ready for a family barbecue at our house. We will be going through some of my mother-in-law's things to divide up the memories of her between us. I still need to go through her boxes. (a huge mess to clean up and organize) I'll need to clean house and cook.

I am overwhelmed with all the things I need to do, especially raising awareness about the need for support of people with mental illness by the church. I know I'm in a position to do some good. I feel the responsibility in a big way. But how can I best do it with the little resources of time I have? Where should I concentrate my efforts?

Please, God, lead me in the best way to go. I know I'm not on my own with this. This is, after all, your work and not my own. I shouldn't worry so much. I should realize that the burden is not all mine to carry. Help me to take aim with my writing tools and publicity in a way that will do the most good.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dropping in

Hi everyone. I just thought I should drop in and let you know I'm still alive. We had a wonderful holiday. I did a lot of reading. What a treat it was to be able to do that without distractions!

I came home to a huge amount of phone calls and emails to respond to. A pleasure to do, but leaving very little time for blogging. My blogging has been getting as bad and sporadic as my Curves workouts. So much to do. And, when I do have some time, I just want to retreat to my favourite chair with my journal and a cup of coffee. Or I take some time to play Ticket to Ride with my husband. I don't like to blog or work out when I have to cram it into my schedule. It's all part of taking care of myself.

I did check in on a couple of you. Found out that Jena is out of hospital (Yes!!). And that Merelyme left a beautiful message about me on her blog. (Thank you so much for the affirmation, Merelyme.)

Perhaps after Living Room today, I'll be able to take a bit more time to check on you all and to read what you've been up to and how you've been. I will try.

I'm faring well, in spite of the huge busyness of promoting A Firm Place to Stand. But it's work I love to do and work I believe in - happy work. I'm just very grateful God has given me this purpose to live for.

FYI, has re-published an article I wrote last year. I was thrilled to have received an award for that article and am happy they have chosen to run it again.

Must go now and gather things together for my Living Room meeting.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Gone fishing

Yes, we're literally going fishing, for about ten days. Actually my husband will be fishing while I enjoy some glorious hours of reading - and maybe a bit of writing.

See you again around August 19th.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Who has sinned?

At Living Room this Friday I'd like to once more discuss the topic of stigma. Stigma is something so many of us have trouble dealing with. Stigma often causes even more pain than the symptoms of our illness do. Stigma causes many of us to deny we have a problem. We're afraid to face up to the fact that we have a mental illness. So we don't go for help. We reject the medical care that might help us live easier lives. Stigma causes a lot of damage.

In Jesus' day too there was stigma attached to all forms of illness. Illness and disability was believed to be caused by a person's personal sin.

Jesus and his disciples came upon a blind man. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." (John 9:2-3)

If we could only believe what Jesus says here! If we could only stand up to that stigma and not accept it! If we could only live, knowing that our illness is not our fault and that we are as okay as anyone else! We only happen to have a disorder, just like people have other disorders. If we could only manage to live without any sense of shame!

I have spoken openly about my life with bipolar disorder for over ten years now. I'm fortunate that I was able to do that, without fear of reprisals from employers that might not take kindly to having someone with a mental illness working for them. (My husband supports me well.) Having my articles and book published has been tremendously helpful. People respect me for coming out in the open. I have found friends who support me and understand me, fully knowing my problems.

There's nothing more wonderful than to be able to live without having to hide anything. I have no need to lie. I can be myself - fully, authentically myself. What freedom!

I wish this were possible for everyone!

Is this possible for you? Could you afford to me more open about your problems? How are you dealing with stigma?