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Honest #Depression #Anxiety #Faith #PTSD #Christianity #Relationships #MentalHealth

I am speaking about Job this Sunday. A guy who suffered incredible tragedy yet had the most amazing attitude.

I have been wondering whether I should be honest and talk about the times I have not handled things well. It’s so tempting to try and maintain an image of having it all together.

I think I will err on the side of honesty. Hopefully swallowing my pride will lead people to a place of hope.

37 reactions 17 comments
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The power of 4 words #MentalHealth #Depression #Anxiety #PTSD #Hope #Relationships #FamilyAndFriends #Christianity #Grief

30 years ago this month I took a phone call from my sister. She told me my Dad was unwell and I should think about visiting in the next two weeks. I phoned my Wife and she said I had to go that day.

I protested. I was driving home from the airport I didn’t want to go back and catch another flight. She insisted that I needed to go straight away. I got the last flight out of Sydney and arrived in my Dads home state at midnight. It took 2 hours to get to the hospital. It was just me and my Dad.

We spoke of things we had avoided for decades. The connection was intimate and overdue. That night my Dads condition deteriorated and at one point he looked at at us all and he said, “I love you all”. It was the first time he had expressed those words. He said he loved us. Such deeply moving, healing and wonderful words.

I am so pleased my Wife heard from God. I am forever grateful I listened and got that flight.

Words have so much power. Tell people you love them. Do it today. Make that call. Give that hug. You never know when it will be too late.

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The danger of comparison #Depression #Anxiety #Hope #Relationships #FamilyAndFriends #PTSD #Christianity #MentalHealth

It is sooooo easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others and to measure our life against what we judge other people’s lives to be.

This can lead to unnecessary stress and disappointment. The problem is it’s impossible to accurately measure what is going on in people’s lives. About 3 years ago I went out to my car to drive away and ingest a lethal dose of medication I had hidden in my car. I was shocked to discover the meds were not there. My best friend had alerted my family to my plan.

If I had of succeeded in taking my life so many people would have been shocked. I appeared to have it all together. I laughed a lot and made people laugh. I had a great marriage, financially secure, loving children and I was a Pastor. What most people didn’t know is I was in the middle of a very difficult legal battle which would have dire consequences if I lost. They also didn’t know I had battled extreme depression for decades.

On the outside things looked great. The truth was such a different reality. When we compare ourselves to others we can falsely think our life sucks in relation to others, and in doing so get a distorted view of ourselves.

No one gets through life unscathed. To avoid comparison I try to remember the following:

1. Accept reality. I am never going to win a spot on Australia’s got talent or excel at sport. My bald head won’t miraculously get hair back.

2. Acknowledge the good in my life. An attitude of gratitude goes a long way.

3. Minimise social media usage. Instagram and Facebook are not accurate measures of people’s lives.

4. Be the best me possible. Our fingerprints and DNA remind us we are completely unique. You are a one of a kind treasure.

5. Challenge self talk that is exaggerated and nasty. You have untold potential and value.

Have a fantastic day. You are worth it.

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God and Bipolar

I grew up religious. I went to a Christian school and to church every Sunday. When I went to college, I went to church there and also joined a student ministry.

My bipolar hit spring of my sophomore year of college in 2017. It manifested as hyper religious mania. I went undiagnosed for the rest of 2017- the whole time thinking my manic episode was a spiritual experience and people just didn’t understand.

My second manic episode happened that fall. It was also hyper religious mania, but this time I had a psychotic break that led to trauma and finally a diagnosis of Bipolar I and PTSD.

After this episode, I tried to remain religious and spiritual and not “turn my back” on God and Jesus.

But it was just too hard to try to reconcile what had happened to me with the idea of a loving God. The questions of why bad things happen and how does God fit into my life apart from psychosis were too big for me to ignore. I was also incredibly hurt by the church and their inability to help me through both my manic episodes and the aftermath. I felt so alone, how could God be real?

So I broke up with God. I told him I might come back one day, but I wanted absolutely nothing to do with him.

Fast forward five years. I was in my first year of grad school, finally doing what I dreamed. And I started to want to believe in something again. A higher power. Certainly not Jesus, but some kind of deity I guess.

It didn’t take long for me to realize I wanted to be a Christian again. It was what I grew up with. My family history. And I wanted it back.

I had my third manic episode a couple weeks after flirting with the idea of religion.

This one was the worst in terms of psychosis. Hyper religiosity once again, but with psychotic hallucinations of trauma.

I’m now healing and stable, but I’m struggling with discerning what was my sick mind and what could have been God.

It’s hard. But I want to know God.

I’m realizing my pursuit of God is not going to be the same as it was pre diagnosis. I have a lot to learn. But I’m learning.

This is a quote from C.S. Lewis’s the Chronicles of Narnia. It says, “you would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you.”

I like to think God had been calling me back this whole time, slowly melting my heart with every little reminder of him until I was ready to come home.

I hope it’s real and not manic musings.

#BipolarDisorder #Spirituality #Christianity

6 reactions 4 comments
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The importance of roots #Depression #Anxiety #Hope #Faith #FamilyAndFriends #Christianity #MentalHealth

I am interstate visiting friends. Two years ago bushfires devastated this tiny community. More than 120 homes were destroyed. All the towns people sought refuge at the beach where boats took them to safety.

Today at the beach I saw this tree. Growing out from the rocks, it shows the black of being burnt but beautiful new growth was coming.

We need deep roots in our lives. Good family. Community of friends. Rooted deep in Gods unchanging love. Storms and fires will come. But we can and will survive.

16 reactions 6 comments
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God has not forgotten you #Depression #Anxiety #PTSD #Hope #Christianity #Relationships #Faith #MentalHealth

Some days we get bad news. Sometimes things don’t go the way we think they will. No one, including me, is immune from these experiences. I hope his photo encourages you.

40 reactions 8 comments

Body Image

I am having a hard time loving my body. Even if I was the “perfect” weight I would still not love my body 😔. I wish I believed my body is beautiful. #BodyImage #ComplexPosttraumaticStressDisorder #CPTSD #Christianity #CatholicChurch

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The joy of children #Depression #Anxiety #Hope #FamilyAndFriends #Christianity #Faith #Relationships #Gratitude #MentalHealth

Three years ago I had the privilege to speak to hundreds of school children who attend school 5 mornings a week thanks to the generosity of people who finance this school so underprivileged children can have an education.

Yesterday we finally were able to return. It was so wonderful to speak to the teachers and parents of the children with the goal of encouraging and inspiring them.

We then met the new kindergarten children and it was organised bedlam. These children are so grateful for all that they receive. I reminded them that only God knows the potential in that room full of children. Perhaps a future President of The Philippines was in the room. It was a humbling and emotional experience.

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Wisdom from Rick Warren #Anxiety #Hope #Depression #Christianity #Faith #wisdom #MentalHealth

I heard this yesterday. Brilliant

When I am at fault I need to repent. When the devil is causing the problem we need to resist. In all situations we need to trust in God and relax.

12 reactions