Pink & Blue Mummyland

Pink and blue parenting through pink and blue moods….

The Storm Inside – trading the chaos…?

20140120-131612.jpg“Here is the Hope that you’re looking for. Here is the Truth you need” promises author Liz Curtis Higgs.

Quite a promise for a book I haven’t started yet. The praise for Sheila Walsh’s newest book goes on for three pages at the front, with names as big as Amy Grant and Joni Eareckson Tada applauding it. Even Kay Warren, who lost her son to suicide last year, says “Sheila understands.”

I’ve been given the privilege to be a part of the launch team for Shelia’s latest book: The Storm Inside: Trade the chaos of how you feel for the truth of who you are. Part of this privilege is the opportunity to read the book earlier than everyone else and let other people know what I think of it.

I’m a huge fan of Sheila Walsh, but even I wasn’t sure that she could achieve what the cover claimed. So much of my life is dictated by chaos – the chaos of bipolar, of managing and preventing mood episodes, and the frustration of being told that God has a plan for my life that must include this illness I struggle with.

And yet, as early as the introduction I am somehow convinced. In her intro, Sheila writes about a speaking event that saw her talking to a group of women in full time Christian ministry. Many of us would be intimidated by such a group of women – I speak to groups fairly frequently, and this certainly isn’t a gig I envy. And yet Sheila’s perception was not of a group of totally sorted women:

“I thought of the women I would speak to in just a short while and wondered if Christ’s promised gift of peace was tangible to them today or if they were facing such devastating storms that peace felt like a distant dream.” (p.xii)

A ‘devastating storm’ is exactly how I have described having bipolar disorder to people with little or no understanding of what it’s like to live a life dictated by moods that blow in unexpectedly, wreaking havoc and leaving confusion and desolation in their wake. From the first few pages this seems like a book I can get on with, written by a woman who understands what it’s like to have your world turned upside down by mental illness (Walsh spent a period in a psychiatric ward when ill with severe depression, and is open about still taking medication). I am left feeling understood by someone I’ve never met.

On the first page, before Sheila’s writing even makes an appearance, Christine Caine, founder of A21, tells me to “read it as soon as you can.”

That’s me told then. In I delve….

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Back in the world….

So, I disappeared.

Not so much disappeared, as fell into an enormous hole that was so dark I couldn’t see the footholds to get out.

October started off so well. I actually thought I was doing okay, and took my eye off the ball, and once I stopped thinking about bipolar, even for a moment, symptoms crept up and caught me by surprise.

Even reading my last post on this blog, I can see how much I was kidding myself at the time. For me, a week of hypomania felt great in so many ways, but looking back – and talking it over with those around me – I was not as fun to be with as I thought I was. I was childish, petulant, and thoroughly teenager-ish when told I wasn’t allowed to go out in my car and find a bar at 5pm on a Saturday evening. I apparently sulked. So it seems that the high wasn’t all high.

For a week or so, I thought I’d got away with it, that there would be no repurcussions, but then the depression set in, and literally sucked the life out of everything. I cried for Britain, slept for Europe, and became blind to the sparkle in my children’s eyes. A season of numbness came in with the cold, sad weather, and lifting my fingers to type was as impossible as lifting my feet to walk or my mind to hope.

So, I disappeared.

But I’m back! And hopefully to stay – not hypomanically overdoing it with eighty four posts a day as I find my fingers and start to craft sentences again, but as my normal self, as I start to find out again what that is. I’ve taken up again the things I lost in the fog – like singing, guitar playing, socialising, knitting – and am starting to enjoy life again.

I’m also heading back into work. My main job, which I was never able to give up, and was probably the one thing that kept me from giving up, is parenting MiniMe and MicroBob. They are as awesome as ever, surprising me every day with something new they do. All of a sudden, MiniMe can read. And MicroBob is doing sums like they’re going out of fashion. They are amazing – despite their mother and her crazy moods.

My other work is all writing and book related. I have a new book coming out this month, which I will be saying more about as the days go on. The launch of my new website was supposed to coincide with the book release, but depression stole so many weeks that I fear the website work will fall behind. Still, I am writing copy whenever I can, and The Cable Guy will be doing the restyling as we go along. Adullam Ministries has always had a place in my heart, but has been let go of over the past few years of having children. Hopefully, MicroBob starting nursery will give me more time to work on this area of my calling, and give me the opportunity to bring Adullam up to date with all that social media can do to further the cause of raising awareness of self-harm.

I’ve also been given the special opportunity of being part of the launch team for a new book by Shelia Walsh. The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are acknowledges and speaks against the wrong things we believe about ourselves – and our life experiences – with the irrefutable Word of God. I’m so excited to be part of the team, and looking forward to sharing some of the life lessons as I read – giving a sneaky peek into what the final copy will contain! This is what Shelia says about her latest offering:

It’s clear that as women we all face storms so I’ve poured the last two years of my life into asking the question-how do we handle these storms and navigate the tough seasons in life? If we rely on our emotions alone we are in danger of serious shipwreck but I know that God’s Word is like a lighthouse on the darkest night that will guide us safely to shore. So that’s my prayer for each one of you.

So, exciting times! I pray for everyone reading that this coming year will be one of blessing and truth, that you will know God and see his unique plans for and that your mental and physical health would be stable and less burdensome than before.

I’m so thankful to be back in the world.

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