Friday, September 26, 2008

A Firm Place to Stand by Marja Bergen

A Firm Place to Stand is a must-read for Christians who struggle with mental health challenges and the faith communities who minister to them.

For too long, society has misunderstood and feared individuals who live with mood disorders. This book dispels the lingering stigma attached to mental health conditions and encourages people to lovingly welcome the sufferers into congregations by understanding them better and supporting them in practical ways.

Most importantly, for the sufferers themselves, the book shows that it is possible to have a mental disorder yet be close to God and derive strong support from a growing relationship with Christ.

In her sincere and candid style, Marja Bergen reflects on her forty-two years with bipolar disorder, showing how faith in God can help a person with a serious illness turn weakness into strength. She describes how God transformed her from an insecure, withdrawn person into a leader, an activist, and the founder of Living Room, the growing Christian support group for people with mood disorders.

My Review:
A former pastor of mine stood in the pulpit and announced that his daughter had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder; I'd never heard of it before. When presented with a review copy of a book written for Christians by someone living with the illness, my curiosity got the better of me, and I had to read it. Although a bit repetitive, I'm glad to have read it. Bergen writes:

The feeling of shame that comes with a diagnosis of mental illness is the biggest reason the diagnosis is so difficult to accept. The stigma is the most unjust and regrettable aspect of living with these diseases. Many suffer in silence, feeling forced to keep their illness secret.

I have learned what the symptoms of the disease look like and how the author has learned to live her life with the steady hand of a good psychiatrist, medication, and the saving Grace of God.


Marina Capano said...

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"Confuzzled" Shannon said...

Great review. Sound like a good book for me.

Callista said...

Thanks for directing me to your review (from Book Blogs) but I didn't realize when I requested this that it was Christian in nature. If it's as Christian as it sounds like from your review, it may be too Christian for me. I guess we'll see when I read it right? Great review though.