Not a Day Promised

Battling mental illness through education and resources. "Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance." Proverbs 1:5

RESOURCES

Are you or someone you know struggling with a chronic mental illness?  Would you know if you or someone close is struggling with a chronic mental illness?  If "yes," then education is a very important part of your journey.  If "no," then education is still a very important because "you don't know what you don't know."  Education is anti-stigma.

The resources we list on this website (more to come) are those that we have found helpful in our own journey. Our middle son, Carson, lived with chronic bipolar illness much of his life.  He took his own life in July of 2010.  He was 18.  Studies have shown that over 90% of people who die from suicide have one or more psychiatric disorders at the time of their death. 

Carson's younger brother also suffers with chronic bipolar illness, plus he struggles with the continued grief of losing his older brother.  Mental illness is the real deal for us.  

So, our journey continues. First and foremost, our family believes and trusts in Jesus Christ for direction in this journey.  We know He is truly our real Hope-2-Cope, and we are thankful that He has a plan for each of us.  With our eyes wide open, we intend to live each day with no regrets; as such, we freely offer to you our transparency, sharing our research, our thoughts...our pain.  

You, or the one you have in mind, are not alone in this journey.  We and so many others are with you too. Check back often.  We believe this website is God's work in progress through not only us, but you as well.  If you have a website or resource that has helped you cope, by all means, feel free to share it with us if you like.  We may add it to this site.
Please Note:  We receive no remuneration from any of these sources.

Mental Health

MAY WE SUGGEST YOU START HERE:

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www.mentalhealthgracealliance.org - We had no direction, no idea of what was ahead when Carson took his life; so surreal. Scrambling to research anything and everything mental illness, bipolar, suicide, recovery...what we found time and time again in our research seemed so piece-part, so unorganized. Where was the step-by-step instruction manual that should surely be waiting for us in the 21st century; us in crisis, us so lost? Looking, looking and more looking; everything so "hush-hush" because of the stigma still prevailing around mental illness. Then, on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk web site (http://www.drjamesdobson.org), Julie found a link to a different website, a place in fact just down the road a bit from us, located in Waco, TX. Could they help?

Julie called their number. Joe Padilla, co-founder of Mental Health Grace Alliance (now known as The Grace Alliance), answered the phone himself, and what Julie experienced next in that hour-long conversation was nothing short of a miracle; the grace of God. Joe spoke with great care and understanding, and with promise that Hope does exist for those suffering with a mental illness; that with proper training and support, one can move beyond distress, beyond stability, beyond independent functioning...to experiencing fulfilling life purpose. 

Grace Alliance is a Christian mental health recovery and support organization providing resources for mental illness recovery, support groups, and training for clergy and community leaders. The heart and vision of Grace Alliance is to see the works of God displayed in individuals and families affected by mental illness (John 9:1-3), and to provide resources for mental illness recovery, support groups, and training for clergy and community leaders. 

Grace Alliance was/is God's gift to the Brooks' family, so much so that today Julie and I lead both a Grace Alliance Family Grace Group and Living Grace Group at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month, Fall through Spring (Sep, Oct, Nov, Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, and sometimes longer).  Feel free to contact either Julie or I (our email addresses are in the "Contact Us" section of this Blog) with questions, to learn more about the Family and Living Grace support groups we lead at Fellowship Church, or for more information on the purpose of the groups themselves.  Grace Groups are popping up across the U.S. and into many countries across the world.  You can also contact Grace Alliance directly through their web address above. 

But, don't wait, begin your mental health education now.
  • Learn how to navigate the mental health system.
  • Discover how to create a whole-health plan.
  • Find out where to find help.
  • Understand your loved one's experience.
  • ...and more!
Just click on the Grace Alliance shortcuts below for two free wonderful resources!

Guided Into Living Grace e-book.  Click HERE.
Guided Into Family Grace e-book.  Click HERE.

If you care to support Grace Alliance financially, click HERE.

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www.thebalancedmind.org - One of our favorite sites!  Simply amazing advocates.  The Balanced Mind Foundation guides families raising children with mood disorders to the answers, support and stability they seek.  They, like us, envision a world where children living with mood disorders can thrive because their families have the resources, community and support they need.  Call or email their Family Helpline and receive guidance within 48-hours.


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www.keyministry.org - Let’s face it, Christians, in times of crisis, even non-believers will seek guidance at a local church. What happens if the church is not equipped to help?  Here is one Christ-centered organization that has answers and is ready to help!  Key Ministry: A Church for Every Child, promotes meaningful connection between churches and families of kids with disabilities for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ. Since 2002, Key Ministry has provided knowledge, innovation and experience to the worldwide church as it ministers to and with families of kids with disabilities. They make it their mission to explore ways to help families impacted by disability to become connected with local churches where parents and children can worship and grow in faith alongside other Christ-followers. 

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www.nami.org - NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, while a secular-based organization, they are the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization, dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.  NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope for all of those in need.  If you need help right away, the NAMI website is a ready resource for you.  We have found this site to be very helpful.  NAMI has its spiritual tenets, which are defined better on their FAITHNET site; however, we have found that Faithnet is open to all faiths, not centered on the singular teachings of Jesus Christ.

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www.bpchildren.com - One of the first websites we turned to. Their mission is to help young people and adults understand more about childhood bipolar disorder.  On their site, you will find great information, books and booklets that will bring you knowledge, courage and hope.  They are, like we, desperate to erase the stigma and burden that chronic bipolar brings - one child at a time. Good stuff!



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www.schizophrenia.com - This particular site is one of the most comprehensive we have found specific to the mental illness known as schizophrenia. Started in 1995, Schizophrenia.com is a leading community dedicated to providing high quality information, support and education to the family members, caregivers and individuals whose lives have been impacted by schizophrenia.  Could you use help coping?  They have an app for that!


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www.hopeforbpd.com - We've emailed with Amanda Smith, MSW, out of Waco, TX.  She knows our family's struggle with depression and bipolar disorder. Amanda's insight comes directly from her own struggles and victories over Borderline Personality Disorder. Her site is very personal and provides resources for the individual as well as the caregiver.  Hope for BPD was created to meet the needs of individuals diagnosed with BPD who are often confused and overwhelmed by navigating therapeutic boarding schools, short-term and long-term residential care, and outpatient treatment options. You can sign up for Amanda's monthly email - great stuff.

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https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/mhsa-mh-help/ - State governments can be a great source of financial assistance for mental health care. If you live in Texas, this site offers a wealth of information to research, as well as 24 x 7 personal assistance when needed. The Texas Department of State Health Services Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division funds providers of mental health and substance abuse services who then assist those in need of such services.


Special People We Know Who Know

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http://kaywarren.com/ - When her youngest son, Matthew, took his life in April 2013, Kay's life was dramatically altered by the catastrophic loss. As she and her family continue to grieve the loss of Matthew, she has determined to be a voice for those living with mental illness. Her message to the faith  community is to eliminate stigma, shame, and fear and to create warm and accepting places of refuge for those who suffer. Finding Kay Warren was a miracle for me and Todd. She and her husband, Rick, are a gift from the Lord to the broken. Their church, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA, unashamedly carries the banner of the mentally disabled. Please take time to visit this site!  

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http://wondherful.net/ - Meet Heather.  We love us some Heather!  Founder of WONDHERFUL, an online ministry dedicated to mental health through daily one-minute posts (this website) and daily social media posts (@WondHerful).  Heather, is a diagnosed bipolar who believes that if you wake up breathing, that's your proof to keep going!  It doesn't get much more serious (and fun) than this!


 Suicide

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www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org -  Are you considering suicide?  Please read our Post, For This Memorial Day Choose Life.  

You are critical part of a vast fabric of family, friends and friends of friends.  Without you, this fabric will be greatly damaged.  Life is worth living.  Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.  They know your pain.  They want to hear your story.  They want to help you right now.

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www.touchedbysuicide.net - Shortly after Carson took his life, we were invited to a walk sponsored by Touched By Suicidea 501(c)3 nonprofit local organization that provides free support groups for adults and teens that have lost a loved one to suicide. Although still greatly in shock, we were encouraged to mingle among others that felt the same great pain as were were experiencing. We will always remember that event. We experienced some sorely needed joy that day, and found a great resource for those that may some day need the same support. TBS support groups meet in Denton, Lewisville and Flower Mound. Group members are encouraged to share their story and feelings with the hope of helping each person heal through healthy communication in which all members learn from and support one another.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for what you are doing. We lost our 20 year old son to suicide on Dec. 20, 2010. He had no diagnosed problem, but now we believe he may have had some form of depression. We have started a website to help parents. I hope you will look at it and consider posting it as a resource.

    www.parentsaware.org

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  2. Trent,

    I've taken some time to roam your site, including your story and your message at Nathan's memorial service. Thank you! What you have and continue to sow through Nathan's story is most assuredly alerting parents to the potentially devastating outcome of what not paying attention to their child's health and warning signs associated with a myriad of mental health issues can result in. It's an invisible illness because most struck with its assault have the incredible ability to keep it together in front of most everyone accept immediate family.

    We still grieve Carson's leaving us, and even the quickest memory can turn into a bomb explosion of other memories erupting without restraint.

    Mental illness is complete pain. It cannot be isolated like a broken leg. And, it tests the faith of the caregiver perhaps just as much, if not more, than the individual that is ill.

    Although mental illness is organic, in that it involves electrical and chemical signals in the largest organ in our miraculous body, it is as you describe an illness that affects the intangible; the spiritual connection of the mind and the soul. God makes no mistakes. Your 5-Step Plan is spot on.

    I recommend a book for you, The Biology of Sin. Matt Stanford, Ph.D., is a fine Christian man, who also happens to be a professor of psychology, neuroscience, and biomedical studies at Baylor University. The key here is Neuroscience. I like to understand how things work. I'm guessing you do also. This book discusses the plain facts of biology but also factors in the spiritual. If you are interested, you can order the book off of the MHGA site above.

    I will take some time in the next week or so to list your website in our resources section. Please do the same for ours. As I'm sure it is with you, we will continue to add to our site, "Let's keep in touch.

    ReplyDelete
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