Bipolar Disorder: Rebuilding Your Life

LEARN WORKABLE STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING MOODS FROM A PASTOR WHO SHARES HIS LIFELONG BATTLE WITH DEPRESSION.

A Christian leader and pastor shares how he learned to manage his bipolar mood swings. Includes descriptions of his severe depressions, emotional & sexual abuse, struggles with self-image, an eating disorder, and faith issues. Loaded with workable tools for recovering, healing, and rebuilding to have a balanced, purpose-filled life that impacts others in life-changing ways.

AVAILABLE IN PRINT AND EBOOK FORMATS


“Stout is a great storyteller and effective public speaker. But he is an even better writer...258 gripping pages...a riveting story of a man dealing with mental illness with help from his family, church and medical professionals. It is a message of struggle and hope with specific advice and information about mental illness and sources of help that are available. It’s a book that most of us should read; moms and dads, college students, clergy, teachers and those in the helping professions.”

-LOS ANGELES TIMES, DAILY PILOT

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DEDICATION
PERMISSIONS
AUTHOR’S NOTES
INTRODUCTION

PART ONE — CHILDHOOD: ONGOING FAMILY STRIFE AND SEXUAL ABUSE

1. Surviving in a Dysfunctional Family
2. Coping with Sexual Abuse
3. An Emotional Orphan on the Battlefield of Key Relationships
4. The Beginnings of an Eating Disorder
5. How a Dysfunctional Family Communicates
6. Good and Bad Spiritual Influences
7. Dire Predictions

PART TWO — FINDING GUIDANCE IN EDUCATION, CAREER AND MARRIAGE DECISIONS

8. Bulimia Begins
9. Guidance Issues
10. A Spiritual Awakening

PART THREE — JOB HAPPINESS, STRESSES AND HORRORS

11. Church Opportunities and Issues
12. Alarming Problems Facing Today’s Clergy and Their Families

PART FOUR — DEPRESSIONS, NEAR-SUICIDES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS

13. Events that Trigger a Life-threatening Depression
14. Life in a Psychiatric Unit: Sometimes Awful, Sometimes Fun
15. Serious Insurance Conflicts and a Near Disaster
16. More Important Facts about Bipolar Disorder

PART FIVE — TREADING WATER TO SURVIVE

17. Facing Losses
18. Problems Adjusting to Work
19. Finding Understanding Friends
20. Stigma’s Distressing Effects
21. Family Struggles with Pain and Loss Due to Mental Illness
22. More Stigma: Toxic Church Members and Clergy
23. Recurring Depressions and the “Treatment-resistant” Patient
24. Searching for the “Whys” of Mental Illness
25. The Value of Humor
26. Taking Responsibility for Recovering; The Role of Faith
27. The Benefits of Professional Counseling
28. The Rewards of Marriage Therapy
29. Living Between the Worlds of Mania and Depression
30. Self-Education: More Than Half the Battle
31. Life-saving Discoveries about Medications and Recovery
32. A Support Group Makes All the Difference
33. The Potential Risks of Work: Hours, Pace and Deadlines
34. The Forgiveness Process: Finding How to Let Go of Resentment
35. Applying the Serenity Prayer and AA’s Twelve Steps for Rejuvenating Relationships

PART SIX — THE PROMISE OF RECOVERY: MOVING ONTO THE OFFENSE

36. Breaking Free from Needing the Approval of Others
37. “God Things” That Can Keep You Going

PART SEVEN — SELF-CARE: PRACTICAL STRATEGIES, TECHNIQUES AND TIPS FOR REBUILDING

38. The Perils of Sleep Deprivation
39. Reentering Spiritual Kindergarten to Find Help with Attitudes, Habits and Relationships
40. The Risks of Good Stress, Bad Stress, and a Lack of Routine
41. The Medical-Biological Model for Treating Mental Illness
42. New Freedom, New Strength from Honest, Supportive Relationships
43. A Basic Coping Strategy that Works
44. Overcoming Resentment and Self-pity
45. How a Crisis of Meaning Can Lead to a New Role in Life

EPILOGUE
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

RESOURCES:

APPENDIX A — Strategies, Techniques, Tips and Tools for Those Living with Bipolar Disorder and Depression
APPENDIX B — Simple Ways You Can Give Help and Hope to a Mentally Ill Person or His Family
APPENDIX C — Practical Things Your Faith Community Can Do to Help the Mentally Ill and Their Families
APPENDIX D — Support, Information and Advocacy Organizations

NOTES
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Editorial Reviews

“Masterfully leads reader through learning to rebuild their lives...it is a story of hope and practical guidance...intensely personal and very educational, it’s highly recommended for anyone wanting to know more about bipolar disorder, whatever their reasons.”

-THE MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

“Evocative, poignant, and inspiring, this book should give solace and hope to a great many. It speaks a message of hope, reinforced with specific advice, perspectives about the self, information about the illness, and sources of help.”

-ROY W. MENNINGER, M.D.
CHAIRMAN EMERITUS, MENNINGER FOUNDATION

“Personal, powerful, informative, a ‘must’ for those with bipolar disorder, their loved ones and faith communities. Filled with encouragement and practical tools for living a victorious Christian life in spite of, and perhaps because of, this difficult condition.”

-HAROLD G. KOENIG, M.D., ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY
DUKE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER

I couldn't possibly read your book cause  I didn't have time...but I did. And I couldn't possibly get into it because I have seen everything bipolar...but I did. And I certainly wasn't going to "emote" because I hate to emote...but I cried at the end. I sure am glad you are alive! All I can say is, "Wow". Not the trivial wow.  Not the surprised wow. But one that comes from someone like me who understands from a lifetime of experience with bipolars (Mom, daughter). What a great book. Not a "great" book, because a lot of things are great. But a Winston Churchill great.

-JAY CARTER, PSYCHOLOGIST, 
WYOMISSING, PA

“Stout is a great storyteller and effective public speaker. But he is an even better writer...258 gripping pages...a riveting story of a man dealing with mental illness with help from his family, church and medical professionals. It is a message of struggle and hope with specific advice and information about mental illness and sources of help that are available. It’s a book that most of us should read; moms and dads, college students, clergy, teachers and those in the helping professions.”

-LOS ANGELES TIMES, DAILY PILOT

“Stout’s book...will be helpful to Christians confronting mental illness directly or indirectly. He includes specific recommendations for congregations interested in serving the mentally ill. For church and seminary libraries as well as public libraries serving Christian populations.”

-LIBRARY JOURNAL

“Excellently researched, progressive, and exciting, this is yet another documentation that people can and do recover from mental illness every day. It brings hope to those struggling to get their lives back. Truly a job well done and a long-awaited blessing for both the Christian and secular world.”

-PATTI HUFF, RN, BSN, PSYCHIATRIC NURSE

“Honest, powerful, well written and incredibly inspiring - every person with mental illness should read this wonderful book; so should their families, and every psychiatrist and mental health worker. I can’t wait to share it with my family, friends and co-workers.”

-MARY MCGOWAN, LICENSED PSYCHIATRIC TECHNICIAN

“Brilliant! Precise, Great Advice. A true Bipolar Recovery book. Speaks of author’s own experience suffering with the disorder. A great book for all those who suffer from Bipolar. Especially those who were victims of abuse. Speaks to those in common language. Doesn’t preach. Speaks of the importance of medication. A must own.”

-TIM PHEIL, DIRECTOR, THE MENTAL HEALTH SANCTUARY

“...couldn’t put it down. Your story is overwhelming...I admire your spirit. I salute you.”

-STEPS FOR RECOVERY MAGAZINE

“This book offers precious insight into the relationship of a man, struck by severe mental illness, to his church, his congregation, and his God. Stout write elegantly about the turmoil he lived through while coping with manic depression.”

-ROBERT K. LUNDIN, PUBLICATION MANAGER, RECOVERY PRESS
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO CENTER FOR PSYCHIATRIC REHABILITATION

“...Stout has done an excellent job of honestly sharing his personal story in a way that makes it helpful for anyone trying to deal effectively with this unpredictable and baffling disorder.”

-MARY ELLEN COPELAND, M.S. M.A.
MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATOR

“A wrenching, but hopeful, account of a pastor’s long struggle with bipolar disorder. Here is a level of heroism seldom honored. A helpful book for all in the shadow of this powerful illness.”

-DR. JAMES R. KOK, PH.D.
DIRECTOR, CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL CARE MINISTRIES, GARDEN GROVE, CALIFORNIA

“A strong example of the work it takes to live through the depths of depression and be able to find new rewards from this life-threatening illness. I highly recommend this account of one man’s ceaseless effort to live, with God’s help, a full and satisfying life again.”

-MARLENE WESSEL, RN, PSYCHIATRIC NURSE

“This remarkable story of a courageous man who overcame adversity after adversity to reinvent his life is the best autobiography by a person with bipolar disorder I have read.”

-MAX E. DINE, M.D., F.A.C.P.

“If I bough only one book about bipolar disorder, it would be Jim Stout’s book, Bipolar Disorder: Rebuilding Your Life. The book is an incredibly useful resource for managing the ups and downs of bipolar disorder. It is an easy read, very inspirational, and is loaded with practical, workable advice and applications.”

-RICK CRANE
SPECIAL NEEDS TUTOR, FATHER, MENTAL ILLNESS SUPPORT GROUP CO-LEADER, RECOVERING FROM BIPOLAR DISORDER

“Dr. Stout has given us a gripping account of his victory over the haunting memory of childhood abuse by a mentally ill other and the challenge of his own bipolar disorder - a victory enabled by strength gained from a loving family and friends, and faith in God’s constant presence.”

-GUNNAR E. CHRISTIANSEN, M.D.
FORMER PRESIDENT, NAMI CALIFORNIA; CO-CHAIRMAN, FAITHNET NAMI

“Highly recommended, especially for leaders of Faith Communities. If every Leader read this self revealing book, the knowledge gained would go a long way in helping to ensure better treatment of the mentally ill in our Congregations.”

-REV. CHET WATSON, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, DIOCESE OF CA
PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR THE MENTALLY ILL (NAMI) CALIFORNIA; CO-CHAIRMAN, FAITHNET NAMI

“This forthright book offers insight into the challenges faced by a manic depressive individual who is successfully managing his illness with all the tools at his disposal. It touched me in many ways because of the similarities in my own life. I hope others will enjoy and use it as a means to recover.”

-BILL MAHONEY, FORMER PRESIDENT
DEPRESSIVE AND BIPOLAR SUPPORT ALLIANCE, ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA

Amazon Reviews

5/5 PERSONAL VIEW OF BIPOLAR FROM A SUFFERER, FEBRUARY 1, 2003

By Harold McFarland (Florida) 

"Bipolar Disorder" is not a book of technical diagnosis and treatment techniques for the disorder. Quite different from similar books on the subject it is the personal story of the life and experiences of the author. Rev. James T. Stout opens up his heart and his life to public scrutiny in order to provide a thorough picture of the thinking patterns and problems of people with bipolar disorder. And yet, as he goes through his various experiences, interlaid within the story itself is the story of how rebuilt his life, the strategies that worked, the techniques that benefited his life, and how he has become more in control of his moods. It is a story of hope and practical guidance for those dealing with bipolar disorder or those who know someone with the disorder. The author masterfully leads the reader through learning to rebuild their life without resorting to jargon or a cold, sterile treatise on the disorder. Intensely personal, highly educational, it is a highly recommended read for anyone wanting to know more about bipolar disorder for whatever their reason.

5/5 A RARE BALANCED LOOK AT LIVING WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER, DECEMBER 27, 2005

By Robert C. Stone 

Stout provides a very rare take on bipolar disorder. It is from the perspective of one who has been there (is there) and has more than survived. As a psychiatrist, I have rarely encountered a 'personal experience' volume with such bredth and balance. Yes, he includes religion... he's a minister! But he identifies scores of important aspects to 'rebuilding your life' with bipolar disorder. He doesn't shun medicine as some organized evil attempt at behavioral control. He doesn't say God will heal you without any work on your part. Basically he details all the areas of your life, which if taken for granted (like sleep) can lead to symptomatic relapse.

The title of Chapter 14, "Life in a Psychiatric Unit: Sometimes Awful, Sometimes Fun" fairly well says it all. (And it describes working in a psych unit too!)

Stout has maintained a sense of humor, balance and optimism which would be well adopted by anyone facing a mental health challenge. He has no hidden agendas and never preaches. He tells it like he has experienced it, and as it has worked for him. And he tells it well.

Heartily recommended to all.

5/5 BRILLIANT!, JUNE 4, 2003

By Tim Pheil (Selah, Wa USA) 

Precise, Great Advise. A true Bipolar Recovery book. I have never seen a self help book I couldn't put down. A great book for all those who suffer from Bipolar. Especially those who were victims of abuse. Speaks to those in commons language. Doesn't preach. Speaks of the importance of medication. A must own.

5/5 AS GOOD INFORMATION AS THERE IS, FEBRUARY 4, 2006

By David C. Dantes "Davey Sieur" 

A very close relative of mine has bipolar disorder, so I've read everything I've been able to find on this subject.

However, this book is as comprehensive an analysis as I've found. Although the author goes into a bit more detail of his day-to-day life than I wanted, DO NOT skip a single chapter. Every chapter has tools and techniques that are invaluable to understanding and coping with the disorder.

The book is especially trailblazing in putting this "chemical" condition in the context of a dysfunctional upbringing. And in presenting skills for dealing with those, related, problems.

The appendices are especially helpful, and succinct.

4/5 A HUMANE LOOK AT BIPOLAR DISORDER, MARCH 18, 2003

By Avery Z. Conner (West Lafayette, IN) 

This is a very good memoir about the author's struggle with and recovery from bipolar disorder. It reminded me a little of "Manic by Midnight" in that an important message of the story is how to rebuild your life in the wake of the disorder, particularly in the wake of mania. The quality of writing is pretty good, as the author writes well enough to bring the story vividly to life. Not being too religious myself, I nonetheless didn't mind the juxtaposition of religion with the story, and if anything this contributed to the story. Overall, an interesting read. Avery Z. Conner, author of "Fevers of the Mind".

5/5 PRACTICAL LIVING TIPS, AUGUST 13, 2002

By A Customer

This is an excellent book about a man who has suffered with bipolar disorder (manic-depression) and has begun to rebuild his life. The author does an excellent job of explaining his story and more importantly, provides tips and strategies to others who have been affected by this terrible condition.

5/5 BEST "PERSONAL" STORY ABOUT BIPOLAR, APRIL 7, 2006

By Michelle Dunn "Author & artist" (The White Mountains of NH)

This review is from: Bipolar Disorder: Rebuilding Your Life (Paperback)
Bipolar is a big part of my life and my families life. Understanding the people who deal with it must be as hard as having it. Reverend Dr. James Stout gives us a "diary" if you will, of his life and dealing with his abusive family. Not a technical book but a book that will teach you practical techniques for managing moods without losing your mind. Unlike the other books out there on this subject, Rebuilding your life, makes you feel like you are not alone. Someone else has been through this and knows how you feel and is trying to help you.

I commend Reverend Dr. James Stout for the courage I know it took to write this book.

5/5 BOOK GIVES INSIGHT INTO BIPOLAR AND DEPRESSION, OCTOBER 26, 2007

By Carol Perrin (Oceanside, CA) 

After hearing Dr. Stout speak at a NAMI meeting, I rushed right out and purchased the book. Not only does it do an excellent job of explaining the emotions of someone living with this illness, it is riveting. I didn't want to put it down. Several friends have asked to borrow it.

One of the things that is difficult to understand for many of us family members of someone living with mental illness, is the utter despair and hopelessness they experience when they are symptomatic. Dr. Stout is able to convey this well.

There is a lot of good information for family members as well as ill people themselves. My ill family member and I have both used many ideas from his book.

I highly recommend it for a good read and for useful information.

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