A Firm Place to Stand by Marja Bergen

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Stars: ****

I received this book for review from the author.

Summary: 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.
Read more here.

I didn’t realize this was a Christian book when I asked for a copy because as soon as I saw that it was about mental health I hit reply. I suffer from Clinical Depression, Anxiety and a Personality Disorder (I’ve just started blogging about it here.) However a lot of the scripture referred to can be helpful to anyone and the parts that were very Christian specific, I just glossed over.

I really did enjoy this book. Although I don’t have bipolar disorder, I enjoy learning more about other kinds of mental health and it was nice to read more than just the diagnostic information. I’ve read other books about people with bipolar disorder and/or depression which were also very good*

The book is divided into four parts, Bipolar Disorder (general), Growing (her life story), Coping (coping, stigma, day to day, support) and Living for God (how God factors in). You will also find an introduction, afterword and appendices. I liked how it wasn’t written as a medical manual nor was it written like a memoir, starting at the beginning, ending at the end with no facts in between. It’s sort of a mix between the two. I suppose technically it’s a memoir but it’s not similar to the other ones I read.

I like how the book was further divided into small sections which is something that really makes me happy when it comes to books. Small sections are great for those of us who can’t read for long spurts. I get interrupted by my kids every few minutes while reading so small sections make it easier to know where I was and what I’m reading about.

Although I’m not Christian, I know enough about religion to see that this book is a god-send for Christians struggling with bipolar disorder. Marja Bergen has another book titled Riding the Roller Coaster which is more secular which I’ve not read but would like to.

I also enjoyed reading about Marja’s family, namely her husband Wes and how wonderfully supportive he is of her mental illness. I would love to read a book from Wes’s point of view on living with someone with mental illness.

About the Author

Marja Bergen has lived with bipolar disorder for over forty years. She has been helping people who suffer from mood disorders since 1999 when her first book, Riding the Roller Coaster (Northstone), was published. She has counselled and supported both individuals and groups, devoting herself to reducing the stigma attached to mental illness and helping Christians learn how to be supportive. Two years ago she established a Christian support group called Living Room, which was featured on the Christian television program 100 Huntley Street in January 2008.

For more about Marja, her books and her ministry, visit http://www.marjabergen.com/ and http://www.livingroomsupport.org/

*Brilliant Madness by Patty Duke and a book with black dog in the title that I can’t find (not In the Jaws of the Black Dog, may have been short anecdotes from different authors and edited or authored by a woman)

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.