Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Firm Place to Stand by Marja Bergen : New book on finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by! Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements. Thank God for strengthening me and I am feeling better. I am continuing to wait upon God for restoration while making use of my medications, exercise, etc etc and finding encouragements and strength in God and His Words daily.

Now I am excited for my dear friend, Marja Bergen, because she has just launched a new book! It is entitled "A Firm Place to Stand" on how God has enabled her to find meaning in her life with bipolar disorder.

Marja is from British Columbia, Canada. She is a person with bipolar disorder and a faith in Jesus Christ. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mood disorder with extreme mood swings ie. mania and clinical depression.

Marja is interested in writing about mental health issues, especially encouraging a more understanding view by the church. In an effort to help her church give support to people with mood disorders, Marja has started a support group called "Living Room". Now she is encouraging groups to start up elsewhere. Marja has been a great blessing, encouragement and help to those who attend Living Room and those of us who read about her experiences there.

Marja is in her early sixties and feel like her life is only starting...and she is excited about it! It is amazing to read of how God has worked wonderfully in Marja's life and continue to do so daily! Praise God!

Do visit Marja's blog at Roller Coaster to read her encouraging postings of her life with bipolar disorder and how the Lord is using her to be a blessing and encouragement to so many people in her church and in the blogging world, including me :-)

Personally, I thank God for causing my path to cross with Marja's in such a wonderful way through blogging. I really value and cherish Marja's friendship. She has been a great encouragement to me by her faith in God and her resilient through so many years of suffering and coping with bipolar. She is always hopeful in God and courageous in facing the many challenges in her life. She is always ready to love others with Christ's love and very generous in encouraging others. She motivates me to fight the good fight of faith and triumph over bipolar. This is one of the greatest blessings I have found through blogging! Thank God for you too and the many other friends God has led me to know through blogging! Praise Him!

Marja Bergen is also the author of "Riding the Roller Coaster : Living with Mood Disorders".

Find out more on how you can purchase these 2 books from Marja's new website. Some notes taken from hers and other websites on these 2 books:

1) A Firm Place to Stand by Marja Bergen : Finding meaning in a life with Bipolar Disorder

"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, A Firm Place to Stand 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."

2) Riding the Roller Coaster by Marja Bergen : Living with Mood Disorders

Mood disorders, such as depression and manic depression, affect up to 10% of the population. Marja Bergen is one of those people. Over the 30 years that she has had manic depression, she has gradually adopted a lifestyle that makes it possible not only to cope, but to live a full and productive life. In Riding the Roller Coaster, she shares very practical tips on such things as escaping the blues before they grab you, what to do when you don't feel like doing anything, and keeping life stable.

Reviews in the Media

Mood Disorders Association of BC

Robert Winram, Executive Director
This excellent first person account is filled with encouragement for those managing mood disorders. It delivers understanding, insight and very tangible strategies on how to overcome the difficulties of depression and manic depression. Marja Bergen gives us a very human perspective drawn from her experiences. Her path to recovery is exciting and positive.

News Leader
Despite increased understanding by the scientific community, there is still a big gap in the understanding of these illnesses by the general public. Long-time Burnaby resident, Marja Bergen, has tried to help bridge this gap. Having suffered with manic depression (or bipolar disorder) for the past 34 years, Bergen knows what it is to experience the elation of mania and the despair of depression in the book, she draws from her experience using personal vignettes from her life as well as offering strategies for dealing with the problems that arise.

Bergen offers encouragement to the reader with essays such as: Dealing with the Stigma, Keeping a Balance, If You Can Trust Yourself...and Building Confidence.

Burnaby NOW
Annie Boulanger
The publication of her book is very timely as there are indications that mood disorders are a growing problem in the workplace.

Personal vignettes and real-life examples abound in Bergen's book, including frank descriptions of her own history, from her first treatments in Riverview, to problems adjusting medications in later years.

The book is easy to read, and while Bergen's style is warm and encouraging, it is also clearly written from her own experience.

The book is not only helpful to sufferers of mood disorder related illnesses, but also to their families to understand what it is that their family member is undergoing.

Wayne A. Holst
This book come highly recommended as integrated resources for pastoral counselors as well as other caregivers in parishes who are committed to working with the spiritual aspects of depression within the larger framework of holistic health.

Bruce Saunders
Bite-sized essays. Brimming with wisdom, forgiveness, acceptance and practical advice. One can easily pick it up and read just a page.

I especially appreciated the “we” tense used throughout and her just plain good sense of things that often get overlooked in our battle with the pathology.

Marja Bergen has crafted an invaluable tool from her life experience with a challenging condition. A great deal of anguish for sufferers and their families, as well as time and money for the mental health system, would be saved if this book were standard issue for all people diagnosed with manic-depression.

I’d like to see all those engaged in psychosocial rehab reading this book to understand mood disorders better and to recommend it to their clients

Rural Roots
Peter Griffiths
The book is relatively small and easy to read.

It is excellent material, and presented simply and clearly. From her reading, research, and most importantly, her experience of living, Bergen has put together short writings on different aspects of depression and manic, and in a very readable format.

This book needs to be read by sufferers of depression and mania, as well as by their family and friends as well. I also wish that psychiatrists who treat people who suffer from depression or manic would hand out a copy of this book along with their prescriptions. If they did, they would be surprised to find out how more effective the medications would become.

Do visit Marja's blog and the other websites. You will be greatly blessed!

Thanks again for stopping by. Hope you have a blessed weekends.

Take care!


1. A Firm Place to Stand by Marja Bergen

2. A practical workbook for the depressed Christian by Dr John Lockley

3. An unquiet mind by Dr Kay Redfield Jamison

4. Broken Mind by
Steve and Robyn Bloem

5. I'm Not Supposed to Feel Like This by Chris Williams, Paul Richards and Ingrid Whitton

Excerpts from Books

1. Trust during rough times (Excerpt from "A Firm Place to Stand" by Marja Bergen)

2. Finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder (Excerpt from Marja Bergen's article on

3. An illness like any other (Excerpt from "Roller Coaster" by Marja Bergen)


Anonymous said...

Hi Nancie :)

I have many things to thank you for as they mean a lot to me:)

1) Thanks for all the time and effort you put into your posts. To each of your friends it gives hope and inspiration. You remind us how much our Lord loves each and every one of us.

2) Thanks for remembering me in your prayers as the need has been high these past two weeks.

3) Thank you for all the wonderful comments you leave me. They mean a lot to me!

I am so thankful to have found you and my daughters feel the same way!

May our Lord bless you and keep you, my friend :)

Anonymous said...

Nancie, Thank you very very much for highlighting my books in this way. That is a very generous thing to do. You're being so very good to me. What a friend you are!

Anonymous said...

Hey Nancie! Thank you sooooo much for your prayers for me and my church. We have just returned from our Mission Trip. I did miss doing the Thankful Thursday last week. We had a great trip. 11 children confessed to being saved! Praise the Lord. It really made my day to see your comment to me. Thanks again so much!! God Bless You~

Anonymous said...

Nancie I've tagged you...come on over and read all about it!

Anonymous said...

Wow she sounds wonderful. And you know Nancie you are pretty amazing yourself. You take so much time to write and encourage so many. I am so very, very thankful for you being in my life!

Anonymous said...

Sounds good!

Anonymous said...

Nancie, Thanks so much for the review of the book and I certainly will check into Marja's blog. Peace, Annie

Anonymous said...

Nancie thanks for this information. I'm going to check out the site and maybe the books. Being in women's ministry I have had the occasion to come across women with mood disorders and I have tried to understand and help.

My mother has suffered with depression most of her life, so hopfefully reading up on it from others will give me even more insight. I do want to understand and help where I can.

Anonymous said...

Your transparent thoughtful blog is wonderful. I have a friend whose husband has been battling this situation and only recently has been diagnosed and treated.

I will refer her to your blog. this is lovely the way you have resources of other writers, etc. for anyone that can use them.

You have started my day with the right attitude. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear friends, thank you for stopping by and your encouraging comments. You are all very dear to me and may God bless you always and all your kindness to me. Take care!