Having survived an abusive childhood, Jim Stout was building a ministerial career and a joyful family life when he began experiencing mood changesperiods of frantic energy alternating with overwhelming despair. Fearful and withdrawn, he was unable to function as a spiritual leader, husband, and father. Labeled “crazy” by many unsympathetic fellow clergymen, he was eventually diagnosed as suffering from bipolar disorder.
In search of help, Stout institutionalized himself, thus beginning an ordeal at the hands of well-meaning doctors and bungling druggists who made him a human guinea pig in a near-fatal pharmaceutical odyssey. Only his faith, the support of his family, and his commitment to taking control of his own recovery enabled him to endure.
After recreating his role as a husband and father, Stout has refocused his ministry. He now offers the hard-won lessons, strategies, and practical tips he gained during his lengthy struggle. In hopes of reducing the anguish of others who suffer bipolar disorder, and giving encouragement to their loved ones, he shares a message of hope and of the role of spirituality in finding new purpose in life and deeper meaning in adversity. Mental health professionals and social workers, too, will benefit from this candid account of a family’s efforts to cope with a debilitating illness that, by affecting so many individuals, impacts the whole of society.