Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mood Disorders Can Kill a Marriage

My good friend Diane Markins was gracious to invite me onto her blog talk radio show recently. Today you can go to her blog and read my guest post.

Here's the link:

And if you'd like to listen to the interview just follow the instructions on her page. Eventually there will be a link to Itunes which will make it so easy to share.

This is the most difficult time of year for anyone struggling with mental illness. Please don't give up, there is always hope.


Friday, October 21, 2011

The risk of change

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." --Anais Nin

A dear friend read me this quote recently and to be quite honest, it moved me to tears. Not only did the timing of this message pierce me deep in my heart, but I was touched by my friend's ability to see into me and know that this is exactly where I am right now. To remain tight in a bud is more painful than taking the risk to blossom.

We moved at the beginning of June, after living in San Antonio for thirteen years. We sold our house in one day, packed everything up within a month of the sale and arrived here in Dallas. Even though we had known for awhile the possibility of a move was very real, when it came time to actually do it, well, each one of us had our own burdens and grief to bear. I pulled in, focused on the moment by moment emotion and chaos that comes with a move and was overwhelmed by my maternal instincts to do whatever I possibly could to make this transition for my children to be as smooth as possible. I would be lying if I told you that it was easy, surely it hasn't been, and yet we as a family are closer than we have ever been. That could be because we lived in an apartment for a month, and for several weeks we were anonymous to anyone and everyone we saw, but really the truth is I think we all pulled in and took care of each other. In the midst of the chaos and the change we found a new rhythm, and a deeper faith in our God.

It's been four months. Sometimes it feels like four years. I only just now find myself able to see a little more clearly, feel a little more relaxed and am met with a new understanding that this is by God's design. He has thrown open the doors, ushering us into a new season ripe with possibilities. That's exciting and at the same time scary. Some days I want to stay pulled in and some days I want to jump right in and see what will happen next.

But I think mostly I want to trust God to help me breathe, to help me see that in time in this new place each member of my family will have deeper roots, will have connection and will in turn blossom. It's risky but oh so worth it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We've gone Kindle

Hello Friends!
Yes it's been quite awhile and there is a lot to catch you up on, but the biggest thing that has happened besides the fact that we moved to Dallas, is that our book is now available on Kindle. It went live this week and so far it's going great! I'm posting the link below.

I promise I'll start blogging again soon, until then happy reading!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Motivations for a New Year

Happy New Year! Even though I'm not a New Years Resolution kind of girl, honestly, how many people do you know who make resolutions only to beat themselves about the head and shoulders when they fall off the wagon, I think I will try and embrace the concept but, I will call them motivations instead. That’s much more positive and forward thinking. Here they are:

Motivation #1: Eat better. I know this isn't an original idea but it is important to me, especially since I gained a few pounds over Christmas. I've heard all my friends say that once you hit 40 your waistline just isn't the same. So, I will eat better and be motivated by the photo of bikini girl from American Idol that I have just placed on my refrigerator.

Motivation#2: Sleep more. Again, not an original idea but I do feel so much better when I've gotten at least 8 hours. In order for me to sleep more I think I've got to quickly move to motivation #3. See below...

Motivation#3: Exercise more. Of course this is on everyone’s list but it really does make my sleep that much more restful and I even have better dreams. “Just do it” will be my motto and the Nike Swoosh just joined bikini girl on my fridge.

Motivation#4: Read more. I love to read and used to save it for vacations only. A few years ago I realized that I could turn the tv off and turn my brain on if I would read every night, even if it's just for 15 minutes. I've read more books in the last few years than I have in my whole life. I'm going to make it through the stack on my bedside table and enjoy every minute!

Motivation#5: Snuggle more. My kids love to snuggle before bedtime and I need to really make this more of a priority. How much longer will my 11 year old want me to flop on the bed with him and let me tickle his back or hold his hand?

Motivation#6: Stop talking in an ugly voice to the driver's in other cars when it seems like they are crawling at a snails pace when I'm in a hurry. This one is really self explanatory, see #7.

: Don't be in such a hurry!

Motivation#8: Smile more! I've noticed there are two lines growing between my eyebrows and guess what they are from?? Yup, frowning. My brow is becoming furrowed and I think if I smile more that will slow the progression. And just in case you were wondering, my brow is not furry, it's furrowed! There is a difference.

Motivation#9: Practice loving myself more. Start with remembering who God is to me, how He has worked in my life and then hold on tight to that little glimmer of light that represents the “me” I was before society, before my family and yes, before I told myself to be someone different.

Motivation#10: Be Who I Already Am, and keep moving forward on that!

What will your motivations be? How will you stick to them? And, how will you know when you accomplished the goals you set? Write me and tell me your ideas and thoughts...perhaps we can motivate each other!
Blessings on a new year!

Ally Johnson

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Getting through the holidays with balance.

Author Julie Fast has graciously offered to share a little bit about how she gets through the holidays while managing her bipolar disorder. Be encouraged, there are joyful days ahead!

Why are the holidays so hard for people with bipolar disorder? I know they are for me! I write books on bipolar disorder and you would think that after 15 years of work on managing this illness that the holidays would be a bit easier! But they are not. I may change and become more successful in how I live with this illness, but the holidays stay the same! Every year at this time I send out newsletters and write many blogs on how to prepare for the end of the year. I stress that you have to watch your relationships carefully and make sure they are stress free. (Many people laugh at this one!) I teach readers that travel time changes can really affect bipolar disorder symptoms and just the stress of an airport can create anxiety.

But there is one real reason I have such a hard time with the holidays. I get lonely. Really lonely. I’m surrounded by people and yet I’m lonely. Being single doesn’t help, but it’s a choice. I don’t like to shop and yet the television tells me I should receive really cool presents from everyone. I have a beautiful eight year old nephew whom I love, but the family dynamics with my brother and his partner are just too much for me. My mom is not really into celebrating and my friends often leave town. What a little whiny baby I am! But that is how it is for many of us with bipolar. No matter what we have and who loves us, the holidays make us expect so much more!

This year I made sure it was different. I’m getting on a plane to go visit my dad for two weeks. It’s cheery. He’s a happy person and I know this will be my best holiday in a long time! Loneliness can happen no matter how many people are in your life. My goal is to do everything possible to make sure I’m with people I love and who help me stay stable.

Julie A. Fast is the author of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder and Get it Done When You’re Depressed. She was diagnosed with ultra rapid cycling bipolar II in 1995 and struggles daily with the illness, but has taught herself to keep going! You can read more about her work at -Julie A. Fast

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Finding a way through depression

I received this letter from a woman who has struggled with her own depression. Please pray for her and her family as they continue the healing process. Thanks,

Dear Allison,

I have a very close friend that is going through a divorce from her husband, who was just diagnosed as bipolar and manic. He hid it well, because we were all shocked when she told us. She had mentioned a few things to me before about depression, but I did not realize how serious it was.
This book really touched me because I have battled depression since I was about 19. After the birth of my first son I was put back in the hospital for a week for severe post partum depression and anxiety (the worst my Dr. had ever seen). I have been on anti-depressants since. I have an aunt that is bipolar and so I have been on both sides. Both of which are hopless and extremely difficult. My younger son was diagnosed with depression at the age of 9. After talking about killing himself we made the hard decision to put our child on medication. It's hard not to feel that it's my fault, but he is doing well now. He is almost 11.
Thank you so much for sharing. I have wanted to share my story for a long time, but not sure how. I just think that getting it out there will create the awareness that is needed for mental illness. I see it as the same as a diabetic. Their bodies don't produce enough insulin, therefore they have to take medicine to help balance it. It's no different with anti-depressants. My brain does not produce enough seratonin and I have to take meds to make me balanced and normal. I thank God everyday for the medicine that helps me be a good Mom and wife.
I just wanted you to know how much your book touched me and that I will keep you and your family in my prayers for continued wellness and happiness.
God Bless,

*names have been changed