Author: Lisa Graas
•11/11/2004 04:21:00 AM
Catholics with Bipolar Disorder has a new and very important member. We have a new spiritual director and his name is Brother Steven with the Redemptorists of New Orleans. God bless Brother Steven and God bless the Redemptorists for allowing him to join our group.
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/04/2004 08:46:00 AM
Well, it's been a couple of weeks, now, and I'm feeling much better. How glad I am to get off the meds! Actually, I've been taken off two meds completely and I'm still on three: Lithium, Wellbutrin and Lamictal.

I used to think that people who went off their meds were, well, crazy! Now I realize that, for me anyway, the side effects just aren't worth it. I am less able to function on the meds than I am off the meds (so far.) We'll see how it goes.

Author: Lisa Graas
•10/26/2004 03:54:00 PM
I'm starting to hear things now. Would that it could choirs of angels or at least the classical music I used to hear. Now the things I am hearing are frightening sounds. I don't want to talk about it.
Author: Lisa Graas
•10/26/2004 02:00:00 PM
On the outside, I don't know what people see in me. I know what I see in myself. I see someone who is struggling to maintain sanity..........wondering what those muffled voices mean.......unable to process information without getting really angry about it. Just the idea that someone is making me use my thought-processing skills to formulate an answer to something is enough to throw me into a rage.....yet, I suppress it because I know deep down that it would be abnormal and unhealthy for me to do that. That, my dear friends, is grace in action, for without grace I would not be able to do it.

So, why am I doing this? Why am I going off my medication if I am having this reaction? Well, it's because with the medication, I cannot function. Without the medication, I am horrible to live with, but at least some of the time I can function. I can care for my family although I am a grump. It's better than lying in bed all day because of fatigue.

I don't suppose anyone is ever going to understand this unless they experience it, but it is like climbing a mountain. I know, because I've climbed one before -- literally. It's the same, but harder.

I have four small children. I have to putter on somehow. I have to make it. I have to survive -- for their sake.

Author: Lisa Graas
•10/24/2004 08:13:00 PM
All about Halloween.

Surprise: Halloween's Not a Pagan Festival After All

Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day

Author: Lisa Graas
•10/24/2004 07:52:00 AM
For a long time I have been on five medications: Lamictal, Lexapro, Lithium, Abilify and Wellbutrin.

The side effects have been awful. Constant diarrhea, blurred vision and fatigue to the point of not being able to function are the worst of these. Now, at long last, I have decided to go off the medication. The medication is not helping me that much, it seems, because I still cannot function. At least when I was off medication, I had periods of hypomania where I could get things done. Now, it's constant depression and fatigue. I have four children and homeschool. I just can't do it anymore! So, with my doctor's help, I am going off meds.

So far, he has taken me completely off Lexapro and Abilify. More decreases will come. My next appointment with my pdoc is on November 2nd. Hopefully then he will go ahead and decrease my meds even more.

In the meantime, with the reduction of two meds, I am beginning to feel a little energy coming back. Thanks be to God!
Author: Lisa Graas
•10/24/2004 07:44:00 AM
Just think. What would happen if terrorists invaded the Vatican and destroyed St. Peter's Basilica ........or a throng of people?

It could happen, right?

No one I know has even mentioned it to me, but it seems to me that the Vatican would be a prime target.

Imagine if the Holy Father were murdered, heaven forbid.

Are we really taking the terrorist threat seriously? Or have we settled back down into our comfy homes and view it as entertainment on CNN?

Let us pray.

Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day
Our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.
Author: Lisa Graas
•7/17/2004 08:48:00 PM
I am doing much better!  Tomorrow, I plan to take all of the kids to Mass with me (I have four children.)  I'm just hoping and praying that I do not have a panic attack.  Fortunately, it's an 11am Mass, so I will have plenty of time to prepare.
This Sunday's readings include the story of Mary and Martha.  No doubt, most sermons will be on that story.  I choose to reflect, however, on the reading of St. Paul to the Colossians.  In this reading, St. Paul says, "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church..."
On this blog I have shared a lot about my sufferings but not nearly enough about my hope.  The hope that I have is that, by His Incarnation, I have been made able to partake of the divine nature, which means that by His Suffering on the Cross, value has been placed on my sufferings.  This value is redemptive value.  I participate in the redemption of the world, as does every Christian who rightly offers up his sufferings for this purpose.  There are two kinds of suffering, however -- redemptive suffering and wasted suffering.
Wasted suffering is that suffering which does not have redemptive value in that the person has chosen, for whatever reason, not to offer it to God to use for His divine purposes.
You may think I'm crazy for saying that suffering can be redemptive, but consider the saints who also believed it, including St. Paul who wrote of it throughout the Scriptures!  Yes, by my sufferings, souls are being saved.  Again, read what Paul wrote: " my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church...."  Consider also the words of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus: "I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul."
Of all my sacrifices, I believe my greatest are yet to come.  I pray that God will give me the grace to offer them up in a manner pleasing to Him.
If you would like to speak to me about this, or any other subject dealing with our Faith, email me at   You can also leave a comment here on the blog. 
Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•7/07/2004 05:08:00 AM
So many of us with mental disorders experience times when we do not know how to pray. Prayer seems impossible. Let these words from St. Teresa of Avila take hold and know that your prayer of silence is pleasing to God.

"... in such spiritual activity as this, the person who does most is he who thinks least and desires to do least: what we have to do is to beg like poor and needy persons coming before a great and rich Emperor and then cast down our eyes in humble expectation. When from the secret signs He gives us we seem to realize that He is hearing us, it is well for us to keep silence, since He has permitted us to be near Him and there will be no harm in our striving not to labour with the understanding... But if we are not quite sure that the King has heard us, or sees us, we must not stay where we are like ninnies, for there still remains a great deal for the soul to do when it has stilled the understanding; if it did nothing more it would experience much greater aridity and the imagination would grow more restless because of the effort caused it by cessation from thought. The Lord wishes us rather to make requests of Him and to remember that we are in His presence, for He knows what is fitting for us. "
(p. 88, Fourth Mansions, Chapter 3, Paragraph 5)

Author: Lisa Graas
•6/03/2004 11:26:00 PM
Still in a hole, I went to see my pdoc today to see what my lab results are in regard to my Lithium level. They are normal. I told him about my suicidal thoughts and he raised my Lamictal dosage from 100mg daily to 150mg daily. I'm hoping beyond hope that it will work.

My daughter Teresa is five years old. She has been having hallucinations. She is also extremely I took her to the pediatrician who recommended that she be evaluated to see if she has bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disorder??? My child??? How can this be??? I pray that it is something simple and not bipolar disorder.

It's really been great over at the Bipolar Catholic group at Yahoo. We have 62 members as of this writing. At the Catholics with Mood Disorders site at MSN, we have 25 members. I pray that St. Dymphna remains our faithful friend at that the Lord increase these memberships if it is agreeable to Him. Amen.
Author: Lisa Graas
•5/26/2004 08:30:00 PM
I've been suffering from depression for a couple of weeks, now....ever since my pdoc decreased my Wellbutrin by one-half. Thanks to the encouragement of my mother and of one of the group members at Bipolar Catholic, I was able to get to the doctor and have him raise it back up. It's still not kicked back in. I'm in a terrible hole.
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/27/2004 08:50:00 AM
Psychiatry at a Crossroads
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/25/2004 11:01:00 PM
It Runs In The Family

Gee, it's been so long since I've written, you all probably think I've dropped off the face of the earth! I'm sorry to be away so long. You know me. I take long breaks.

A lot has happened since I last wrote. My brother has developed some wildly schizophrenic symptoms. These came out of the blue. He's not had any such symptoms before. Our family is in turmoil about this.........but really not so surprised since so many in our family have mental illness. It's a blow but not a shock. I would appreciate your prayers for Mike and for my mother Betty. She is so worried, especially since he has been gone for a week and we don't know where he is. He is 47 years old.

Just a couple of weeks ago, my nephew was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Schizoaffective disorder lies in between Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia on the diagnostic spectrum. Suddenly, then, we are dealing with not one family member with mental illness........and not two, but now three in the immediate family. I consider my nephew to be immediate family. There are others in the family with mental illness. My cousin was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Another cousin's son has Bipolar Disorder. My mother's cousin has Bipolar Disorder. We think that others in the family have had it. They have passed on now. They were never diagnosed.

One of the first questions asked in a mental health exam is "Do any family members have this illness?" When I list how many in my family are affected, it seems most academic that I have it, too. If mental illness runs in your family, I would especially appreciate your comments.

Ta-Ta for now! I promise to try to write again real soon.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•2/13/2004 11:02:00 PM
Women burn, strangle and stab themselves in jail hell
Dual diagnosis is a nightmare for British inmates and prison staff.
Author: Lisa Graas
•2/13/2004 10:37:00 PM
Thank you, St. Joseph, for answering my prayer!!!
Author: Lisa Graas
•1/25/2004 01:19:00 PM
A friend shared this very powerful prayer with me and so I'm sharing it with you. I'm praying this novena this week for my family.

Prayer to St. Joseph over 1900 years old
O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the Loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach you while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

Author: Lisa Graas
•1/19/2004 11:37:00 AM
I've met so many people this weekend. One hears voices so loudly that they interfere with her prayers. Another has been unable to find the right medication for herself and so she struggles with bipolar disorder unmedicated. Her insurance won't cover her visits to a psychiatrist, so she can't go to one. Another is just returning to the Church, attending her first Mass since she was a child. There is, and has been, so much darkness in these people's lives, and yet they bring me so much light. I realize how merciful the Lord is when I see people in such dire circumstances who refuse to give up their faith. It would be so easy for them to give up, but this is not an option for them.

I have been there, too. I have been in the darkness, and to some extent I still am. I can't imagine giving up my faith in the Lord. To give up faith is to give up hope, and to give up on love, as well. To give up faith is to give up everything that God is about. Mercy, compassion, etc. Who could give that up? Some do, and it is sad to see it happen. I know a man who has given up, and now he is spiraling downward into an abyss of unhappiness. It is sad to see. Pray for him, and for all like him. There is hope.

Thanks for listening.

Love from Lisa