Review – A Firm Place To Stand by Marja Bergen

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 She describes how God transformed her from an insecure, withdrawn person into a leader, an activist, and the founder of Living Room, the growing Christian support group for people with mood disorders.

A Firm Place To Stand: Finding Meaning In A Life With Bi-Polar Disorder is the personal memoir of Marja Bergen, who suffered for many years with this illness. Through proper diagnosis, a circle of support and her own faith, she describes how she came to live a happy and normal life.

I thought this book was wonderful, in how it describes and explains the effects and symptoms of Bi-Polar disorder. It also sheds light on why so many people may feel ashamed to seek help, because of the negative way that society views mental illness. Also there is always the chance of misdiagnosis and/or the prescribing of medications that may actually worsen the condition.

Marja’s tale is that of a survivor, and even though there is no permanent cure for Bi-Polar disorder, by writing this memoir of her life-long battle, the author has taken a huge step towards helping others. Only by education and information will the disease be better understood.

About The Author
Award winning writer Marja Bergen has lived with bipolar disorder for over forty years. She has been helping people who suffer from mood disorders since 1999 when she published her first book, Riding the Roller Coaster (Northstone). She is an outspoken proponent of better church support for people with mental illness. Her blog is at and she can be reached at for more information or to speak to your group.

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


Literary Feline said...

This sounds like an interesting book, Joanne. One of my high school friends suffers from BiPolar Disorder. She was diagnosed when we were about 15.

My uncle was told he had Bi-Polar Disorder a few years ago, but I urged him to seek a second opinion. I'm familiar enough with the illness to know he probably had been misdiagnosed. Sure enough, he had been.

I'll have to look up for this one.

naida said...

this does sound like an intense book, great review.