Why I Participate in Research and What I Have Gained

By Mert H.

As I shared once a little of my story of family history of illness, trauma, bipolar disorder, recovery and interest in serving others, with an acquaintance who was a therapist by profession, she asked me, “Do you see yourself as mentally ill?”

“I see myself as a poet” was my reply.

She smiled.

A poem well done is a masterpiece, a work of art. I have found that in reflecting on the history of my ups and downs, the mountains of mania have been made low and the valleys of depression have been lifted up. I am not a systematic scientist. Rather than research the details of my illness, I revel in how personal ruins and emotional ruins enable me to identify with others.

Soon after beginning participation in the Prechter Longitudinal Bipolar Research Study, I began work in Community Mental Health as a Peer Support Specialist on a Health & Wellness Team. Both of these opportunities have prompted a simpler and more joyous participation in my own recovery.

Through research in the Prechter Longitudinal and related studies, I have had the opportunity to understand myself better, more daily at times, than past therapy had enabled. This has enabled me to think through what really works for me and what does not.

As I have gained an understanding of what works for me in various situations, I have been more able to identify with others with similar histories, walk along beside them and lift them up.

Because of my faith in Jesus, self-reflection is crucial to enjoying the fullness of His mercy to me and others. I am less likely to criticize others once I have seen my own weaknesses. We are each more apt then to find healing as we explore life and how we may recover together in a prayerful manner. The following poems together summarize how this healing has worked.


A Progression

Weakness is the beginning of true prayer.
Prayer, the entry point of hope.
Hope, the fountainhead of faith.
Faith, the basis for purity.
Purity, the realm of peace.
Peace, the fruit of persistence.
Persistence, the essence of strength.
Strength, the chief sign of growth.
Growth, the path of life.
Life, the arena of joy.
Joy, the proof of true love.
Love, the goal and sum of all eternal blessing.



For doubt, swallow the whole truth.
For laziness, toil ‘til tired.
For exhaustion, sleep well.
For insomnia, dream of peace.
For sadness, smile at children.
For anxiety, pray faithfully.
For greed, apply generosity.
For insecurity, seek refuge.
For fear, cultivate trust.
For loneliness, love freely.
For haste and hurry, wait patiently on the Healer.


Bear One Another's Burden's

Oh, how I wish that I could hear your cries,
and wipe the tears from both your glistening eyes:
As if by listening, calm your aching sighs,
As if to mourn for every death you've died.

I'd want to take away a bit of pain and hurt
and wash away from wounds the stinging dirt.
And then make known the Father's worth,
His love, and how He gives you noble birth.

We'd trust Jesus for healing that will come
and thank Him for the victory that He's won.
The Spirit helps us in the race we run
and guides us to the Kingdom of the Son.

In bearing one another's burdens laws are kept,
For we share the loss for which we've wept.


Read more on Mert's blog.