The Psych Ward + 1

A Word from Curt

Speaking to the DeRidder Lion’s Club about our latest book, As the Crow Flies.  I love sharing with Civic Clubs about our books and stories. Right now, I’m concentrating on “The Crow” and also A Spent Bullet, our historical novel on The 1941 Louisiana Maneuvers. If you’d like me to speak to your group (civic groups, book clubs, senior adult luncheons), contact me at 

The Psych Ward plus 1 year 

Wow! That’s a post title that’ll catch your attention.  When you mention you’ve spent a sojourn in a psych ward, it always gets a double take.

A year ago, in January 2017, I checked myself into a mental health facility, aka a psych ward.  I was in deep depression and my life was hanging in the balance.  I walked in with shoes with no laces, and walked out on my own ten days later.

It was hell.

But it was where I needed to be.

I truly believe it saved my life.  I came under the care of good medical care who helped get me back on my feet.  As I told one of my friends the day I checked out.  “I’m a broken man, but I’ve never been stronger.”

I also described it this way: “I’ve got a bloody nose, but I’m back on my feet.”

Event though I was back on my feet, much of 2017 was spent battling depression, and battling is the correct word.

I call it “The Black Dog” and it chased me, nipping at my heels for most of the year.

By the grace of God, and a strong circle of support, I’m regaining my mental health and I’m living with a deep gratitude for the joy that has returned to my life.

As I get the courage, I’ll write a transparent ebook about this past year’s journey. I plan to title it In the Wilderness.

That’s what it felt like.  The wilderness.  Dry. Alone. Sad. At times hopeless.

But looking back, I was never alone. I’m convinced the reason I survived was the concentric circle team I was surrounded by. I want to mention this and encourage you, no matter what storm you’re facing, to surround yourself with such a team.

This is a rough sketch of my team from my journal. Notice how they pass as ripples and widen. The closest members of my team are at the epicenter, but each circle has been a part of my healing. Wherever you fit in on these concentric circles, I say thank you with the deepest gratitude.

Curt’s Concentric Team Circle


Circle One

My sweet relationship with Jesus. I’ve followed Him as Lord (Boss) of my life since since giving him my life as a teenager. Following Jesus is not insurance against the storms of life, including depression.  On my deepest, darkest nights of depression, I felt for His presence and often felt alone, but I wasn’t. I just felt that way. He was holding me, even carrying me.

I’ve adopted a unique verse (Luke 9:51) from the Bible where it says Jesus “set his face towards Jerusalem.”  It was at that moment, he turned his steps and heart towards Jerusalem where he knew disgrace and death awaited him.

In Dry Creek parlance, Jesus gritted his teeth and set up in the direction he knew was his destiny. Almost daily, I pray to him,  “Jesus, let’s you and I walk to Jerusalem together.”  It’s a simple prayer that gives me great peace and strength.

I’ve include my precious wife, DeDe, in that first circle. I don’t know what I’d do without her. She patiently and lovingly walked beside me during this difficult part of the journey. I can honestly say I’ve never loved her more, nor respected her more deeply.  She is the steady rock of my life.

Circle Two

My Family

My family, especially our three boys and their wives, came to our rescue during that bleak time in January. Clay, Clint, and Terry were there for me.  Just as importantly, they were there for their Mom. I’ll never get over Terry leaving Harvard for a week to “come home” and be present.

My Mom and sisters and their families encouraged me. I’ll always cherish notes and posts from my nephews and nieces during this time. My precious uncles and aunts also provided support.

My Church Family

I don’t know what people do without a church family at The Gathering Place-Wardville. Your church family will stand by you through thick and thin. Because I was honest and transparent with them, they were free to minister to DeDe and me.

Circle 3

My Doctors

I’m thankful for three doctors who’ve formed a team to get me well, and hopefully, keep me there. I’m equally grateful for medications that help bring a person out of the darkness.

I was fortunate to become a patient of a Baton Rouge psychiatrist, Enrique Flechas. He has worked hard to find the find medications and doses to heal my mind and body.

Everyone needs counseling at some time in their lives and it’s not a weakness to seek this out professionally. Dr. Hugh Bryan fills this place on my team.  I don’t see Dr. Bryan often, but he is always available to offer counsel and help me better understand my journey.

Finally, Greg Bevels has served as my G.P. since my return from Africa. He is both my doctor and friend. I love the man he is and how he listens well and speaks truth into my life.

Circle 4

My Lifetime Friends

I could name dozens, but I’ll mention one: James Newsom.  James, a special friend since college, refused to let go of me during this season. Depressed people want to be left alone (Isolaton is a mark of the disease). James Newsom refused to let me separate myself from his friendship.  There truly is a friend that sticks closer than a brother, and in my life, his name is James.

Circle 5

My Young Friends

Most of my new friends in Alexandria are below forty. It’s been neat to have this “Iron sharpens iron” relationship with these young men.  They’d tell you I’m mentoring them, but truthfully, they are the mentors. Their encouragement has lifted my spirit over and over.

Circle 6

The widest circle: My Prayer Warriors

Because I’m kind of a public figure through my books, writing, and speaking, I’m blessed with thousands of people who care for me.  The morning I checking into the Psych Ward, I wrote a short post begging these friends to pray for me.  Read it here. 

These prayer warriors prayed, and continue to faithfully do so.

In the 21st century, we are prone to underestimate the power, and need, for prayer. It moves the hand of God and changes lives. Thank you for praying for me.

In closing, I want to encourage you to form a team around you. Your team will be different from mine, but you need it, even if things are going perfect in your life.  There are storms coming and your team will help you stand upright in the strong winds that buffet all of us.

Living Gratefully,


Pray for me to seek God’s direction on writing In the Wilderness. Even though it will be (maybe) be a short book and only in ebook form for now, it may be the most important thing I’ll ever write. Pray that I’ll be willing to be transparent, honest, and encouraging in a way that helps others.

You can purchase your copy of As the Crow Flies here or on Amazon in paperback, large print, or ebook. The Audible and Braille versions are coming soon!




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