I just looked over some admission documents from the last hospitalization I underwent almost five years ago. Wow, what I was missing! I thought I was right the whole time. Ha!
On August 31, 2012, I voluntarily admitted myself to a behavioral hospital. It was an experience unlike my first hospitalization at 16. Not only was I in the adult unit at 24 years old, but I was more manic and psychotic than ever. Starting in June that year, I gradually weaned myself off my medications without the official OK from the doc. Sadly, I thought I could control my bipolar while off the medicine. But this was not a miracle and no, I wasn’t healed. I imagine God could laugh at the degree of a stumble and complete nose-dive into the ground this was.
Here are 20 things I would tell my past self that I wish I knew then:
- Get ready for a battle, your faith is going to be tested.
- Let God fight it for you.
- Stand firm.
- There is NOTHING to fear, except the fear you perpetuate when you are fearful (but if that becomes a vicious cycle and you have to fear, it’s okay, God’s bigger)
- Relish the positive feelings of mania. They don’t last forever.
- You’re not getting a divorce, so quit trying.
- You’re going to have a successful life, marriage, career, family. Just chill out!
- It’s not the end of the world. I know you think it is, but it isn’t!
- Angels do exist. Whether or not she was your guardian angel, at least you have one.
- You feel the presence of God strongest because He is there with you. (just not in the flesh. Sorry, The Shack was a novel)
- You can trust your husband. He loves you more than anyone else.
- Don’t listen to the lies that you know in your gut are lies.
- Trust your God-given right to have your own opinion!
- Keep calling on Jesus. He is the answer for everything. He is your everything.
- People will take advantage of you. Find ways to eliminate that.
- Be honest with the doctors. Don’t tell them you feel great when you really don’t. They can see through all that fluff and it won’t get you out any sooner.
- I know you want to go home, but you won’t be home until you are well. Even if you were physically home, you still wouldn’t be home until you are well. So get well.
- Record your singing. You have an awesome voice and great ability to improvise.
- Don’t think you’re more gifted than you really are. Your vanity is showing.
- Write that book. And publish.
I’m remembering when and looking forward simultaneously. By making peace with my past, I’m making friends with my worst enemy: myself. The best advice I can give to the me of 5 years ago, well, that’s it in a nutshell.