The way those with bipolar disorder live their lives seems to be a tough hand. In most mental illness forums I’m a part of, many are complaining of one thing or another surrounding the disorder. I don’t mean to sound proud but I scratch my head. Am I missing something? Am I supposed to be crippled in my head and have bouts of depression and mania from time to time? I guess I’m either blessed or else I could pass as normal because my daily medication seems to work. On the down side, this leaves me with little material to draw from, other than my past episodes (I’ve had a total of 2). So when I was bad I was really really bad, and I am sure as heck grateful to be symptom-free right now. However, how am I so stable? How is my life running so much smoother than the thousands living in the grasp of the monster known as bipolar?
First and foremost, by the grace of God. He is the reason why I’m doing well and have the right dosage. It would be a cop-out to call it pulling myself by my bootstraps and an insult to the One who single-handedly saved my life from the pit of hell, literally and figuratively. There is no coincidence that I have come across the exact amount and combination I need to function like a normal person. (And when I say normal I mean someone who doesn’t have a mental illness – no one is fully normal but you get my drift.)
Secondly, I worked with the doctors and risked trying different medications. For the majority of the time of trial and error, the doctors had me on stuff that didn’t work and it prolonged my recovery and healing. But God is so good, He redeemed the time I spent as a nut on those failed trials and has been faithful to have me on the right medication and dosage and in my right mind for the past five years, and collectively 13 years if I include the time between Episode 1 and Episode 2.
Thirdly, counseling. I worked out my problems and issues, past hurts, guilt, shame, insecurity and issues, and of course I still have hang-ups. But there is wisdom in godly counsel. In finding licensed Christian counselors, they’ve given me the confidence and clarity I needed at times when a good look in the mirror saved me from forgetting who I was and remind me who I was called to be. We all need a good shock from our own little worlds from time to time. This is life, and with the routine of work and family, sometimes we need a good sober reminder to live. Live fully.
So how would you know you’re living fully and functioning at your prime if you are not mad in mania but stable in reality? We can be stable and still miss the point. Living with intention and purpose is more than having a pulse. We are selling ourselves short thinking this is all there is. I am definitely realizing that there is a surface to life that seems okay but on the underside of it all, much more can be revealed. Case in point: the other night I called out to God, He answered me, told me to put Facebook away, “You shall have no other gods before me” and boom, there you have it. Pure revelation. So this is living. I’m learning to hear God’s voice. I’m stretching my faith. I’m obeying out of love for God. And what an adventure it is! Quite a contrast from my momentary addictions to Facebook notifications every hour. I had been putting all my eggs in the wrong basket.
I’m going to invest in more revelation, obedience and living abundantly. After all, even if I’m normal what am I gaining? I might as well be struggling with the highs and lows of the disorder. No, that is not where I am, that’s my past. I choose to live boldly, beyond the label of bipolar. I am brave, without being subject to a bruised ego. I am stepping off the platform of bipolar and standing on the rock of life.