I am not afraid any longer. Afraid of weird looks, judgmental attitudes from those that don’t understand. You see, there truly is hope in the midst of pain and peace from the battlefields of life.
I live with Bi-Polar disorder. I live with pain, unease, fear, and sometimes hopelessness. There is guilt associated with the tag of “Bi-Polar”. You see when society terms someone as mentally unfit and not worthy of living a “normal” life, you lose a bit of yourself. This hopelessness from years of traversing one manic episode after another and yet being reminded of one’s purpose leaves the sufferer with a sort of life crisis. I think I passed the point of “life crisis” years ago and have been delicately balancing myself on this cliff edge, God pulling me back time after time.
Suicide has never been an option nor have I wished that pain on myself and loved ones. To take oneself out of the worldly equation just seems so self seeking and selfish for lack of a better word. My struggle has been more with the “highs” than the “lows”. Mania is a part of the illness, something that comes with the condition of Bi-Polar disorder. There have been times of making poor life choices, spending money I didn’t have, and making decisions hastily while certainly not thinking any of it through.
I am not afraid to admit I have needed help more times than I can remember. I have a loving wife and family who all understand my condition. I have a brother who understands my condition and experiences the same trials of his own. I see a psychiatrist. I get treated for Bi-Polar and have chosen to go down the path of pharmaceutical help. I take my meds regularly and for the most part, I’m at a pretty steady pace of life right now. It’s a careful balance and yet I am walking out over the fire without getting burned.
The stories of my disorder and the things I’ve been through could fill pages. Yet, I somehow have come out on top and have been able to function normally for years. Sure, there are times of discomfort, pain, and unpredictable moods but I am making do with it.
The purpose of this blog post isn’t to scare readers and friends off or create this impression of inner turmoil but rather to encourage other sufferers of Faith to come forward and admit their struggles. It’s not easy, I know. People look at you strangely and those that don’t understand probably still won’t understand when you come forward.
There IS help, their is an answer to your pain. You can turn to God, the Bible, Professional help and not be ashamed to do so. It’s never easy to admit your faults. An illness is just that, an illness. All of mankind is plagued with the unease of an illness whether that be the common cold, flu, disease, cancer, PTSD, heck even Christians can get AIDS/HIV. Don’t run. Don’t hide. Don’t be afraid. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. Suicide from mental anguish should never be the answer to one’s pain. The escape from responsibility and those who love you unconditionally shouldn’t be the end all answer to grief, mental fatigue.
A message to those that don’t understand Mental Illness. Just realize those of us “Broken” people try to live as normally as the next guy or girl. You may see a smile on the face, that perfect projected image and think, “wow, this guy has it altogether. there isn’t anything wrong with him”, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Prayer is amazing and something I strongly believe in but don’t throw that at the sufferer like it’s the ONLY option. Answered prayer is incredible. God’s guiding hands can work through people like Doctors, Nurses, Hospitals, and those in the profession of dealing with Mental illness. I’ve read things from Christians, heard for myself on the street, and seen it in action…many people just don’t understand mental illness. How can a man or woman of God be depressed? How can a man or woman of God be in mental pain when they are seeking biblical truths?
“Mania is weird” says the person who has struggled with other earthly pain and illness yet doesn’t understand how the brain can also be grief stricken. There are a lot of things I don’t understand, I am after all only human. I am still learning, still growing in my Faith and learning to deal with things. Don’t turn someone away because you don’t understand their illness. Love the least of these.
There is hope. Pain won’t end overnight nor will it will be completely washed away but there is hope in the battle. I have learned to deal with it through my family, my loved ones, my Faith in Christ, medicine help, psychiatric care, and hearing other stories from those that suffer. I want and I desire to see a whole generation come to grips with mental illness and deal with before it’s too late for those walking off the straight and narrow path. Give hope to those that need it. Join with me in saying, “I am not afraid”, and remember – we are living with hope in the midst of pain……