Depression is the part of bipolar illness nobody likes. The mania can sometimes be fun because of the great ideas, the great energy, loss of fear and anxiety, its’ just all around more fun. Until you have maxed out the credit card, took a car on a test drive and wound up in California or held 20 jobs in 2 years…one of which was as a park ranger.
Those illustrations are all true. Not necessarily of me. People aren’t comfortable with the fact that a person can do that. Nobody relates to what is going on in the head of a person experiencing mania. It seems like irresponsible sin.
It is irresponsible sin. I wouldn’t like to hide behind my illness to explain my actions, but there are things in my life I consider to be great moral failings that are due to my illness. I can’t untangle the strands and organize it into a way that makes sense.
How I would like to view it, what makes sense to me is that yes, I sin. I have sinned. I will sin. That I have a predilection to do some outrageous things when I am manic, I do not get a free pass. I have to do what everybody else does, namely to go to God to admit what I have done. To accept that it is sin. Acknowledge that there are mitigating circumstances, but, nonetheless, humbly ask for forgiveness and repent.
Repent is a funny word, I think most people don’t understand. I think I don’t understand. Essentially, what I have always been told is that repentance is a turning away from your sin…turning away and turning toward God.
So the problem is that addiction is a very difficult condition to treat. It is subject to relapse. It’s silly to quote Dr. Phil, but what he says seems true to me: Addiction is a disease that is resistant to treatment and subject to relapse
So I repent and I fail. I sin over all kinds of things. What is my hope?
My hope first is in God.
5 Why am I so depressed?
Why this turmoil within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him,
my Savior and my God.
The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Ps 42:5). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
Second, I try to learn something about prayer every day. A book I have a cherished book by Brother Lawrence called ‘Practicing the Presence of God.’ Essentially it’s a kind of journal that he walked through each day thinking of and praying to the Lord. To me that is It’s my number two book, the first one being ‘Mere Christianity‘ by CS Lewis. Both books I consider to be the very best books I have read that are easy enough to understand and meaty enough to read twice.
I digress. M
My point, regarding the book by Brother Lawrence is that for me, I need to get up every day and be deliberate in praying and seeking God to keep me separated from the thought that I can give in to the urges that plague me.
Vigilance. I have to remain vigilant. I have to pay attention. I have to be aware of what I’m thinking and feeling in order to not succumb to my urges.
I saw a therapist once who said the average urge or craving lasts about 10 seconds. That might be for normal people, but for me it’s relentless. My only hope is in the Lord.
So I feverishly seek him in my thoughts and prayers. My bible reading, my Christian author’s books.
None of this works unless there is an actual time when my will coincides with God’s. It usually involves telling myself the truth and telling him the truth.
I go to AA meetings, I take my medication. I pray and read. I get exercise and try to eat better every day.
Ultimately, I try to see what God is doing and join Him in that.
I go to AA meetings to find out from the experts how to not drink today. I read the bible to hear what God says about me, His people today.
I find current authors of bible commentary and topics to be a little too fluffy. I grin when I see a 30 year old author with children under the age of 10 write a book on parenting. It’s not that I don’t wish them well, because I do, but I found that I was an expert on those things when my kids were little and now I’m a moron.
I don’t like when a book says ‘stop stressing! Give your cares to God!’ I’m not trying to be cynical, but to me, it doesn’t answer the question of suffering. Maybe they have suffered, but it was never effective to me for a friend to say ‘just get out of bed! go for a walk!’
There is nothing I would have liked better.
Today I’m doing well. I just did a medication change. I’m up, I’m around, I’m engaged, I’m getting things accomplished. I know people hate medicine but it’s a necessary evil for me. I’m grateful, truly grateful for a means of helping me to engage in life.
It can be very dangerous business to comment on a person’s medication who is mentally ill. Dangerous and life threatening. I know it’s hard to understand, I know it seems as if medications mess people up, but the truth is that when a person is mentally ill and you tell them they shouldn’t be on their meds, and if they go off of them, the results might be something you do not want to live with.
Getting off my soapbox. If you have read so far, know you are loved.