Remission

I went to the psychiatrist on Tuesday. I go every couple of months. I had a couple of things to discuss with him, but he asked me if I’ve had any mood swings. I was happy to report that I haven’t.

On my way out, I was given a sheet with my visit information on it. On that form, right at the top said ‘Diagnosis: Bipolar – in remission.’ Wow! That came as a surprise to me. I hadn’t considered that there was such a thing as remission.

I was diagnosed 15 years ago. I have had a constant roller coaster of moods and energy levels for all that time. It’s been hard, and sometimes hellish. It’s a huge relief to be off that coaster at this time.

I think a few things contributed to it. One was letting go off substances that altered my mood. Even so, I still had mood swings, but less.

Another thing is nutrition. I’m eating healthier foods. Fewer processed foods and more vegetables. I take a vitamin consistently.

I cannot over emphasize the contribution exercise makes to leveling out my moods. It increases my energy, gives me a sense of well being, and an outlet for my emotions.

I hope my illness remains manageable, but if it doesn’t, then I pray I will evaluate what’s going on in my life and make adjustments to keep these things, the sobriety, the nutrition, and workouts as a constant in my life.

Finally, being in a relationship that is  caring, affirming, and nurturing raises me up a few levels. I’m so grateful God saw fit to bring my fiance into my life.

Remission

All Forms of Addiction

I was told once by someone close to me that they wouldn’t support me in my endeavor to be sober until I gave up ALL my addictions. They listed food, soda and coffee in addition to any prescription or over the counter medications or alcohol.

That was disheartening for me at the time because I was addicted to all kinds of things. I tucked it in and worked toward dealing with the addictions that were ruining my life.

I once had a therapist who said I could be free of addictions when my life was in balance. I was in a pretty awful situation at the time, and neither had the will nor the ability to be free.

After my separation, I moved in with my parents. They provided a healthy model for living. They didn’t tolerate my chemical addictions, but they loved me and nurtured me back  to health. They were supportive. They focused on the positive. I know it was hard for them. They believe, and I agree, that I would be dead now if things had stayed the same.

God began to heal me spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. It was a slow process.

Lately, I’ve realized that it has begun to happen. I’ve shed many addictions including food, coffee, soda, any kinds of pills, alcohol. I don’t have cravings. I’m not suffering. My psychiatrist says I’m in remission from the bipolar symptoms.

But, I have also realized that I still have addictions. The one I feel I must focus on is being addicted to videos. If I could free myself up from this, I think my quality of life would improve, and I could focus on things that matter. I’m not saying I won’t watch anything, but rather just decrease the amount to a more healthy level.

I say that here and now, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to deal with this. And it is greatly improved since I’m in school and working out more. I’ll be praying about it and come up with a plan soon.

It’s nice to feel I have the ability to handle any addiction. I know that ability comes from the Lord.

All Forms of Addiction

Educating Others

When I first started writing this blog, I thought the information I had could be used by others to help people with mental illness. Today, I find that I haven’t been able to do that to any great extent. Maybe it’s my style of writing. Maybe it’s really not possible for people to understand.

When I think about the portion of time I was very ill, I don’t understand it, but I do have empathy. I know I did the best I could at the time. I still think back, see myself asleep on the couch and will that person to just get up.

I wanted to get up. I prayed. I made lists. I set goals. Yet I couldn’t lift a finger to help myself.

That, I’ve written about before. What I am getting  at is this: the church needs to get a strategy for helping these people, and, while it’s hard to identify with, it is possible to empathize with.

Empathy is something Jesus did very well. Matthew tells us how Jesus, “when he saw the crowds, . . . had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

If we are to reach out to mentally ill people, we should try to be like Jesus. We don’t have to understand each person’s situation. I think what needs to happen is that the church educates itself about mental illness and accept that  these people have limitations that make it difficult for them to do what other people  do. Also, to accept that mental illness is a disease that operates out of a physical problem in the brain.

Have you ever heard of a family who refused to get their child medical attention out of religious beliefs? When the child dies, the parent goes to jail. I attended a church that wanted me to go off my bipolar medication. I think that was ignorance on their part, but it was incredibly reckless and irresponsible.

I’m hard on the church, I know. The church does many things well. I only hope to shine a light on an area the church could do better. There is no one on the earth who can love the unlovely like Christ’s church.

Educating Others