I have suffered from a mental illness since I was 17. I was diagnosed with severe depression/anxiety in my senior year of high school. However, 8 years later I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and after learning about the disorder suddenly I realized I had been bipolar since I was 17. All my erratic behaviors and mood swings totally made sense after the bipolar diagnosis.
It wasn’t long after my initial diagnosis of depression that I became a cutter. I cut because it made the mental pain go away. I cut because in a sick, twisted way it made me feel better. I wasn’t a Christian at this point despite having grown up in church. I was so lost, so out of it. I just didn’t want to live anymore. So I began cutting more and more. But I never got as far as cutting to end my life. But I had the tendencies. So my family placed me in the hospital. I spent a week there and was placed on medication.
I came home. The medication made me numb. I didn’t feel depressed anymore but I didn’t feel happy either. I was a zombie. So they changed my medication. It made things a little better, I guess.
Fast forward to March of 2003. I was home on break from college. I was at church listening to an evangelist speak. And that was the day I gave my life to the Lord. He made a statement that has stayed with me to this very day:
You can be 99% sure (about being saved) but you’re still 100% lost.
I knew immediately that despite my years of church going…despite me attending a Bible college….despite all the head knowledge….I didn’t have the heart knowledge. I was lost. I was a sinner. I needed God’s grace. And so I gave my life to the Lord. Now don’t get me wrong….just because I was now a Christian didn’t mean all my troubles went away…..it doesn’t work like that. But I now had Someone who would always be there and always help me through the problems.
Fast forward to January 2008. I had fallen back into a deep depression. It was miserable. I hated life. I wasn’t where I needed to be with my walk with God. I had backslidden. My feelings were starting to scare me so I decided to check myself into a hospital to get help. It wasn’t easy and I had second thoughts once I got there. I tried to leave but I wasn’t able to. And I’m glad I didn’t. I got the help I needed and I got the correct diagnosis: I was bipolar. Suddenly it just all made sense.
I was put on a medication specifically for bipolar and then other medications for the depression and anxiety.
What is like to be bipolar? Well for me I get agitated super easily, when I’m having an episode I’ll tend to go on mini shopping sprees with what little money I have. I have a hard time sitting still (I’m ADD as well). My moods will be everywhere. I can be super happy about something and then be triggered and get down very very quickly. Being around me during an episode is not really easy for people. And I don’t blame them. I tend to try to keep to myself when I’m having an episode so I don’t make others miserable.
But I found God again. I got back on track with Him. But then I fell again. And again. Until finally in July of 2017….5 months ago….I fell in love with Jesus. I got on my knees and I prayed to Him and confessed all my problems, all my sins and just laid it down before Him and I finally got serious about God. For the first time since my initial salvation in 2003.
Is it hard being a bipolar Christian? Yes. Yes, it’s extremely hard and I struggle with it every single day. Some days are harder than others. But I know that God is with me. God has my back. God’s got great plans for me.
I just can’t wait to find out what they are!