Rebuilding a Bipolar Life

spiritual_meditation

Rebuilding a life is not easy. I am not the first person to venture out and attempt it and I surely won’t be the last. But when it is “you” it sure seems like an uphill battle. When I started this journey I said to myself, “What the heck is the first step I am going to take? Where do I start?” The answer came back in various forms but eventually it led me to write a plan. Not like some extensive business plan, but something where I could look at my life split up into categories.

It’s not the least controversial but I started a thoughtful process of thinking about my “spiritual self.”  Bottom-line is I figured out that I was/am mad at “God.”  Even though I will be the first to tell you that I prayed daily when I was on the verge of suicidal depression. Without my faith I don’t know if I could have made it.

But then as time passed I began to ask why God would ever allow bipolar disorder to destroy my life? Some people have suggested that you need someone to blame for the bad stuff that happened so it is very natural to blame God. They say he can take whatever you need to dish out—so blame away. But the problem with it is it does not provide a sense of relief or a salve for the wounds. It’s just a place to put anger.

My spiritual side also includes my “heart’s passions” too. I don’t know about you but when I am depressed I have very little passion for anything.  My spiritual self just seems dead, like I am a “numb” shell of myself walking around without any feeling, except sadness. Since I have spent so much of my time in the past six years in and out of depressive episodes, my zest for life went on strike.

I discovered breathing life back into my spiritual self was/is crucial for rebuilding my life. How can I have the strength and courage to push forward in other areas of my life without having a solid foundation of spiritual strength to draw from?

The first step in changing anything is recognizing you need to change it. I began asking myself a series of questions. What do I do about my anger with God? Do I see a traditional pastor and have him pray with me? Do I seek out a new church and sing along with religious songs? Do I take a walk in the park and curse God? How do I resolve these spiritual wounds?

As with the other areas of my life I am rebuilding, it all starts with one small step at a time. I may have a vision in the future where I am really in touch with my spiritual self and all of my anger issues with God have been resolved. I am working in that direction, but I am not quite there yet. I have learned this journey is a very long one and as I work to breath life into my existence I can work on all areas of my life at one time. I seriously doubt I am the first person to ever blame God for this nasty mental illness.

My spiritual being is very important to me and perhaps just knowing I have the passion and desire to make these necessary changes are proof that my spirit is very much alive and well. I am less angry with God now that I have really learned to accept “what is.” I may not like what has happened to me because of bipolar disorder, but I do need to accept it.  Spiritually, I can feel myself living once again.

 

 

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21 thoughts on “Rebuilding a Bipolar Life

  1. My zest for life was on strike for years, too. You are so right. We need a solid rock to hold onto, and there’s nothing better than our God for that. Our strength does come from Him, and all things are possible with Him. We are over-comers! 🙂

    Its clear that you are well on your way for the greatest healing you could ever know. Seek Him and He will guide you into a place of peace you’ve never known before. I’m finding that holding on to our Creator and my faith in Christ keeps me grounded. I have structure, guidelines for a great life and the next life to follow.

    Acceptance is the hardest part for us. It is also the greatest reward too. My faith has helped me learn to love myself again and to understand who I am. We are forever learning, and with each day comes new opportunities to bless the world with our own individuality. I think its awesome that you are sharing these things. People need that light-a hope. We need to be reminded we are not alone.
    Thank you for this post. ❤

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    1. Thank you Amanda for your kind words and for sharing your perspective. It is so important to hear how others are handling the spiritual challenges we face as survivors of bipolar disorder. I am grateful you have found your way through your faith to a peaceful place. I congratulate you for your willingness to learn acceptance and find your peace through that process. Thanks again for sharing!

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  2. Amy,
    Beautifully written as always. We learn in business to write our goals down. How can you achieve without direction, I’m happy your business sense drove you that direction. Like you, I spent years mad at God during different times in my life. It’s natural but that doesn’t make us feel any better. For me it brought some quilt, how can I be mad at God, he sacrificed is his son so we can live. To regain control you have to take a first step if working from a plan or not. You achieved a pinnacle of success most of us will not experience. Not doubt the expectations put on you added to the stress which can trigger the severe swings of Bipolar Disorder. For me, knowing something logically didn’t help when all I want is death or to play in the biggest playground. You have struggled with the high of highs of Bipolar and the low of lows. I didn’t ever lose touch, drive to the mountains and walk up thinking I new what to do. Just like your Olympic career you went as high with your Bipolar. I can’t imagine where my ego would be twenty years ago in your position to get a kick in the ass by a disorder you can’t see. I would have fought it like crazy. I was at the height of my career and fought so hard to hide the struggle, the stress cause me to plunge deeper. There are no clear cut answers for this lifelong disease we have. What is black and white is the diagnosis code and definition of our disorder. We have our past experiences to pull from, everything else is new each struggle we go through. It’s not black and white that we’ll take the first step every time. We know plenty who are stuck and the disease drives them. I believe we have two things in common, we took one step then another, while still working hard on our own struggles, we reached out to others. Opening myself, shame, quilt, insecurities, warts and all, to others is the most fulfilling step I’ve ever taken. Scary yes, no more scary than our past, if you offer your hand with an open heart there is no wrong move. You blog has helped many people and no doubt will continue. You are brave and you are worthy.

    Your friend-Hugs. 🙂

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    1. Looking for the Light,
      I thank you tremendously for your heartfelt comment and subsequent compliment. Thank you for sharing your perspective and experience. You are so right, there is nothing black and white about this journey–after you get that diagnostic code. That’s what I found myself asking today, “So what are the mental health professionals doing about helping people recover?” Answer? “I don’t know.” I know we have to help ourselves one step at a time. I did have a hard time with reaching a high level of success and then finding myself caught up in the perceived failure of illness, but I have learned there is no such thing as a failure when it comes to being sick. Sickness is not about winning and losing, but fighting the bipolar battle to get well is very much about beating it. Thank you again for your comment…you made my day!

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  3. Hey amiga!!! I just tweeted this post. It really resonated with me, as does all of your posts.

    I’m not “religious” per se (I was born Jewish but I wasn’t educated in my faith; I tried Christian & New Age churches but those various attempts didn’t work out either) so I just pray to a amorphous, loving God. That’s it.

    Anywhooooo – I’m SO glad you are feeling yourself come life once again and that you’re being proactive too. Those are both two huge things to really celebrate – you’re on your way, Amy. Even for the so-called “normies” life is always going to be hard, but knowing yourself and accepting “what is” is ginormously positive. Be proud of yourself – the bp parts and all!!!!

    Talk to you soon! XO, Dy

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    1. Hi Dyane my kindred spirit!
      Thank you for tweeting my post! 🙂 I don’t think I’m really religious anymore, just a spiritual being trying to find my way. You are so right, the “normal” people have some similar struggles with all this stuff too. That’s what I am finding as I listen to tapes about confidence and self-esteem. It seems to me that I may have a little more confidence and a little better self-esteem than I first thought. But I am so determined to make the most of this journey to really “get well” and thrive! Thank you my friend for just being who you are…a sweet, wonderful person!

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      1. Unfortunately the medical community doesn’t have the time to educate us. I can dump on my Therapist, get a perspective and take another step. One thing I have learned to do is look for presentations doctors are giving to other doctor or the FDA on the topic. You can really learn a tremendous amount. Reading Wiki or Mayo.Com isn’t going to give you all the backside nor the vision of the future. It took a while to master the art of finding the information, when I do it’s priceless. I subcribe to the online newsletter for New England Journal of Medicine. You only get a snap shot for the free version, but it tells me it’s out there.Then I see what I can find. I want legit information, I only trust certain sources for information. I hope you have a great Therapist you can dump on and at the same time knows when the pity part needs to end. You have a unique background, chances are you can find someone to reach out to or how has a referral. You have the extra burden of your big slide, it’s not a failure, no matter what we tell ourselves. I read your post since day one.You are facing your demons, learning to accept, looking at what you want you future to look like and taking responsibility for moving forward. No one can make the journey alone. You are very smart Amy, I have no doubt you will continue to learn and let the past go. I had to let my past go, build who I am today. I to accept who I am and truth is I’m a much happier compassionate person. I longer hate or blame myself. That was a big hurdle for me.
        Hugs 🙂

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      2. I would like to print your lovely comment out and post it on our fridge, Amy! :))) It makes me happy. I just wish I knew how to work the darn printer – it’s Craig’s and it’s always baffling me. let’s chat soon! (((hugs)))

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  4. This is such a lovely post. Recently I’ve been trying to focus more on the spiritual side of recovery and it’s so great to hear how beneficial you’ve found it to be yourself! You’re so brave to have taken the steps that you have done and are nothing but an inspiration to myself and countless others! All the best in your continuing quest for contentment in life may that be with or without God 🙂

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  5. I feel like I can relate.. I don’t have bipolar, but I have schizophrenia and deep clinical depression.. At one time the depression was so bad that I was chronically suicidal, and the schizophrenia just made me weird enough to turn off any supports I had left at the time..

    So far I’ve rebuilt my friend and family connections. I’m still working on the spiritual side of things. I’m not so angry at God in my circumstances as I am mistrustful of my own experiences and emotions. Worried that feeling some greater connection is going to skew way out and take me with it to a place I can’t get back from.

    It really is hard to rebuild your life.. but I think its worth it!

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    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement and good for you for rebuilding your life. I can understand why you could feel mistrustful–I have experienced psychosis and that has left me feeling the same way at various times in my life. It will all work it’s way out in due time. I am glad you are reading my blog and thanks for adding to the discussion. Kind regards, Amy

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  6. Informative post, thank you. I’ve never had a ‘plan’. Just blunder from one crisis to the next. I know my warning signs and triggers. I can say my first step to good health was in leaving my husband – that was no blunder, I assure you. 🙂 But I still do the ‘one day at a time thing’. What aspects should I consider for a plan? Is there a time frame to the plan? I’m sorry for all the questions. It goes without saying, reply if or when you want to or can

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  7. I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I feel that your blog does shed a great deal of light to people who are suffering with mental illness. You try and show us to way to healthier living. If you would like to accept this nomination, then you can stop by my blog to see the rules and so forth. Until them, keep bringing us light.

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  8. A beautifully done piece, Amy. I have been angry with God in the past too. Much of what you said here resonates with me. I kept asking Him why He let this happen to me. The only answer I got was He did not do this to me, it just happened, the same way in a sense that people might develop diabetes. The challenge I felt He gave me is: now what are you going to do about it? Learn from it, grow stronger from dealing with it and use it to help others who are struggling. So I am trying my best.

    That’s exactly what you’re doing, Amy. So I hope you keep writing and being a voice of hope out here in blogland.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective. It is always empowering to know that we are not alone in this journey and others have felt the same way. I appreciate your kind words about my blog. I plan to continue writing because it is so helpful to both me and others. Thanks again for commenting.

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  9. Wonderful post, and thank you so much for sharing. I struggle with depression and it is so true that we lose our joy and love of things that we normally enjoy when we are not struggling with the ‘downs.’

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    1. Hi Linda,
      Thanks for your kind words. I know the journey can be tough at times. I hope your health is okay and you get to experience the good times with a light heart and a joyful outlook. All the best and thanks for commenting.

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