It’s not the first time a counselor or therapist has indicated that I may be suffering from bi-polar disorder. So I suspect I was not surprised to hear it from this particular therapist. As with any disease, physical or mental, there are variations and in my case, at least at this juncture of my life, the symptoms are not as severe as they have been in past years. For that I am thankful. However, I still wrestle with its hamstringing effects.
As I had indicated in a previous post, I was planning on chronicling some of my sessions related to EMDR. However, in my most recent session, we did not get that far. Partly because a significant aspect of that therapy is recalling or stimulating emotion with particular events in the past. Something that I have not either been willing or able to do. So we moved on with a more traditional approach and that’s when we started talking about the symptoms for and actions related to bi-polar. Again, this was not a new “diagnosis” for me. But one that has come and gone based on the particular therapist I was seeing at the time. That, at least in my mind, is an indication that perhaps my symptoms are not as severe as some my experience. Then again, that is like saying my heart attack was mild compared to others – but it was still a heart attack!
Over the years I have known many Christians who are bi-polar, especially in how they live their faith. One day they may be “on fire for the Lord”, the next day they are cold and indifferent. That does not mean they are not Christian, it simply means they have not achieved balance – if indeed that is achievable. I am the same way, not only regarding my faith, but my inner being as well. Do I yearn for balance? Do I wish I could find stabilization? Would I prefer that things be more status-quo than up and down, in and out? Of course I do. I envy those who seem to have balance, who experience a consistent and “normal” walk with the Lord and with life. But for some of us, it is not happening and in some respects not always possible.
When we look at the “heroes of faith” whether in Hebrews 11 or throughout the NT, it seems that everyone struggles at some level. Often at many levels. Unfortunately, many people don’t like to talk about their weakness for fear of being seen as inferior or less than spiritual. The fact of the matter is, does anyone really know true spirituality? If one is growing and learning, is there not a sense that we all are in transition to some degree? Are there people at there who have complete serenity, contentment or peace of mind? Perhaps…but then again are they being honest with their assessment?
I don’t expect that I’ll ever really be normal. Does that mean if I prayed more, read more scripture, or attended more church services that I would be able to conquer my handicap? I don’t think so. My hope is to be stable. To have a life that is able to manage the ups and downs that have, in the past, completely handicapped me. If I can do that, I can win.
Father Spirit, you made me, you fashioned me this way. My choice is not to ignore who I am, but to embrace my ability to deal with it through your strength and grace.