Monday, September 26, 2016

On Vulnerability, Bipolar and The Other Side

I lay in my bed. Again. My youngest is a newborn and yes, I am a tired mama.

But, it's more.

It's gray and grayer in the cold outside. It's the kind that gets into your bones. There's a car in the garage and streets in the city that I haven't learned how to drive. 

And there is that dark, heavy cloak called 'Shame'.

I don't want to get up. Ever. And I am reading Christian romance novels. I buy the 99 cent ones. They are bad. Plot. Writing. Character development non-existent. How could I stoop so low? (Seriously)

But I am trying to be lost. Stay lost. I want to escape the overwhelming tidal affronts of motherhood, life overseas and looking like I am doing any of it well. 

I am desperate to climb out of this hell-hole. My fingers grip the cool mud as I slip and fall again and again, unable to grasp hold of 'up'.

When will this end?

For years I was on anti-depressants. After seeing my mother refuse to get help, I determined that I would, at least, get medication.

But, I also didn't...get help. I stayed on the minimum amount of medicine. I did it all through my family doctor. I didn't want to face the knowledge of a specialist. I would self-diagnose and self-medicate and somewhere call it all 'okay.'

I say this with all possible compassion towards myself and towards you. But I cannot express enough how important it is to face it. Face it all. Until you do, the unknown will wield great power over you.

Over the years, for me it was 15 between severe manic episodes, (these are full-blown breakdowns, sometimes putting you in the hospital), it was easy to believe it was depression.

But in that time, as I would later learn, I had many of the 'mixed episodes' that come with bipolar disorder. They were full of anger, and rapid escalation. They were full of...bipolar disorder.

And I was stubborn and strong against my need for anything more than anti-depressants. Because to me, bipolar was so much worse than depression.(please see note below) In fact, I couldn't even contemplate the idea of it.

Then, it all came down in the gray winter days of Budapest.

It was more than depression. Yet, it was also depression. It was what it was.

And it is what it is.

There is no {just} depression. There is no {just} bipolar. But there is also no {just} living.

In all things there is reason, design and purpose.

The reason I would not look further, deeper at my issues, is because I didn't see the purpose. I was afraid of what I would find. I was afraid it would take away everything I loved. I was afraid it would cripple me so I could no longer walk this life. I was afraid.

But, no more.

As hard as it is to walk this world with a label of 'bipolar disorder', it is much harder to walk surrounded by that menacing shadow of a great unknown. The kind that can tear everything you love apart, whether violently or in a slow, seeping death.

And so now I want to speak to you from the heart.

If the stones have been uncovered, make them into an altar. Let it become that holy thing that consecrates your life to God.

Give thanks for the journey. Trust in Redemption. The greater the pit, the mightier the rescue. Come fully into the light and shed the darkness.

Stop believing the lies of what your life will now be. Only God defines that and He promises a plan, a journey marked with Abba Father love, and that rider on a white horse named 'Faithful and True.'  
(if you are reading this and don't understand, please e-mail me at abigail (dot) alleman (at) gmail (dot) com)

And if you have been wondering if you are seeing everything clearly, don't wait. Talk to someone. Remember, though incredibly important, the power is not in the diagnosis or the medicine, but it is in bringing your fears into the light. It is in knowing you are loved especially because of your struggles.

It is God, in Christ, buying back every part of you to reflect the glory of He who loves you and knows all about you.

Beloved Children of God, won't you walk with me into the light?

*Note: If you struggle with depression, please hear me. I do not want to invalidate one moment of your pain. For me, it was the label, stigma and general mentality towards bipolar that felt so much worse. 


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