Wednesday, November 16, 2016

On Vulnerability, Bipolar and Today

A caveat: The posts I have been writing are about the past of my struggles with bipolar disorder. While there is courage and sacrifice in sharing these pieces, I find it much harder to share 'today'. But it's what I am about to do. I am showing up...thank you for coming along.


I have come to the front of the meeting room, during the open mic, to share a piece of my heart with the one hundred women gathered for my church's retreat. As I wait for the woman ahead of me to finish, it happens.

The pounding of my heart in my chest so fully, I am sure I will need the hospital. Then there is the shaking of my body. Yes, my body is shaking. Not just my hands which is what is normal.

And of course, I want to flee. I don't have to go up and speak. I can simply return to my seat. No one is making me do this. Yet, I know that I must, because if I don't bipolar and its crippling effects will win. For all that is good and beautiful, I can't let this happen.

I debate about asking one of my friends to come and hold me up. It is that bad.  

Where, in all this tremulous moment is God?

I walk up to the stage and share. I am sure someone appreciates what I have to say, but more, it is my need to show up which prevails. To stand though I am shaking. A lot. It is another step in staring down bipolar and telling it, it will not master me.

One day later, today, I am making pancakes for my son's birthday. It is time to pour in 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. As I rush to do this, my hands start shaking again and I can't take it. I start to cry and feel bleak inside. Is this what my life will look like?

The truth is, I do not know how all of this will go. I don't know if I will always be on the two medicines which can cause tremors. I don't know if I will ever be able to speak in front of people, something I hope to do, without a significant amount of trembling.

I am crying inside and outside. It is a hard day. And these are normal for bipolar, depression, anxiety, Lyme's disease, Fibromyalgia, arthritis, grief and any number of other things. Yet, the question remains.  

What do we do with all of it? 

What I want to do is what I cannot do. I can't stop my medication. With bipolar, this will most likely lead to another episode and hospital stay or worse. I can't do it for myself, but more, for my husband and children. There is no comparison between shaking hands and mental stability.


But, what can I do?  

I can fight. In my heart and soul and mind and strength. I can fight for the love desiring to meet me in all of my moments. I can fight the lies about my worth which are so, so close. I can fight the broken inside me going far beyond the tremors. I can trust.

However, I want to be so very, very clear. This isn't an easy answer, but it is the only true answer. The alternative, for me, is to go quietly into the night. But that isn't an option when there's so much and so many to live for. 

Yet, when laid out, this war within myself is like the tendons of a muscle. The doubt, tears, struggle are all a part of it. So is the faith, hope and love in God. Some tendons are healthy, strong, supportive. Others are torn, ragged, strained. There is healing needed constantly and strengthening too. I will experience both a healthy muscle working together, and a weak one seeking to work at all.

Here is what I want you to know again and again. The shame is taken away (which is how I can write about this today). So are the fear and doubt. Jesus has done all of it when he died on a cross and bore all that came with the Fall of humanity and the world. So we can stomp our foot right on the destroyer, liar and killer. He is no match for us. We are overcomers and our future is sure.

Hallelujah, our story's triumphant ending is sure. And by the goodness of God, we can begin to live it today. Yes, we can, we can, we can! Declare it friend. Keep reading and walk with me in this. Just one step at a time...walk with me.
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