Feb. 5, 2015

Locked Away and Free-Part 2

I remember sitting in the room with a couple doctors, I felt small. So small in fact, it was hard to breathe and hard to focus. They said the words, “We think you have bipolar disorder.”

I was stunned. If I said anything, I can’t remember.  Me?  Bipolar? No. Those are the crazy people on T.V. that do crazy things. Not me.

They began drawing pictures to help explain what a bipolar mind looks like. This is normal (a bracket to indicate normal people, where ‘most’ minds remain under most circumstances-normal) When one has bipolar they live with significant highs (drawing a tall mountain, way above the normal brackets), and they can experience serious lows (drawing the same thing but heading south, so to speak).

I didn’t need to hear more. I closed my eyes and returned to 14 years old. It all began then. At 14, a huge life event happened, and one night I looked in the mirror and with one broken glance, I was not me. I changed. From that day on, for a year or so, I lived on the edge of sanity. I drank, became promiscuous and gave up on life, because I truly felt life had given up on me. Abuse had finally taken the last of my senses, and what happened was text book. I was the girl that most people thought was a good girl, but the double life I led would ultimately bring me to my knees, and lead me into the life of a teen mother.

I can’t tell you what else was said in that meeting. I can’t tell you what I ate for dinner, if I slept, or mingled. For that night, I knew I was in trouble. I knew everything they said was true, and more than anything, I knew my life was now out in the open. It may have been my delusion to think the life of ‘manic Lisa’ was so well hidden, but now I was exposed. The tender soul of a believer, who never understood she was free, wasn’t only exposed to a world, but to a God who dearly loved her. How could He still love me? He showed up the next day to tell me how.

I thought it was just another one of those ‘sessions’- when we were supposed to share. I didn’t share, I had nothing to say to a room of strangers. I wasn’t a cooperative patient.

Instead, in walked a couple men with a guitar, and a bible. There they sat singing a sweet melody that brought me to tears. “As the Deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after you…  You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship you..” Some switch deep inside flipped and without warning, I could feel a change deep inside my heart. A longing I had forgotten was in there, a hope that I managed to lose along the way. In one song, a spark was ignited, and a brilliant light was waiting for me, right where I was.

I would take months, maybe even years to fully recover from my first documented manic attack. It is a fear of mine to experience life in that way again. To be locked away isn’t my ideal life, but to be locked away in my own mind, in my own sinful actions, alone, is an even bigger fear. I must walk in Christ daily, bipolar doesn’t go away, but for me, I can live because the strength I have comes directly from a God who loves me, who dwells in the very deepest parts of all I am.

I’ve had these sudden attacks since those days, now 14 years ago. I know, for me, severe depression usually follows manic, and I’ve learned to recognize the subtle changes of my mind and even my heart. I’ve educated myself and my family on understanding bipolar. I no longer turn away from God when a battle begins.  I can’t..for without God to help me through, I open the door for Satan to take hold and devastate. I wish it wasn’t so, but I am a Christian living with bipolar disorder. They might try to use this to define me in a world of judgment, but it will never define me in the eyes of my Savior. I am loved, just as much as the ‘normal’ guy, I am needed to serve, needed to help others, I can be used in His kingdom just like any other man or woman who falls into the brackets of normal!

God has saved me numerous times, from evil on the outside and evil on the inside. In 2001, He may have saved me from more than I will ever know. Today I walk locked in His arms, and free.

 Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

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I am happy to pray for you! 

**This blog discussion in no way is meant to replace a diagnosis, treatment plan or help of a professional doctor or counselor. If you are in need of medical help, I advise you to seek the assistance of your medical team immediately.