What to expect when reading bi-polar wife

Thoughts and feelings of living with bi-polar as a wife, mother, and person in the world.

Friday, 27 January 2017

The healing of the blind man - Some God talk today people

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9 1-3
These three verses sum up the last couple of days for me. It is interesting that as human beings, we struggle and resist difficulty and suffering. We cry out against emotional discomfort and seek a quick fix. We run away from things that might challenge us too deeply for fear of change, rejection or of people laughing at us. 
I am sometimes asked if I have a) Asked to be healed, b) If I have demon activity going on and a need to be freed/released or c) Why haven't you been healed (Inferring I am doing something horribly wrong or it's my fault!) The way my body is made when I am born is by a combination of DNA from 2 people. It's a physical manifestation of a body, in the physical world.  Spiritually, at that point, I am dormant, and awaiting a reboot from the divine. In biblical terms this is a fallen world, where humans are spiritually disconnected from God, and through the correct use of the will, we can return to that relationship by seeking a covenant with Christ, accepting his sacrifice and our salvation. Then, by the Holy Spirit, I am reconnected through the spiritual switchboard to God, where He has been waiting eagerly for me to sign in for conversations, gifts of the spirit and the odd miracle. He didn't want to force me. He wanted me to come by choice. To some of you this is either ridiculous, on a parallel with Santa and faeries, or the best thing since sliced bread. Some waver between these states. 
But what I am getting at is that actually, I don't need to know why I have bipolar. I don't need to find out if it was drugs that did it, genetics, my environment or all of the above. My brain chemicals are just disordered. What I become aware of more and more through this journey, is that my illness is an opportunity to get to know God more intimately. I can resist His intervention, believing that I know the answers or that if I try hard enough it might go away. Or I can try and perceive my situation from a spiritual perspective and see, in amongst the madness, where God is at work and laying out a discreet plan of action for me. I can let Him reveal to me where He is honing me, encouraging me, putting people in my path, granting me wisdom or divine guidance. It is also an opportunity for me to nurture and foster a genuine spiritual relationship. Not one where I go about judging everyone and being pious like some weird Christian legalistic biblical Olympian.  But one where I listen, He speaks. I speak, He listens. We journey together.  I am trying to live the parable. Bipolar happened and God's work is now being revealed in me. What that means is that I am not beholden to my illness. I am not a victim of it. I can use it as a tool. I can be a living testimony to God's love and powerful Holy spirit. 
When I was in deep depression relapse in July 2015, my thought processes were very dark and suicide was on the cards. I remember being on my knees, head on the floor and completely submitting myself to God as I had felt totally overwhelmed by the power of my mind. In the acute darkness, God revealed to me the cross. I was placed on a plinth, laying quietly at it's base covered by a sheet, resting and at peace. The light illuminated Christ in splendour above me, and God gently told me that the sacrificial work had already been done. Dying was not what I needed to do and He would honour my life and continue to restore me through this period of terror and despair. 
God has never abandoned me and I trust His will in my life implicitly. For me my faith is not a convenient idle crutch, or a way of elevating myself above you. It is a living, breathing, active relationship and in my illness I have been able to access something deep and meaningful beyond my wildest dreams. 
I don't know whether healing or a cure is on the cards for me. I sometimes resent the illness and it's consequences, but wild flowers can grown amongst the most broken rocks. I will keep allowing the spirit to work in me, and if I am lucky, you will see the face of Christ in my life and recovery.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Glimpses of the bigger picture

Have you ever experienced that space between sleeping and awake, when you think you've dropped off but actually you can still hear things and have random thoughts flying around your mind? This happens to me quite a bit as I struggle with sleeping these days. However, what happens in that suspended reality state is that images and subconscious thoughts materialise from the hidden parts of my psyche, as well as symbolic memories and connections that reveal deeper truths about my life. Cool eh!

So last night, I had a huge experiential memory moment laying there in the darkness, and a realisation of how that past moment gave me a glimpse into what was happening in the now. As a caveat, we have decorated the bedroom so it could be the wall paper paste and gloss, but it still felt meaningful and uplifting. I felt amazed and moved.

(Warning - I'm about to share a memory about drug use about 25 years ago so if you aren't up for it, exit now!)

So I took LSD once. (Or maybe more than once, but that's another story). I remember going up to the common in the inky darkness. It was very early in the morning about 4 a.m, very cold and my breathe misted in front of me. I was wrapped up warm and didn't actually have a plan or direction. I found myself in a large circular clearing, trees around the edges, and lots of knee length heather. I spreadeagled on the ground and looked skyward and was completely overwhelmed by the sight above me. As I lay there, I was surrounded by a fringe of leaves, edging a huge dome of the universe above me,  which on one side was black with bright stars, then graduating from left to right from an Indian ink navy blue, all the way through to red, and orange and yellow as the sun peeked it's head above the tree line. I felt like I could see the whole world in one small moment of time. I was laying inside a snow globe of space, floating on the heather totally connected to my environment.

What strikes me about this is that I never see the whole picture of my life at any time. To see everything of God's plan for my entire life would just be too intense to deal with, so I am privy to snapshots and the odd connection and memories that reflect back to me the journey so far. It can also make it hard for you to measure where you are at.

Recovering from a severe episode of mental illness takes time. And what I realised yesterday is that I have been trying to recover since I had Oscar in 2005 and it's been incredibly hard. The last 8 months has been the first time that I have totally dedicated myself to getting completely well. I have fallen foul of the "Have to do it all" even though I have a severe mental illness mantra. On some level the deep acceptance of my condition is still happening, but I am also influenced by the expectations and hopes of others. In acting out my desire to be well in the world by going back to work too quickly or down playing how bad it actually is, I have thwarted my own recovery. And this made complete sense to me when yesterday I was chopping vegetables for Ian's lunch. For about 5 minutes I was totally relaxed, I had energy, I had motivation to do something boring but necessary to help my husband that wasn't forced, I had no anxiety in my body, and my mind was almost silent. I didn't feel chained to a concrete block or feel like my breathe was laboured or that in any second I would be taken hostage by a thought of self harm or death. I felt what I can only term as "Happy and normal". It was truly humbling.

The Dome of the universe connects to this, because as I wander around in the snow dome of recovery life, I only ever see a small section of the sky. Three years ago we were in inky darkness, but my eyes had adjusted to living within that tone, Now, as I look skyward, it's actually turned orange and although it's shaded differently to before, it still has it's challenges and again I adjust. Yesterday in my kitchen, God allowed me a glimpse of the amazing place I was in, in relation to the rest of my recovery journey. Meeting with God, in simplicity and deep soulful gratitude whilst chopping veg. How very Brother Lawrence!

"The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen , while several persons at the same time calling for different things, I possess God as if I were on my knees at the blessed sacrament." Brother Lawrence c. 1614 – 12 February 1691