Very simply, bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings that are defined by major shifts between incredible mania and clinical depression. It’s usually intense and quite disabling.
Depression: There are days when I wake up and I don’t like what I see in the mirror. At times a deep and profound sadness seems to grip me like a vise. It’s like a huge heavy grey cloak covers me, and I can’t shake it off. Typically I hide and crawl into bed for weeks at a time. All is hopeless and I despair of life. I am irrevocably lost. This is bipolar depression and I’m slowly learning that I can shake it free.
Mania: When I’m manic it’s as though I have wings! I’m blasted with a special grace which makes me creative and intelligent and superior to mere mortals. I become energetically impulsive and irritably crass. It’s all about ME! Thankfully these times don’t happen too often. These moods don’t last long but they’re intense. A measure of freedom can also be found.
Medication prescribed by my psychiatrist helps smooth things out. It was hard to adjust to taking them, but now I know I did the right thing. It’s been over 10 years since my diagnosis and I suppose I have the dubious honor of just surviving. I have several scars on my wrists that remind me of a long journey. Those afflicted will understand.
It’s been suggested that bipolar people can become more empathetic and sensitive to the suffering of others. I’d like to believe that this is true. This seems like a biblical idea.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT
“The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary.”
For the broken believer, I’m confident that the Lord can turn my mental illness into something positive and good. The Holy Spirit empowers the Christian to do the extraordinary. It’s in our weaknesses we can become strong. We are fully enough in Christ. (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I stepped down from my positions as a pastor and a Bible instructor when the bipolar symptoms became clear. This wasn’t easy but I knew it was what God wanted. Today I still speak on occasion at a local Church.
I also minister here at brokenbelievers.com and http://www.lambfollowers.com.. I try to post everyday and I get constant feedback from those who are in need. Just a single post, a list of 24 hour crisis hotlines, averages 175 hits a day by itself! (https://brokenbelievers.com/247-crisis-lines/)
I do covet your prayers for both ministry sites.
This work would never have happened unless I was “detoured” by my bipolar.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
I want to urge you to look at the big picture of mental illness. Sure it can be remarkably disruptive, but the Lord can transform you. Meds and therapy are vital for me. Prayer and Bible reading even more so. You can find a way through this. It’s not easy. Don’t fight the illness. The Father works close to His “special” children. There is a real and abiding hope for you. I’m convinced you can find it.
5 thoughts on “An Inconvenient Madness, [A Broken Believer]”
Brother Bryan. I’ve been subscribing to your posts for about a month now and am truly blessed.
As a Christian with bipolar and a fellow pastor amazed by the grace of God – you speak my language brother!
This post sums up much of my life and ministry.
You are a God send, because you understand and you are sharing your insight into mental illness, together with God’s grace, with many others.
Bryan, This is beautiful and encouraging. You are such a blessing to so many, including me. Peace, Linda
TY. I needed to hear that today!
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Been following your posts for over a year now, all the way from Bonnie Scotland in the Uk. I do not have mental health issue per se but definitely follow Jesus with a limp! This is a most beautiful post, your ministry is valuable brother Bryan, God bless and keep you. In Christian love Jan
TY so much. You really encouraged me today.
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