A Giraffe On Roller Skates, [Mental Illness]


People will sometimes ask me, “What its like to be a Christian and to have a mental illness?” I’m not entirely sure I can really answer, but I do try. It seems almost always there are misconceptions, or even a stigma attached to their curiosity. But here goes.

It’s like I’m a ‘giraffe on roller skates’, It seems like I’m always lurching and tottering— always on the verge of total collapse. (It’s a wonder I’m even ‘standing.’) Careening from one side to another, I’m aware that I’m becoming quite the spectacle, and I imagine I hear whispers about the ‘splash’ I’m making today.

I’m uneasy and unsure. (Am I being inappropriate?) I seem to speak too loud and pressured, I feel conspicuous; like I’m slightly inebriated at a party of Mormons. I’m aware of nervous glances and uneasy whispers.

Welcome to the world of bipolar mania.

I have a mental illness. ‘Rapid cycling’ bipolar disorder is my particular ‘flavor.’ I’m on meds (and have been for some time) but it only seems to do is to take of edge off— but I’m grateful for even that small mercy. Over time I’ve been able to accrue some coping mechanisms.  Identifying my paranoia and random delusions is simple ‘Bipolar 101’. It has become the present state of my world.  I don’t always do it well— but I do ”do it’. (And I take my lithium daily.)

There is a learning curve to all of this. It must be discovered. I have tried ‘avoidance tactics’, and I suppose most of the time they seem prudent. But life can’t really be lived cloistered in your room. That is safe, but also very dull. The isolation becomes more toxic than ‘the spectacle.’

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ, and having bipolar disorder creates some problems. I’m aware of the incongruity. But my faith often uses these issues I face; they propel me closer to Him.

Being ‘broken’ has become a real blessing.

28 “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Matthew 11:28-29, NLT

The promise of Jesus is for those who carry extra weights (like mental or physical illness). It’s for those whose ‘cheese has slipped off their cracker.’ It’s for giraffes on roller skates. Anything we bear is endurable, and easy. He carries us far beyond every weight and every burden. He alone gives rest to the troubled, and real peace to those troubled by their souls.

30″ For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

(verse 30).

What Jesus actively does is to puncture my pride, and then release His spirit and grace over me. But He also makes things ‘light’. The reality is that I bear nothing. All that He does is ‘light’. My blundering is seen and never belittled. But His grace only gets revealed in my weakness.

bry-signat (1)



  1. God does seem to turn our weaknesses into strengths for Him! My bipolar has estranged me from the church as a young woman, but God never left me. He used my wandering years to strengthen my faith. Now in mid-life, He uses me in ways I could never have imagined. My calling is Prayer Ministry and my being just a bit removed from everyone has it’s advantages. I am quite social by nature, but God has called me to something quite different from my natural inclinations. I wouldn’t change it for anything. My struggles with depression and suicide and mania have only strengthen my reliance on God. “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengths me” is my mantra!!

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  2. Hello Brian I’d like to tell u a bit about my journey as it may help someone  going through similar experiences  I m alan  Robert stewart from Glasgow  I’m forty years of age   W I was born with spina bifida in 1975 and when they told my mum she  decided to  have me anyway  for which I’m r. Grate full for  I had to have a life saving op  at birth  as a result of this  the docs didn’t have much hope it was touch and go but it was my only chance so I had the oo p they didn’t know how it would turn out  whether I would b in a chair or have callipers or what the damage would b   Done a summing I would come through it anyway I lived due to the grace of God  and  I came on the of it  pretty well as the years went on I started walking unaided and pretty much  went on to live my life with a loving family around me they hav been mazing throughout   Especially my mum  she s the besmum in the world  every thing was pretty normal I went to a main stream school  my mother made sure of that bless her  but she had to fight to do so  and I’m so proud of her for that  it forgetting my father to who also pushed  for ir  anyway due to the spina bifida I was  incontinent quite severely  which  meant I wore a pad  all day and every day  si it was ma manageabile   At primary school as kids  didn’ my notice  much  and  I had a normal time  we’ll as normal  as possible  I was always kepclean  by mum and o new I was differance  any way I was in an out the hospital as a kid  trying to stretch my bladder  and stuff  si o that was fine I  was well looked after  then as I got older a about ten years of age  the devil played his card  again  and I went a bit messed up  b   Again    The it was off to secondary school  I managed fine but  I was when I was 24      I think  I had my next  encounter wiv   God s mercy I was stabbed in the head after a nite out it penetrative my brain a nd left me  fighting for my life again  oi ended up in a coma  for a while  I don’t know if iwasgods help  again pulled me through it  on fact it was I’m sure of it    Any way I   Needed alk hos belt to recover and fight the battle I was now facing  u see I was left paralysed down the left n hand side from head to  foot  and had a big fight to be able to walk again also my speech had been affected on a big way and  I had to get it back so l asked god to give me the strength to do it the best I could it took a long while  fighting to get  fit ter and that in fact it’s sixteen tars later and I’m still getting there    I walk wiv a limp nut wak iunaided  it s nowhere near perfect and ive got my problems wiv it    But it’s a dam site better than it could hav been and I thank the Lord for it  after a few years I was diagnosed with schizophrenia andwentl through  the most in believe able he’ll  wiv  voices and hallucinations which I thought were the illness o was in hospital a few years back when this started and saw at thside of my bed  the shroud of Christ or jess then I could c old father time and I also saw the devil turn towards me in  a ball on it was crazy  u thought I was going crazy  at the time but now I know  I did really c that    After a while I put it to the back if ny mind and thought I was ill but this  thinking about  this is happening to often and now I feel s of  the people can hear me blessing the children and disable  folk  everyone really through my mind  and folk are reacting to me    Music plays a big part in it to it helped me come through all this by listening to it the rise of the phoenix   Then came to my mind don’t j ow where I got it from but I looked it up  and it explained a lot of what was happening  that’s when u knew I wasn’t going mad  it was songs and TV referring to my life  or what sounded like my life il not go right into it I would not b able to write it in an email but  god is working his miracles again  and l the devils trying to stop him in it he will never beat me god is to strong in my heart he’s been trying a long time  now  but il never let it happen I would rather die for my cause  and u feel it is to make the world   A better place for our children  and  the   Bad things like war and all the  crimes of the world from stop to make it a better place for all no matter what it race or religion is we all humans and should b equal

    Sent from Samsun  I

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