Since writing my last blog post about living with bipolar disorder I have received a tremendous amount of support, been contacted for advice and asked to speak at different functions. Still, people want to know why in the world I would write a blog and share it all over Facebook telling the world that I have bipolar disorder? Why would I risk people judging me or treating me differently? If most people can’t tell that I’ve suffered with this then why would I want to point it out? How did I realize it was time to share? Basically it comes down to this:
Something very powerful happened to me when I was 15, only then I did not realize it. Looking back armed with the knowledge I have now I can clearly see that this was approximately the age this disorder came to life. I vividly remember laying in bed one morning pretending to be sick in order to stay home from school and burying myself under my blankets wishing I was dead. I had no reason to feel that way. There was nothing negative going on in my life, but I sincerely hoped I would fall asleep and die. I curled up in a ball becoming consumed by hopelessness. I cried uncontrollably. I could not think straight. I couldn’t imagine living another day. The tv was on in the background and I paid no attention to it at first, but then something captured my attention. There was a talk show on and all I remember was hearing the voice of a young girl tearfully describing her battle with an eating disorder. I thought, why would anyone in their right mind go on tv and proclaim that? Out of the blue I heard a distinct voice in my head say, “One day that will be you sharing your story. You will tell about this.” It seemed so odd that my mind would conjure up the thought that I would ever talk about feeling this way so I shrugged it off as another sign of me being crazy.
It is no accident that here I am 30 years later sharing my struggle with the world! Throughout the years that specific moment would pop back into my mind, usually when I was experiencing illness and felt frustrated or hopeless. I would often wonder what it meant and the more pain I experienced, the more absurd it seemed that I would ever have reason to talk about it. The past few years however, as I’ve made my way down the road of recovery, that voice has become stronger and more persistent. As I’ve paid more attention to it, the certainty of knowing this is my purpose, my responsibility to share what I’ve gone through has become undeniable. Trust me, every possible fear about being transparent has surfaced at one point or another totally freaking me out, and when I would visualize myself actually “coming clean” I convinced myself it was just never going to happen because I’d be crazy to admit to my struggles. But, when God wants us to do something, He does not let up. I know now, without a doubt, that it was Him that day 30 years ago planting a seed in my heart that he would slowly water and tend to over the years. I did not fully embrace that until I completely surrendered, told God I could no longer make it on my own and was downright terrified of what the future had in store. There was no lightning bolt. No immediate transformation. However, the certainty that I was supposed to take that step intensified and suddenly I realized there was something out there so much bigger than me. It was no longer about me or my fears. It became about giving others hope. I look back on many moments during my illness and it astounds me I am still alive. But here I am and I know it’s only because of God’s grace and intervention throughout my life. If I have been able to make it through this illness it’s only because God has kept me here for a reason. Who am I to argue with that? Believe me, I am a painfully slow learner. God has tried to wake me up countless times but I’ve always found excuses or turned my back on Him because quite frankly I believed it would be easier to keep it to myself. But now I realize it’s more difficult to hide things and pretend that everything is fine, especially when doing so goes against God’s will for me.
Once I chose to take a deep breath, turn my back on fear, and step onto the path God so clearly set out before me, it was so obvious I had made the right choice. Of course I still worry and second guess myself at times but it is short lived. Just when I begin to doubt I experience God reassuring me whether through a perfectly timed email from an old friend or even a stranger thanking me for my honesty. God is giving me all those opportunities He whispered about over my lifetime. Do you see how amazing that is? Who am I then, to turn my back on what the Creator of the Universe has set before me? When God whispers in our ear, when he plants a seed in our heart He will see it through to maturity and the transformation will be amazing.
I just recently saw this quote on Facebook. “When God pushes you to the edge, trust Him fully because only two things can happen. Either He will catch you when you fall or he will teach you how to fly.” All I know is this — Every time I’ve fallen off the edge He has caught me. Sometimes more quickly than others, because in my own pride I resisted reaching out. This time when he pushed it was to get me out of my comfort zone and the moment I responded with the willingness to fully trust Him, I began learning how to fly. When God whispers to you pay attention! He has it all figured out! He knows what He’s talking about. He’s nudging you for a reason and He will make that reason apparent at just the right time. I finally feel myself starting to fly and I know when I hold God’s hand I will soon be soaring and to me that is a beautiful thing.