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104 || Living with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolarity is very common in my family, so I was not entirely shocked when I was diagnosed with it my junior year of college. The fluctuation from severe anxiety to incredible depression should have been my first clue, but I didn’t realize it until after my loving roommates sat me down on our ratty dorm room furniture and told me I needed to seek professional help.

I took their advice and made an appointment with a psychiatrist.

After a series of questions, a lot of talking, and a thorough evaluation, he made the diagnosis. I remember feeling two separate emotions. Ironic, right? I felt a sense of relief because I finally had an explanation for why I didn’t experience emotions like other people did. On the other hand, I was terrified to accept all of the connotations that are associated with bipolarity.

When people hear the term “bipolar,” they almost always assume that a person is ready to be locked in the psych ward of the nearest institution. They jump to conclusions that all people who experience bipolar disorder should be given medication until they no longer experience any feelings whatsoever. Perhaps that was a wee bit dramatized, but that was what I feared people would think about me when they found out.

Instead of hiding my diagnosis, I was fairly open with it in hopes that the people around me could break their pre-formed assumptions about the disorder. That got some interesting responses.  I decided to add humor to the situation and design a t-shirt that read, “I’m a bi-polar rolla … or maybe I’m not” with a wheel on it (hence why I didn’t pursue a degree in graphic design). Even more interesting responses.

Through all of this, however, I was still barley grasping how to function in a normal daily environment without losing my mind entirely.

I didn’t have long to think about it though because I got on a plane and flew to East Asia for seven weeks shortly thereafter. It was on the other side of the world where God removed all of the distractions and comforts of my normal life and focused my mind completely on Him. It was the first time I had felt His genuine and complete peace. It was indescribably magnificent and glorious.  Somehow those words don’t even do it justice. I was utterly dependent on Him for sanity, (minus the insane choice to try stinky tofu), and as I headed back to America, I knew He had to be my anchor in order to cope with all of the same struggles I had left behind.

While I still have a wide gamut of emotions that fluctuate through my brain at any given point, I know that Christ never changes. He is always faithful and a steady stream of peace and comfort to my weary mind. He is the one, constant thing I have to hold and grip on to. The lack of control I have over my feelings and emotions has only made me cling tighter to Him. He has placed level-headed people in my life (specifically, my husband) who love me without question, He has shown me the strength and stability found within community, and he continually reminds me of when my heart and mind will be wholly restored to Him.

I know I’m inconsistent and unpredictable yet Christ chose me anyway. Crazy, emotional, wrecked me.

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