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Bad Times and Blessed Times

I emailed Christian Depression Pages looking for someone who has the same problem as me. I was graciously asked by the authors to write a testimony or an article about what bipolar disorder feels like and how I live with it. I am truly honored to be asked.

The following is the type of bipolar I suffer with. I go through euphoric highs, feeling extremely energetic, feeling like taking on any project. An example is accepting positions, maybe at church, or volunteering myself for anything. I would be so happy that I would be "bouncing off the walls!"

Then my cycle changes, I become angry, almost in a rage. I don't hurt anyone (I understand some do). I am so mad that I could break things, but haven't yet! I get mad at anyone that I think looks at me wrong. Just stay out of my way.

Then it cycles to panic. This is almost indescribable. Think of the most scared you have EVER been and double that 100%. That is just an example. I have the desire to flee, but wherever I go it follows me. I can't breathe, I tremble, have racing thoughts (example: like turning a radio dial back and forth fast.), paranoid, searching.

Next I crash--depression--for no reason. It's as if a blanket of darkness floats down and covers you, clinging to you tightly, and hovering over you, also. There's a "heaviness," a very heavy, burdensome weight that settles on you, not just on your back, but all over. You are not feeling sorry for yourself, as everyone thinks. It's not a pity party, not selfishness. I have a desire to be alone, to withdraw from everything. I do not want to see anyone or go anywhere, just sit in the dark when I can.

Then all of a sudden it's gone! There may be a period of being what I call "okay." My periods of okay are usually short lived.

Then the most horrible of all. Mixed Mania. That is when you have all of the cycles at the same time. I cannot describe this cycle. It is so miserable, horrifying. This when thoughts of suicide are most common for me.

As I think about it, I didn't realize I had bipolar probably since childhood. In my 20's I didn't know what was wrong with me. As I got older, I began to have episodes that I couldn't understand. In my 30's I knew something was definitely wrong. I went to my family doctor. He said I was probably depressed. He gave me anti-depressants, of which each one didn't work but approximately two weeks, except Prozac, which lasted a little longer. I even went to a Christian counselor, for a short time. I changed family doctors. He recommended I go to a certain psychiatrist. That didn't work out too well for me. I wasn't satisfied with him. I found out there was a psychiatrist that was new to the city I worked in. I went to him and he was exactly what I wanted. He is a psychiatrist and psychologist. He's tried many medicines and combinations of medications. Some worked for a period of time. During this time, I was so desperate to be better and couldn't, I attempted to commit suicide. The last time I took thirty two pills. Each time I was sent to a facility that kept one from harming oneself (I agreed to go). It was not a place with padded cells as people think, that old stigma. The facility was very nice, and comfortable, and helpful.

Suicide is absolutely not the answer, even though I understand the thoughts and desires to do it. I am not sure if one goes to hell or not for suicide, but I don't want to find out. I am very ashamed of this. This IS NOT an option. All through this, except for periods of time, I felt like God was not there. It was like I was numb, or like God completely turned away from me. There were times I got angry with God for not healing me, taking this away from me. I would think or say what did I do to deserve this? I'll repent if You'll tell me what to repent of. THIS IS NOT FAIR, GOD. WHY?

Yes, I was blessed with times of rest. Times of feeling like God and I were reunited. It was so wonderful, more than wonderful. It was so joyful to know God and I were together. Oh the warmness of it, knowing he NEVER left me, it just felt that way.

Then it would come back. You could tell when it was coming. I dreaded it so. The cycle began all over again.

This is how it went, basically. There were the bad times, but then there were the blessed times, when you knew God had been there all along. Yes, I complained, but who am I to complain to God? I need to remember He's in charge. I hope there are some I have blessed along the way, because of this disorder. I hope there will be some I may be able to comfort, just because I have "been there/done that."

I must tell you about the two people who have stood beside me all the way through this. My most patient, loving husband and my most precious and loving son. They have been there for me, not always enjoying it, but they were there. I love and thank them with all my heart, never forgetting how much they helped me. I love them forever.

Right now, I have been extremely blessed with almost a month of feeling great...almost normal. I can't say how super great it is to rest!

But I feel it trying to begin again. If it does, I will trust that God is walking with me through this, just like He always has. It's not completely taking over yet. My medicine is working and is fighting against it. I have a great doctor whom I trust will take care of me. But, I also have the greatest Doctor whom I trust will take care of me: Jehovah Rophe! My God the Healer! In Him I trust. In Him I find peace, for He is my peace. In Him I find rest. He is holding me in His arms, and I am being loved more than anyone can love me.

I hope I have explained some about bipolar, without being too boring. Again, I thank Christian Depression Pages for the privilege of writing this article. May God Bless you.

Becky

Copyright © 2001, Becky Yant.