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Is Keeping The Faith Hard For Bipolars?

Posted Sep 11 2008 5:10pm

Go to fullsize image By UM

Fix Me Jesus

Oh yes, fix me, Jesus, fix me.
Fix me so that I can walk on
a little while longer.
Fix me so that I can pray on
just a little bit harder.
Fix me so that I can sing on
just a little bit louder.
Fix me so that I can go on despite the pain,
the fear, the doubt, and yes, the anger,
I ask not that you take this cross from me,
only that you give me the strength to continue carrying it onward ’til my dying day.

Oh, fix me, Jesus, fix me.

For those with bipolar disorder (manic depression) religion often plays a distinct role in their lives. Many find comfort and healing through prayer and find the support of their church families to be invaluable. However, some have also faced misunderstandings, judgment, and even accusations of demon possession.

From about.com

“Are Christian values and bipolar disorder fundamentally contradictory? It is the unfortunate experience of many with this and other mental illnesses to come up against teachings that preclude acceptance of a diagnosis and treatment with medications.

Diane, a member of our forums, shared her experience and frustration with the views of Lisa and Ryan Bazler, authors of Psychology Debunked – a book and weekly newsletter proclaiming to expose psychology and exalt Christ. In response to one of this group’s newsletters Diane writes, “If bipolar disorder is fake then what is happening to us? Why can we feel our bodies shift from one state to another? Is PMS all in our minds? Is the brain not a physical part of the body? Can it not malfunction? Is Alzheimers fake too? Are you saying that a malfunctioning brain cannot affect the body and mind? If you do not believe in drug therapy and psychology then what is your alternative medicine? People are dealing with this everyday so saying that it doesn’t exist isn’t helping anyone.”

Don’t beat yourself up

Unfounded guilt is one of the symptoms of Depression. Don’t pile more guilt onto yourself by wondering if a lack of faith is the cause of your illness. And don’t burden yourself with needless shame for fear of what others might think of you. We need to come out of the closet, so to speak, and stop hiding our illness.

“Don’t be afraid of people. I am with you, and I will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:8

For me, picking what treatment to consider when diagnosed as bipolar presented a problem. Christian counseling/treatment or secular counseling/treatment. Being unwillingly admitted to a pysch ward took the decision away. I am glad that I received secular counseling and treatment. I am NOT knocking Christian counseling. I needed drugs. Seriously, DRUGS! Being totally manic, I thought that I WAS GOD. I know that I would not have reacted kindly to someone telling me that I needed to turn to God. Like I said, I thought that I was God/godlike. I thought that I knew everything and could do everything. Any person who has experienced severe mania will understand what I am talking about.

I do believe in God. And, I know that He doesn’t turn his back on me. I’m the one who is spinning. Kind of like spin the bottle. Spin and spin and hope the bottle stops while pointing at God.

Mother Theresa’s story has prompted me to examine my own faith. I’m grateful to her for revealing that there were times that she did not believe in the existance of God. I’ve never doubted the existance but I have doubted that He cares about me.

What part does faith play in your BP? To be honest, I really don’t think that I could make it day to day without belief in a higher power. What would be the use? I probably would have committed suicide by now. Without the belief that their is a God and an afterlife, suffering with terrible depression would have been intolerable. Sure, I’ve questioned God by asking, “Why? Why me? Why did you curse me with a mental disorder?” But, then I think about all the other illnesses…..some fatal…..that people deal with everyday. Yes, most of them get more understanding if it is a physical illness than those of us with a mental illness. But, I believe that what doesn’t kill you (or maybe what does) makes you stronger, more compassionate, and more tolerate of others. I am Bipolar. That is a part of my make-up. I am stronger because of it.

Filed under: Recovery, bipolar disorder, depression, guilt, health care, life, life problems, mania, medication, mental health, personal, stigma, suicide | Tagged: manic depression

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