Being beautifully bipolar is not always beautiful. I know; I get it. Sometimes it just downright sucks. Sometimes it just does not seem fair, at least that is what my therapist says. I have written about how this can alter relationships with your loved ones and friends. I have written about how they can best help you as you navigate this illness. Today I wanted to write about how bipolar disorder can change our relationship with a Higher Power. Whether it is Buddha or God or the Universe or some other entity we believe in, bipolar disorder is bound to come up in a conversation.
Some of us will find that you will distance ourself from your Higher Power thinking, ‘Why me? Why must I carry this burden?” That is absolutely reasonable. Mental health is a big deal. How we feel about it may be an even bigger deal. We may stop our worship or prayers in an attempt to ‘not be available’ like your Higher Power ‘is not there for you.’ This can be isolating – distancing ourself – because of the trust we once had in the universe is gone. It can be a lonely place to be in.
For others of us, we will be angry. When we believe it is not fair (and sometimes we believe it is not) we lash out at our Higher Power. We may think things that are ugly and mean towards him, her, or it. We may question our Higher Power’s love for us and believe it is all just a bunch of crap. Who cares, right? We can do this all by ourselves.
However, we may feel the opposite. Living with bipolar disorder my make us closer to our Higher Power. Perhaps we will see a Higher Power who got us through some bad stuff that involved our illness. There may be a feeling I only know to call salvation. And maybe we want to feel this way, but can’t and are stuck in the above feelings regarding our Higher Power. I am not trying to compare this to the stages of grief or the like. We may distance yourself forever.
Here is my tale. The first time I tried to commit suicide my roommate found me on the kitchen linoleum. Once my head was clear enough, I was angry. I believe in God, you may too, you may not, you may hate Him. Whatever it is all cool with me. I was angry because how could my God let something like that happen? I felt he turned his head for just a minute and I fell. I had always been faithful. I grew up in the church and shared his love with people. How could this have happened?
Months later, still trying to wrap my mind around it, I started to think about it differently. What if my God was there with me in that kitchen, holding my head, keeping me alive. That was the God I knew. So, for the first time in a long time I prayed. I found that faith and trust I had pushed away. I lost the anger. I can go to church again.
There is no one right way to feel. We live with bipolar disorder and can feel any way we damn well please, in my opinion. This illness is a hard one to navigate. Having a Higher Power can be comforting. Feeling like someone or something is in charge can be nice. But do not think you have to, or that in time, like me, your feelings will change because they may not and that, dear reader, is perfectly fine.