Thursday, July 05, 2007

The gifts of bipolar disorder

Having bipolar disorder isn't all bad, especially when you are fortunate enough to have medications that work for you. This illness has been with me since I was nineteen years old and I am now 61. I couldn't imagine being a regular person - a person without a mental disorder. Seems to me that might be quite boring.

I've come to accept the way God, the great potter, made me. I've learned to make my disorder work for me rather than against me. Today I look on my bipolar disorder as a gift, a gift with many benefits.

I'd like to share with you fifteen things I value about this life with bipolar disorder. (it's possible someone else may already have done this but I'm not sure.) I like being bipolar because:
  1. I experience a wide range of emotions. While often painful, it provides a richness. I feel so very human.
  2. I can be unbelievably creative
  3. when I'm not depressed, I usually have lots of energy and accomplish a lot
  4. I have learned a language many don't have access to: the language of suffering. This helps me understand and connect with many people. I know how to help others.
  5. I consider King David a brother who I can relate to. His Psalms touch me deeply.
  6. I love people so very much: another product of strong emotion. It's beautiful.
  7. my suffering has taught me to value the good times and make the most of them
  8. my experience with depression, mania, and psychosis has helped me learn to be strong
  9. the pain I have suffered has been like a fire as it refines metals. It has built my character.
  10. I have learned to have compassion for others because I know what it is to go through rough times
  11. it has taught me humility
  12. it has taught me gratitude for all that is good in my life. I don't take anything for granted.
  13. it helped me turn to God, knowing I could not survive under my own willpower
  14. it encouraged me to have a faith that has transformed my life
  15. it makes each day an exciting adventure.
God IS good and I thank him.


Marie said...

My gift from having bi-polar is the vast array of emotions. They fuel my creativity.

I have been on several medications to try and treat the physical symptoms. I am searching for a medication that will finally work!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Very nice list. Thanks for sharing!


shebee said...

Thank you for that post Marja. It was very encouraging and filled my heart with hope. Jesus uses you in miraculous ways. I praise him for allowing me to have met you. You truly are a virtuous woman of God. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou for sharing your gifts with us.
Bless your heart.

Denise said...

Thank you for sharing this. I have read about all the negative sides of being bipolar and it can leave you feeling hopeless. I too a beliver in the Lord, and I know that it's no suprise to him that i am bipolar. I will take this condition and strengthen others after I have overcome the odds.
Thanks again, and may the Lord continue to use you. Denise

marja said...

Thank you all: Marie, Shebee, Susan, and Denise for your comments. I'm glad you were encouraged by this list. I want to write a lot more about the positive side of bipolar disorder. But isn't the positive a lot easier to recognize when you don't have to deal with the stigma that makes you feel shame, guilt and rejection? If we were all fully supported, with Christ-like love, I thinks this is the way a lot of bps would be able to feel.