Saturday, November 03, 2007

The truth about it all

Tonight I found an awful comment to my article about Finding Meaning in my Life with Bipolar Disorder. The person had lost her home and her family and had some pretty mean words about my views. And it made me think: am I being far too positive in my approach? Tonight I feel dreadful about it, knowing how much suffering there is and the great losses people suffer as a result of the illness - losing everything, and even their lives to it.

My life is turning out well, though I too went through pure hell for much of my adult life. I've been fortunate in every way. Yet I mustn't overlook the great tragedy of this disease. I shouldn't be too proud of my positive spirit. Once in a while I should think about others and grieve for the many who are experiencing hell. Perhaps I should learn to cry a bit more for all those who are in such pain, instead of flaunting my personal good fortune.

I feel for that person who was so angry with me and I can't blame her for feeling the way she does.


Dream Writer said...

First of all, in my opinion "Mental Illness is bad," however, that lady that said you were talking out of your arse is angry and not at you - she is angry at God, herself, life, and so on.

Not everyone is going to agree with what we have to say, and a lot of people that commented thanked you and did agree - and that is what you should hold onto.

Mental Illness in itself is bad, but it is also up to the individual to take care of themselves, to medicate themselves, to see a counselor, and get the adequate help they need for the severity of their condition.

When Bipolars say my life is a mess and so on, those Bipolars have a lot to do with their life being messed up - it is just NOT the Illness that is doing it.

People are in denial and it amazes me how many people drink, take drugs, smoke, and so on while having bipolar - these things will put any BP into a rage and manic episode.

That woman is just angry obviously - losing her home? There has to be more to the story. OF course, some thing she so conveniently left out.

Your article was fine...and very positive. That is the Joys of being a writer - we have good critics and bad critics - we have good testimonials and bad testimonials.

Hang in there, you are fine:)

marja said...

Thank you for the encouragement, Dream. I guess my choice of words in that article was poor. The point I was intending to make was that good can come out of bad - which is very true. But I can see now that I was insensitive to the plight of many who had not found that good.

Today I can see that I need to do a little less celebrating of my own wellness and a little more grieving for the pain of others.

As a result of this another article is taking shape in my mind. So you see: that bad comment from someone might make something good happen - a more sensitive approach in my writing.

Dinah said...

This is my first visit to your blog, as I'm hunting for resources as we decide how to help my son-in-law, and father of my three grandchildren, with getting treatment for Bipolar disorder.

My personal belief is that faith in Christ, and knowing our sovereign God is the reason for the hope that enables us to celebrate the positive reality to our trials. Romans 8:28, James 1:2-4 come to mind.

If you felt conviction from the comment, I applaud you for taking the high road and considering the possibility before you. (Ephesians 4:1-7) I'll be back to visit again as we navigate this minefield with my daughter and son-in-law.
God bless.

moonlightwriter said...

I've come to believe that whether we have bipolar disorder or some other ailment in life we have the God-given option to take the best of it or the worst of it. We can accept it and do what we can to make our life work with it, not against it, or we can give up and cry woe is me. I'm not exactly delighted I've been diagnosed with bipolar disorder but I believe everyone has some sort of "cross to bear" in their lives and if this is mine then so be it. It could always be worse. We can't use mental illness as a crutch to be mad at the world. I've went down that road and it doesn't work. We also can't block out the fact that Christian or not there is a lot of suffering that goes on with this illness, some more than others. I feel like you were focusing on the positives, and that is a very rare and good thing. Positive thinking gets misinterpreted as rose colored glasses sometimes, and I can see where someone who is going through a rough time is more hesitant to see things in the good light. Don't be too hard on yourself. I thought is was a very good article.

Emilija said...

I think that your positive experience with bipolar is a function of having a mild enough disease that could be treated with current medications at an early enough age not to totally lose your life to it. Not everyone is so lucky. It took me 15 years of hell to find the right meds. Although I now have a good and rich life, it is hard for me to say that bipolar is a good thing. I will never know what it is to be a mother. I have lost many years of my life. I am not bitter anymore, but I have done lots of mourning.

marja said...

Dinah: Thank you for visiting. I wish you all the best as you try to help your son-in-law. I hope you'll visit again.

Moonlightwriter: Thank you for your encouragement and for understanding what I was trying to say.

Emilija: Thank you for your comment. I can't say my life has been easy. I have lost many years as well. It was excruciatingly hard for a very long time. I landed in a mental hospital at the age of nineteen and spent 9 months there. For the next 25 years I lived with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and was not receiving the kind of meds I should have. I had many psychotic breaks, along with depression and mania. It was only when I turned 42 that things started improve, but only somewhat. The past 10 years have been relatively good, though with still many episodes - but I'm managing. The past two years have been the most excellent parts of my life.

But through all the suffering, I have grown. I have gained strength and have learned a perseverance that I would not have had if I hadn't gone through the hell I've experienced. Best of all, I have learned that I'm able to now help others who suffer as I do. Today - at the age of 61 - I'm no longer only someone who needs support; I'm a supporter. And that's very empowering.

So...all I meant to say is that good can come out of bad. We CAN find good in the bad if we look for it. The faith in God I've learned to have - starting at age 42 - has helped me immeasurably with this positive approach. It is an all-loving God who I have to thank for my current wellness and sense of fulfillment.

Twila Neilson said...

Hi Marja. It sounds like you are getting some postive responses finally about your posts. There are always good and bad, white and black, understanding and misunderstanding. I think that this is a Mission that Jesus has laid on your heart and Missions can often be difficult to walk. With the support of what looks like some support, I think you can get through this. Please try to keep in mind that your original point was not that those with mental illness are better or worse off (scale of 1-10) than anyone else. I think the point was that whatever the mental disorder is; is that it is important that it can be overcome. Yes some people walk a different path than others and take a while longer to get a handle on their mental illness and so lose more than is fair. I totally understand, empathize and pray for those who are walking this very difficult walk. I would encourage those who see Jesus at work in your life and the Holy Spirits guidance, to continue talking. It is only through learning that we understand. It is only through the Holy Spirit and Jesus that we come to understand. The rest............. is up to prayer and the path that Jesus has us all on for HIS own reasons. None the less, learn from the negative comments without taking them personal and allow them to bring your faith in your Mission stronger than the day before. The entire blog boils down to one undeniable fact. Churches, Christians, people, friends, family, supporters, all could benefit from understanding of mental illness and you are doing a wonderful job. One person at a time. I applaud your courage and encourage you to continue to pray for guidance because as hard as it is, I really feel like this is your calling. To those who do not understand Marja's message I am sure she would be willing to privately send you links to help you understand. None the less I support her as does our church and many who don't even go to church. That's my two cents. :) Bless you Marja