Friday, July 04, 2008

Hard to believe

It's hard to believe how my mental health has improved over the years. Amazing how far I have come!

The friends from my current church who have known me for four or five years think I've made great strides since they got to know me. But they didn't know me in the years before that. They have no idea how much improvement I've made!

I recall the time I became angry at my husband at a park. I yelled and screamed at him, making a huge scene. And I wouldn't let up. I used to yell and scream a lot.

I recall months in a mental hospital, not able to speak - delusional, paranoid, (more than I can talk about here). Going through a series of electro-convulsive shock treatments. Twenty years of living with a diagnosis of schizophrenia when it was later found that I had type 1 bipolar disorder.

I recall weeks and months spent in my bedroom, either in deep depression or psychotic.

I recall going to the church every day for some little thing or just to hang out. At one point the secretary even lost her temper with me, letting me know that they had work to do and I was in the way.

I recall doing odd things, behaving oddly, saying odd things, being awkward socially, getting into embarrassing situations.

Today I can honestly say I have been healed...to a high degree anyway. I feel like a normal person - stable, content and at peace. There are a lot of exciting things happening in my life right now: A Firm Place to Stand ready for release with a big book launch planned, my Living Room doing well with three new groups being established in the fall (one of them all the way in New Zealand). Yet I feel calm - not high in the slightest degree - at peace with it all.

Yes I've found healing. I still have bipolar disorder and I'm sure I'll have more mood disturbances, yet to a large degree I've found wellness and normality.

What's making me so well?
  • a good concoction of medications,
  • the support of loving friends,
  • my faith in a God who I can trust and who I know loves me,
  • spending a couple of hours in the early morning, meditating, journaling, reading, praying,
  • living to my best ability the kind of life Jesus modelled - which mostly consists of simply loving others,
  • finding a purpose worth living for - ie, supporting others who suffer as I have in the past and dispelling the stigma towards mental illness in the church,
  • helping others learn about God's love for them.
Totally amazing, isn't it? All things are possible with God.

12 comments:

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Marja,
What an inspirational post. I believe it's the kind of post that makes everyone out there feel good. They must believe that if you could "heal" with all you've experienced, so can they.

I'm not posting until Monday, but I definitely plan on referring people to this post! So glad you're doing so well.

With love,
Susan

marja said...

Thank you, Susan. I'd be happy if you could refer people to this. They need to know there's hope and that they should never give up, always believing that a better life is possible.

As you said in one of your posts a few days ago, we need to want wellness and to want to live a life that matters. And we all have gifts with which we can make contributions to this world and to the lives of the people who touch our lives.

Life is such a treasure, especially when we feel well. Let's use those well times to make something good happen for ourselves and for others.

Love, marja

P.J. said...

Hi Marja,

Sorry I haven't been around much lately. Time is minimal, and I'm having a serious issue with being focussed on anything for a period of time. I want to read all the blogs, but for some reason, my interest level is low.

I enjoyed reading this post, and I'm glad I stopped by. I can relate to you in some of the things you mentioned about how you use to be. I used to hang out at the church a lot... didn't know there was anything significant in that!!

Well, take care, and glad things are going well.

marja said...

Hi PJ.

Good to hear from you. I know what it's like not to be able to get around to blogging - because of time constraints and interest as well. It's been happening to me quite a bit as well lately. Don't worry though. It'll come back.

Di said...

To God be the Glory AMEN!
The power of prayer is eveident in your live!
Love you

Mary said...

Hi Marji I can relate to almost everything you said. Your right we do have to want to get well, and I know I do, but its just going to take time with me. Writing my poetry, helps me and I am hoping it will help others also. Take care, thanks for a great post..Mary

shebee said...

Marja,
you rock! You give me hope! I'm still really struggling with my anger, so it's good to know that someone I look up to and admire struggled with that too, adn conquered it! Thanks for your encouraging post. You're right! God makes all things new, doesn't He?

marja said...

Hey Di! So good to have you visit. Thank you for your support.

marja said...

Hi Mary. I don't know you very well but I had a look at your site and your poetry. Sounds like you've had - and still do have - a rough row to hoe. Thanks for dropping by.

marja said...

Hi ya, Shebee! Such a neat thing to have you visit here. I'm so glad this post didn't just come across like I'm boasting or something. Glad that it inspired you, the way I want it to. It's all God's doing anyway, isn't it?

Looking forward to seeing you on Friday.

Love, marja

Nancie said...

Marja,

Thank God for His mercies to you over the years, in sustaining and restoring you. It is indeed encouraging to know that there is hope and help in our struggle with bipolar disorder. Thanks for sharing with us this hope.

Thank God for making you such a blessing now to others as you serve Him through ministering to others with His love. May God continue to keep you near to Him, bless your walk with Him and use you to encourage others.

Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements. Thank God for strengthening me day by day as I wait upon Him. Take care and have a blessed weekends!

Love and prayers,
Nancie

marja said...

Thanks, Nancie. So good of you to stop by. I hope things are looking up for you.