Sunday, January 17, 2010

In all honesty

Hi everyone. Sorry I haven't posted for so long. Unfortunately, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to post - increasingly difficult to be absolutely honest about the stuff I'm dealing with. Instead, I journal and email my closest friends.

Thing is, when you're in leadership and when you're trying to be there for people, you just don't want everyone to know the truth about everything, especially when you're struggling.

I'm not doing badly right now but, in true bipolar fashion, there have been times and there are times...

I was looking at the bipolarireland website the other day and read the perfect description of what I go through. "Over the life of a person who lives with bipolar disorder, the illness expresses itself in an irregular pattern of changes of mood, energy and thinking." So true! And how irregular my changes of mood, energy and thinking have been lately - from day to day!

Good thing I have a lot more than just myself to think about. Good thing I have a worthwhile purpose to live for. Good thing I have a lot of people to support me and pray for me in the work I do. Good thing I'm trusting God, most of the time...or do I do enough of that?

Actually all too often I start thinking everything's up to me alone and I forget that it's God doing the work and I just have to follow along. How comforting when God brings me back, when I remember that I can relax - when I don't need to be as stressed.

Often lately I've felt overwhelmed, which is actually - I think - just a symptom of depression. There's my own Living Room group to look after. And then there's the greater Living Room movement, a movement that is growing. Exciting, eh? And yet it's a huge responsibility, especially for someone dealing with such fluctuations in "mood, energy, and thinking." If only I had only one of those responsibilities to deal with - the group or the movement - life would be easier to manage. Or would it?

I love my group. I love leading devotional times. I love being there for individuals as they go through struggles. The relationships I develop are priceless. And God is very much in those relationships. I feel His presence in the love I share with those people. I could never give up my group or its people.

And I'm committed to seeing more Living Room groups spring up. I want to see lots of Living Rooms to serve people who need faith-based support. I want to see this movement securely in place to continue long after I'm gone. Because it's a valuable ministry, a ministry that all Christians with mood disorders should have access to. A place where they can talk about both, their faith and mental health issues - probably the only place where they can feel safe doing so. I could never give up planting new Living Rooms.

Ah, it's felt good talking to you. It's felt good being honest with you. Please don't feel sorry for me. I lead a rich life. I'm hugely blessed. Just need a bit of prayer now and again. And doesn't everyone?


Wendy Love said...

Love your gentle and discreet honesty Marja! And yes, everyone needs prayer. I can pray for you too!
And yes, overwhelm is not only part of depression but something everyone goes through. I think depressed people just beat themselves up over it more!

marja said...

Thanks for being ok with my honesty, Wendy. And thank you for visiting, though I know you're taking a break from blogging.

Yes, I guess everyone gets overwhelmed once in a while when they're busy. Many people suffer burnout - maybe not calling it depression.

Coco said...

Marja, you're an inspiration. Overwhelmed is how I feel too as I feel the big black dog creeping back to dig it's teeth in. Yes, we can let go and let God; the reminder is good. Yet how hard it is sometimes to deal with the changing 'moods, energy and thinking'. I feel very unsettled. Thank you for being honestly you, it's helped me today.

marja said...

I'm sorry, Coco, that this is happening to you. I'll pray that tomorrow will be a better day for you. That's all we need to do, eh? A day at a time. And every time the morning comes there's a chance things will be better. And yet, it's the nature of depression to keep you from believing, eh? How complicated all this is!

Glad this post helped you.

More Than Conquerors said...

Dear Marja,

I haven't been posting regularly too. Been kept busy serving our Lord in visiting some sick and elderly, other volunteer work for my church, my freelance work plus caring for my mother. I too have found how irregular my changes of mood, energy and thinking have been lately - from day to day! Quite like you!

I am so thankful that we have God with us and we know that He is in control. We live a fruitful and meaningful life despite of our conditions. In fact, our bipolar especially the manic phase gives us the creativity and energy to serve Him and many needy people. Our down time draws us closer to God to know His love and grace, and it enables us to sympathize with others who are suffering.

I am so glad you have Living Room and the group of lovely people for mutual support. You are in my thoughts and prayers regularly. Take care and God bless you always!

With love and prayers,

marja said...

Hi Nancie,

We are similar in so many respects. Sounds like your life is very much like mine and I understand why you so often say that you constantly have to remember to pace yourself. I have to do that as well.

Yes, I think our illness helps us in many respects to lead the kind of life God wants us to lead. To put our creative energy into serving Him and - when we're down - to draw closer to Him.

You are truly a sister - in many respects. Take care, dear girl.


Paula Joy said...

I know what you mean by not being able to share what is really going on due to being in leadership. I deal with that, too. I finally gave in last night and told my Pastor, who is my closest friend, about that stuff I've been dealing with lately.

marja said...

Hey, Paula! Good to hear from you. I just checked your blog and you haven't posted much for a very long time. You're worse than me! Hope you'll start soon again. I often think of you and have missed you, as well as the rest of the gang. My own fault too, I know.

Hope you are well.


Jane said...

Hi Marja,

I know what it's like to be in Leadership and not knowing what to tell people and what to keep private. As my hubby has been a pastor at a church, I have found that my life as a "pastor's wife" comes with some expectations, even though people don't intend it to be that way. So, I have had to modify the way I share information with others too, and it's challenging! But luckily, there are always the friends who were there from the beginning, and those who are still there and cheering you on- those are the ones that you can turn to. I am glad you have those people in your life and that you are also able to journal. You do have the support from everyone else too, but the intimate relationships DO matter. You're an excellent leader, Marja. Keep being you, because being you is how this beautiful garden was planted and began to grow into something so lovely that other people could be part of and enjoy and be blessed by.

xoxo ~j.

marja said...

Dear Jane,

I don't recall you commenting here before. If it's the first time, a big welcome to you.

In all honesty, your comment made me cry. It made me realize that I'm not alone with this problem. It also made me realize how I'll miss my best friend - may main source of support - as she leaves in a little while for three months away. I'll miss her SO much.