Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bipolar Disorder makes me look like a douche.

When I am manic I am rude and obnoxious. I can't help it. I laugh at people and am really irritable. It makes me look insensitive and rude. I remember sitting in church and a guy took some wine for communion and he coughed I laughed out loud. It was rude but I couldn't help it. I remember one other time I snapped at my roomate and she cried all day because of it. I am hard to live with when  I am manic.

When I am depressed I can appear rude and distant. I don't smile so people think I am mad at them. I don't say polite things like "thank you" and " please" so people are insulted. I don't feel like being polite. My expression is hard to look at. People get upset. I remember sitting in McDonald's and this guy just came up to me and started lecturing me about my unhappy expression.

Honestly I know I have an illness but it makes me angry that people get mad at me for being sick. I can't help my behavior. I am not doing it on purpose. People end up not liking me because of it. I feel bad about myself like maybe I could control it. Then I realise that it's an illness and you don't have to look happy when you are sick.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Shake the dust off my feet.

I am at a poing in my life where I am ready to shake the dust off my feet and look ahead to the future. I have been dealing with feelings of guilt , anger, resentment, and shame for toot long. I want to start over and put the past behind me.

When I was six years old I was sexually abused by some neighborhood kids. This went on for 2 years until I was eight years old. The ringleader of the group moved away and that's how it ended. I was forced to masturbate in front of the kids and have sex and do other sexual things in front of the kids or I would get beat up. I came home from one of these "sessions" and my mother was sitting on the couch with her boyfriend. I was crying and she asked what was wrong. I didn't tell her what was happening because she was with her boyfriend. I felt so alone after that. I didn't tell anyone what happened until I went to college. I always resented my mother for that. She was more involved with her boyfriends than me. I wanted to join the Girl Scounts and my mother didn't seem interested. It really hurt my feelings. I didn't go to my mother for another thing after that. I felt like she was more engrossed in her own life and didn't care about me.

This abuse really messed up my sexuality growing up. I would feel guilty for masturbating and listening to Prince. When I got married I felt so dirty and naughty. I didn't want to be a nasty girl. I wanted to be a good girl .Good girls don't want sex. So I pretend that I don't want sex. It's hard with my husband because we hardly have sex at all. I feel like that is my fault. I feel guilty for wanting sex and I feel guitly for not having sex. It's very complicated. I feel very uncomfortable expressing my sexuality.

When I am manic or hypo-manic my sexuaity is hard to control. I feel guitly again because I can't control my sexuality when I am manic or hypo-manic. The feelings of guilt are overwhelming. Especially when I am depressed. I feel so ashamed of my illness.

When I went to college I was so excited. I wanted to get a degree and become a writer. I wanted to get a degree so bad. That's why I stayed  four years I wanted to get a degree. I spent twenty grand in student loans and I don't have a degree to show for it. I kept getting depressed when I was in school. I almost dropped out but I kept going because I wanted a degree. In 2002 I tried to finish my degree but I kept getting depressed. I couldn't finish no matter how hard I tried. This devestated me. I realised that I couldn't go to school. It really made me feel like a loser. I couldn't finish what I started. I felt so lazy and stupid.

Then I couldn't work. I tried to work but I couldn't do it. I was so bummed out about that. I felt so lazy and a loser. I tried to get on SSDI three times. Three times I was denied. I felt like a fraud. I felt like a liar. Maybe I could work. I tried but I couldn't find a job. I felt so discouraged. I would have depressions and feel like a burden to my husband who is supporting us. I felt so guilty about not being able to work. I knew I couldn't work. My sleep problems makes it impossible to have a regular day job. I get depressed then I can't do anything but sleep all day. It's frustrating when one can't control one's emotions.

So am full of all this guilt and shame about my illness. I don't tell people I am Bipolar. I keep it a dirty little secret. I don't know how I will explain to employers my thirteen year hiatus. I guess I will tell them that I  was writing during that time.

So I have alot of resentment toward  my parents because they didn't show me love during my childhood. I feel like I was robbed of a lot of things during my childhood that other people take for granted. I felt so ashamed of my illness and I felt alot of anger about being dealt the hand of cards I was dealt. I felt alot of anger towards God for creating me because He created me imperfect. I resent rich and successful people who don't have to worry about money. I let that resentment manifest itself in ways that made me feel even more guilty.

I just don't want to feel these thing anymore. I don't want to feel shame because of my illness. I have a brain disorder it's not my fault that I have had limitations. I don't have to hide my illness. I don't have to resent rich people. Although I don't know how to stop resenting them. My parents did the best they could I shouldn't fault them for their limitations. I got throug my manias alive and healthy I need to be thankful for that.I need to feel pround that I have stayed out of the hospital for nine years. I haven't killed myself which could have happened.

I just want to focus on the present and not kick myself about the past. I want to move on with my life and not dwell on things I couldn' t control .

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Volunteer Job

I got a volunteer job working at Goodwill. It was 2-6 Monday through Friday then eventually Monday,Wednesday, and Fridays. I started there kind of scared of working because it had been so long ; almost 13 years since I had worked at a job. The job was pretty simple; keep the place clean and put away clothes. I had a hard time at first even though it was just part -time. It got easier as time went on. Some days I would be very depressed but I forced myself to go to work. This instilled some discipline in me and I felt better as soon as I got to work.

One girl didn't like me very much I thought. She seemed to be eager for me to leave when my shift ended. I just ignored it. I tried to be friendly to everyone. It was difficult for me to be out of myself. I had difficulty at first but things came easier to me as time went on. The way the employees were treated by mangagement concerned me, though. I felt like they were being treated like objects instead of employees.

The person from Vocational Rehab suggested that I take care of my appearance better and try to work harder. I tried to take her advice and made a better effort at my appearance and tried to work harder at my job. I was discouraged when the manager made a comment that I wasn't working very hard. It made me angry because  number one, I am clinically depressed and number two I am heavily medicated. I am doing my best and I am not trying to look lazy.

I just get so tired of everyone thinking that I am lazy. I have  an illness. I am not lazy. I may move slowly but I do get the job done. I really took that remark to heart and it really made me angry. When I am depressed I am not happy. I am not a joyful, perky person. I don't have the ability to look energetic when I am depressed. I move slowly when I am depressed. I don't look happy when I am depressed. It's hard for me to overcome my negative thinking and be positive.

I just felt like they weren't going to hire me. They were just using me as free labor. I wasn't going to get a job there. I was having a bout of depression so I quit. It was really hard for me after that. I spent a month being depressed. I felt like a failure. I felt like I couldn't get a job. I felt like I was going to end up homeless and sick and totally lost. It was really hard.

I didn't know why I was depressed. I was taking my medication. I tried to be more  disciplined with my pills. I didn't want any excuses. I feel like I did my best and I learned some things about keeping a job. I learned that I needed to work through my depressions and not let it keep me from working. I learned that I needed to break the day down into pieces so that I can get through the day. I need to present my self positively and try to be out of myself and friendly to co-workers and customers.

I really want to get to the point where I am making my own money and can take care of myself. I want to be able to do that. I want to find a way to make money. Maybe that means writing for myself  That may mean getting a job and writing on the side. I don't know. I just want to survive and make it in this world.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Living with a sleep disorder

Growing up I always slept too much. I was never a morning person. I always function better at night. I always had trouble getting up in the morning. When I had my first depression at age 9 I was sleeping all of the time and having a hard time in school. My next depressive episode was at age 15 and it's a miracle I made it to school at all that year.

Sleep has always been a comfort, an escape for me growing up. I slept soundly and often while I was growing up. When I had my depressions I slept quite a bit. It was a way to deal with the despair I was feeling. I would just sleep. In 1989 I had my first severe depression that lasted about a year. I missed class at college and almost flunked out. I slept quite a bit during this period.

I am not a morning person. My mood is just bad in the morning. I don't wake up until after three in the aftternoon. When I was working it was hard going to work on time and making a productive morning. I just didn't operate very well in the morning. When I was depressed I was late to work alot and had a hard time producing while at work. I didn't get fired though.

Eight years ago after my last manic episode I noticed a change in my sleep habits while in the hospital .I couldn't sleep at night. It was scary because if I don't get enough sleep I could go manic. I thought that it was just a side effect of a long manic episode so I didn't feel concerned at the moment. A month after I left the hospital I felt anxious because I wasn't sleeping at night. I went to the emergency room a couple of times because I thought I was having a manic episode.

Then my sleep pattern changed and I slept during the day and stayed up at night. I would be totally drowsy during the day and want to stay in bed all day. It was very hard staying up at night because I was all alone and I didn't feel like doing much. I felt like my brain was re-wired and functioned differently after my manic episode.

So I couldn't work I couldn't stay awake during the day. I applied for disability in 2007 but was denied. That was so frustrating because I knew I couldn't get a job. I slept in the mornings usually or stayed in bed all day until 3 o'clock in the afternoon. It was like that for years. I couldn't sleep at night. I stayed awake all night and couldn't fall asleep. Some days I wouldn't get any sleep at all. On weekends when my husband wanted to do things it was hard because I was so tired during the day.

It's been hard dealing with my sleep patterns because they are so erratic. It's hard on me mentally because I don't feel like I have any comfort. I found great comfort in sleep. It anchored me emotionally. I felt like a normal person when I slept at night. I found respite from the despair of my depressions. I felt less anxiety. I could let go and stop worrying about things when I slept.

Not knowing when you are going to sleep is very hard on me mentally. I don't know when I will sleep next or how much sleep I will get. It always feels like too little. I always feel like I haven't slept enough. During the day I feel drowsy so I drink soda. I can't have alot of caffeine because of my medications. It's hard during the day.

I worked at Goodwill for six months volunteering. I worked in the afternoon. It was the perfect time of day for me because it was during the most productive time of day for me. I had a depressive episode  and quit the job because I couldn't work while I was depressed. All my other jobs have been like that. I would work at them for a while and then my mental illness would get in the way  and I would have to quit or change jobs. I couldn't go to school for the same reason I would be ok for a couple semesters and then I would get depressed and drop out.

What I have learned about being depressed is one has to force oneself to do things while depressed. Break tasks down into little pieces. I have to break the day down into manageable pieces to get through the day. Getting up and doing something is the last thing I want to do but it is what I need to do to feel better. I realised that skipping work when I was depressed wasn't the answer that I needed to go to work when I was depressed. Break the task down into pieces so I am not overwhelmed or discouraged by the task. A therapist I had said when eating an elephant do it in small bites.

My brain is re-wired somehow and I can't sleep alot. I need to make sure I sleep but when that is will be difficult to determine. Some days I don't get any sleep. Some days I sleep during the day. Some days I sleep in the mornings. I don't have a consistent sleep pattern It's difficult to feel secure when I don't know when I will be sleeping. I feel anxious when I don't get any sleep because I fear that I will go manic. After all these years I have a fear of going manic.

I hate being awake. Sleeping was my escape from reality. I would sleep and time would pass quickly and I would feel some comfort. Nowadays I only sleep as much as I need to and I hardly get any exra sleep. Being awake means facing reality. I don't like my reality right now. I am jobless and totally dependant on my husband. I don't want that anymore. I want my own job and money so that I can feel productive. I feel like a burden to my husband. I feel totally useless. I have anxieties about what would happen if my husband couldn't work I just feel like something horrible is about to happen. I am afraid of being homeless and totally sick. I don't like my reality so I try to escape with sleep.

I think like a depressed person even when I am not depressed. Sleep is still an escape for me even though I sleep alot less than I used to. When I am depressed I  can stay in bed all day and not get up until 4 pm. I was like this for the month of May. I quit my volunteering job because I couldn't work. I probably could have but I was tired of working for free and they weren't going to hire me. I just felt like they were taking advantage of me. They were dangling the idea of me working for them like a carrot and expected me to work there indefinately. It really made me angry and I was depressed anyway so I quit.

I have learned that if I want to sleep at night I can't take naps. This is hard because I get so drowsy during the day. Early evenings are especially hard because I tend to get tired after dinner. When I do nap during the day it's inevitable that I am up all night. A part of me hasn't accepted this even after eight years of this. I just want to blank out and escape the reality of my life. I want to sleep through my problems instead of facing them When I feel frustrated and bored I tend to try to sleep those feelings away. Working was good for me because I had to face reality and spend my day working.It wasn't the greates job in the world but it helped me to be disciplined. I need a schedule and discipline in my life.

It's hard to make someone understand why it is so difficult for me to sleep. My husband sleeps naturally and falls asleep with no problems even if he is worried about something. I can't sleep at night if I slept any time during the day. I found this out. So if I take nap I am resigned to the fact that I will be up all night. I need to take caffeine just to stay  awake during the day. I can't have alot of caffeine but just enough to keep me alert.

This has been very frustrating for me. I wasn't able to work for a long time. I need to be able to sleep at night so that I can have a job. The ideal job for me is writing because it adjusts to my schedule. It would be ideal if I could write a book or screenplay a couple times a year and make enough money to live on. I don't know how to become a writer but I will try. I need writing to feel productive . I need writing to feel good about myself in some ways.

Dealing with this crazy sleep schedule has been difficult. It has been hard on me mentally. It has forced me to deal with my problems and not try to escape using sleep. I need to face my reality and try to find a way to be productive.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Everybody loves mania

I have Bipolar Disorder or what is also called Manic Depression. I prefer the term Bipolar because it better describes my illness. I go through periods of severe depression and euphoric hypomania and mania. I spend most of my time on the depressive end of the spectrum At first I was misdiagnosed with depression. I was given an anti-depressant which triggered my first full-blown manic episode. I was hopsitalized and diagnosed with Manic Depression after that. The depressions that I feel are horrible. I am unable to function while clinically depressed. I am lethargic, hopeless, unable to concentrate, suicidal and isolative. My manias are the oppisite. I am euphoric, joyful, energetic, charming, confident, delusional and hypersexual. My hypomanias are where I feel really good and full of energy and confident that I can do anything.

Before  I was diagnosed I used to experience hypomania alot. I would feel spiritual, confident,joyful, happy, charming and full of verve. I was hypomanic for a year before my next depression which landed me in jail. Hypomania is like  being on speed. One doesn't sleep very much because one is full of energy. People like me while I am hypomanic. I'm the life of the party. I'm fun to be around . I am confident in my abilities. My brain works better when I am hypomanic. I'm alert and energetic. I'm the best person I could be while hypomanic. I am also exerting my sexuality overtly. I'm a flirt. I dress sexy. I want to have sex. I am attracted to porn and sexy movies.

In my manic state I am so joyful I cry. I know God. I am special and loved. I hear God's voice. I am obedient and do what He says even if that means taking all my clothes off in public. I will not go to hell. I am a force of nature to be reasoned with by mere mortals. Time disapears and I am swept up in visions and delusions. I will do what God says even if that means kill myself or someone else. I am watching myself go through this and I can't control my actions. I am terrified. I can't stop the storm, the hurricane of emotion. I don't know where this train will end up. It's really frightening.

These manic and hypomanic states my seem like a lot of fun to an outside observer but they are actually very scary. I have no control when I am in a manic or hypomanic state. I can't control my emotions or my body. I am very sexual during these states which can cause alot of guilt later on when my Christian side comes out. I can't stress enough how frightening these states are. In a hypomanic state I can shop-lift or do something elst illegal. My moral compass is broken. I say things out of a place that can be hurtful to another loved one. I can get extremely irritable and clash with people.

It doesn't help that people enjoy these states. When I attended church and was hypomanic I was a great disciple. I shared my faith and was joyful and "radical" . I was "fired-up" and just what the church leaders wanted in their membership. I attracted people with my joy and verve. People who are  hypomanic most of the time usually have a charisma about them. They do well in acting and entertainment.

People like mania and so do  I on some level. The lack of emotional control, however scares the heck out of me. I used to be temped to go off my meds just so I could be hypomanic for a while. I never did that but it did cross my mind. I would miss being hypomanic because people liked me. My husband fell in love with my hypomanic states. It was an aspect of me that was charming and fun. The down side of hypomania is the irritiblity and sexual feelings.

I'm not exactly having an entirely fun time while being hypomanic. It contradicts my Christian beliefs about being faithful to a husband and not stealing. It's a scary feeling to experience no self-control of one's actions and words. I have a false sense of confidence that could hurt my relationships. Saying what's on my mind and not necessarily caring what the other person thinks can wreak havoc on a close relationship.

Society encourages manic behaviour. We celebrate it. Look at Charlie Sheen or Robin Williams. We think this is funny. I sometimes act hypomanic just to get people to like me. People like gregarious people. They like friendly fun people. Being depressed is , well, depressing. Case-in-point "Debbie Downer" in SNL skits. I have often felt like her as a depressed individual. People don't like depressed people. It makes them feel uncomfortable and aware of their own shortcomings.

So do I try to please society and act hypomanic?  I can't do that. Being friendly and out of myself  is a challenge when I am depressed. Sometimes I can't control my depressions. I can't be fun and gregarious all of the time. I think being the real me is best. I like putting other people at ease when they see me. I like being liked. I think , though that my friends know that I am not always going to be happy and joyful and glad to see them .

It's a challenge since knowing that if I act a certain way I will get kudos from other people like my employers. Putting on a act though is not what  I want to do. I want my joy to be genuine and not a symptom of a mental illness. I can't always control that. I can't always be aware of my depressive states. I don't know if can always be "natural". I don't think that is possible especially when one has do deal with society. Society dictates how we behave. To keep my job I may have to put on an act that is not actually how I feel. Around friends and family I can be genuine. I like to feel that my friends and family love me for me not my manic and hypomanic states.

Thinking Depressed

I have spend most of my life struggling with Bipolar Depression. The first time I was depressed was when I was 9 years old. I remember not wanting to take a bath and wanting to stay in bed. My mom got angry with me and thought I was being lazy. My teacher made fun of me in class and had the other students laugh at me. It lasted about a month and then it went away. The next time I was depressed was when I was fifteen years old. I was extremely tired and couldn't understand math and chemistry class. I forced myself to go to school but I struggled with staying awake I slept alot and barely passed my classes. My mother didn't notice my depressed behaviour. Her philosophy is "no news is good news". She didn't know that I almost flunked out of school. My sister was having problems with her mental illness issues. It was a bad year. I got better the next year. I brought my grades up and graduated high school and got into college.

I didn't think much of my depressions. I thought I was just a loser. I had low self-esteem. I was glad to graduate and get into college. I was expecting to get a degree and start my career. I did alright my first year in college but in 1989 I had  a severe bout of depression. I was extremely tired and I had a hard time concentrating. I missed class and didn't go to final exams. I felt suicidal and so down. I felt like I was a failure as a Christian. I felt condemned by God. I got incompletes on my classes and almost lost my financial aid. I was sleeping alot and feeling like I wanted to die. Then the depression went away and I felt better after a year.

In 1990 I was hypomanic. I felt good and did well in my classes. I was a great "disciple" in my church and was "fruitful" with conversions. I felt great but the next year I got depressed again. I had to leave school. I was struggling with depression again. I dropped out of school and lived with my mother. I moved in to an apartment and got jobs. I couldn't keep the jobs because I would get depressed and stop going to work. I told a doctor about my depressions and he diagnosed it a slow thyroid and gave me medication for that. I got suicidal and set my apartment on fire. I got scared and left after the fire started. I called a friend who took me to the hospital. I confessed my crime and was arrested. I was severely depressed. I spend 3 weeks in jail. I told them I was depressed they gave me prozac. I was givien an anti-depressant when I got out of jail. The medication triggered a manic episode in me and I went to the hospital. I was thne diagnosed with Manic Depression.

I was put on Lithium which made me gain sixty pounds. I was so out of it for the first six months. I was living in my father's house .He lived with his girlfriend. It was a small one-bedroom house in a bad neighborhood. I was alone and trying to find a way to get a job. I worked with Vocational Rehab to find work .I lived in the house 2 years. I moved in with friends after I found a job. I was stable on my medication. I met my husband and we married in 1995.

For five years things went fine. I worked and was married. I did have a bad time in 1999 when I had a severe depression and manic episode thanks to a psychiatrist who didn't know what he was doing. I struggled to work but had to quit my job when I couldn't work a part-time schedule. My medication was causing me to have trouble working. I decided to quit rather than being fired. I figured I could get on disability. I applied to disabiltiy but was turned down. I applied again in 2002 and 2007 but was turned down. My depression was pretty bad during this time. I was on various medications but was put on lithium again in 2004. It was hard for me to function anymore. I had a hard time sleeping and slept during the day. In 2007 I left the church I had attended for 20 years. I lost contact with alot of people in the church. I felt isolated and alone. I became an atheist. I stopped enjoying life just merely existing. I stopped reading books which I used to love to do. I stopped talking to people and doing things socially. I was in a fog. I couldn't function. I couln't work. It was a tough 8 years. I became a different person.

Depression robs one of one's ability to see things clearly. Everything is skewed in an unfavorable light. It's like walking around with a cloud over one's head that is constantly raining. I lose perspective and feel defeated about life. I feel like I am cursed or condemned to lose everything I love. I feel like giving up. " I don't want to die ; I just don't want to live" from a song I used to listen to. It's just like that. I stopped living and merely existed; waiting for my inevitable death and destruction.

Not being able to sleep at night really affected me. I couldn't find comfort in sleep. I couldn't pass the time sleeping and taking myself away from the tedium of my thoughts. I felt extremely anxious and defeated. I felt like I was going to end up a widow and homeless and dead with no one to care about me. I had a hard time concentrating so reading books was very difficult. Enjoying little things like tea and coffee and meals was devoid of any pleasure. I didn't feel emotion or pleasure. I was flat-lined emotionally. Communication with my husband was sparse. I didn't have any sexual desire. I was waiting to die. I felt like a caged animal just pacing my apartment waiting for the inevitable.

Eight years is a long time to be crippled by depression. It permeates one's life. I was existing not living. I was not able to work during this time. We struggled to pay the bills. It was hard living paycheck to paycheck. We lost our house and our car. Life became a struggle. I was often suicidal but I didn't go to the hospital because we couldn't afford it. I made a commitment not to kill myself or go to the hospital after my manic episode in 2004. I kept trying to find comfort but there was none. I couldn't find pleasure or joy in life. I couldn't pray and find comfort. The only thing that helped was writing. I wrote and started this blog.

My depression is always with me. I think in certain patterns that reflect my depressive state. "What's the poin?" I ask myself alot. We are struggling to  stay in our apartment while we wait for unemployment. My husband has been out of work for six months. We are running out of our savings. The defeated attitude rears it's ugly heard. " You will end up homeless, in the hospital and dead" I hear my depressive voice tellling me. "Why bother?"  the voice asks me. You will fail. " You can't write, you are not good enough" , " Nobody cares"  "It's your fate to end uip homeless"  These thoughts are constantly in my mind.

Sleep is an issue that I have struggled with. I don't sleep very much .My mind is not able to find rest from the worries of the day. I deal with alot of anxiety. Thoughts go around and around in my head and I can't silence them with sleep. I sleep 4 hours a day , if I am lucky. As a depressed person I used sleep as an escape. I used to sleep all day and night just to get through the day. I miss the comfort I got from sleep. I need to find other ways to deal with stress and I usually find that in writing.

I think like I am depressed when I am not. I have thoughts run through my mind that hinder my ability to enjoy the day. When I am depressed I am not a person who looks happy. I am not a cheerful person. I look sad or anxious most of the time. I don't feel like acting happy to ease someone else's mind. Being depressed isn't popular. People avoid you. You aren't happy so people tend to ignore you. Sometimes I act happy just so I can be liked. People don't like depressed people. The negative thoughts that I used to think as a depressed person stay with me like burnt toast. It's hard to think positively especially now.

When I get up in the morning I am tempted to go back to bed and just lie there until I feel guilty for lying in bed all day. I am trying to overcome my depressed thinking. I try to do things during the day that give me comfort like writing and reading a book. I feel like I see a train coming and I am trying desperately to get off the tracks. It's hard but I think of the other hard times I have gone though and I think maybe I can get through this hard time.

Depression has robbed me of eight years of my life. I feel like I need to allow the scales to fall from my eyes and see that life isn't always predictable but one can overcome it. I feel that writing isn't just a hobby anymore ; it's my salvation. I feel like I can live my life. I have given myself permission to live my life and to enjoy it. I don't want to just exist anymore I want to participate in life and encourage my friends and family.

Time is viewed by a depressed person as an enemy. It's to be endured and not spent. I want to change my view of time. To spend my day not just endure it. To be productive in writing and a job. I used to
feel that I was running out of time. That I was going to die young like my sister. I don't know if that is true. I may not die like my sister. I don't have to sit around waiting to die. I can live each day and try to survive. Not just survive but live and overcome my weaknesses. I want to be present in my life not laying in bed all day waiting to die. I don't want to be hit by that train I want to get on it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Found my faith after 5 years

I was a Christian from the time I was nine years old until my forties. I always found comfort in my relationship with God throughout my life. In 2007 I left the church I had been attending for 20 years and didn't go to another church. My love for God diminished over the year I was away from my church. I struggled with the idea of divine intelligence. How could a God who is perfect create and expect imperfect beings to follow him perfectly? I was burnt out on the works-oriented doctrine that my church tought. I had a hard time explaining to people in my church how having a mental illness meant that I couldn't always do the things I was expected as a disciple of Jesus. I had to take medication to stablilize my mental and emotional health. Leaders in the church told my sister who also struggled with mental illness not to take her medication. They said we should rely on God. They didn't trust pschology or psychiatry. It was very damaging to hear that. I insisted on taking my medicaion because I knew if I didn't I would end up in the hospital.

I kept hearing from leaders " you need to be a disciple" and deny yourself and make sure you are doing everying as a disciple. I tried but I  failed alot especially if I was clinically depressed. When I was manic I was the life of the party and totally able to do everything expected of me. Most of the time I struggled with Bipolar Depression. I had a hard time reading my Bible and sharing my faith. I would stay in bed during the day and hide from God and everyone else. I was angry at God for having Bipolar Disorder. I felt like a spiritual loser. I wasn't like very much by some members who couldn't understand my illness. When I was manic I was lifted up as a radical disciple. It really bothered me that this church rewarded a symptom of a mental illnes.

After I was diagnosed I was so full of guilt and self-loathing. I felt that I was a disppointment to God. I felt like it was impossible for me to be a good disciple. That made me angry because I knew I couldn't help being weak at times because of my illness. When I had my last manic episode I experienced powerful delusions of God talking to me, angels, and demons. I was totally broken from reality during a two week period in 2004. I was hypersexual and had fantasies and was in love with my male therapist. I thought we were married. It was very scary.
After I left the hospital I experienced severe depression. I was suicidal and completely depressed. I felt so guilty for the hypersexuality I felt . I felt as if I had cheated on my husband .I felt worthless as a wife and asked my husband for a divorce. We were struggling to keep our apartment and my husband lost two jobs in six months. I applied at school and got a student loan that I used to pay rent. I became severely depressed shortly after I started going to class and dropped out. My loan was added to my other student loan debt.

I prayed to God that I wouldn't have another manic episode after my episode in 1999. I was so sure God had answered my prayer. I was going to finish my degree and become a writer. I was so happy and then it happened again. I was so hurt and angry at God for not answereing my prayer. I was devestated by my depression after my manic episode. I gradually began to lose my love for God and Jesus. I stopped reading the Bible. I stopped praying because I felt it was a waste of time.

I began to read on the internet about sites that said Jesus didn't exist. I thouight about that. If I coudn't be perfect no matterwhat I didn then how can Jesus be perfect. I doubted that the Bible was the word of God. I doubted the Holy Spirit because when I was depressed I couldn't always feel His presence. My emotions were raw and vulnerable. I decided that God did not exist and that Jesus was just the figment of a bunch of men's imagination.

Over the next five years I missed praying and having a relationship with God. I had trouble with anxiety and fear. I felt like I was given over to the elements and exposed to every bad thing that could happend to me. I was very anxious. Over time I realized that the church I went to for twenty years didn't teach much about grace or the Holy Spirit. I studied those things out and realized that with grace and the Holy Spirit I could be a Christian. I renewed my faith in Jesus and God's perfect son sent to Earth to rid us of all our sin through his suffering on the Cross.

My anxiety disappeared and I felt more hopeful about my life. I realize that I need God in my life and that I need to have Him lead me in my life. I feel that I have to relearn things about God that I  was tought wrong or didn't know in the religious system of my former church. I am going to go to my mother's church so that I could encourage her in her life and help her out when I can. I am feeling new and rejuvinized.