I have lived with bipolar disorder as a person who didn’t believe in God. And I’ve lived with bipolar illness as someone who learned to have faith in Jesus Christ. And, though my faith did not “heal” me, I have become a stronger person because of it.

Trusting in God has removed a lot of the fear I had. I don’t become anxious as often. I know that I’m on a spiritual journey that will never end until I go to heaven. Some anxiety and some fear will always be part of my life but I live with a hope that keeps me well more than I would otherwise be. And, although I know that depression will still periodically hit me, I’ve learned that I’m a different person in some way every time I come back into the light. My moods teach me things, even if it’s only to have better compassion for others who suffer in some way.

The Bible says “. . . we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who he has given us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

Although suffering is painful there is something about the pain that builds character.

But I think the greatest thing I’ve learned since I began following Christ, was that God loves me unconditionally—no matter what. When I go through the pain that comes periodically—feelings of abandonment and darkness—I try to remember Jesus who is well acquainted with those feelings. He also suffered greatly—all for us. God knows what our pain is like. When we suffer, he suffers with us. We are not alone. To this knowledge we can cling.

I have known of God’s love for a long time, but I haven’t always felt it, or grasped just how great it truly is. Yet when I did, I became more confident, more assured of my worth. And all I knew I wanted to do, was to work for him, to help others understand how wide and long and high and deep his love is.

Someone in my blog responded:

“In all honesty, I truly believe that it’s this disorder that has brought me to Christ. I was the biggest atheist about 5 years ago and then when the depression hit and I tried fighting it on my own I realized that it was pointless. It wasn’t working. I was powerless to the disorder including the drugs and alcohol in my life. I believe that coming to faith in Christ and surrendering my life to Him is the reason I’m sober on meds. and alive today. I couldn’t do it on my own.”

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)

In August 2006 I was asked to facilitate a session of a secular support group for the Mood Disorders Association of BC. (MDA) The meeting was a heavy one. I did a good job facilitating. It felt natural to me. I only had to listen, respond, wait for others to respond, and then move on to another person when I thought we’d spent enough time with a person.

But when I got home I just had to get on my knees and pray for some of the people I met. There was such a lot of deep pain and so many had nowhere to turn. Proper care is difficult to get. And some of the people simply didn’t have the money for a reasonable place to live.

There was one big thing missing in the meeting—the hope of Jesus Christ. If that could have been talked about, those people would have more to hang on to. Thank God, we will have the opportunity to share that in the Living Room groups we’ll be forming.

Albert Schweitzer talked about how those who have good fortune in some areas of their life should share it with others. And I have so much I’m fortunate to have and I feel called to share myself with others.

The pain and suffering is so huge, yet we in our cozy lives tend to be insulated from seeing it. It’s when you get close to people with such problems that you become more fully aware, more awake, to the tragedies in the world. I feel like some of my protection has been rubbed off and I am in touch with some of the pain people are going through.