(September 10, 2006)

As a writer who tries to encourage those who have to live with bipolar disorder, as I do, I’m afraid that at times I might be coming across as someone who thinks she knows it all. I can’t stand people like that and don’t want to be like that…and if I ever tend be that way, I’m sorry… and ashamed. But it’s a constant battle to be honest with my readers about who I am and just how well I truly cope. In my effort to encourage, I try to show only the best, when what I should be doing is recognizing the reality of the tough stuff. When I talk about my faith, especially, I tend to perhaps suggest that it’s THE answer for our problems – that everything became perfect once I began to follow Christ.

The honest truth is that I have a biological brain disease that will always be with me. My brain is the way it is because this is the way God made me. My faith does not make this go away. I need medications (God-given) to survive. I often have to suffer.

Erwin Raphael McManus said it well in his book, “Uprising”: “Followers of Christ suffer just like everyone else. The pain is just as real, the disappointment just as deep, the tears just as profound. Yet how we face suffering is quite different.”

And how we face this suffering is what I think I covered in my last post. We know that there is some meaning in it. That, if we persevere, today’s pains will transform us. I have learned this well. This is what gives me hope and helps me see the positive side of the struggles I’m forced to endure. After 40 years of this, I have found meaning in my life by putting to use what I have learned. I want to try and encourage others. I want to whittle away at the terrible stigma that exists in this world.

So, as I carry on writing these posts and the last chapter of my book, I sincerely hope that I will be able to face the reality of who I am, how well I do, and how severe the struggles truly are. I want to be honest; I want to be real.

Life with bipolar disorder will never be easy. But I thank God for showing me a way to serve him. It’s in serving that I find my strength.