(October 22, 2007)

My husband says that he has never seen me so emotionally stable in the 42 years he has known me. This has been a very good year for me, with only two months of true depression. This depression was relatively mild. I continued to function and Living Room was not interrupted in any way. There were some minor glitches, but I overcame all of those in short order.

Over the past while I’ve been asking myself why that is. Why this increased stability? Why this normalcy for a person who is still thoroughly bipolar? I think there are a number of factors that are helping me stay so well:

  1. The medication cocktail I’m presently taking is a good one for me. How fortunate I am! I take my pills religiously.
  2. I continue to look after my physical health, exercising as much as I can and trying to eat healthy.
  3. The writing I’ve been doing has been very therapeutic – both my latest book and my blog. (also my numerous emails to friends) What has been especially healing is the opportunity to talk about my faith in God. There’s something about sharing my testimony that makes me feel closer to God and that gives me a sense of peace and wholeness.
  4. I’m wonderfully supported by my church friends, including my pastor. I feel secure knowing that I’m loved and that they will help care for my emotional needs.
  5. Living Room has made me into a supporter, taking me out of the victim role. My current concerns are much more about how to look after others than about how to look after me. I feel fulfilled looking after other people.
  6. At each meeting of Living Room I have an opportunity to talk a bit about how our faith can help make us whole. I love this teaching – always wanted to be a teacher.
  7. Having opportunities to share God’s love with people gives me a lot of joy. I wrote my books with love for the people I wrote for, but those were faceless people – people I couldn’t see. Now they’re sitting around the table with me, in flesh and blood. It’s good to be close to them and to truly get to know them.
  8. I have found a purpose for my life: helping to support those with mental illness and helping churches learn how to support people with mental illness. I want to reduce the stigma within the church. I want to educate. This work is God-given. I know because of the joy and fulfillment it brings me. I have found meaning in my life with bipolar disorder.
  9. Through all the above, I’ve learned to be confident and hopeful about my ability to be well.
  10. I get up early and have at least two hours of quiet time each morning: time to meditate, journal, read my Bible, pray. It is my time with God.
  11. I’ve learned not to try to do everything on my own, instead allowing God to lead me. It’s God’s work I’m doing. I’m only doing the legwork. I’m his servant. (I often forget and try to carry it under my own power, getting stressed by it. But I try hard to remember to lean on God.)
  12. I trust God and have Jesus Christ as my Savior. I try my best to be a follower of Christ, remembering him as an example of the unconditional love I should have for others. And it’s amazing how giving that kind of love brings joy.