I know that this connects with more women than those who deal with issues of mental health—I think the challenge, especially to those of us who deal with the
manic spectrum of bipolar.
1. We want to do everything.
2. We want to do everything right.
3. We want to do everything right now.
I know I struggle between feeling this way and feeling worn out and not wanting to move--because mentally and physically I know I wasn't designed to keep up with the pace my brain is telling me to operate at. This "thought process" pressed by impulse defies both logic and reason.
But somehow we, as sisters in this struggle, find our self worth is subconsciously tied to how much we can take on and fulfill successfully—this is not necessarily just busy work, it is in successfully carrying all the roles that we signed up for. We are so programmed in this way it seems almost mentally "awkward" for us to approach life in any other way.
I have found that I have to be more thoughtful in my decision-making in order to hone in on that feeling and deal with the root of it. And it takes a lot more than medicine to relearn life-long patterns that take us from A to Z in 60 seconds or less.
God has taught me a lot in this time about embracing the sacred pause that pulls feeling and impulse to the side to seek insight, truth and well-thought direction. And I continue to review that lesson daily. time
a mind that never rests
from the edge
I remember the day that the dark put a stake in my head.
I was standing on the edge of a Colorado mountain, and the darkness said "If your life really matters, if the good outweighs the shadow I know is in your soul, God will save you in this fall."
I remember that contemplative look that pulled my eyes back and forth--from inches from my toes to hundreds of feet down.
Then the words ... "Daughter, you need to recognize the author of that voice and turn around."
The victory of that day over, but the battle to victory just begun. Some of those days I decide to carry my own shovel, but now I keep my eyes set to the sky and carry a harpoon.
I am so thankful how far God has brought me and that in perseverance through fiery times He proves himself over and over again.
In the nature of being barefaced I wanted to share a bit of my journey to healing--and the joy of seeing prayers fulfilled. The journey my friends and family still walk with me on. The journey that is thankful for a Savior.
I have been on a journey to see God restore my health on many levels. Today I'm praising God for modern medicine and the care of a psychiatrist that doesn't give me those pat answers of this is just how you're going to feel on this medication.
I praise God for feeling a lifting of this brain cloud and the ability to think more clearly, an elimination of the anxiety that was making me chronically exhausted, the ability to get sleep after dealing with months and months of insomnia and a renewed passion for embracing
we never walk alone
everything God has called me to be--it's a breakthrough--it is a freedom moment. It feels like an eternity when you're walking through it, even though it's a drop in the bucket compared to it.
I know that there are still side effects I'm working through...the weight gain and with this new med...the night terrors (Phil needs prayer for this one too) but I am confident in this --with Him guiding my doctor, He is able to help me through this too. I am so thankful for my family and friends who have been those ones that love the hardest at all times.
I thank God that He has done great turnarounds to lighten my load...I just had to turn over the rocks I had been holding onto for so long. They were things that I needed to deal with...not things I needed to travel with. No one can do that and embrace all the love and beauty God has to give.
I just wanted to share this because I know all too well that we are all dealing with this fragile shell of our humanity and the daily pressures of this world and the toll it takes on our minds and bodies--Jesus knew that all too well when He took on human skin and said...please Father let this cup pass from me...but He took on the fullness of the cup still.
At times, I still feel like I'm writing with a short yellow pencil. It's the only kind of pencil you can get on the psychiatric ward of a hospital probably because you feel you just might lose it and they don't want you stabbing yourself in the eye.
But the truth is we all have days like that...for some of us the journey seems longer than others. To some of us, it's hard to see the good beyond our pain or burps in our brain.
At times, it's hard to see the light, let alone let it in. At times we may walk a path that sometimes seems so barren...we may stumble... we may not feel that we have strength to rise...we may think we will never endure...but if you keep looking up...if you keep pressing through... no matter what you're feeling today... in the end you'll feel the sun.
On this journey together! We walk but we never walk alone.
Those moments you wish you'd never gotten in touch with your feelings…because you just can't hang up the phone to get them to shut up.
the problem with therapy
I'm a Monet, and it at times ideas can pop into my mind in manic. In fact, just before I was hospitalized a few years ago for my first major manic episode, I couldn't sleep for months. In fact, I could hear words. Sometimes they rhymed, sometimes they made sense, and sometimes they were complete and utter nonsense. And still yet, some things I penned still only make sense to me (and that was ok).
There were times I seriously thought, "Is this how Edgar Allen Poe or Emily Dickenson descended into madness" because everything "meant something just for me." And the rest of the world was just clueless. And I wherever I was I had to stop and record that nugget of truth ... right then and there.
However, I was totally living under the influence of my headspace. And I let it "take over" my day, my night. Every moment I "had to write." I had to stop and pull over to the side of the road if I saw a pretty flower in the field. I had to dream. And I had to make those dreams happen in a week or less.
Yes, at the time some of those moments seemed euphoric, beautiful, "on top of the world" feelings. And yet some of those moments were the darkest feelings I'd ever had, those I have forgotten or would like to forget (but I still kept all my writing to reflect on where I was and how far I've come).
And even in this manic mind, I've found a beautiful unfold in dreaming. I've found some haphazard loveliness. But every day I teach myself even when I have amazing ideas, for the sake of staying balanced, I have to reel those ideas in. Dream, but hone. Think amazing, limitless potential. Line out how to get there in achievable bites. Day-by-day. A year in advance. In 10 years.
But allow those dreams to be verbalized and as crazy as they can be—superhero-sized...hotel on the moon sized. Crazy impossibles. Because dreams are not bad. Beauty is not bad. Embracing a childlike wonder of the world and embrace fun...these are all the favorite parts of my uniquely carved, God-given creativity. And, it teaches me more about the complexity of my Creator.
I still love to record my random. My heart lives to keep dreams and the beauty in front of my face like a Monet of the patchwork of this vulnerable
In this, I'm inspired to throw the judgement of others to the side. Because these beautifuls exercise my brain with crazy possibilities. And bouncing them between my friends and family helps them dream and think of all the crazy impossible possibles, too.
all the crazy possibles
in my weakness
Satan tells me everyday I'm a failure and does his best to circle my struggles with mental health. I'm so thankful to be able to take those thoughts captive, knowing it's not about me. Then to walk in the power of the One who lives within me to tell him where to go.
I'm not gonna lie when I received my diagnosis of Bipolar type one with "psychotic episodes" I felt that I had been dealt the biggest "cone of shame" on the planet.
In fact, I couldn't stand the idea that I was literally "falling apart" in front of an audience that I loved, desired respect from, had the responsibility to encourage, and be a role model pointing to the goodness of God.
My heart hadn't changed. God wasn't to blame. I was in pain, extremely ill, under attack and in denial, wallowing in the toxic of my mind, and ignoring what was happening. Everything was pushing through like a pile of sick to the surface. One thing was for sure; I was breaking down, and this reality was not only stopping me in my tracks, it knocked me down for the count.
3-2-1 Ding...Ding....in the psychiatric ward of the hospital and every day since then, the shame cloud liked to find its hover right in front of my face. In fact, I never thought anyone would be able to see old Amber in the same way—without anything of shame clouding my face.
But, it was in this frailty that God turned the light on to the reality of His presence in my pit. I also realized that even with a pit diagnosis, I didn't have to live there. One thing I've realized I had to do was give up my "cone of shame." To do this, I had to become "barefaced" about my condition. But moreover, I had to use my voice to be the person I was divinely created to be—and dissolve the stigma in the b-word.
I acknowledge that I can't even relate to everyone with bipolar, but I know that many of you deal with an invisible illness. For me to say, "I am Bipolar" would be the equivalent of someone else saying, "I am Cancer." Bipolar does not equal broken. Anxiety does not equal disorder. It just makes those of us who deal with it approach living from a different perspective...and with a different routine to keep health in check.
I may walk this journey, dealing with the stigma, stereotypes and still all those uncomfortable pauses every time I release something of vulnerability in conversations or cyberspace , but I know there is beauty even in the daily challenge of this headspace. I also know I may travel this road, but I thank God every day I never have to journey on my own.