7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139)
Time will pass; these mood will pass; and I will, eventually, be myself again. But then, at some unknown time, the electrifying carnival will come back into my mind. ―
For some months, I’ve enjoyed relative emotional stability. It is tempting to begin to believe I’ve achieved a new normal. To question if I really have bipolar disorder. To dream of all the wonderful things I can do now that I am not impaired by debilitating symptoms.
But, with my mental health diagnosis, relapses are more the norm than the exception. And that is what has happened this past week.
There is something woefully wrong with the term “bipolar disorder.” It implies only that we swing from highs to lows. It fails to capture the times when both mania and depression attack our psyche and together leave us run over and ragged. I am in this “mixed state” now. My gut is wrenched both by pangs of sadness and the sense that I need nothing to sustain me. My chest burns with fear as well as the feeling that I have the power to create and destroy. My mind is distorted by racing thoughts with no form and I easily become agitated when others can’t make sense for me.
Of all the states of manic-depression, this is the most painful to myself and damaging to my relationships. I feel trapped in aloneness. But I am not alone. Hear what others say about their experience of mixed states*:
Gracie: One minute you’re full of energy, cleaning the house, feeling great about life, having some great ideas, getting your excitement back. Then the next, [you’re] about to cry and over-emotional for no reason, so lost in life you don’t know where you’re going [or] how you’re feeling, just that you’re not feeling good at all, feeling like you’ve not slept in weeks, irritated beyond belief by anything and everything. I get extremely agitated. I’m very short with people. Even the smallest things can set off my anxiety. I’m quick to snap when I’m in a mixed state, because my mind and body are so confused.
Joey: A text message could burst my entire day into flames and I can’t see any of the good that happens. And then if I ask for help, it’s like my mind doesn’t want it, and I flip out on whoever I was asking.
Emma: You want your significant other there to hug you and hold you and tell you it’s going to be ok but at the same time the idea of someone touching you makes your skin crawl.
In the midst of this state, it is hard to find hope that we will ever pass through this blinding/light, this neon/darkness. But with faith in Christ, we cling to hope in spite of all evidence to the contrary. In Christ, God never leaves us nor forsakes us. God will never give us over to the tyranny of our feelings. God will lead us through dark valleys of maniacal despair into a place of peace.