Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Arkadelphia happiness

Luckily for me, I had a groundswell of support in Nathan and his spectacular family. Also as luck would have it, I started seeing a miracle of a psychiatrist in Little Rock. She took me off Abilify and started me on Lamictal, as well as some other sleeping, depression, and anxiety medications. I now take seven medications a day.

Within two weeks, I felt a huge difference. The clouds parted, the sun shone, and I looked forward to each day instead of dreading waking up. I regained my mental acuity and re-engaged in social activities. Best of all, I felt a tremendous bond with my lovely son. I felt such a surge of affection and protection, as if I was making up for all the time lost to post-partum. Bless his heart, he did not hold a grudge, but instead he seemed delighted to see his mother enjoying health for the first time in his life.

As the weeks went on, I continued to feel better. I also gained some insights about my illness and what treatments worked for me. The great breakthrough came when I finally bought what Marie Wood was selling: that repression, or attempts at extermination, of my illness were utterly futile. I was born Bipolar and would always be Bipolar. I needed to give it time and space, or it would keep blowing up in my face in manic breaks. I needed to “thread it out” as Marie said….I needed to write about it.

What I wrote about, what poured out of me in unstoppable waves in 2007, was truly manic. But the core beliefs, the thesis and theology that are truly my own, have a place. They are real and valid and heart felt. They are truth to me, and have resonated with others as well. They are not crazy: the strong-armed suppression of my spirituality and of my gifts, and ignoring my transcension….that is what’s crazy.

How do I know that giving space and voice to my illness and its manifestations is the right thing for me? Because I have been happy this year. I am a part-time attorney at the Chaney family law firm, specializing in Social Security Disability appeals. I enjoy to the fullest being mother to River, and he is flourishing in many ways. I help Nathan behind the scenes in his various lines of business. I volunteer for two service organizations and play softball during the summers. I love to cook and entertain and thrive in the community of good people in this small town. My illness is now the backstory, not the boss.

Do I still worry? Sometimes. Do I get frustrated at times? Yes. Do I have manic moods? Yes, but infrequently. The difference now is that my baseline is happiness, which is a totally new experience. My faith, a faith not in God or the Church, but in the love that resides in me and those around me, a faith that grew from illness, brings me joy and hope. Living with my mental illness, meeting it face to face, and yes, loving it as a living breathing part of me have yielded unparalleled peace.

I have found a place in between mania and depression, in between heaven and hell. I am beginning to integrate the beautiful picture of heaven into my daily life. I am not risen, but rising. I feel hopeful, relieved, renewed, and like I finally have a forum for my experience.

I cannot convince anyone of what I have seen or felt. I know that. I cannot ask people to believe that which they don’t. What I can do, what my husband and friends and minister have urged me to do, is to report. I can share what I have seen and try to express how beautifully what I have seen has touched my life. I report, and I let you make up your own minds.

Of course, what I want more than anything is to give you all heaven on earth on a silver platter. I want to be able to show you, to touch you with the phenomenal tidal wave of love I have felt. I want you to see God as I have seen him, to recognize he is you and to walk through the gates to heaven on earth. Can I achieve that which I want? We’ll have to see. Believing that I can is what buoys me on a daily basis. So here’s the beautiful picture that’s behind the veil…..

1 comment:

God, to have these guys in a room together again....