Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)
TITLE: Flip Flop Flying
By Kathleen Morris
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Ever since my husband’s bipolar diagnosis 15 years ago, life has been rocky. His illness is a cyclic type that rapidly swoops up and down within minutes. Everyday I pray for healing but it never comes. Instead, I’m left to cope with flip flopping mood swings and the inevitable carnage that comes with each wild ride.
But I am not alone!
Amongst the chaos is a calm…and the best navigational system in the world: The Bible. When I am about to crash and burn, I open God’s word for direction and it never fails me. He never fails me.
Medication helps a bit, but life still isn’t normal. I don’t think it ever will be and that’s not a hopeless statement, just a real one. Instead of crying over something that God obviously wants us to go through, I have decided to flip to the positive side.
What is the positive side?
At first I didn’t think it existed. I wasted many years wallowing in my own self-pity wondering why my family had to suffer. A person can become consumed with this. I did until I finally realized I had to stop it.
Thinking positive for me was very hard. I prayed endlessly until I began to see what I must do. Instead of fighting the insanity, I had to become part of it. I know that sounds ludicrous but I am completely serious.
Now a normal wife would refuse to let her husband impulsively buy an old beater of a car that barely ran, but I said yes. It was insane, but part of my positive minded therapy.
The car dated back to the Stone Ages. I knew it was a lemon the moment I set eyes on it. But bipolar is like that, impulsive and unruly. The adventure resulted in the two of us travelling through a busy intersection with gas literally pouring from the bottom of the motor. We stopped at an intersection for a red light sheepishly grinning at the people next to us who tried to warn us about our impending doom. A man in the car beside us had a cigarette dangling from his mouth. All I could think about was him dropping it and us going boom!
Fortunately we didn’t blow up, but we did get rid of the car eventually. Then we bought another…and another…and another. We have a red neck reputation because of it. But I don’t care; I feel like I finally understand what God wants me to do.
I am learning humility, patience, perseverance…and so much more because of this illness. How else would I learn to grow into the person that God wants me to be? I don’t know if I will have any hair left on my head by the end of it, but that’s not important. My husband is important, my family is important, and most of all God.
Some people would say that we are a crazy family. Truth of the matter is that we are. I have so many silly stories to tell like this one, and they all result from mania. I know mental illness isn’t something to joke about, but sometimes laughter is the best medicine of all.
Yes we have been through some very horrible things because of bipolar, but also many good things. You can look at an illness as a curse, or you can figure out how to be positive about it.
I use to think bipolar was the worst thing that could ever happen to my family, but now I think that it is the most beautiful blessing of all time.
Sometimes God doesn’t take away the problems of life or heal the sick; he allows these things to build character. As hard as it’s been for my family to cope, I can honestly say I am thankful!
So, with our uncertain flight plan ahead, and not so steady course, I trust my Savoir Jesus Christ to guide us. He has pulled my family through so many storms; I know he will continue to see us through the many ups and downs to come. He is much stronger than any mental illness, and certainly capable of being my co-pilot.
For I cannot fly this thing alone!
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