Bipolarism and Faith

“We know one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is self control. If we cannot control ourselves can we say we have The Holy Spirit in us? I have been diagnosed from that mental illness. Sometimes I feel that I am condemned. Can you please help me understand better?”

This is a very difficult question to answer due to the fact that everyone has different faith and beliefs. I don’t think that anyone’s beliefs are better than another person’s, but to answer the question, I will relate my own faith as it is what I know. Please know however that everyone is entitled to their own belief system and I don’t look down on anyone for believing something other than I do! (Ask my sister, she’ll tell ya!)

With that said …

Depending on what mental illness you have, I would think that unless you are delusional, 95% of the time you do have control over your action. I am not however saying that it makes it easy to make the right choices, especially when your head is BEGGING to something not so good. But in the end … YOU still have the control and YOU still get to make the choices.

I say this because it’s something I’ve been struggling with myself lately. I’m sorta trying to not have anything to blame on bipolar. That does not mean I don’t get the urges to go drain our bank accounts buying out thrift stores and it doesn’t mean I have a very difficult time resisting an entire bottle of Ativan after a wretched day. I feel all these things, but I do my best to suppress them.

Now about where my faith comes in … I’m Catholic, so I’m sure not everything I say will pertain to you, but this is just from my own experiences and things I’ve learned. I truly believe that God does not condemn anyone just because they have a mental illness. The people who find themselves facing condemnation are the one who have done horrifying acts and feel no sense of remorse for having done them and could care less if they are forgiven.

So have I done something that I think put me in the condemnable pot of bad choices? Oh I’ve pretty much brought that pot to a nice rolling boil. But I always make it out in time … maybe not in time to avoid getting burned, but with just enough time to survive. And I don’t know if its the Catholic in me or just part of who I am, but I live in a world of perpetual guilt. It’s horrible.

Best part is, I know God’s got my back. I know I’m trying my damned hardest to be a good person and a good Christian and he sees every ounce of effort I show. I do NOT feel damned or condemned because I do some not so great things from time to time, I think I am blessed with a forgiving Father who is always willing to let me back into his house as long as I apologize AND mean it.

In all reality it is my faith that keeps me going. I know that no matter how bad my mood swings get, they are never permanent. They always come and go. I keep up communication with Jesus and let him know when I’m at the end of my tiny little rope of patience. He may not give me what I want, but he somehow always gives me that little extra push that says, “I can get through this!”

Perhaps you should look how your faith is going to restore hope and assurance that you too have a place in heaven instead of looking at how your faith is failing you because you have no hopes for the future. Let your faith be your guide. God made you with a mental illness for a reason. There is something about JUST YOU that can make a huge impact on your own life … or hell, even the world. He gave a mental illness to you because he KNOWS you can handle it and you can make the best of it and if you can come to believe that statement, it will forever change your outlook on life.

God never gives us more than we can handle … we just usually give up before actually getting through it because giving up is so much easier than suffering pain. I can tell you one thing though, all the pain I’ve endured from my mental illness has been 100% worth who I am and what I do with my life.

Can you think of any ways that perhaps God blessed you with this disability instead of giving it to someone else? I bet there’s a reason out there. Just keep looking.

7 thoughts on “Bipolarism and Faith

  1. I have a bipolar person in my family and I have often wondered why god has made him suffer with the disease. Even with all the medication his life is far from normal. At times everyday seems to be a struggle. But I suppose god has his reasons. He is such an affectionate, loving and caring person when he is normal. But when his mood isn’t right he does hurtful things. Looking at his peers you can’t help but compare their lives to his. And it always makes me wonder why him? Whatever they do please don’t stop loving and caring for them. You are their biggest support not medications.

  2. I don’t believe God “gave” you mental illness. God is all love and goodness and wants the same for each person He creates. The circumstance of our health, our pre-disposition to any kind of illness are more connected to genetics, environment, and other outside factors. Whatever physical, emotional, phychological, physiological or learning disabilites a person may have—-God did not “give” them to persons. They are all the result of our fallen human nature. You are so right when you express that we still have the option of choices to make as to how we deal with the situations life has dealt us. For some, the cognitive ability to make choices has been taken away because of the severity of their illness, however, it doesn’t discount the fact that all individuals are precious, loved and important to the God who gave life. Each and every human being was created to be an image of God to others that no other person in all creation can be. God continues to reach out to us in love, and showers his love on us even in the midst of our screwups. That’s not to say he approves of our wrong doings (called sin), but he cannot not love us, for God is Love. I’m so very proud of how you’ve chosen to deal with your disease. You offer hope and encouragement to so many!

  3. Love, joy, peace, patience etc are all things that we can exhibit in the way we live our lives, but I don’t think anyone can claim to be completely loving or completely patient – there’s always room for improvement! Same with self-control. I don’t know anyone who can always control themselves in every way.

    Some people find it easy to be joyful. But I know people who battle with depression or really difficult circumstances and I have so much respect for the way they keep pushing through, picking themselves up and working at being optimistic, despite everything.

    And some people find it easy to be patient. Others not so much! I’m imagining two kids working on a tricky mathematics problem. I’d be so pleased for the naturally patient child who finally managed to figured out the solution, but I’d be even more proud of the child with ADHD who pushed through and tried really hard to stay focused even if he did lose his cool occasionally. It’s not so much about results as it is about effort and heart-felt desire.

    The thing is that, because of your mental illness and the way your brain works, sometimes self-control can be really difficult. But I hope you can take pride in the in the fact that you keep trying and working to improve and I hope that you can really celebrate the occasions when you’re able to overcome hurdles and exercise self-control.

  4. “I hope you can take pride in the in the fact that you keep trying and working to improve and I hope that you can really celebrate the occasions when you’re able to overcome hurdles and exercise self-control.”

    You made me wish this was a facebook post so I could like it! I absolutely agree with you here!!! 🙂

  5. Self control is a God-given gift, as is the ability to see, to hear, to do a multitude of other things. All of us have at least one ability that is either weakened or non-existent. This does not mean that we are cursed or that God does not love us.

    We are all in possession of God’s greatest gift, which is free will. With this we can choose to treat our illness and advocate for our own well being. It also means that we have the power to love, be happy, crave for more happiness, and to be loved.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave your feedback here!