A Christian With Bipolar Disorder

Hey Guys 🙂

I feel like I keep apologizing for this each time I post, but I am sorry for my absence lately.

I have been thinking a lot. There have been many changes going on in my life at the moment. Good changes but not without its growing pains.

To those of you who read my blog and relate to the challenges of mental illness, I am sure some of you can relate to what I am about to tell you.

As someone with bipolar disorder, I have moments where I have all the energy in the world. I can multitask like nobody’s business and about 3 hours sleep is all I need. I become super social and everything is rainbows and butterflies.Too bad those periods of mania couldn’t last a little longer!

Currently, I can safely say, I am not going through a manic phase right now. More like a “I don’t care” phase. Not super depressed to the point of suicidal thoughts or anything like that but just simply “blah”. Low energy, lack of motivation, lack of appetite. Content to hibernate in my house. It’s nothing personal…it just is.

I can feel this indifference starting to lift hence why you see this post today. I am slowly but surely starting to have the drive to write again but here’s the thing. I cannot promise consistent posting at this time.

I have tried this before and eventually I have to just go away for a bit. The catch 22 of the disorder. Trying to find balance and consistency. It’s certainly not easy and hands down the biggest frustration I have with bipolar disorder.

So yeah, if you see me fall of the map for a little bit, chances are I am going through a low period.

Like I mentioned earlier, I have been thinking a lot. I have been noting some of the ways having bipolar disorder effects things like my work, interests, activities, my relationships and yes even my faith in God.

Before I really started embracing my faith, I never really gave this concept much thought but I am starting to see that my faith becomes altered depending on which end of the bipolar spectrum I’m on.

For the most part, things are fairly balanced. I take medication. I see my doctors on a consistent basis. Despite that, it’s not a cure. I am still going to have bipolar moments.

When I experience mania, I notice my faith and desire to keep God at the top of my list quite easy. I make note of Him everyday. I am more willing to contribute and going to church is a happy social event for me.

When I am experiencing the depression side of things, I start to question my faith, going to church becomes a challenge, the main reason being, I don’t feel comfortable around people during that time. The public social outing I normally enjoy becomes riddled with anxiety and a lack of interest in general.

Sometimes I wonder, is it possible to be a true follower of God when your views and beliefs tend to shift because of mental illness?

I guess I throw the question out there because I honestly don’t know the answer. All I do know is I believe in God and I believe He is with me always. I have been posed the question “Are you a fan or a follower of God” At this point, I know I am not a true follower if I measure it against a list of criteria, however at the end of the day I do believe.

My fear is, if being a true follower requires more than simply believing then how I am ever going to achieve follower status when my brain has shifts in mood and thought that are sometimes very hard to control?

I would enjoy any thoughts or discussions on the matter. Am I the only one who has pondered this? Are there other Christians out there living with mental illness who face the same struggle?

Take Care ❤

Cavelle

Mustard Seeds To Mountains

 

Hey guys 🙂

I am feeling so blessed right now. It’s amazing how God answers prayers that you didn’t even know needed answering.

Since turning back to God nearly a year ago, it’s surreal at times how much my life has changed for the better. I have to say, aside from meeting my soulmate, going back to church has been a big part of this change.

Before that moment, you would not have seen me in church. I had no interest. In fact, I was cynical about the idea.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Wow Timothy, brutal words my friend. I can’t say I was all of those things but it stings to read this verse and in hindsight realise, I was one of those people you should avoid. I have always had good in my heart but God was not at the top like He should have been. He was more like a pang in my heart that I kept shoving down.

Turning back to  God was terrifying for me at first. I was at a rather low point in my life but…

Sometimes-God-lets-you-hit-rock-bottom

It’s never God’s intention to punish us. We are His children and like any parent there comes a time when you have to let your children go out into the world and hope they will take with them all the lessons you have taught them. God has that same hope and he’s waiting for you despite all of your mistakes and shortcomings. You think this would be an easy concept to understand but it was difficult for me to accept.

When I started going back to church, I became painfully aware of my sins. It had nothing to do with people in the church judging me (a misconception I had about church). On the contrary, I was accepted with open arms…new territory for me. I had never had that kind of support before.

I spent the first few months of church crying nearly every Sunday. The whole experience was overwhelming. All the emotions I felt as I started to face myself for the first time, knowing I had brushed aside God’s love. My faith had been suppressed for so long. I felt shame and guilt but also an overwhelming release of negativity.

As time passes, my faith in God becomes stronger more and more each day. My church is beyond supportive of this relatively new journey. I don’t feel like I am walking alone anymore. There are people who are more than happy to walk with me and cheer me on. It makes me cry for a totally different reason now. Tears of joy for a change.

What a difference it makes when you let go of the people in your life that hinder your faith and in turn, surround yourself with people who are not ashamed to walk with God and actually want to walk with Him. It was a huge step for me to walk through the church doors knowing the last time I went to this church, I was a child.

Now that my faith in God and the support of my church is a constant in my life, there is simply no way I can turn back. I am hanging on for dear life and God is not about to let go of my hand…it reminds me of the first time I was able to swim in the deep end of the pool without having to cling to the edge. God is my swim coach. ❤

What I take away from this transformation is that God is willing to work with even the smallest inkling of His presence in your life. There are times I still have to give myself a shake and realize that no, I am not dreaming.

As you build on your faith, God starts throwing more and more blessings your way. Sometimes we think we have to pray for these blessings and yes, prayer is vital but God I have discovered, is a cool guy. He likes to throw out random blessings just because. Bonus blessings if you will.

That’s what God has done for me and my fiance recently. We’re getting married this summer. Sooner than we had originally planned for.

I thought planning this wedding was going to be stressful but the outpouring of support in my church has made me realise there are truly good people in this world who are ready, willing and able to help.

My fiance and I are not used to this and we don’t even expect it yet there it is right in front of our face and it’s been there the whole time. We just needed to get real with ourselves. Get real with God and be true to ourselves for a change instead of compromising with people who are so far removed from our core values and most of all our faith in God.

If I had one piece of advice for anyone out there on the fence about their faith, just know that God has left you a trail of mustard seeds to follow. These mustard seeds lead to a mountain and if you are willing to climb that mountain, God is waiting for you at the top. Sky’s the limit after that and when God returns, there is a place for you beyond your wildest dreams. ❤

Take Care & God Bless ❤

Cavelle

 

 

 

 

 

Mental Break – In Progress Update

Hey guys! 🙂

I know it has been some time since I have written anything here. The main reason being, I have reached a crossroads in which direction I would like to take Mental Break – In Progress.

Technically, I have had this blog for over two years now. The original premise was to create awareness about mental illness in order to combat the stigma associated with it and also to have an outlet and connect with others through something I have always loved and that is writing.

About eight months ago now, I went through some serious life changes and in the process I felt it necessary to delete my blog entirely. In hindsight, I wish I had given it some more thought before hitting the delete button. Two years of written work gone. Just like that!

After considering my actions, I decided no, I don’t truly want to give up my blog so I resurrected it and made an attempt to carry out the original blueprint but something changed…

I changed.

The blog and it’s current format does not speak to me like it once did and therefore I have struggled to write on the topic of mental illness that once came so easily to me.

After much deliberation, I feel I now know the new direction I would like to take Mental Break – In Progress and although I am not looking to turn my back on the original concept, it’s time for that concept to align with where I am in my life today.

As mentioned earlier, about eight months ago my life changed, in the best way possible. On July 1st, 2016 I turned to God to help me for the first time since I was a child.

I was raised to believe in God and went to church from an early age. I said my prayers every night before bed and my father would read the Bible to me and my brothers every night after supper. This would go on until I was around ten years old when my parents ultimately divorced. You see, even though God was present in our home, so was the devil. My home life for much of my childhood was surrounded with mental illness and abuse.

My father was technically diagnosed with bipolar disorder but did not follow through with therapy or treatment. He did not believe that he needed it. My father was also abusive.

Before I go any further, I need to make it clear that I am not trying to say all people with a mental illness are abusive because that is simply not true. The abuse in my family’s case was primarily from my father, whose father and mother were abusive to him and most likely my grandparents parents were abusive to them and so on and so forth.

My mother also comes from a line of family abuse and found herself in a marriage with more abuse. Needless to say, this took a toll on my mother and did not bring out the best in her.

As I entered into adulthood, I would end up finding myself in abusive relationships and I would retaliate with abuse…not my finest hour to say the least but the biggest form of abuse I endured was self abuse.

My entire 20’s was spent in a downward spiral to nowhere and during that time, I lost my way with God. I turned my back on Him. I doubted the word of the Bible, that God was truly watching over me and I scoffed at Christians and organized religion assuming that every church going person, despite their choice of religion, was feeding into a fraudulent, flawed and political agenda.

Now in some cases, that is true and there has been more than one church over the course of time that fits that bill but there are also many that don’t but at that point I just lumped it all together.

Like I said, I turned away from God and I started to focus on things like astrology, tarot cards, numerology…New Age philosophy and the list goes on. I was extremely interested in those subjects and I practiced them. They were my new found spirituality yet at the pit of my gut, God still lingered (although He was a faint light at the time). The thought of a Higher Power still existed in my mind but I attempted to call it everything but God.

Needless to say, during this time, nothing in my life was going right and the self abuse continued to get worse and worse.

When I hit my 30th birthday, something started to change. Perhaps it goes along with starting a new decade of your life. When I turned 30, I cried and I am not entirely sure why. Perhaps it was because I was so far removed from where I thought I should be in life and really had no direction that is until I started this blog.

Oddly enough, being diagnosed with bipolar disorder is when I feel my life truly started to take shape. Many people use their mental illness as a crutch but for some reason, I felt liberated by the experience.

As I started receiving therapy and treatment, I started to notice something. I was changing in a positive way and the people I surrounded myself with were not.

Two years later I would call out to God to help me after finally having enough of the self abuse and the toxic environment I insisted on putting myself in over and over again. It turns out God was waiting for this moment because as soon as I called out to Him, my life changed more than it had in 32 years.

That same day, I left a six year relationship that was not serving either party well and I hopped a plane and moved back to my home town to be closer to my family who had recently in the last year moved back home as well. This would be the first time in nearly a decade that our entire family would be together in person and not spread over long distances and Facebook messaging.

I was prepared to live alone and find myself. I had jumped from relationship to relationship with mild success at best and I was tired of it. I wanted to find me and felt the only way to accomplish that was to avoid romantic relationships entirely.

God on the other hand had other plans for me. When I arrived home my brother introduced me to his friend “D”. D and I discovered we had lots in common and in a short amount of time we found ourselves in love and are currently engaged.

Now on paper it could be argued that I was about to repeat the same mistakes but because I had asked God for help, he not only helped me but blessed me with my soulmate and to be honest, I was beginning to think the idea of a soulmate was foolish and a bunch of fluff.

D and I were on a similar path when we met. We had experienced much of the same hardships in life and self abuse and we both were trying to rekindle our relationship with God and so we took each others hand and started that journey together.

Eight months ago, I would not have fathomed this was possible. I would have told you to save it for fairytales.

So why am I telling you all of this? What does this story have to do with my blog?

Well, it explains the new direction I want to take my blog and that is the direction of God. Just as medication and therapy treats mental illnesses, so too does the word of God. God knows we are suffering and He wants to help you. He didn’t have to help me after everything I had done (or not done for that matter) but He did.

God cannot help us if we do not ask but when we do ask – Wow! He responds in kind. You help yourself by admitting you need help and as soon as you do that, God is so excited to help you.

I want to continue down my new found path with God through this blog and it is my hope that not only can I spread the awareness of mental illness but also the spiritual awakening I am currently navigating. It’s not always going to be pretty. I will stumble and fall. We all do and it may feel like no one has your back but I am here to tell you, God does. You don’t have to agree and I can only speak for myself but I can’t hide anymore and I don’t want to. I want to explore my faith openly.

I hope you will join me on my journey and I look forward to seeing where Mental Break- In Progress 2.0 will take me. I plan to revamp the blog over time to reflect this new path I am on so if you would like, stay tuned for more updates. 🙂 ❤

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Take Care & God Bless ❤

Cavelle