So I’m out here in the middle of nowhere and I’m trying to find a place, y’know? I don’t know what place, just any shelter that’ll keep me warm and dry and out of the elements. And it hits me, “Hey! This is just a training ground.” – it’s not even supposed to matter that much, the suffering, that is. When it’s all said and done what is left in the pot? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. We came here empty-handed and we’ll leave here empty-handed. So what difference does any of this make?
The difference, if you must know, is love. While we are here we can learn to love each other. It’s a choice. We can either be grumpy and mean and self-centered or we can embrace and enliven one another. Tall order for a manic depressive. We tend to be locked in a battle of self – we’re either on top of the world and everybody is our friend or we’re sitting on the beach staring out at the water thinking how peaceful it would be to just give it all up to the deep blue. We fight a battle with emotions daily. Most days are fraught with despair and depression, the manic episodes don’t last near as long, at least not for me. I’ll sit in a cycle of depression for 3 or more weeks (I’m locked in one now) and yet, my manic episodes last for maybe 7 days (if I’m lucky).
So what does love have to do with it? Well, love is the great equalizer. No matter your station in life, you have the ability to love someone and doesn’t it make your heart skip when you have found someone you like a lot and love even a little? That is a true treasure, my friend. Hold onto it and practice using it in other places on other people. For me, it gives me a feeling of joy when I’ve helped someone, when I’ve given someone something that nobody else can give. Just so you know, I’m homeless but I’m not bad off. I have my car and I have a couch available to me when I want it, but I have to tell you, there are folks who are worse off than me and I enjoy reaching out and touching their lives. I often give out sandwiches or hand over five bucks and it makes my day. I’m not perfect and there have been times when I gave without a smile on my face, kinda grumpy, but I kept plugging away at that love thing and it always turns my heart around.
Being Bipolar doesn’t have to be a life sentence, but it is. I have this for life. I take pills every….single….day and I will for the rest of my life just so I can be a functional, sane human being and a contributor to society. But Bipolar doesn’t have a lock on what I choose to focus on on a daily basis. Sure, it’s a struggle and a lot of times it sucks but there are more joys than doctors will tell you. There are the smiles, the hugs, the twinkle in people’s eyes and there is God.
God is a challenge too. I struggle daily with keeping to the cross. As a Christian I have given my life over to Jesus. Or so it is said. Not every day do I follow after Christ. I know that I am a sinner and that He has saved me from my debt, but I am also human and I forget that He loves me even in my condition. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect, not even close, because He knows I can never be perfect. So the dichotomy lives on, perfectly forgiven yet perfectly a wreck, a sinful being. The tug of war goes on and on and it reminds me of my Bipolar struggles. There are good days and there are not-so-good days. But all days belong to Him. And as long as I try and as long as I acknowledge the new creation in me, I can and will succeed.
So that lonely place out in the middle of nowhere? I’m here all the time….searching for that shelter. Searching and finding peace. Every now and again.