So, to begin, I need to set down some history – where I’ve been; what I’ve done.
I was raised Catholic. We went to church on-base at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. My mom stills attends that church to this day. My earliest memories are of the Homily – 45 minutes of the most boring monologue that I ever had to endure. But, I was a child, anything for 45 minutes was boring if it didn’t include playtime. And this guy was just standing there talking for 45 minutes in a monotone drawl. Father Carroll was his name and he was a nice guy, he just bored me to tears every Sunday.
It came to the point that I started daydreaming about the donuts and grape juice that would be served in the kitchen after the service. That was something to look forward to. Like I had to first go through the pain of suffering through the Homily and all the traditions and rituals before I could enjoy a prized donut or two.
Sometime during my teens the music at the church changed to include “modern” interpretations of worship. I remember this one boy who was allowed to sing for us. He was about ten or eleven and he could sing! What a great voice. I soon came to enjoy that part of church. So there were two things good about Sunday church – donuts and singing. It wasn’t long before I changed my attitude. I still didn’t like the Homily, but I could stand it a lot more now and it pleased my mother that I wasn’t a grump anymore.
At one point, I became an altar boy. I don’t remember much about that, but what I do remember is that it was kinda cool to get a behind-the-scenes look at how “the show was put together.”
Then, my family life changed. I started cutting classes in school and I was different. I had a bad attitude some of the time and when push came to shove, my mom kicked me out of the house. She told me to go live with my father whom she divorced thirteen years prior. He was single, never married again and didn’t even have a significant other in his life. He had no experience raising kids and when I got there, he was challenged because I was damaged goods.
I started exploring other churches: Methodist; Apostolic; Unitarian; Pentecostal; Baptist; and, Assembly of God churches. I wanted more from church than just the Homily and donuts – I wanted to know Jesus. And I found Him in the Pentecostal and Assemblies of God churches. And they were fun, to boot. Dancing, singing, praising – there were people there who were “alive” and engaged. Not submissive and quiet as mice like the Catholics. I got turned on and engaged.
When I got out of the military I began to travel around the country. For six years I had no formal home – my home-base was my dad’s house, but I would only stay there for three or four months before heading back out on the road. My relationship with God grew, I believe, in part because during those years I kept going to different churches and meeting different people and different cultures, seeing how they worshiped God. And I adopted a little bit from each one.
In 1986, as I was traveling with the carnival, I met a guy who turned out to be possessed by a demon. When we broke off from the carnival in Montana, we traveled together to Texas, where I would see the true nature of this possession. One night, about one in the morning, we were sitting outside at a table and talking about God, and Jesus, and mankind. It was then that he told me he was possessed. I, at the time, was strong in the Lord, confident and sure that Jesus was my everything. As it happened I tamed the wind when it came up (in Jesus’ name) and we discussed his dilemma with the demon. After a while we went inside and there I proceeded to interview the demon who had control over my friend and who toyed with me.
The Bible was with us and my friend touched it and it burned his fingers. I saw the ash marks on his fingers like the ashes of a cigarette – gray and white and dark as well. I also noticed the posture of my friend – he seemed to be constricted, in pain and holding his left side. This was the demon toying with me. For in an instant the ash marks were gone and my friends posture was normal again. So I, being curious, asked him to touch the Bible again, and again the marks appeared and his posture changed. This went on for fifteen or twenty minutes until I was convinced that he was possessed. But how do you exercise a demon? I had no idea. And, I was beginning to fear what could happen. I did not go to sleep that night. I waited until it was light outside and I could no longer stay awake.
There was no resolve to this experience. I soon traveled alone to other parts of the country and I never heard from him again. I have no idea what happened with his possession and I feel guilt for not having tried to “fix” the problem.
Fast forward six months to the summer of ‘86. I had made my way to San Jose, California and was a contestant in an Elvis Presley contest. I met a girl there who was working a booth and she offered me a bust of Elvis for free. Soon we were dating and through her father I learned there was a haunted house close to the fairgrounds where his sister had moved out because of strange happenings in the house. I was intrigued, and being introduced to “Spiritual Warfare” as I was, I thought I might like to check out this haunted house. So without any hesitation, I said I would like to go and see it and we made plans that evening to go. Her father, Jay, would have to call the one sister to let us in and that would be that.
The night came when we were scheduled to go and I went over to Jay’s house to meet up with him and found that we were not going to be going alone. There were three other individuals who were interested in seeing this haunted house, I don’t remember all the names but we’ll just call them Toni, Kenny, and Frank. Toni and Kenny were Jay’s sister and her son. We were to meet the other sister, Nadine, at the house around eleven p.m. So we all piled into a large van and headed over to the house. We stopped by the local 7-eleven for some cigarettes and refreshments.
When 11 o’clock came I was concerned. Nadine was late and this was not the greatest of neighborhoods. To be sitting out on the street at this hour was risky. But, soon she rolled up and we all poured out of the van and greeted her. She was flustered. Immediately I noticed her necklace. It was a weird cross with two crossbeams, one shorter than the other, and the neck chain was actually made of yarn. I thought this odd, but it was an odd night.
Nadine let us in the house, and, being that the electricity had been shut off, the only light was the light coming in the window from the streetlight outside and the two flashlights that we brought with us.
So, we go through the living room and into the kitchen and I find that all of the dishes are still on the table and in the cupboards – Nadine took her child had left in a hurry. It wasn’t long before she let out a quick scream and told Jay that her cross had disappeared. So we looked through the living room and kitchen for it and finally found it resting on the carpet right by the front door. Being the skeptic that I am, I inspected her neck and realized that the yarn was still intact around her neck. So I was perplexed how she might have managed to trick us. But it was no trick, as I soon found out.
Nadine was no longer interested in being in the house and begged us to escort her back home. So we did. BUT, I still wasn’t done with the house. I wanted to go back in. And so after we said our goodbyes to Nadine, we went back to the house. This time we explored the whole house.
The baby’s room had the crib and furniture still in it. Like the kitchen and living room, it pointe d to a quick exit.
There was a rosary in the baby’s room with a picture of Mother Mary and baby Jesus and then the 23 Psalm on the other side. The picture of Mother Mary and Jesus was facing toward the wall so I turned it around so that the picture of Mary and Jesus was facing out. Above the rosary were fingerprints in a blood red on the wall. I was curious, so I touched the fingerprints. They were wet, but no smudge came off on my fingers. So I rubbed the fingerprints and again, they were still wet but no remnant came off on my fingers. So I really scrubbed on them and still nothing. Nothing but paint flecks came off on my fingers. And I looked at those to see if there was red on the other side and there was not. I was totally intrigued. So I asked Jay to touch it, and to tell me what he experienced. I was careful not to bait him into telling me what I experienced, but instead to just be scientific about it and tell me what he comes up with. When he said the fingerprints were wet, I then asked him if any of the wetness came off on his fingers. He answer was “no.” So I had him go through the same thing I went through and he came out with the same results – flecks on paint on his fingers but no red stuff.
Okay, we were done with that experience. It was curious but not anything that would point to a haunting. What else did this house have to offer? Well, it had an attic crawlspace that had no dust, no rust, and no mess. Even the nails looked brand new. But this house was built in the fifties. It was odd that everything looked so new. All the wood was fresh and even the batting look new.
In the master bedroom we found the bed, a nightstand with a baby’s picture and the mattress against the wall. We hung out in there for a bit, but I remembered something I had heard about a rosary. Something that had me curious. So I took Kenny with me into the baby’s room. And there, staring right at us, was the 23 Psalm. The rosary had turned back around with no one touching it. The picture of Mother Mary and baby Jesus was again facing the wall. Now, I made sure I was the last one out of that room and the first one to reenter it. I was skeptical and took pains to make sure nothing was going to play tricks on me.
Now all five of us were in the baby’s room and staring at the wall. There was only one explanation for the rosary turning back around. Someone or something did it. And since the windows were closed, the closet was empty and only the five of us in the house – a spirit must have moved it.
We went back in the master bedroom to sit and relax. People started seeing shadows in the hallway, but my vantage point did not afford me the opportunity to see what they saw. So I moved. And no matter how I tried I just could not see what the others were seeing. Then, suddenly, Toni screamed out – something had touched her. Then Kenny, her son let out a yelp, something had touched him too. So our hearts were racing a little bit. There was a little excitement in the air. Then Toni, jumped, saying that something grabbed at her necklace. But I was looking at her when this happened and I didn’t see anything, no shadows, no persons – nothing. Then she screamed again, “It’s got me! Something’s got me by the neck” I have to tell you, it didn’t take us long to leave that house. We were up and out within a breath.
We all loaded into Jay’s van and Jay drove us out of there. We headed to the freeway and were heading south on 280 and it was about 2:30 in the morning. Toni was sitting in the front passenger seat while I was in between the two boys on the bench seat in back. Kenny was to my right and Frank was on the left. I had my Bible open and I was trying to stay calm and remember what God might have us to do. Pray. I gave the Kenny the Bible and told him to open it up to the book of Matthew and just read. Anything. Just read. Out loud. To Frank, on my left, I told him to pray whatever prayer he might know. I would focus on God and Jesus and pray to them with whatever came to mind.
Toni was still complaining about something touching her neck, so I reached up and felt her neck and it felt hot – like she had been out in the sun for five hours. Hot and sweaty, where her necklace was stuck to her flesh and I couldn’t loosen it. I sat back again and kept praying. The energy in the van was still quite excited.
Suddenly, Toni let out a scream and I looked up and with her head facing towards Jay who was now finding a place to pull off the road. I saw Toni’s eyes – the size of golf balls and clear like a bubble. Her jaw was flapping around like it had no jawbone, and, in that instant, my right arm went up and held her shoulder and out of my mouth came seven words that I had never heard before. I repeated them four times – the exact same seven words – but they were in another language. One I did not recognize. And after that, it was over. Toni fell back in the chair and just sobbed. Jay had pulled the van over to the side of the highway and was consoling her. The two boys in back were stunned, unaware of what just happened. The last thing I remember is looking out the window to see a road crew working on the freeway on the northbound lanes, oblivious to our presence.
Now, I went into all that to lead up to this: since that time, I have struggled. These experiences shook my faith. Oh, at the time I was strong, but now that I’ve had time to think about what happened, I have let fear creep into my walk. So I am just now, thirty years later, coming back to God and wanting to have a relationship again. Mind you, I have never completely forced God out of my life, and I have gone to church, opened my Bible and sought out some things. But I’ve never been that strong in the Lord again.
As for being BiPolar. I was diagnosed in 2008 and spent eight months being on the medication carousel until we finally found the right medications and the right doses for my personal needs.
I have an inkling that I started being bipolar back in my teen years, and maybe even in my early childhood as I expressed some traits early on but was never taken to a psychiatrist to be evaluated. The only thing that sent me to the psychiatrist in 2008 was the growing anger issues I had and how that affected my relationships and my social life as well. In fact, I have been blacklisted from ever working for one national company and I have been ordered by the police to never set foot on a certain bank property ever again or risk immediate arrest. So, I had my moments. And thank goodness I found a Mental Health facility in town.
Having been on meds and doing therapy for a number of years now, I can say that my life is better. I still have anger issues, but it’s much more manageable and I can most times think my way out of it. The down side is that my cycles of mania and depression cause me to struggle with sleep, fatigue, and spending sprees. Presently I am having difficulty getting to sleep. Where I normally would be in bad by 10:30pm and asleep within a half an hour, now, being in a mania cycle, I roll around in bed for four or five hours and sleep less. I am usually left without energy and am weak. And then, the spending sprees, well, money burns a whole in my pocket. And that’s just the beginning. The side effects from the medications play havoc with my body and mind as well.
The lithium that I take causes me to have tremors. I’ve gained 30 pounds that I can’t get rid of; I have an extreme thirst that can only be quenched by a lot of fluids. I drink two gallons of water a day, plus milk and two quarts of juice each day. And still I’m thirsty. Other side effects include memory loss, cognitive fog, psoriasis, muscle weakness ( I can’t even bench 50 pounds), and fatigue. There are more side effects attributed to this medication but I don’t experience them all.
Then there’s the Geodon – my anti-psychotic med which has its own side effects. And many of these add to the side effects of the lithium such as: weight gain; drowsiness and dizziness, which I frequently experience. I don’t know what exactly the Geodon does because the medical community doesn’t know either. The only thing I’m told and what I’ve found on the internet is that Geodon changes the chemicals in the brain.
So, I’m at the mercy of science. But, I also have the Lord God to help me.
So, in this blog, I will share my experiences as a Christian who just so happens to be BiPolar.
Thank you for visiting today. I hope to be a blessing for others who suffer from this disorder and who might be open to including a faith-based treatment for it. After all, without Jesus, we are without hope.