What triggers my mania

When I go grocery shopping I enter another world. As soon as I enter those doors and grab a cart my mind starts racing. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night, doesn’t matter how many people are in there, doesn’t matter if I am there for a few items or a whole list of things. I can’t slow down. Inside I am bursting at the seams.

Having a shopping list helps keep me manageable, but I can’t think straight. I find myself going over the items on the list several times to make sure I know what I’m doing. The littlest thing can derail me and I have to take a long pause and re-evaluate things.

By the time I get to the checkout I’m exhausted. But then there are the lines. People everywhere. Unloading their carts, bagging their groceries, taking up space with crazy energy levels. I almost come unhinged!

It’s not until I get on the road and away from the crowd that I begin to unwind. Classical music helps. Thankfully I live in a small town where traffic is usually very slow. Our rush hour consists of cars going 50mph on the freeway for a total of about an hour out of the day. Real easy to plan around.

I find that any crowd gets my heart racing. I was recently at the convenience store. It was around 11pm. I figured it would be slow – just a couple cars getting gas and maybe a couple people inside. Boy was I in for a surprise. When I arrived there were four or five cars getting gas and three cars parked out front and one parked on the side. Inside the store there were people everywhere. I had to wait in line for maybe 10 minutes and by the time I got up to the counter my mind was all messed up. I couldn’t think straight and the cashier informed me that they don’t accept credit cards so I had to come up with another plan. I was able to find a couple bucks in change and that paid for everything but the damage was done – I was again, messed up. It’s the little things. It’s always in the details.

Another thing that triggers my mania is when I miss my dose by a few hours. Usually I take my meds around 9pm after dinner has settled. But tonight I forgot to take my pills and now it is 2:00am and I am wound up tighter than fishing line. Most times when I take my pills, I get tired soon afterwards. But when I miss my dose, something happens inside of me and I am awake for quite a while. Even taking my pills doesn’t trigger sleepy-time. Instead, I am buzzing with anxiety and all I can do is wait it out.

What are some of your triggers?

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Inappropriate Thoughts

There are days that I have thoughts of suicide and/or murder. They are both fleeting thoughts as I don’t have the courage to do either. To me, suicide is a brave thing to do. You have to be willing to give up everything in order to gain the unknown. It is tragic for sure, but there is that element of bravery involved. And I don’t have that courage. Not yet anyway. My life is not that bad that I want to go away for ever.

And then there is murder. My anger feeds that thought. There is this guy, a real jerk, who threatened my life and I still see him occasionally, sometimes frequently (the mother of his baby lives nearby) and when I see him I usually fantasize how good it would feel to murder him. Not just to shoot him once or twice, but to put a whole clip in him and take my time doing it. Thankfully, I 1) am not allowed to have guns, and 2) don’t have access to guns. Otherwise, I’d be in prison already. But I have these thoughts often enough that they bother me – suicide, and, murder. They just won’t leave me alone.

I know my views are not popular and some would go so far as to say that they are immoral, but this is my life. I don’t ask to have these thoughts, they just are there. I control my actions, but I can’t control my thoughts. The consequences of both suicide and murder are permanent, each having their painful endings. But they differ greatly in scope. With suicide, I get to end all of this waste of a life once and for all, but I would have to give up the HOPE that things could change. And that HOPE is a strong drug. All by itself it changes things, causes me to alter my outlook, causes me to make different decisions – all predicated on the fact that MAYBE, just maybe, I could hang on for another day. And the murder, well, I would have to spend the rest of my miserable life locked away – and my FREEDOM is most important to me. Even if I got away with murder, I would live my life in a panic of thinking that somebody knew and would tell the cops and in this way , in the panic, I would again lose my freedom.

So, yeah, I’m not willing to give up my FREEDOM for anything, not for suicide and certainly not for murder. BUT I have these thoughts. And they constantly invade my waking moments. It’s like I’m trapped in here with them and they won’t go away.

I did mention anger. Anger is my housemate. My confidant. My self. I have lived with anger all of my life. When I was just a boy my anger would lash out at my big sister. I would chase her with knives and hammers and things. I routinely smashed her door, put holes in the walls and was a terrible kid. As a young adult I lashed out at inanimate objects: once I almost broke my hand repeatedly punching a steel door because I was angry at a co-worker. Most recently, before I was diagnosed, the police were called because I had a meltdown at a government facility and another time a meltdown at the bank.

Anger is not my friend. Even while on medication I battle with it. I am told time and time again that my speech, the tone of my voice, is mean, and I just don’t get it. I don’t feel mean at the time. So it’s got to be something deep inside of me. I’m not sure if changing my meds would help. I’ve tried 11 different anti-psychotics and I’m not sure I want to get on that carousel again. The lithium is working pretty well and in combo with the ziprasidone (Geodon), I am in a manageable state. But I just can’t stop these thoughts. And have you noticed? I jump around from topic to topic with the ease of the wind. I’m told this is a normal trait for a Bipolar. So I am sorry for being scatterbrained.

My original thoughts were on suicide and murder. I don’t know how many of you have these thoughts, but don’t give up this freedom that we enjoy for the bliss of the unknown or the pleasure of feeding your anger. Suicide is not for the faint of heart and you don’t usually get a second chance to rethink your position. One time and you are done. There is no going back for a do over. And murder, well though it might feel good at the time, it also carries with it a high penalty. In both cases you lose your freedom and your hope for a better life. Never give up that HOPE.

Two Covenants

Sunset-with-sunrays_shutterstock_8581904518 May 2016

Well, the mania has stopped. We are now working through the flip-side: depression. Thankfully it’s not severe and suicidal. I rarely am suicidal anymore. The pills have really, really helped to stabilize me. The downside is that I still get lethargic, still get in a funk, and still have sleep issues – though this time it’s too much sleep.

The side effects of the medications cause me to be extremely thirsty, I have memory loss, there is a cognitive fog which messes with my ability to think things through, like finishing a sentence. It’s a struggle. I have muscle weakness – I can’t even bench press 50 pounds! And I struggle to do one push up. It’s terrible.

But, it’s better than the alternative, which is jail. It would be inevitable if I weren’t on my meds. About a year before I was diagnosed, I had a run-in with a bank manager, over a $5.00 check-cashing fee. They called the cops on me. It was stupid. Then, after I had contacted the mental health facility, I was called on again – by the mental health facility. That episode was crazy. I can’t believe, I don’t want to believe that was me. But it was.

So, I welcome the few side effects that I must endure to be stable. It is far better than the alternative.

So, today I am feeling lethargic. I don’t have much verve for anything. Least of all, thinking. But God is good. He has given me a new day to bask in His Love. It’s true: God Loves Us. Otherwise He wouldn’t have done what He’d done. Christ never would have come down from heaven to volunteer to take our sin punishment. God is good.martinluther385793

Yesterday’s sermon was a continuation of the series I’ve been watching online. My old church has an online presence and they have an archive of sermons and series for anyone and everyone to watch. It is really really cool. You can check it all out at:

Crossroads Community Church

and here is the link to their video sermon library: Video Library

So, as I was saying, yesterday’s sermon was a continuation of a series I am on about Jesus being greater than everything. This sermon in question deals with Jesus being greater than the law. Well this is the last portion of the message. The pastor has been talking about this law thing for a few weeks. And so, yesterday, we went to Galatians 4:21-31 and it talks about the two covenants – the law and the promise. It talks about Ishmael and Isaac, Abraham’s sons.

Ishmael was the result of Abraham and Sarah trying to “help” God along, because God has promised Abraham a son but His timing had to have been off, because Abraham and Sarah were waiting and waiting and when they couldn’t wait any longer, Sarah decided that Abraham should go into his servant, Hagar and that Hagar should bear him his son. So,…Abraham did. And therefore Ishmael was born of the flesh.

A while after Ishmael was born, Sarah conceived, bringing forth the son of God’s promise, Isaac. And after Isaac was weaned, Sarah told Abraham to sent Hagar and Ishmael away because they are not of the promise and Ishmael was a bully anyway. Abraham didn’t want to send them away – that was his son after all, but in a dream God told him to listen to Sarah and do as she says. So when Abraham awoke, he sent them away.

Now all this was done so that God’s word would be settled. The law cannot save you. But if you are of the Spirit (the promise) you are freed indeed.

Here is a line for Hagar

Hagar = Ishmael = Mount Sinai = Jerusalem = Law

Here is a line on Sarah –

Sarah = Isaac = Calvary = Spirit = Promise

In the text, Hagar and Ishmael are compared to Mount Sinai and the earthly Jerusalem which is the seat of the Law. And the Law’s purpose has always been to show us our sin nature. The Law was never intended for Salvation. Only the cross and the empty tomb can lead us to Salvation.

article-2077775-0354DB83000005DC-179_468x286Now, the apostle Paul was on this track with the Galatians because they had be turned away from the truth and started following the law because some Judaisers had come after Paul left and told the Galatians that surely you are saved, but, you have to follow these laws to maintain your Christianity. And Paul heard about this and so wrote his letter to the Galatians touching on all of this.

Basically, legalism is worshiping those standards and thinking we are Spiritual because we obey those standards. When that is not the case at all. We are spiritual because we are free. Jesus died on the cross to break us free of the law. Anyone who claims he is a Christian because he tithes regularly, or because he gives to the poor or because he goes to church on a prescribed day is keeping the law, not being spiritual. God broke us free of that. And that is what Paul is saying.

Galatians 4:28-31New International Version (NIV)

28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”[a]31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

But everything we do is not motivated by “I do this so God will love me” Everything we do is motivated by the fact that God already loves me.

We have to be careful not to fall into the trap of legalism. “Oh, if I just pray more, God will love me.” “If I just appease my boss, God will love me and reward me.”

That couldn’t be farther from the truth. God already loves you. Jesus died for you. Give up trying to do something to please God and earn His respect, because we can’t do it. We are flawed by sin, but we are made perfect in Christ Jesus.

“…and I do these things because I am the beloved not so I can become the beloved.”

John 8:31-36New International Version (NIV)

31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said,“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

34Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

We are either in bondage to rule keeping or we are free in Jesus. And it’s a sort of confused melodrama, isn’t it? We keep the law not because we want to be saved, but because we are saved. There’s a difference and it’s huge!

Walk in faith my friends.

Sleep Issues

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15 May 2016

Sleep Issues –

I’ve been in a manic spin for about a week now and it’s taking a toll on my sleep. Where normally I would be in bad and asleep by 11pm, I am now fidgeting and tossing until well after 2am.

I’m still getting six hours of sleep, sometimes more, but it is speckled with interruptions: getting up to wee; having breathing problems (I have sleep apnea as well); and the occasional noises from the road outside my window. Thank goodness the birds are not back this season – they were always chirping and singing until sunrise. Those little buggers kept me up many a night until I would finally collapse.

This could be worse. I’ve had bouts of mania where I would not get to sleep until 11 in the morning. I remind myself that it can always be worse.

So what happens when I’m manic? Well, I go on spending sprees; my thoughts race and I can’t stay on topic. People get frustrated with me because I don’t finish a thought before I’m off to another topic and this happens over and over again. Cindee is patient with me and she understands. It would help her if more people would share her angst with it. She feels alone a lot of times. Once, when we visited the psychiatrist, she came away feeling grateful because the doc pointed out how I was going in so many directions at once. This apparently is classic fare for a bipolar. Even on meds. When you’re manic, all sorts of things occur.

But, I’d rather be manic than depressed. Depression sucks. Thoughts of suicide creep in. Murder. Destruction. Just very dark thoughts. I can understand why the police don’t like me.

Religious JESUSSo, what has God got to say?

Romans 8:39 ….nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Here’s another verse section that hits on it better:

Acts 10:34 (KJV) Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.

So I have comfort in knowing that my disorder will not destroy my relationship with God Almighty. But I can’t go around using it as an excuse. I am still responsible for my own actions and thoughts. I must be diligent to seek first God and His kingdom and then everything will fall into place.

I sure hope this manic cycle mellows out and I can get to sleep at a decent hour. But there is always the flip side: depression. It is too real. Too familiar to me. Let’s just take it one day at a time and see what transpires.

Peace

Remember Jesus: We’re all family

Post: 14 May 2016

So, I’m in a “conversation” with a guy on Facebook. It’s more like arguing. I remember him from a year ago and the memory is that he is antagonistic; he’s a cad; and he’s out to attack whomever he can just to get under their skin.

I was commenting on a friend’s post and this guy showed up and attacked me. He did not like that I was “playing the Christian card” and in my estimation he felt convicted by what I said.

Anyway, he attacked me and my first response was to fight back – and I did. But shortly after I thought about Jesus and how He would handle Himself in this situation. So, I slowly took on the cloak of forgiveness. It didn’t work all that well as I still have a bite in my tongue from the bipolar thing. I seem to say things at times in a biting fashion when I don’t even know I’m doing it. So anyhow, this conversation goes on a little while and in the course of it, I suggested that this guy might need to ask God into his heart. For Jesus is the only one who died for us so that we might be saved and have a relationship with the Almighty.

I haven’t heard back from him yet. He is probably either disgusted with the whole thing now, or he is planning his next attack. Either way, I will let God do the talking for me.

Music

Way back in 1998 I was attending Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver, Washington. There I was introduced to many Christian artists whom I enjoy listening to to this day. Our family was fortunate to see some acts live in church and the concerts were quite awesome, really. Crystal Lewis, and Avalon come to mind right away. Two great acts with really good messages that they carried through song. I’d like to offer up some selections for you here. Just click on the titles and a new tab will open with the video in question.

These selections are also all available on YouTube. Just type up the names/titles and you’ll be off and running.

Music has been a big part of my life. Whenever I am ready to be entertained, the first thing I think of is music. I’m not a big fan of television. I would rather sit on the couch listening to music and staring out into the world than to sit and watch a tv show. I don’t know why, it’s just that music is more enjoyable and engaging for me. So naturally, when I found some good Christian music I embraced it with eager and open arms. I have a moderate collection on my mp3 player and go to bed with earbuds in and music soothing me to sleep. I switch between Christian, Ambient, and 70s Pop and Easy Listening for my bedtime pleasure. The Ambient gives me the best sleep, but I just love changing it up so that I don’t get bored listening to the same stuff over and over again. I have over 5000 songs in my collection. But I need more. And I am praying that you can help me grow my Christian collection.

If you wouldn’t mind, please comment or email me your favorite Christian artists so that I might peruse their works and hopefully find some new music for my listening pleasure. The great thing about Christian music is that it ministers to us while we listen. It’s really cool.

So today in Bible Study/Church I watched online the sermon from that old church I mentioned earlier – Crossroads Community Church, in Vancouver, Washington. If you like you can Google them and check ‘em out. Or, I’ve provided links at the bottom of this post. They are a laid-back, cool as wool church. The pastor has dreadlocks and reminds me of a hippie priest or a Rastafarian dude. It’s really cool. This isn’t the same pastor that I remember from when I attended back in ‘98. That pastor, Bill Ritchie, is still there as an adviser now. This new pastor, Daniel Fusco is energetic, genuine and very knowledgeable and the online sermons are taped from the Sunday services they hold. And, they seem to go in series’ now. I am currently watching the Jesus > Everything series. It’s a study in the book of Galatians. It’s a great series.

So what did I learn today? Well, to be honest, I have to go back and read the scripture because my memory issues are keeping me from remembering the sermon. That’s the price I pay for being bipolar.

Galatians 4:1-20

Oh yes, now I remember something. This, Paul’s letter to the Galatians Chapter 4 is talking about family. We are now part of Christ’s family. And Paul is fearful that the Galatians have fallen backwards and are listening to Judaisers who want the Galatians to go back to the law and follow the rules and regulations that the churches had abandoned once they accepted Jesus as Savior.

It’s a thing about maturity, about putting off childish things and standing up and being a mature Christian.

It’s not a very good message to discuss here today because it is incomplete. The continuation of the message, I believe, will have more explanation. And I’ll watch that video tomorrow. But suffice it to say that we are of the family of God and being such, we should put off the old ways and cleave to Christ. If we are Christ’s we are free indeed – free from the law which was our tutor but is now dead to us because we are new creatures in Christ. We have to be careful to stay away from religion – things that people tell us we need to do in order to remain a Christian. Like keeping the sabbath, or not eating pork and other stuff like that.

That is not to say that we should not strive for good works. Faith without works is dead. As James says in his book in Chapter 2. But our salvation and continued salvation is not based on works it is based on faith and the grace of God. So strive to remain faithful: resist the devil and follow after righteousness.

That is all for today. Oh,, but before I go, I should like to share a poem with you.

Today

in but a moment

there future

will have passed

Tomorrow

in it’s future

the moment too

is cast

Therefore take

that I may give

to you

Share

that it may live

Nourish

that it may grow into

Itself

to one day

Give.

Crossroad Community Church

Jesus is greater than Everything series (link)

Peace my friends. May God richly bless you.