…learning to live a life filtered by the truth of the gospel.

telling you December 13, 2013

Filed under: seriousness — Stephanie @ 6:00 am
Tags: , ,

It’s taken me a while to write this post. Months really. It’s a hard one for me to write because it means being really vulnerable. Opening myself up to judgment. But I have dig deep and say it anyway because they say that a thing loses its power in the light. So here it goes.

I have bipolar disorder.

And that’s a really scary thing for me because of the stigma that still surrounds mental illness and one like bipolar in particular. But it’s a relief too. To finally have an explanation for living the life I have lived.

So first, the facts:

I was diagnosed in August after 14 years of unsuccessful treatment for major depression.

I first experienced symptoms of the disorder at 22 while in college.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by “recurring episodes of mania and depression that can last from one day to months. This mental illness causes unusual and dramatic shifts in mood, energy and the ability to think clearly. Cycles of high (manic) and low (depressive) moods may follow an irregular pattern that differs from the typical ups ands downs experienced by most people.” (

Bipolar is NOT what you see on TV shows and read about in most books. Most people can live relatively normal lives (once they get on and stay on the right medications).

Bipolar is also not a character flaw, but a chemical imbalance in the brain.

I am not alone.

So why have I chosen to push back the curtain of darkness and let in the light? Because I’m tired. Tired of hiding, tired of living in the shadows not able to say what I need to say. Tired of not being who I am because I’m afraid of what people will think. This won’t ever go away. Sure the symptoms may lessen and I’ll have fewer episodes when my psych nurse and I find the right meds and I learn good coping skills. But this is here to stay. And the reality is, I have to embrace it. I have to open up this part of me and choose to be vulnerable to whatever people might say or think or do. I am afraid. Afraid that people may push me away or think I’m dangerous or crazy. But this is a part of me. Of how God made me, how he fearfully and wonderfully made me. And it’s not a mistake. I think I have this disorder because maybe someday, I’ll walk down this road with someone else, because I’m not the only one.

I can’t be.