life:filtered

…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.” (NAMI.org)

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.

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22 Responses to “telling you”

  1. Denise Says:

    What a big step for you Stephanie..I’m not afraid of you and I for sure don’t think you are crazy..I’m a victim of bad anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve had them since I was about 27. I can’t stop it. I can’t make it go away. I’ve learned to deal and to not forget my medicine. People are so judgemental about mental illiness because they don’t know about them. I’m so very proud to call you my friend. You have stepped out and shown how brave you truly are!! This will help people not to feel alone and to see that it’s ok.

    Like

    • Stephanie Says:

      Denise. I’m so sorry you’ve dealt with anxiety. That’s been a problem for me too…probably because I’ve been misdiagnosed all those years! Meds are such a lifesaver. You’re right, we can’t stop it or make it go away. And the sooner society can accept that, the better. Thank you so much for the support.

      Like

  2. mojofan Says:

    Congratulations Stephanie. That’s immensely brave. I hope you find some peace inside by shedding light into your personal darkness. It warms my heart to see someone face this disease with such courage and optimism for the future. Don’t ever lose that hope. God and your family will always be there.

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    • Stephanie Says:

      Thank you so much, Allison. The stigma is so deep in our society. I think I have felt so much relief just knowing what’s wrong with me and now that I’ve made it public I feel like I can stop hiding. Glad you’re reading.

      Like

  3. Way to go girl. Your not scary just tough. I grew up with bi polar in our family. We laughed it off and away. But the scary part is watching your child face it. No matter what you do to help you can’t fix it. After the last 7 yrs of our marriage my husband finally was brave enough to help me realize that my boy wasn’t the only to suffer. So this crap digs down deep. We suffer silently and with great support those who love us. But both of us have hope to put off meds if possible. I thank you for sharing. You made it strong and part of life instead of hidden and dark.

    Like

    • Stephanie Says:

      It does dig down deep, doesn’t it. I can’t imagine watching my child face it. I hope you can continue to find support, even if it’s just knowing that y’all aren’t the only ones facing it.

      Like

  4. Kelly Says:

    Super proud that you were able to step up and “put it out there.” Something I could never really do. I, too, suffered from major depression and panic for years. Almost to the point of losing my job. I always hated the stigma associated with it. So much so, that I went off of all meds (against Doctors’ advice years ago). Thought I could pray it away. Your statement of HIS words “wonderfully and fearfully made” showed me how wrong I truly was. I still have issues. I’m back on some meds. They no longer make me so drugged that I don’t know who I am. I still struggle at times. But I still know He holds my hand through it all!! Thank you Stephanie for being the brave one. Something I could never do. You encourage me. You’ve got this!! 🙂

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    • Stephanie Says:

      I’m so sorry you’ve dealt with depression and panic for so long, Kelly. Meds can have such annoying side effects too. God made us and he doesn’t make mistakes…I have to tell myself this a 100 times a day sometimes. And sometimes I still don’t believe it. It’s a hard road to climb. But my pastor told me recently…you’ve been here before and you’ll be here again, but you know the way out this time. You have a map to get out. That helps me more than I can say. Thanks for reading. 🙂

      Like

  5. Kristin Says:

    God has made you unique and he loves you always. There are struggles in all of our lives, and facing those struggles is one of the burdens we bare. Society’s opinion on mental illness and the picture we portray of those illnesses on TV is wrong and makes us feel ashamed, but you are perfect in God’s eyes

    Like

  6. Steph Says:

    Love this. Love you.

    Like

  7. Sheri Engelhart Says:

    What A brave little miss you are, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I have always admired and respected you for your many wonderful momma ways and your kindness. Love and love……

    Like

  8. Linda Says:

    No God does not make mistakes. He sometimes gives us challenges to make us stronger. He also gives us the ability to help others and if just reading what you wrote helps someone else then you have accomplished a lot. You are not a mistake…You are perfect in God’s eyes and that is what counts. Keep the Faith and remember that you are loved always by those who know you the best.

    Like

  9. Janet Says:

    I love the “fearfully amd wonderfully made” part. It’s true! You pretty much you rock…hope having written this helps settle some apprehensions!

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  10. Stephanie, I ,love, love , love your blog!! I can relate to that( except the bi- polor). I, have suffered from terrible bouts of depression. Mine started when I was about 22.. Panic attacks came along with it and the doctors didn’t give me the medication that I needed. I still struggle with it even with the proper medication. I still get depressed.but I have accepted the fact that I am “wired” differently.
    .. Thank you for sharing. I certainly know that you will help many people. It help just knowing that one is not alone.
    Love & hugs,
    Aunt Rosemary xoxoxo

    Like

    • Stephanie Says:

      Thanks Aunt Rosemary! I’m glad you are reading. Depression is a horrible beast. I’m sorry you have struggled with it too. Maybe if we all band together we won’t feel as alone. 🙂 Hope to see you soon!
      Love.

      Like


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