To Bipolar or Not, that is the accusation
I shared this post over on my Facebook page. One of the comments I received stated, “No, you don’t get to choose; you must really not have bipolar.”
First, I was surprised to be told I did not have bipolar. Second, I felt terrible for the lady because I have been there. I handled the situation with soft and gentle words. She shared a bit of her story, and I could feel her fatigue in the comments.
I know the doubt, fear, and frustration in managing the symptoms of bipolar. If I prayed long and hard enough, I thought I would be healed, cured, and labeled a miracle. So far, that has not happened. I am still balancing bipolar, but with a new understanding of my mind.
Fortunately, we can manage our minds (thoughts, feelings, choices). It is not new-age nonsense, folks. Matters of mind management have been around since Biblical times.
- Philippians 4:18-Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
- Mark 7:20-22-And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
- Psalm 141:3-Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
We could keep going. The Bible told us long ago about the power within our minds and hearts. The more I study the scriptures, the more I see guidance for all parts of our lives, including mental wellness in managing our mental illness symptoms, beginning with our thoughts.
If the inspired Word of God took time to discuss the power of the mind, capturing every thought and taking it captive to the goodness of God, why would we discount the valuable advice? When pressing into my faith as a tool for mental health, I found comfort that the Lord understood the battle. I did not run from God in my brokenness. I fell face-first at His feet. Never shunned, God welcomes each of us in. His love never fails.
In mind management, we do not have space to doubt ourselves. Our thoughts are our responsibility. Intentional thinking takes practice and effort. The idea of repeating thoughts all day long sounds exhausting; however, we must do it for wellness. If you want your brain to change, you will need to lead the way. You are capable, and it is possible.
Let’s start by looking at warning signs.
Thoughts consumed with depression, sadness, anger, bitterness, doubt, worry, hesitation, even suicidal thoughts are warning signs. When I learned this concept, I felt a small piece of freedom. Recognizing and accepting these warning signs frees me from the guilt and shame of being in a darker place. Once I stop beating myself up, I can comfortably process them by reflecting on why I think and feel the way I do, turn them from being a threat, and then react positively. That will benefit my wellness rather than hurt it.
When we feel dark thoughts, we tend to feel imprisoned. The more we think about our emotional pain, we feel physical pain. I have caused severe headaches, stomach illness, hives, skin breakouts, and muscle tension because of the inability to get my mind out of the pit. I took my shovel and created my mental health hell. By not having the tools to manage my mind, I allowed myself to sink.
It all begins with self-regulation and awareness. As I peruse social media, I can confirm, there is little self-regulation going on these days. People think, feel, and react without much thought at all. I know you know! The art of opinion sharing seems to have eradicated mind management. We are quick to speak, quick to anger, and slow to hear- opposite of scripture knowledge (James 1:19)
We all wear the labels of mental illness at some point. I know I did. I also used the term bipolar as an excuse for unruly behavior and overreactions. I played victim to a diagnosis for a long time. Not one doctor ever helped me to understand my power in managing the symptoms of bipolar. Moreover, they seemed more interested in writing a script for medication I couldn’t take, did not want, and never helped.
As we continue discussing mind management, have you begun to think differently about your mental wellness? Do you believe you can manage your mind to the degree that will rewire your brain? Did you know science says we won’t only rewire, but we can regenerate our brain? There is a lot here to learn.