Every couple of months, I indulge myself with time off from my scheduled hectic life. I call it my downtime. I try to limit this time to two days because I have found that in the past, this time of inactivity can be guilt invoking and lead to a type of induced depression. This time, however, has been a delicious exception.
For the last couple of days, I have allowed this time to be a healing experience. It is especially significant for me because I planned to use this time to initiate my freedom from the drug Lithium.
I became a Christian in 1991, baptized into Christ's body. Since then Jesus has been changing me, not miraculously, but by the natural progression of living and facing life with God's goodness. Through the power of faith, I have overcome an eating disorder. Now, I am ready to face another mental illness, Bipolar Disorder or Manic/Depression.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 1988. I had been taking lithium ever since. I had not experienced any further mania but I continued to struggle with depression and anxiety over the years.
Do not think that I decided to go off the Lithium impulsively as I was content to remain on it for the rest of my life.
I met a someone who was to become a major influence in my life. He believed after our many conversations that I would one day be able to stop taking the medication. He repeatedly told me that nothing was the matter with my thinking.
I tentatively came to believe that this would be possible some day.
In 2001, I attended a seminar given through work by a Canadian Olympian, Silken Laumann. She was a rower and was training for the 1992 Olympics when she was in a rowing accident that ripped her muscles apart. Through the medical skill of others and her own determination and self-discipline, she endured 5 operations on her ravaged leg. She managed to still compete in the Olympics which was only 11 weeks from the time of her accident. She won bronze.
After her motivational speech, I made my way up to her and told her that I had Bipolar Disorder. She asked me, "Do you think you can overcome it?" I looked steadfastedly back into her eyes, and said, "Yes!" She could see in my eyes that I meant it.
Now, 6 years later, I am ready to face this challenge.
Yesterday evening as I was wondering how to spend some more of my precious downtime hours, I came across the tv movie of her life that I taped several years ago. It seemed a fitting time to watch it.
God is my Rock.
I don't know if I will win bronze or gold in this race against my mental illness, but this is my moment to give it all I got...