mental health disorders
bipolar disorder, spirituality
spiritual crisis
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Mental Health Disorders and Spirituality

by Patty E. Fleener M.S.W.

 

If you or your loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder have you ever wondered where your Higher Power is? (For the purposes of convenience, I hope I do not offend anyone by using the term "God". I know that for many of us, God can mean many different things). Or perhaps you have decided there is no God. How could there be when you or your loved one suffers so?

Maybe you do believe in God but you angry with Him. (some folks say Her).

If you * are * like me, having mental health disorders has most definitely caused spiritual confusion, anger at God, doubt, etc. 

I bring this up as very recently I have and am going through what I would call a "spiritual crisis." Well, that would mean many different things for many different people. I can only speak for myself. I am hoping this experience will have some impact on you as well. 

For many years I have pictured in my head a "perfect package" of much of the meaning of my existence, the "reason" I have suffered so much in my life and my purpose in this world today. It was a tight package and it gave me peace and happiness. Only it was blown up very recently which caused me to realize that it was only of my own making in my own mind.

I have shared with all of you countless times that I like you have suffered a great deal due to being mentally disabled. I have mentioned that I could not stand the thought that that suffering had no meaning and that if it had a purpose, I could accept that and be happy with that. It is very difficult sometimes to accept such hardship and disability to have happened for no purpose. 

My presence here in mental health on the Internet and on this newsletter was like riding a bicycle. It was normal, natural and seemed to occur "on it's own." 

I gave the suffering from my mental health disorders meaning, that without those experiences, I would not and could not be doing what I am hopefully doing now and hopefully that is to help others like myself. 

Though this is never a reason why I became involved with the Internet, I felt later that somehow I had "earned" the right to stop hurting. These feelings did not come until much later and was a side thought.

This was a pretty cool package to live with huh? I "did my time" and now I could be there for others. 

So what was it that busted up my comfortable package? As a person with bipolar disorder; I'll be honest I am not sure how I would address this with the BPD, I am finally coming out of denial that I am not sitting here waiting for the right med cocktail that will make Patty go into remission for the rest of her life. 

Every book, practically every article I read, all remind me that the bipolar disorder is a chronic disorder and even if the person is taking medication, mania or hypomania and depression still break through. Don't worry, I'm not going to leave you depressed at the end of this newsletter but I am speaking frankly.

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Our DSL line has been up and down lately and I was unable to work on the computer. Oh boy! For that to happen to a workaholic is quite a challenge. 

So, I decided to start researching the bipolar disorder pretty thoroughly and starting putting down some important information for this newsletter and for the website. I read and read. The more I read, the more upset I became. Finally I reached a point where I felt as if I had received my death sentence. That is when I finally came out of denial that I will continue to relapse with my bipolar disorder in spite of good medications. I cried for two days and went into a manic episode.

My thoughts at this time did not make a lot of sense. I told my partner I wish I had the courage to take my life because I could not stand to continue living this way, especially with the depression. I felt that my life was over and all my dreams to come in the future could not take place. 

One of my biggest wishes is to be a grandmother if my daughter has a child. However in that current mode I knew I would still be ill and up and down and I "just could not put my grandchildren threw that." There of course have been times where I have been in remission where my full personality has been able to come out but I never feel I "get to hear the end of the song." Always ahead "something horrible" awaits me.

It was then that I realized that things like mental illness, car accidents, etc. are not good nor bad. It is through our eyes that gives them these qualities. Things happen, they just happen haphazardly and there is no quality within them that take on these feelings. Feelings and pain belong to people. They do not belong to events. Perhaps there does not have to have a purpose to everything I wondered.

I went out to the used bookstore and got the book "When Bad Things Happen to Good People." I haven't read it yet. Soon. I also got a book to comfort me about "real life" stories about people who have experiences with angels and miracles. As I thought about it later, I thought it rather arrogant for people to claim such events. Who are they to say for example that an angel has cured them of cancer when Joe Bloe is not? In fact, perhaps Joe may have a horrible slow death and he may have been a very spiritual, wonderful human being.

Mental health disorders bring up many spiritual issues I think for consumers and those that love them. 

I promised I would not leave you depressed. 

I don't have the answers of course. However I do believe that you and I have a purpose here. It's ok that we don't have all the answers. We never will. 

You must remember also that remissions from the bipolar disorder can go only for many, many years. Many people with this disorder have very happy lives and have learned to manage their illness. As I mentioned above, keeping a regular schedule, etc. all help a great deal. We do have * some * control. 

Having the BP is * not * a death sentence. You must remember that people feel a variety of feelings when they fully come out of denial. Many times we catastrophize and are not thinking rationally. I do not think that anymore. In fact I am more devoted to being stable more than ever. I am even buying stuff to eat for breakfast and I hate breakfast. (grin) It is important to eat three meals a day. 

We don't have to change our ways in one day. It is a process of taking off the old and putting on the new. 

Would you believe that this happened only 3 to 4 days ago and today I am doing fine? I still need to work through my spiritual crisis however and so must many of us. 



MH Today Attention Deficit Bipolar Borderline Personality Depression
Gender Identity Narcissistic Personality PTSD Schizophrenia Suicide

Visit Mental Health Matters for information and articles. Get help to find a therapist or list your practice; and Psych Forums for message boards on a variety of MH topics.

 

Related Books

Man's Search for Meaning

Will God Heal Me? : Faith In The Midst Of Suffering

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