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Unashamed: Life Since Diagnosis


I was diagnosed bipolar on March 18, 2016.

At first, I didn’t believe the doctor. Mostly because I didn’t understand or know what bipolar was. A little bit because I believed I was normal. The doctors just didn’t know right, their tests and observations were surely wrong.

But they were right.

I’ve lived a lot of life in the past six months–heck, in the past 10.

I finished school in December. Moved to Nashville in February. Came back at the end of March. Was diagnosed the 18th, and then life. moved. on.

It’s been awkward.

There are moments when I feel uncomfortable, because I think people treat me differently. Sometimes they do, but usually it’s all in my head.

There are people who have left my life, unable to understand or meet me where I am. I am not surprised, but nevertheless hurt by their absence.

It’s been hilarious.

I used to joke that I threw out the “adoption card” every chance I could. Now, I can throw out the “bipolar card.”

When I’m overwhelmed, I blame it on bipolar. When I’m anxious, I blame it on bipolar. When I need to go to bed early, I blame it on bipolar.

I do so jokingly, because in reality, I don’t dare let bipolar diminish or handicap me in any way.

It’s been hard.

Some weeks are great. I feel strong and confident and just like me before the diagnosis.

Some weeks are terrible. I feel depressed and alone and unlike any version of myself.

There are ups and downs, the ups are high and the downs are devastatingly low. The downs leave me silent and afraid, timid and misunderstood. I usually avoid friends, stay at home, and pray for the sadness to depart.

It’s been fun.

God gives and takes away. He gave me a new diagnosis, and took away the old pride of having a fully functioning, downright healthy brain and body.

God tears and mends. He tore apart my old identity in my life’s success (in academics, involvement, and at work). He stitched my new name, “Little Christ,” across my heart.

Though some have gone, some have stayed, and many have come. Such wonderful, Christ-loving, delightful people who know my diagnosis, pursue my heart, and encourage my dreams.

The other night, my friend Abbie got in a car wreck. Our pals Bryan, Freddie, and I stayed up all night (until 3 a.m.) to make sure she got home from the hospital safe.

That is how Jesus works. He brings together four quirky friends, wraps them up in kindness and laughter, and holds them together in the toughest moments. Praise Jesus, Abbie is alright!

And I know if I was ever hurt, Bryan, Freddie and Abbie would show up in a heartbeat. Prepared with prayer and petition and probably a present. Ready to do what Jesus does best: love others where they’re at, not where he wants them to be.

Bipolar isn’t the best. But life is.

On the days that I feel the worst, I remember how I felt during the best. Then I hope for even better days ahead.

My brain doesn’t function like everyone else’s, but my mind, body, and spirit are sure working well these days. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit need to be three-in-one, just like me.

Lately, I’m thankful.

Thankful that a bent brain is the only physical issue I have to battle. Thankful for the wonderful new and old friends who love me through and through. Thankful for the pain, because the Joy tastes even better.

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