Faith and Bipolar Disorder
Upon getting a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, people often ask, “Why God? Why me? I’ve been a dedicated ___________________ (fill in the blank: Catholic, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Bhuddist) all these years.”
People of faith find comfort in their belief that the ways of God are unknowable.
Unknowable, yes. Untreatable? No. What we do know is this: those diagnosed with bipolar disorder often also are diagnosed with extraordinary intelligence and/or extraordinary creative ability as well. Getting those inordinate abilities free from the debilitating constraints of the illness can be a challenge, but it can be construed a challenge that God has purposely given humanity. And humanity has risen to the challenge, coming up with some cool solutions.
I hope that those still waiting for God to intervene and make them better would consider the following joke:
A man in a flood situation sits on his roof waiting for God to come by and save him. First his neighbor comes by in a canoe saying, “Come on, Bob! Get in! I’ll row us to dry ground!” Bob replies, “Thanks but no! I’m waiting for God to save me!” Then a helicopter comes by and throws a rope ladder. The man with the megaphone calls down: “Climb the rope ladder to safety! We’ll heliport you to dry ground!” Bob replies, “No thanks! God will save me!” The helicopter wheels away. They have lots of roof-sitters to save after all. With the water coming up over the roof’s eves and touching Bob’s shoes, he again prays to God: “Please save me. I know you can do it!” Suddenly, the clouds above him part, lightening flashes and a booming voice calls down: “Come on, Bob! I already sent a canoe and a helicopter! I’m running out of options here!” [Okay Thomas: perhaps completely inappropriate, but I love that joke.]
I would hope that those with a strong faith will consider how God or their higher power has blessed people with the intelligence and tools to address the chemical imbalances that occur naturally within the human population. After all, those of faith are certain that God wants people to help each other, to pull their brethren from misery and to show them the glories of the world he intended.
How has your faith helped you? What doubts or issues have arisen since you’ve gotten your diagnosis. How do you deal with your concept of God or a higher power and the fact that these difficult struggles are in your life? By responding below, you will help others.