My Sojourn through Bipolar Illness – Finding an Illness Mature Mate

I found over the years when I was single that it was very difficult to find a boyfriend who was knowledgeable of bipolar illness or of mental illness in particular.  This changed when I met a man who struggled with clinical depression.  He “got it” while most other boyfriends did not.  We quickly got engaged but within a year’s time found that our illnesses tended to feed upon each other.  It was if we had allergic personalities — our arguments seemed to accentuate our diagnoses and behaviors accordingly.  We did not fight well, but always seemed to end up in the same argument time and time again.   We also did not have a faith in God that bound us. 

That engagement ended favorably with each of us expressing ourselves and our pain and our ability not to master our relationship’s ins and outs.  He initiated the relationship.  He initiated the end of the relationship.  He also wrote to me about 2 to 3 years later to see if I were interested in reconciliation.  At that time, I had moved on emotionally and was not interested.  It was not because I was involved with someone else. It was because I was entering a lengthy period of celibacy that lasted about 7 years. 

During this period of celibacy in my thirties, I began work on what would later become the basis for a big component of my Spiritual journey.  During this period of celibacy, I became interested in Medical Intuition or the use of Spiritual work to help guide illness diagnosis and illness recovery.  During this time, I challenged behaviors in myself such as alcohol use or going to bars as a means of meeting a mate.  Finally one day, my closest friend suggested that I go on-line. This was in the years before on-line dating was prevalent.

In any case, I worked with my friend on an online bio and had a first date with my soon-to-be fiancé at the Starbucks near a local state park.  I prior had resolved that if the coffee date went well, my date and I would go on a walk with my 100 pound black Labrador – half Newfoundland up a nearby mountain.  We met at the coffee shop and soon were walking up that mountain.

It took no brains to determine that I had been looking in all the wrong places for a husband.  In addition, as I got older there were fewer and fewer places to meet someone.  College was out.  Graduate school was out. 

When I met my future husband, there were four key ingredients.  He was aware of mental illness and bipolar in particular. We shared a faith journey in Christ and we fought well together.  Not that we did not have arguments.  It was just that we recovered from those arguments fairly quickly and with some degree of learning or emotional development.     We also shared a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at self and with others.

My Sojourn through Bipolar Illness – Ego versus Spirit

My therapist tells me there are two ways of being – through the Ego or through Spirit or God.  The Ego is all about me and what I have accomplished with little glory to God.  The Spirit is all about what can I do to be useful with all the glory for accomplishments to God.  Like most people, I struggle with this dichotomy.  I would like to use that big Ivy League brain graduated magna cum laude for some great invention or some great medical break-through like the cure for HIV/AIDs or the cure for cancer.  At the same time I am increasingly aware that my Spirit self seeks to be in situations or in jobs where I can serve the Will of God no matter how great or how small the accomplishment.    It is my Spirit self who finds solace in cleaning up the kitchen after Wednesday Night Supper or feeding the homeless.  It is my Spirit self who finds comfort and a sense of self in providing a healthy meal to my family.  It is my Spirit self who can stop and acknowledge the efforts of my husband toward the goings and comings of our everyday household.  In short, my Spirit self is thankful and mindful of others including God.

 I am at a cross-roads right now in this journey to find God or Spirit as evident in my work life.  I have not found that place yet, what it looks like or what it will become.  I do know that I have an Ego that tends to get in the way much like that person who was arguing with Einstein in the dream I wrote about in the letter to David Bohm.  I also wonder out loud if writing about my illness might be the best way to serve others.  If I can share my experience of bipolar illness in a way that is helpful to others, maybe I am finding God in my work (or He is finding me).   

Since the time of writing that letter to David Bohm in or about 1995 or 1996 (see prior post), my Ego has gone through what I call a shredding machine.  I feel 150% less sure of myself in terms of the kinds of jobs I can hold and keep.  At the same time I feel that my Spiritual self is more and more in control as I seek God in daily or even mundane interactions.  The satisfaction I gain through clean-up activities at my Church on Wednesdays or after feeding the homeless is real.  Right now I am feeling my way through the process of having very little Ego to fall back on which means more “pressure” or maybe better stated more “room” for God to step in and be in control.  Perhaps this letting go for God is also responsible for my drafting this text and for deciding to share its contents with others struggling for stability. 

Just as an update, my church-related activities largely have been suspended due to covid-19 and due to a situation at my place of worship.  I continue to pray on a regular basis, but could definitely improve in the area of giving thanks to God.