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Battling the Dragon

~~ John 13:34 (NIV84) ~~  A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.



by Carley Cooper

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I have a habit of referring to my Bipolar Disorder as a roller coaster.  The up swings (or Mania periods) are great.  I feel good about myself and my energy is turbo charged; the whole world looks wonderful.  However, it’s called Bipolar for the reason that there are two sides.  The other side being the depression side, or what is often referred to as ‘The Dragon’.  I think the hardest part about being Bipolar isn’t even the never-ending roller coaster ride; it’s how much I dislike myself when I’m in the down swings.  It’s emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting.  When I’m in that dark place, I believe bad things about myself, and if someone tries to tell me different I don’t understand how they could see things so differently.  When I’m not in that place, I not only can understand my friends views but I can’t understand how I could have believed those horrible things about myself.  My own thoughts suddenly look irrational.

A few years ago I had a roommate that suffered from depression.  It was my first time living with someone else who had it.  I was able to see things from the other side of the fence; a view I never had before.  I was on the outside looking inward at it; not my usual view of being inside and struggling to see out.  My heart ached to help my roommate, and all my efforts to reach out were rejected because he didn’t see them as sincere.  That hurt me because I really did want to help.  I wanted so much to make it all better. 

Something similar happened recently when I was chatting with my friend, Maria (not her real name) on a Sunday morning at church.  We were in our large church lobby surrounded by many people coming and going who weren’t paying any attention to us chatting.  Maria was sharing about her experiences with depression, and now she thinks bad things about herself when she’s feeling that way.  I related to her feelings so well, because it’s how I feel when I’m battling the dragon.  She said that she wonders if she’s a real Christian, or if others talk about her, or are rejecting her.  She has a problem trusting others or reaching out for help.  I felt like she was telling my story with those points.  My heart went out to her.  I wished I could just give her one hug and take away all her pain.  I understood her, yet at the same time I couldn’t understand her logic, or why she would think such a thing.  She’s beautiful and she touches my heart.  Both her and her husband make my day when I see them because they always welcome me with a big smile and a warm hug.  Another friend, Margaret (also, not her real name) walked by with a smile and  a quick “Hello” to me.  Maria wondered why Margaret didn’t say hello to her.  She thought it was a sure sign of rejection.  I assured her that it was because Margaret knew about my recent struggles.  I talk to Margaret sometimes for advice and have shared some details that I wouldn’t normally share with just anyone.  It was just a friendly smile of support.  Nevertheless, Maria was so sure of what she was feeling.  I realized just how hard it is, and how frustrating it must be for others who try to help me see the light when I’m unable to.  When I am not in the dark place, I am aware that the dragon is indeed the enemy.  When I am fighting the beast, I fall for the lies that he tells me.  I believe him when he whispers lies; such as others don’t love me, I am not worth it, or I should leave my home and find someone who ‘really’ does love me.  Thankfully, my mania periods have never gotten out of control on the opposite end of the scale; but he certainly takes advantage of my health issues on the down side of the spectrum. 

Jesus commands us to love one another as He loved us (John 13:34 and John 15:12 (NIV84)).  He also commands us to love others as ourselves (Mark 12:31 NIV84).  In a about an hour one morning a few days ago, these verses crossed my path from different sources.  I knew instantly that God was trying to remind me of how much He loves me.  Not only that but I am to love myself as much as I am to love others.  Think about that for a minute.  We are commanded to love ourselves and forgive ourselves.  God loves us.  So, much that He sent His Son to die for us to make sure that we are forgiven.  It’s already  a done deal, as long as I’ve asked Jesus into my heart to be my Saviour; which I have.  So, why then, is it so hard sometimes for me to see myself as God does?  Why am I so hard on myself?  Why is it that we often feel that it is so much easier to love and forgive others, and yet we cannot allow ourselves the same benefit?  If Jesus loves me that much, surely I can accept the gift.  So can you!  I have to stop fighting the dragon in battles when the war has already been won. 
         



~~ Dear God ~~  Thank You for the Easter celebration we just had, which reminds us of the gift of salvation that You gave us through the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus.  It is a gift that we are not truly capable of being able to fathom.  Lord, I know that the war has been won.  Please help me to walk away from the dragon.  To continue fighting him is pointless.  I do not want to risk my own salvation because of my own insecurities which cause me to hold on to self hatred, and the unwillingness to forgive myself.  Father, I ask you to not only continue reminding me daily, or even hourly if I need it, of how much You love me; but I also ask for my friend ‘Maria’.  She needs to see the light as well that she is a beautiful person who is so very loved by her church family as well as You.  Thank You, Lord.  In Jesus name, AMEN.



28 comments :

  1. My DIL tends to be bipolar. Fortunately she is a Christian and most of the time is sunny.

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    1. Thank you for reading; and thank you for sharing. Blessings to you and your family. HUGS.

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  2. :-D
    Thank you for another great article !
    I have been trying to help a friend who is struggling but refuses to see a doctor. Am going to send her this link.
    Praying for all my Spark Friends!
    Hugs
    BLESSINGS !

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    1. Thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope it helps your friend. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  3. Darling I know how you feel and the other side will never understand. I suffer from all three. Writing is a big help, when you can. I have no answers for you, if I find any, I will let you know.

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    1. Thank you Nancy for your kind words. My strength comes from my faith in Jesus. Without Him I don't think I would have lasted this long. It's hard to see that when I'm in the dark place; but even then I don't ever give up all hope. Nothing is impossible for Him, and He loves me. The other side doesn't truly understand, but I am very slowly learning to let go of that resentment. Forgiveness and healthy living truly are the keys that has changed my life so drastically. I'm not done, of course, but I have the power of the Son on my side now, that I didn't have before I was Christian and in this mess. I truly believe that one day I will be Bipolar and medication free. I hold that faith strong. I've seen bigger miracles in my life, so I know it's possible. He can do that for you too. HUGS.

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  4. It's like that with my binging.
    When I'm not binging and feeling great, I can't understand why I don't eat well all the time.
    Then,the binging dragon pops it's ugly head, and down in the pit I go. Then I can't imagine not stuffing myself with food, and the urge is so great sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy.
    I've already seen myself crying because I wanted to eat so bad but at the same time I did not want to eat because I knew one bite would mean weeks of binging.
    Having a binge eating disorder is the pits,just like bipolar is the pits.
    There is no cure,just management.
    Have a nice day! Hugs. Thank you

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    1. Management, support, and good meds... all very hard to find and put in place, and even harder to keep in place and working properly once you've finally found them. But I don't ever quit. I can't. I'm afraid it would kill me if I quit trying. I will pray for you. HUGS.

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  5. I could feel your pain. I deal with depession and had a roommate who was Bipolar and OCD. I never did understand Bipolar Disorder. One night she went off on me. After that, the Psychologist I was seeing said that I had to move away from her.

    I believe that you are where you are to minister to others that deal with the same thing. It seems I am able to pick up on people's feelings of depression. God is good and will lead you in His Ways. May God bless you beyond what you can imagine. (((((HUGS)))))

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    1. Thank you so very much for the encouragement and support. It really does help. I have a list of video's about Bipolar, and I was thinking about posting a list of links to them. They're very informative, and when I watched them first, I finally felt like someone understood.

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  6. Thank you Carley it does make one think!

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    1. Thanks Ray. That would be the first goal in all this. I'm glad it touched you. HUGS.

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    1. Thank you RSSSLHB for the loyal readership. It is appreciated. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  8. I have bipolar disorder and I thank you for sharing your story. I call my illness "the snake eating its own tail" because it's a never ending cycle. I am very stable but things got to be too much on Sunday and I had to take some extra medication to level me off.

    Sometimes I get disappointed in my fellow Christians who think that I can pray the bipolar away. If I could, I would be on my knees day and night until it's gone. God has given me access to excellent medical care, support from friends and family and the courage to live with this disease. I am grateful to Him for that.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. The more we share, the more people will understand.

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    1. Thank you so much Nancy or the support and encouragement. I have some pretty good support, but I've always found that outside of the medical industry who's goal is to pump meds into me, not to help; that my other support, though good, is always limited; even by the most well intentions from my loved ones. They have a limit on how much they can take. Then they leave or cut me off. They don't understand that I'm stuck in it. I can't walk away from it when I need a break. Then, I'm back to square one... alone, lonely, sick and not knowing where to turn. Again, thanks for reading and the support. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  9. IAMWINNINGApril 11, 2012

    Carley, THANK YOU for this posting, and your blog. I, too, have Bipolar Disorder (just diagnosed in October), and some days I struggle with it, and others days are fine. Thank you for reminding me to turn to the Lord (I accepted Him as savior over 50 years ago), and to love myself. God bless you.

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    1. Thank you for reading, and thank you sooooo much for the feedback. I'm happy that it touched you. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  10. I was touched by your sharing. I have not found a place where I belong. My main sparkteam is up motivated and doing great things, I get stuck, fall down and get back up. I know that I am listening to God's guidance. But some of my sins just keep holding on. Thank you.

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    1. I know how you feel. Sometimes it seems like the whole world has it all together and I'm falling apart. I said a prayer for you. HUGS.

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  11. Thanks sharing your blog with us. It is so helpful, and has given me the will to fight my own big dragon and survive.

    Blessings as you continue to inspire me.

    Hugs
    Rita

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    1. Rita, you are the one who is a blessing to me today. Thank you so much for the wonderful support and feedback. I really needed to know today that I am helping someone some where. Blessings to you and yours. BIG HUGS.

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  12. I have fought the "dragon" I called mine the mean monster. Somedays the mean monster can still wonder back in and I have to consciously chase him away. It is still a daily battle at some times in my life.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer for sharing, and for the feedback. As hard as it is sometimes, I keep thinking "Thank You, Lord that I am a Christian", because without that hope this would have killed me long ago. It's the only place I find reliable strength. Even when your mean monster comes back, don't give up the fight. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  13. ANGELREJOICES54April 12, 2012

    God bless you!

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    1. Thank you so very much. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  14. like to read My Utmost for His Highest and Simpson Devotionals when I feel beat up by life. I reflect on God's goodness, grace, and mercy no matter how low my lows are. I need him in all matters big and small.

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    1. I also read Oswald Chambers 'My Utmost for His Highest'. I very much like it. I can relate to it so well. Thanks for the feedback. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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