Oh, how I love the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. Alison Steadman gives an unprecedented performance of Mrs. Bennet-quite the drama queen herself.
This start to “To Suffer For Souls” is just an opening line into the trials I’ve encountered and will continue to encounter as life is just life. It’s no surprise that I’ve been through struggles, because, you know as well as I, we’re human and that’s what happens as long as we’re breathing. (maybe even more so after we stop if we don’t make proper choices!) But that being said, that’s not the end to that statement.
What do I suffer?
My response to that would be another question, “Why do I suffer?” I do, because “I longed to suffer for souls as Christ had done, so that some day they might be with Him forever.” (The Little Flower | THE STORY OF SAINT THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS – Mary Fabyan Windeatt) That line I found highlighted in my book I read at age 10. I found it when I was 18ish (don’t remember my exact age) as I was preparing for a talk at a women’s retreat on “Conquering Suffering through Love”.
As I prepared for that retreat, I prayed of course, but also reflected on all my past before the suffering started. It was reflecting back quite a bit, because the struggles began at age 11/12. It was true I did long to suffer. Why? Because I knew that suffering does not have to go without merit. I was a child-a child so madly in love with Jesus. I delved into the lives of the saints and there was something that they all had in common, they suffered. Life’s not easy. And they didn’t try to take an easy way out. They put on their cross and listened to Christ as He said, “Come follow Me.”
Okay. So, WHAT do I suffer?
The year or so after I told the Lord I longed to suffer, I started into an uncomfortable state-the state I found out years later was depression. This was not what I expected. I thought I would get tuberculous or cancer or something-something I was a little bit more familiar with as an illness-(yes, I know that’s crazy to be okay with that) but the depression led me to the darkest of the darkest. At night, I cried myself to sleep for months on end-hiding it from my family as they were taking care of my ailing grandmother and little toddlers. This wasn’t a simple boo hoo-tears rolling down your cheek. This was a “get on the floor in my tiny closet, shut the door, curl up into the tightest possible position, and shake violently while remaining silent” kind of crying. I spent those nights racking my brain trying to think of what could have possibly gone wrong? What did someone do? Why was I hurting so badly? I just couldn’t understand.
Many other symptoms unraveled my life and then by the age of 16 it happened. I had what’s called a manic episode. I won’t go into the details of that now, but it was awful. I lost touch with reality. And I lost touch with all my friends-well most of them. The mania seems fun at the beginning. You feel euphoric, but if not tended to, it spirals out of control.
Soon after the episode began, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I had it stamped to my forehead for a little while, but once I got stabilized on my medicine, I peeled off the stamp and stuck it in my pocket-only taking it out for select people to see.
I’m writing now because of the reactions of those select people who saw. Those people had hurts, too. They had struggles. And some of them even had Bipolar Disorder. It’s a medical illness many people still misunderstand. From my knowledge of “Silver Linings Playbook”, it’s not the most accurate portrayal of the illness-at least not how I act. Through the love of my caregivers, I’ve learned to take care of myself and jump on top of my health whenever the symptoms start to arise. These tips and tricks are something I’m willing to share. I’m here reaching out with a helping hand, but I can’t help without the Hand that’s held mine. This blog with evolve I’m sure, but to start out it will be on what I suffer, why I suffer, how I deal with it and how I embrace it.
+ Pax + | KK