It has been 2 months to the day since I took a break from writing. It had become too painful. I never know where this road will take me. Often I feel like I’m riding on the back seat of a bicycle built for two, being taken on a ride by someone (or something) in the front seat. Sometimes I believe God is pedaling. Other times I feel like the mechanism in my mind is steering, and we are going down hill totally out of control. When I pedal, things usually don’t go well either. Best case scenario is when our Lord and Savior is navigating the journey and I am along for the ride.
Issues surrounding clergy sexual abuse are not bothering me to an emotionally crippling point as they were two months ago. The are still very distressing, but I no longer obsess about them and bring destructiveness to myself and those around me.
I have a new set of challenges. I now have to face a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder. Even though it is a mild form of the disorder, it brings with it a lifelong sentence of medicating and dealing with the stigma of a severe mental illness. As with clergy sexual abuse, if it is not completely understood, there is judgmentalism that can come with it. Clearly there has been a stigma associated with bi-polar disorders in the past. Though the mental health profession has learned so much more about it and thus alleviated that with supporting facts, I don’t think much of the world has caught up with their understanding.
Up and down. Down and up. That’s what it is all about. Before being down about the diagnosis, I was up. I actually found myself being hopeful after the new psychiatrist suggested that this was likely my problem. Based on self-knowledge, it made total sense. When she said that anti-depressants often do not effectively treat it, as has been the case with me, I gained a new sense of hope knowing that we would soon be trying something that had not yet been attempted with me – adding a mood stabilizer.
What a blessing this would be if it works. There are so many medical issues that need to be worked out, and psychological ones as well. “Me? Bi-polar?” It’s ok if others are, but not me. Now that I face it, it is scary.
I wondered if somehow it stemmed from the abuse, but I can look back to high school days and note the ups and downs began then. Perhaps this is a good that is coming from the evil of abuse: I have gone to therapy as a result, tried anti-depressants which were ineffective, and was sent to a psychiatrist to try to find other pharmaceutical relief. She is the one who is getting to the bottom of a lifelong struggle.
I would never have wished for the clergy sexual abuse, but working through may be leading to another kind of healing that is needed. I just didn’t know something else was there, or that healing was needed. I just knew that I hurt, and had dealt with depression off and on all my life.
A priest once used the bicycle built for two analogy with me, but it was more in regards to humility and allowing Jesus to take control of my life. It is my most fervent prayer that He does.