The last time I tried to make everything stop by taking my own life, I was admitted to a mental hospital and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. When that happened, I started searching for God. I realized I couldn’t live that way anymore and began asking God to help me. Then, I returned to the church where I had grown up and began the process of being reinstated. Part of the process of becoming part of that church again was confessing sins, and when I went one evening to confess, one of the leaders of the church lost it on me. She was screaming so hard that her eyes were crossing as she declared I was not godly enough to be part of that church and told me I was never allowed back. It was shocking.
Shortly after that, my doctors and I found the right concoction of medications to stabilize myself and I was really able to start focusing on repairing relationships. I had heard about Crossroads, so I decided to give it a try. There I learned that we are all sinners learning how to cope. God put it on my heart to join a small group, and that helped me build new relationships that were healthy for the first time. Those relationships helped me stay in the faith along with other tools God has provided through Crossroads like the app that keeps me reading the Bible and focusing on gratitude.
My small group was going through Rooted this spring when I was asked to share my story on the same night as a newer member of our group. She shared first, and her story included the story of her divorce from a man who also was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She didn’t know my background, and as I shared the trauma I had experienced as a result of bipolar disorder, the lightbulb clicked for her and she understood a lot more about her past relationship. I shared how in my manic state I would feel like I was on top of the world and no one could stop me, then a look from someone or a life event could send me crashing and everything would be awful. During those depressed times I would reflect back on things I did in my manic state and realize the ways that I was unintentionally being manipulative and I would panic. Sharing those stories in Rooted put things into perspective for me, and I was able to reassure my new friend that what had happened wasn’t her fault. Later, she also shared that my bipolar disorder was not my fault either.
Now, I want to continue sharing my story to bring awareness to the side effects and struggle of mental illness because it has become so taboo and people don’t have a full understanding of it. Our society is treating the symptoms of mental illness rather than the causes, and I want to help stabilize family life and other circumstances that could save others from abuse and resulting mental illness. -Anonymous