I see this as a gift
Many years ago I was diagnosed as having suffered Hypermania, because the psychiatrist I referred myself to felt it was a one off bout of manic symptoms. In fact I have since had many other experiences like it, but I never went to get help for it again. Instead, I started to accept it, to see it as a blessing both in my work as an artist and for personal help and development. I do feel that things in this world are connected in ways that most people do not see, and I have learnt not to react to the insights I get with anxiety or an inflated idea that I have a mission I can't cope with, but to see more calmly that we all have a purpose to help each other and these times of insight are gifts to help us in that process.
I first experienced Mania after the death of my father, which had been traumatic. I had felt chronic guilt in my life after my parents' divorce, and this got far worse after my father's death. My husband and I then moved house and the previous owner asked me along to church, and I started to go. Rapidly, I felt God working in my life with internal 'counselling' which was healing my problems through dreams and waking connections that gave me insights. Largely I felt loved, and totally confident that God is real, and a euphoric feeling of love and peace which I wanted to share with people. There were signs given to me through songs on the radio, or through the slogan of an advert that spoke to me, which connected with something God was trying to teach me. I felt that God was answering prayers directly through the world, or through helping me understand. Sometimes coincidences happened that scared me, like when I prayed for my mum one morning that 'the cobwebs would be blown away' because she often used to worry obsessively about small stuff. This wasn't a phrase I or she normally used, but when she came to see me later that day, she arrived saying, 'I feel like all the cobwebs have blown away'.
Other examples of coincidences involved things like meeting an elderly woman at church whose estranged family lived an hour away near my mum. I acted on her wish to see this family by taking her over the next week. The following week this lady died. Sometimes we just don't act on things, or we never get to hear how
it helped, so we don't see the significance. But these things happen frequently to me and I've learnt to trust them.
The reason I sought psychiatric help the one time, was because a year after my second son was born I woke up one morning believing that he was Jesus come to earth again. I believed this for a full morning, thinking I should call round everyone I knew to come and see him. Then in the afternoon I realised I had flipped and I was very worried about my sanity. I then pulled away from helping so much at church because I was scared and aimed to get grounded and to focus on the here and now, my family and life as it is. Gradually I was able to pray again and to trust in my sanity as well as my intuition. I now think I just got it wrong that time, and that it is always good to reflect before running away with an idea. It could be that I thought my youngest was Jesus because I needed a shock to show me that he was more important than going to help others at church..at that time.
This year, at the age of 20, my eldest son who was a wonderfully happy and caring friend to so many people, was killed on his bicycle. It is the greatest loss, and because of that God has helped me so much to find some peace and to continue to reach out to others with strength, through coincidences or insights on how to make the right choices and to trust that Tom my son lives on with Him. This faith has only helped. I think that at times of huge loss or mental suffering, significant things do happen to comfort us or to help us to change. The problem with Manic Depression I think arises because it is such a shock to the system and to the materialistic thinking of our Western culture, that we feel alone with it, crazy and anxious.. which then leads to massive mood swings as we lose faith in our own sanity or run away with ideas that we haven't really understood, because there is no guidance from professionals, only diagnosis and drugs.
Thank you for reading and I am so very glad there is a website that asks for personal stories from people who have this often mixed blessing.Ben's Reply:
Thank you Liz, your story is an inspiration.
Wishing you deep Peace and Faith for the coming year.