My spiritual awakening started a manic episode
by Julie Hunter
I attended church every sunday from age 5-16, for a few years I helped teach vacation bible school. I loved churh, loved singing in the choir and I loved God. But I never felt what others have claimed to feel, I never had the overwhelming feeling that God loved me. I had to move with my parents to Florida AT AGE 17, and I hated it and thought God hated me and that's why I was there. I stopped going to church completely. I still loved God and tried to lead a good life, but I didn't feel worthy enough to be in His house.
In 2007 I was in severe derpression. I had been diagnosed as having manic depression and PSD since 1997.
I was so depressed one evening I was fixated on killing myself. I had been under stress for so long from being a single mom of 3, working full time, and 2 ex husbands that tried thier best to make my life miserable, I figured eveyone would be better off without me.Then a friend told me to pray to God out loud, confess all my sins out loud,and ask HIM to show me or guide me so that I knew I had a purpose for going on. I did exactly that, when I prayed I cried out loud and begged God to forgive a sinner like me, I asked God to heal my heart from all the pain and betrayal I had felt in the past. I asked him to touch my heart and show me his love.
Within 5 minutes, I felt it instantly. I no longer felt pain and sadness in my heart. It was replaced with the greatest feeling of love and happiness. It compared to nothing else,I can't even express it in words. All of a sudden I was able to understand and comprehend all of the things I had heard in church. I felt God's love, even when the most horrid tragedies occur in our lives, I understood that in His grand plan we are all here to serve a purpose, even if we can't understand what it is. Over the next few weeks I started going back to church, was baptized, read the bible all the time and had talks with God on my way to work. At this time I didn't hear any voices, I just felt something within me confirming what I felt when I asked God something.
I started spreading the word of Jesus to my family and friends that had not been baptized or didn't go to church. I specifically remember when I was going to work one day and having my time with God, I heard a thought in my head that told me "I have to go now, but don't worry or be afraid, even though you won't feel me as you do now, I will always be there. When you are afraid, just look up and I will help you." After that I started exhibiting the bad signs of mania, completely irratic behavior, not sleeping for days on end, then started actually hearing voices (they weren't from God, they made me feel angry). My family finally got me mental help, and I haven't had a real manic attack since 2 years ago. Even though the attack wasn't major, I still felt God's presence again, telling me I would be ok and that he would make everything better. I've been having some health problems for a while now,I was unable to get out of the huose, stopped going to church and slowly progressing over the past 8 months to the point that I needed help to get out of bed to use the restroom. I was told on 3/8 that I had a serious adrenal gland problem. My manice episode on that started on 3/14 was because I had been in the ER and they refused to let me take my Lamictal and I went two full doses without it, then started mania.
The mania started in anger, but 2 days later I was much calmer and started feeling God's presence again. I just got my test results done, there is nothing wrong with my adrenal glands, and ever since 3/16 I've started feeling better every day. Through all of my sickness I never asked "Why me?" Ever since I have been baptized I try to praise and thank God for WHAT I have, instead of worrying about what I don't have. I've had a rough life, but I won't complain, God put me here for a reason and I don't need to know what the reason is, I'll ask him when I meet him someday.
My psychiatrist and others that have seen me since 2007 for my bipolar, have all said that the worse kind of manic episode are those that involve a spiritual encounter of any kind. I disagree, if God had not shown me his love, my manic episode could have made me hurt someone or myself before I got help. I don't think God was part of the mania that followed after I felt the Holy Spirit tell me He was leaving for a while. I think God was preparing me for what was about to come (the bad part of mania that makes you act crazy and out of control). I know I'm bipolar 1 and that I will require medication for the rest of my life. Ever since 2007 I have never questioned God about my mental illness again. Through the depressive and small manice attacks that continued from 2007 to present, I've never felt the pain in my heart that I had been carrying like dead weight for over 25 years. I've continued to form a closer relationship to God. Even though I can no longer attend church (I rarely leave my house because of my anxiety attacks) I know God understands because I still worship and sing praise to him on Sundays. I know I am clinically bipolar 1, but I don't think it's a curse. I now consider it a gift from God because he believes I can handle it. My mania allowed my mind and heart to open enough after my pain had been taken away by God, so that I was finally able to feel what I had so desperately yearned for all my life. The psycial problems I was having had me terrified because of how much pain, inability to swall and no appetite (I lost 40lbs in 6 months just because I was no longer to eat solid food), and the complete fatigue i felt every day that was growing worse. I prayed to God every night that, even though I would like to live to raise my kids, if it is His will that this is my time, I won't question it.
I know that the manic episode was God's way of curing me and letting me know it was going to be ok.
Although I don't believe all people's mental illnesses are a spiritual awakening like mine, I know it was for me. Even though it was a spiritual awakening, and that I've gotten closer to God ever since 2007, I still know I am pipolar 1, but it's ok, in my case it might be the only way God can keep reassuring me that I'll make it through and that he appreciates that fact that, no matter how bad it has been since 2007, I wake up everyday and Thank Him for giving me another day. Although my bipolar 1 has had serious ups and downs over the last few years, my strenght and bond with God has continued to grow. So if it was JUST a manic episode, I would have gotten the pain of my past back, and would have stopped going to church every Sunday even when I was in a depressive state.
Sorry, I'm a bit of a rambler, but I'd like some feedback if anyone would care to give me some.