Many people living with the challenge of a mental disorder suffer from anxiety. I know I do. My diagnosis just rolls off my tongue as if I were talking about someone else: bipolar 1 disorder with anxiety and insomnia.
I wish dealing with it came so easily. Crowds bother me. Sometimes I get paralyzed with fear. Sometimes I panic. Our church grew into a mega church. I now attend in the Chapel, not the big sanctuary that seats thousands. I’m most comfortable streaming it into our living room at home!
Today, Mike and I went to the Minnesota State Fair. I took this picture:
This was early in the morning before the crowd was very large! We were walking to the animal barns. How did I push through? I didn’t. My dear husband did and I held fast to his hand. Thirty nine years of marriage, love and trust led me through. I didn’t have to push through my panic, I was gently led.
I think that’s how all healing happens, love gently leads us through the terror.
That’s what happened the first time I was struck with bipolar psychosis. I was very, very ill because we hadn’t known I had bipolar. I was very sick, and my baby nine months old before my post partum mania revealed the emerging disorder.
I didn’t know Mike then. The baby’s father had left me. My family was there, yet I felt so alone. I felt myself falling into a deep, deep pit. Terrified, plunging into nothingness, dark, empty fear.
I landed and was surrounded by love. All encompassing, healing, warm, accepting love embraced me and led me out of the darkness.
God lifted me. Rescued me. Helped me. Guided me through the terror. When I felt that Love at the bottom of the darkness, I began to get well.
It was a turning point for me. Like today in the crowd. Facing my fears, hand in hand with love renewed my hope for living free from panic. With the right supports we can be led through.
Anxiety is a tough task master — reach out to love to defeat it.