Sunday, March 30, 2014

I Am Here

This is a painting of Christ at the pool of Bethesda by  Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890)

I was holding a friend's baby out in the hall of my church as I listened to a church broadcast last night.  I stared at this painting hanging on a wall for a while.  Observe the followers behind Christ and where they are looking.  Observe everyone else in the painting and what they are looking at.  Observe Christ and his gesture and where he is looking.  His hand outstretched as though in invitation to everyone nearby to see that this man is here.

It is so hard to look straight on at things I don't understand.  It is so hard when there are so many different needs competing for my attention.  But here I have an example of a man who was helplessly waiting for his turn in this pool under a tent, and Christ illuminating him, gesturing as though inviting others to look and see.  He is here.  This man with this illness exists.  Observe him.  Look at him.  And eventually even, watch me make him complete/perfect because if you are with me I will do the same for you.

I am also here.  I am being diagnosed lately with possible Bipolar Disorder.  Maybe Borderline Personality Disorder.  Both things not just run of the supposed mill depression.  Am I hard to look at?  I am here.

I am reminded of the year and a half I studied quotes such as these;

"To deny the seriousness of our condition

and to avoid detection and the consequences of

our choices, we tried to minimize or hide our behaviors.

We did not realize that by deceiving others and
ourselves, we slipped deeper into our addictions."

"When we, as addicts, resorted to lies and secrecy,

hoping to excuse ourselves or blame others, we weakened

spiritually. With each act of dishonesty, we bound

ourselves with “flaxen cords” that soon became as strong

as chains (see 2 Nephi 26:22). Then a time came when

we were brought face to face with reality. We could no

longer hide our addictions by telling one more lie or by
saying, 'It’s not that bad!'"

These are quotes from the first step in the LDS Addiction Recovery Manual.  I put myself in this program for a year and a half and I did this step three times before it sunk in and I felt I could really move on to the next step or two (again).  That was when I really started talking.  To anyone.  To everyone.  I would tell them I was in the program and what for and what step I was on.  And now here I am on my blog and saying I Am Here.  I know I'm not alone.  I just wanted you to know that if you are having ideas in your head that perhaps you are also alone, I Am Here.

Christ would love to illuminate you because you are still good.  You are still as capable as when you didn't have a label.  You have more compassion and empathy.  It is not shaming to admit you have something others may or may not have.  Take it from me.  Christ wants everyone to know they are not alone and that they exist in all their imperfect glory.  You are here.  Observe.  I am here.  Observe.  Awareness will save us all.  My husband read to me this quote yesterday morning.

"The Apostle Peter wrote that disciples of Jesus Christ are to have “compassion one of another.” 1 In that spirit I wish to speak to those who suffer from some form of mental illness or emotional disorder, whether those afflictions be slight or severe, of brief duration or persistent over a lifetime. We sense the complexity of such matters when we hear professionals speak of neuroses and psychoses, of genetic predispositions and chromosome defects, of bipolarity, paranoia, and schizophrenia. However bewildering this all may be, these afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor."

Shame in acknowledging, secrecy, minimizing, hiding can = binding myself with cords.  Honesty, openness, bravery, courage, acknowledgement, admitting can = freedom.  

One more thing.  I read books on psychology that are written by the foremost leaders on the subject too.  Some people will ridicule or feel fear of this because it is not "doctrine".  I am confident in my ability to discern by the spirit what the best books are. Until I get members of my church who are the foremost leaders on the subject of psychology- I will continue to read the best books I can find.  

"118 And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith."

My husband points out this quote as well,

"If things continue to be debilitating, seek the advice of reputable people with certified training, professional skills, and good values. Be honest with them about your history and your struggles. Prayerfully and responsibly consider the counsel they give and the solutions they prescribe. If you had appendicitis, God would expect you to seek a priesthood blessing and get the best medical care available. So too with emotional disorders. Our Father in Heaven expects us to use all of the marvelous gifts He has provided in this glorious dispensation."

That is all.  I bear testimony that God loves you as you are.  He will show you the way to be who you are and be awesome at the same time.  He will show you the ways you already are doing it every day.  He will show you that you are and you are perfect with Him.  You have nothing to be ashamed of.  If I don't, trust me, neither do you.  I am beginning to be proud of all of my parts and pieces.  I can do more good when I am manic and I can take a nap to recover when I am depressive.  I can take the middle road when I am "normal."  All of this can be done with God.  He makes me a shining beacon no matter what is going on with my body.  He makes sure that if I am connected to him, I do good as I am.  I am here and I am good. I have nothing to feel shame for, no matter what others may feel about what I am. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

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