From the middle of August to the middle of September, I was in a blissful state of mania. I needed very little sleep and was happy, energetic, and productive. I cranked out one writing project after another because mania produces a high level of creativity. I understand how drug addicts feel because I crave this state when I’m not in it. I grieve its absence and pray God will let mania come again soon.
Since my manic state, I’ve had a bumpy ride. The transition out of a major mania or depression can be a lot like high-speed chase on a road with potholes—you get jerked around out of control and risk a blowout. It’s an unstable transition causing micro-moods, which are short-lived periods of depression, mania, and dysphoria.
Dysphoria is the opposite of euphoria. Whereas mania is a high-energy euphoric state, dysphoria is a high-energy agitated state. I have a difficult time identifying lower levels of dysphoria, but other people can tell I’m agitated. It’s not until it escalates that I feel the angst more profoundly. For me, dysphoria looks like speaking my mind a little too freely, even at the expense of the feelings of others. It involves being a little bit (or a lot) of a bully, talking back to others, rebelling against senseless rules, and determined to win arguments. I may not even realize I’m doing it until I start losing friends.
Here’s a confession for you. I’ve been kicked out of every Facebook group I’ve ever been in. I can’t even count how many times a group has blocked me for belligerent comments. People on social media have unfriended, unfollowed, or blocked me, too.
Even more disturbing is when long-time friends give up on me or get tired of my behavior and walk away for their own sanity. Then I know I’m out of control, but I can’t always identify what I did wrong.
If I can’t keep friends, there’s little hope of ever keeping a job. But I won’t go into the despair that causes because that’s not my main point here.
This is why I rely on God’s Crazy Grace. I’m far from perfect and my (sinful) actions seem beyond my control much of the time. But God’s grace is enough. God is changing me from the inside out, not as quickly as I’d like, but I can see His work changing me and making a difference in how I think and react. Most of the work so far has been focused on managing my thoughts, choosing to reject negative thoughts and seek out positive thoughts. God has helped me change my thoughts so my periods of depression are less severe and (hopefully) less often or shorter.
I believe God will continue working through the mental health issues that affect my life. He will bring me to a better way to think about the angst of dysphoria, too. One thing I know, it’s not on my shoulders to force change. God is the agent of change in my life so I can rest in knowing He will complete the work He has begun in me. Amen?
All this is to say please be patient. God isn’t finished with me yet. I’m a work in progress. A beautiful, broken, work of art being restored by a Master Craftsman. I ask you to bear with me when I’m a little rough around the edges. Please cut me a little extra slack. Please be my friend, even if I’m not feeling very friendly. And pray that God will work healing in my life.