Next Chapter Opening Up

So, as you probably surmised, I went into the hospital. This time it was only 6 days, my shortest hospitalization. AND the staff saw how much more improved I was – more stable mood, more engaged, more smiling. I spent the time as I waited for the suicidal plans to go away processing several topics my therapist set out for me.

The most influential insights I had include what I already knew but now have better words for. My core has been shaken completely. What I relied upon for energy, direction, life – my faith and rather manic relationship with the Divine – is gone. It’s not that I don’t believe; I just don’t know what I believe. But belonging and behaving comes before “beliefs” in our world now (à la Diana Butler Bass). So really I need to find a place where I feel welcomed into the community, comfortable and challenged, learn/re-learn practices of faith, and beliefs will come. A deep question: What, if not faith, will keep me afloat during this time – give me energy, direction, life? I can’t do it with willpower alone.

Another important exercise I worked on was acceptance. Acceptance of bipolar. Acceptance that this whole thing is my story (bipolar, no more pastoring, spending 18 years on it). Acceptance that I was in the hospital yet again. Acceptance that I would from time to time have the feelings that led to suicidal thoughts. I moved forward greatly – perhaps even completely forward – on these ideas.

I made some progress toward acceptance of keeping suicide off the table as something not to contemplate as the thoughts come and go through the years. I was able to identify the many triggers that happened in the month of April  that led to feeling vulnerable, scared, tired and overwhelmed. In this past 2 years when I’ve felt that way I’d jumped to entertaining the suicidal thoughts as a way to push the feelings away. But now I recognize the real need. When I feel that way I need peace in the chaos and rest. So, I have a choice when I need peace and rest: turn to eternal peace and rest, or the myriad of healthier paths I can identify to help process the feelings and let them go. For some reason I still need to know I have an out. :-(

My mom came into town to help me cope again. coping afterwards, and I hope her presence and help will help smooth my way back into normal life.

In other Grief News: Finally the day arrived when a pastor came to pick up the rest of my pastoral library (probably 400 books…). I started feeling anxious the night before, and calmed myself enough to sleep. Then I awoke very early, again feeling very anxious but dressed quickly to help carry the books out. As the appointed hour closed in, tears and anxiety skyrocketed. I had to lock myself in my bedroom as others hauled the books out and away.

For the rest of the day the grief consumed me, the emptiness opening into a deep crevasse, ice walls on each side spreading into my heart. I don’t have anything to replace what those books represented – 18 years of investment in one way of life, one life plan, one calling and vocation. I know something will show up eventually, yet day by day I search for something to rely upon just to make it through that day. One day at a time.

10 responses to “Next Chapter Opening Up

  1. Glad to hear you are out of the hospital. I can relate to having giving up a career path that you have worked for many years toward. I have been dealing with a new Doc and meds and it had been a rollar coaster. I have a wonderful mom as well who helps so much when she is in town. I can relate somewhat to the faith part. I was raised a Christian and to this I believe the same but I find it’s been hard to go into a church or found a body of Christ that accepts me for me and my illness. I still struggle with the whys of it all. A pity party on my part I must ad. As you said just take it one day at a time. After over 20 years dealing with Bipolar Disorder has taught be a lot and there is no easy fix and you just have to fight those awful deep thoughts as best you can with support. I know those feeling of suicide and it is an awful place that many cannot begin to understand. I think I have spent more of my life wanted to die then live. At the moment I am barely keeping my head above water and with new meds a bit better. So I know this is a very long post but I just want you to know you are not alone and I can totally relate to you. So one day at a time and you are braver then me at blogger more.
    Elaine

    • I’m so glad you shared so much. It helps so much to know that others are dealing with pretty much exactly the same things. I’m sorry that you are going through it though. :-(

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