Tag Archives: God

What do I do when a real bad mood strikes…?

Woke up in a terrible mood this morning – so very irritated that really  nothing is right in my world at the moment.  You know,  when everything,  every little thing irritates you beyond measure… and irritation leads to anger and nastiness.  It makes me itchy in my own skin.

Not a good mood to be around people.  So I skipped church this morning. 

And you know – it’s so hard for me to know what is the best thing to do.  How do I take care of myself in this situation?

How far do I let this mood intrude in my life?  I know it is my brain chemicals,  there is nothing else that can account for this mood.  So now what?

I remind myself that it is okay to feel the way I feel.  There is no shame in it – even if it keeps me from doing what I have planned to do.  Some moods I can’t overcome (yet?) – and this is one of them.

So I listen to my favorite worship songs because that takes the attention away from myself and my terribly uncomfortable mood.  In Ukraine,  good friends of mine are songwriters and I have brought a whole lot of new CD’s with me.  Accidentally,  I love to sing in Russian 🙂

It helps me ro realise that God is so much bigger than my mood.  He can handle it – even if I can’t or I struggle with it.  He envelopes me with His presence and reminds me that it’s okay to be me. 

Unfortunately,  it doesn’t take my mood away.  But it quiets my heart and makes the world a little better place to be in. 

And I know: this too shall pass!

After all,  that is something we as bipolars can be sure of!!!!!!!

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My bio: A personal history of my Bipolar Disorder – part 2

This is a continuation from part 1  

I had lived abroad since Summer 1994 being involved in two different social projects.  For most of that time I was hypomanic and consequently achieved very much.  Looking back I also see the down right mean side of that period,  hurting people in the process.  I had sudden anger outbursts that I didn’t understand.  I could make mean and hurtful comments,  not knowing myself why I was acting that way.

Many times I asked for forgiveness and just as many times I received it.  I am very blessed with the fact that during this period I did not lose any relationships,  opposite to my time in college when I did alienate and hurt friends and lost their friendship.

Even during those years I hit an all time low and was depressed for a good year.  Since I had also become seriously ill,  I used the illness as a cover up so people didn’t know I was depressed.  After a year I was able to return to the same project and pick up my work.

The last project involved working with youth in schools and girls on the street.  I was doing way too many things all at the same time.  Suddenly,  on top of that,  I received a letter from my parents in June 2005.  This was such a shock to my system that I literally fell ill.  I had tried several times to bridge the gap between us,  but every time it was made very clear that no contact was desired.  So this was like a bomb shell.


Together with some other circumstances it caused a severe burn-out.  A stay in America for 3 months in 2006 turned into more than three years.  I am very blessed,  however,  with my counselor who has been so willing to support me over all those years,  before and after my diagnosis.  Even now,  since my sudden return to my home country the Netherlands in Summer 2009,  we continue our sessions over Skype. 

Those years between 2005 and 2010 have been excruciatingly difficult and painful.  I have lived through many difficulties (including a nomadic lifestyle) during those years,  together with working through past trauma’s and trying to find ways to deal with my bipolar traits. 

I had been very suicidal for one and a half years,  even before my trip to the States.  I had concrete and detailed plans where I would not be found alive.  It was not so much that I wanted to die,  it was simply that I could not continue to live in such pain and despair. 

The only reason I am still alive and kicking today is because the Lord saved me from committing suicide.  I can not tell you how He did it,  because I don’t know,  just that He did.  And to tell you the truth,  I wasn’t even grateful in the first few years!!!

At some stage I started to understand that  ‘being suicidal’  is part and parcel of BD.  It is not part of  ‘me’  as such.  In the process I came to realise that I have a choice in how to respond and at some point  I decided not to entertain thoughts of suicide as a way out any longer.  This doesn’t mean that thoughts of suicide don’t pop up at times,  of course they do.  But I am able to handle it,  it doesn’t endanger me anymore. 

I am glad to say that by now I am overall glad to be alive.  For the first time in many years I am looking forward to the future.  I have plans and dreams and there is a live waiting for me to live.  I am committed to live that life,  with bipolar traits and all,  to the best of my ability!

Picture courtesy of StrangeCosmos

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Are you 'normal' ?

While reading one of my favorite authors I came across a conversation between father and daughter about ‘normal’ and what it means.  Since my mind was already switched on in that direction,  I took special note.  Because what on earth does ‘normal’ mean?

So I decided to look the word up in a couple of places:

According to Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal )  ,  ‘normal’ may refer to:

  • Normality (behavior), conformance to an average
  • Norm (sociology), social norms, expected patterns of behavior studied within the context of sociology.

 The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines normal / abnormal as follows  ( http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/ ) :

  • Normal:  ordinary or usual; the same as would be expected.
  • Abnormal:  different from what is usual or average, especially in a way that is bad.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary ) says:

 Normal is:

  •  one that is normal.
  •  a form or state regarded as the norm.

 Abnormal is:

  • deviating from the normal or average  

 So the meaning of the word ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ depends on a couple of things.  It is closely related to average and to expectations.  Take a bunch of people and ask them what they consider for instance normal behavior,  shake it together and voila,  here is your average meaning.  It is how they expect people to generally behave. 

Everyone outside of these expectations is considered ‘abnormally behaved’.  However,  to become ‘normal’,  one has simply to conform to the standard of the group.  Than you become the same as anyone else. 

Why is  being / behaving normal so important?  Well,  we find the answer in the Cambridge Dictionary:  abnormal is considered bad!  I don’t like the Cambridge Dictionary.  It doesn’t just explain the word abnormal,  it stamps a value judgement on it by saying it is bad.  Now,  that is what I consider rude 😦 

Initially,  I like the way the Merriam-Webster Dictionary approaches the meaning of both words.  Abnormal may stray from the norm,  but that isn’t necessarily bad.  It just is.

BUT the catch with the M-W Dictionary is this: normal (adjective) #4 says:  free from mental disorder (as in SANE).  Right.  Nice.  Thank you very much.  You call me ‘abnormal’ then,  I guess?  Or maybe:  insane?  Not in my right mind?  An aberration?  This is worse than rude!

Now on to the quote from a book of Elizabeth George called ‘In pursuit of the proper sinner’  (New York,  Bantam Books, 2000),  page 648:

  “ An aberration to you might be perfectly normal to someone else.  In fact,  you might be the aberration in their eyes”,  Nicola said.

He supposed this was the case,  he admitted.  But wasn’t normality determined by the numbers?  Wasn’t that what the word norm meant in the first place?  Wasn’t the norm decided by what the most people did?

“That would make cannibalism normal,  Dad,  among cannibals.”

“Among cannibals,  I suppose it is.”

“And if a group among the cannibals decides it doesn’t like eating human flesh,  are they abnormal?  Or can we say they have tastes that might have undergone a change?  And if someone from our society goes out and joins the cannibals and discovers he has a taste for human flesh that he wasn’t aware he had,  is he abnormal?  And to whom?”

 And to whom,  indeed!  According to the dictionary we,  BD’s,  are not normal.  Because we have a Disordered mind causing our moods to swing well beyond the so-called ‘normal’ or average range.  We might be the aberration.  Outside the norm.  But you know what?  I wouldn’t want to be anyone else,  normal or not!.

Do you remember when you were a child and you visited your friend’s houses?  They did things different,  which as a child we labeled ‘not normal’.  Why?  Because we considered how we do things at home as normal.  That is what we are used to and that becomes the norm.

It was only when I was prescribed sleeping aids that I really recognized that what meant ‘sleeping’ for me,  was not the same as for the average person.  I always could hear my thoughts.  They never stopped,  kept on going 24/7.  That was normal for me,  I’d never known anything else.  But with the sleeping meds I started sleeping as the average person,  boy, what an experience that was!

So I ask again: what on earth IS normal?

I believe each of us is unique.  We are created by a God who is endlessly creative.  Just think about all the people who have ever lived in history,  are alive now and will live in the future.  Each and everyone were, are and will be unique human beings.  Isn’t that fantabulous???  Who wants to be ‘normal’ ?  Or ‘average’ ?

I want to be exceptional,  atypical,  especial,  exceeding,  extraordinaire,  extraordinary,   phenomenal,  rare,  singular, uncommon,  unique, unusual.  Don’t you? 

But beware,  because if you do,  those are all (positive) synonyms of that one word:  ABNORMAL !!!   🙂  🙂  🙂

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A visit to remember

Apart from getting my computer back,  all fixed up (hurrah!!),  which is very exciting,  I also had a very exciting conversation today.  I love those,  don’t you? 

I spoke with B. who, together with his wife M.,  visited me in Ukraine back in 2005.  Living in Kharkov,  East Ukraine,  I was running a shelter for ladies that had come of the street, wanting to turn their lives around, turning away from prostitution.

My girls and team members immediately took to M.  In no time she had joined them in the kitchen making pelmeni’s (Ukrainian/Russian type of ravioli’s with meat in them).  B. and I were talking ‘business’.  Now heading up an international mission organisation for Europe, they had been missionaries before in Greece and the surrounding countries. 

Their visit was so timely,  one of those God-moments.  They had sought me out,  since they were visiting other projects their organisation was overseeing.  It was lovely spending time with them.

To catch up again after so many years is so wonderful!  We just continued where we left of.  It turns out that M. is now even more involved in anti-trafficking and anti-prostitution.  Also, their organisation is having a conference in August next year for which I am already invited :). 

It gets me all fired up to be on my way again…  However, that will still take quite some time.  But one can always dream!  And my dreams are BIG people.  I just can’t do it for less,  since I know such a BIG GOD.

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Home

Recently I came across a little note I had written several months ago.  I still remember writing it.  To understand the situation I have to backtrack.

After living with friends for several months upon my return to the Netherlands last Summer the opportunity arose to live temporarily in a one room apartment.  I grabbed it with both hands, thankful for the Lord’s provision.  We have a saying here in Holland:  fish and guests stink after three days :).  I certainly did not want to overstay my welcome!  So I moved and what was so amazing is that, even though I had arrived from the States with only some clothes,  the Lord provided me with all that I needed!  Furniture came my way, kitchen stuff,  a bed, you name it.  The only thing I bought was an electric stove.

So when it was time to move again, I was full of faith that the Lord would provide  a new apartment.  However, as the time of my lease draw to a close,  nothing turned up.  Still I believed.  At some point though,  I had to look for alternatives since nothing became available.  Up till the evening before my move I didn’t know where I was gonna live.  Bad memories of my previous nomadic life came to the surface…

For most of the four and a half years prior to that, I didn’t have my own place to live.  During that time I lived like a nomad, moving from place to place, often not knowing how long I could stay at any one place and certainly not knowing where I would be staying next.  Very unsettling.  Very difficult.  Very very challenging.  It was so hard to maintain my sanity.  And I don’t say that lightly as it was very true. 

It was hard work to survive the continuous changes forged on me.  Especially as one change included a sudden return to my home country, which after 15 years of absence didn’t feel like home anymore.  On top of that, you need to understand that change for bipolars is much more difficult to handle as it works as a trigger for serious mood swings. Also, I was still recovering from severe burn out.  All together nothing to sneeze at.

Blessedly,  one family of my church took me into their home.  This was outside the city and consequently away from my social world as well as my voluntary work. So there I sat in my bedroom,  dreaming of my own place. That is when I scribbled the above mentioned note with my wishes.  I offered it up to God and forgot all about it.

Now fast forward.  A couple of weeks back I was sitting in my own home,  having moved there early August.  Amazingly, the Lord provided again all that I needed, including bookcases, a better bed, washing machine, fridge, desks, lamps etc.  Sitting at my desk I came across said note.  AND GOD HAD FULFILLED ALL MY WISHES!!! 

I have a very decent bathroom, the toilet is separate,  it was in a good state,  it has an individual heating system in all rooms,  I have a separate bedroom,  the sittingroom is huge with windows on both sides (light is very important to me, so this is a biggie!),  it has a balcony the width of my apartment,  a locked entrance, its on the second floor (only one flight of stairs to haul) and finally a basement for some boxes and my bike.  It’s no small thing, peeps!!!

Not for a moment had I thought about my wish list when I accepted this apartment.  It was the very first apartment that I viewed.  It turned out that God had a reason to move me out of the city.  Where I then lived someone had compassion on me. To cut a long story short:  instead of having to wait 5 years in order to become eligible for social housing,  God performed a miracle and I received priority.  With the priority I was automatically somewhere at the top of the list when registering for certain apartments. 

To this day I still  don’t know why I had to live as a nomad for such a long time.  I don’t know why God did not provide housing at an earlier stage.  Truth be told, there is so much that I don’t understand about the last 5-6 years.  But I don’t want that to keep me from remembering the miracles God did and honoring Him for it!  Cuz the Lord is faithful y’all…

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Hello world!

Welcome to my blog!  I am excited to start this new adventure, although it is a bit daunting that stuff I write will be for the whole world to see… 🙂

Also, I am just learning how the bloggy world functions which is sometimes a bit much for my technically challenged mind.  

Nevertheless,  here I am! 

I very much hope to link up with like minded people who are passionate about the same things as I am. That means quite a variety of subjects.  

My faith means everything to me as without God I would not be alive today. It’s a long story, I won’t drop it on you right now.  

I have lost part of my heart in Israel and Ukraine.  For eight years I was involved in the ‘aliyah’, the return of the Jewish people to Israel from Ukraine.  It’s been unforgettable and made me aware of our Jewish heritage as believers in Jesus.  Most likely I will be sharing with you about this.  For the next 3 years I was involved with youth in Ukraine,  reaching out and discipling youth and young women at risk.  And believe me, there are many risks out there.   

Anything related to counseling, self-help and psychology grabs my attention.  Human beings are endlessly interesting. We are intricately made with a soul, mind and spirit.  The fact that we are able to survive so many things and continue to live meaningful lives is amazing to me.  My quest is to understand how ‘life works’ and how we can make the best of it.  To reach our full potential, fulfil what God has prepared for us.  Discover His unique calling on each of our lives.  

Another passion of mine is getting my Bipolar Disorder ‘in order’.  A phrase coined by Tom Wootton,  a respected author on bipolar disorder.  On this blog you will definitely read a whole lot more about bipolar as I am committed to this journey so I can live life to the fullest and fulfil my dreams.  I am so excited about this!  Even though it has created a lot of havoc in my life, I believe that with the right tools and practice a lot more is possible for me.

Even though I feel some trepidition (sp?) I am gonna send out my post for the world to see – here you go!

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