This is a blog about my journey with bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed spring of 2011 and was admitted into a mental health hospital a month before my wedding. I struggled greatly for the next year and a half going on and off meds, experimenting with different forms of therapy and was readmitted to the hospital at the end of 2012. Since then I have been learning how to re-live my life. Seeing a wise, supportive, kind therapist once a week and emerging myself into Dialectical Behavioural Therapy are 2 of many ways that are helping me recover. I have found deep comfort and much strength in mindfulness practices, taught to me from DBT.

This blog is my way of allowing you to see into the life of someone who suffers from bipolar, depression and extreme anxiety. I want to own my story, and help defeat the stigma. I hope you find some comfort in knowing you are not alone, or learn more about mental illness through the writings of my blog.

Monday, 19 November 2012

praise you in this storm

I struggle with words. 
They often feel empty and inadequate.
I struggle to communicate feelings with words.
They only convey a snippet of a larger mystery.
I struggle with words.

And so, this painting came out of my being yesterday.
I want you to understand what it means, but I know I have to use words to describe it to you and that frustrates me, but I will try...
I struggle to find God amidst my pain. As I shared in Church a while ago, I have felt abandoned by Jesus because I couldn't FEEL Him in my darkest moments. I am angry at Him. Why do I have to suffer this way? Isn't he supposed to be there? Don't we say that in our suffering we can find Him?
I didn't.
But maybe I did.

“God hides, and is found, precisely in the DEPTHS of everything, even and maybe especially in the deep fathoming of our falling and failures.”  Richard Rohr

On Saturday morning I was driving into Winnipeg. I was alone in the car, on the road, and that doesn't happen often. I couldn't hook up my iphone to the car, so I was stuck with gross radio music. I hate the radio. It makes me almost manic to be flipping through channel to channel trying to find something good, not wanting to miss a good song. 
I ended up listening to a CD my mom had in the car, Casting Crowns. Now I'll be honest, I really don't like "Christian" music. I think it sounds gross and it makes me angry. 
The only exception is at my Church, I LOVE the music at my Church, maybe it's because I KNOW the people in the band and it makes the songs PERSONAL and REAL.
I was surprised by how some songs on this Casting Crowns CD really impacted me. It had me in tears. It touched my soul. My soul was raw.
Until the sun started to set.
At this point, I had done what I wanted in Winnipeg and was driving home, so I played this song again aching for the soul connection I had earlier on that morning. 
I was driving into the sunset, and it was BEAUTIFUL, breathtakingly beautiful. But it made me scared, sad, because I knew that the setting of the sun meant night was coming. 
Evenings are when my episodes start and I am uncontrollable. 
I was seeing this beautiful sunset, but was in despair of what it meant.

That evening I came home, a gigantic mess of depression and despair. I didn't want to paint, I didn't have the energy. But I had to. I HAD to express.
This painting represents my daily journey battling with darkness, trying to find light. 
The colours of the sunset colliding with the colours of darkness.
It's in a circular motion because my bipolar episodes are very cyclical, the journey keeps going round and round and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. 
And lastly, those drops and drippings are tears. Simple. 

I usually never paint with a plan in mind, my style of painting is to just express my emotion. I usually don't paint to have a lot of "meaning" behind it (which goes against all my Fine Art Schooling). For me, the meaning comes afterwards, I learn about myself, my situation, about God, once the painting is done, it speaks to me and reveals something I couldn't have come up with on my own. 

For example: the tears I was trying to represent on this painting taught me something. As the tears dropped into the darkness, it lightened the paint. There was LIGHT breaking through the darkness by my tears. My tears (typically a negative thing) were bringing light and hope into the darkness. 
Maybe God is showing me that tears don't mean He's not there, in fact, maybe they mean HE IS THERE.

I'll leave you with the lyrics to the song I was connecting with. 
If my words didn't make sense to you (which is likely), the words of this song represent exactly how I feel....

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

"Praise you in this storm" by Casting Crowns

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. Every word.
    I see a tidal wave in your painting. I think there's meaning there too :)

    P.S. (I totally didn't see this post before I sent you the facebook'll see how it relates)
    P.P.S. You used the square canvas!