During my time in college I will say that there were some little truths about me.
1) I was a high-school nerd gone bad. I did not fight for grades, and seek to keep that 4.0+ I had in HS. I wanted to re-invent myself. I did. I spent more time getting to know people. I would spend the afternoons when most folks were doing their studying running around halls stopping in at open doors to say hi and meet folks.
2) I loved the idea of dating, and wanted to find my perfect match. I had dated all of one (1) girl in HS. That lasted less than a month. I think I had been on a total of five dates, including Jr and Sr year prom, and Homecoming. I went on dates, but very rarely actually spent time dating any one person.
3) When I did date one person for a period of time, invariably she was Bi-polar. Something about the highs and the lows, and my ability to keep an even keel made the attraction. It never worked for me, but I kept falling into that pattern.
So following college, I began to see this pattern emerge. Particularly as I spoke with those who were familiar with the girls I had dated, and found them to be getting diagnosed as persons with Bi-polar disorder. I began to freak out a bit. I did my level best to stay far far away. This was not what I wanted to be doing, going through the peaks and valleys with these women for the long haul.
As I began more earnestly in ministry, I began to find that I wound up counseling and helping many folks who had endured Bi-Polar disorder as their own fight, or who had been confronted with some very difficult times as a family member of someone with Bi-Polar disorder.
During my time as the Associate at Santa Barbara FUMC I had a member of the church who served in Santa Barbara and another town in CA, where he reported had the highest incidence of Bi-Polar disorder of any place in the country, per capita. Through conversations with him, and my mentor, I began to see some of the light at the end of the tunnel, for how it could be treated and managed.
I had the privilege of working with a man at Del Rosa UMC who has late onset Bi-Polar disorder. I even welcomed him into my home when the rest of his safeguards had run out and his family was putting him on the street. We were able to get him competent care and medication, and I was amazed at how it changed the perspective of the congregation as he spoke openly about his trials, and how God had been faithful.
I am always amazed at the work she does. She is painfully transparent, to the end of bringing glory to God, very much in the sense Paul writes, "I boast in my weakness, for then He [God, Jesus Christ] is made strong"
Thanks for sharing Anne, and for bringing redemption to Bi-Polar Disorder, and to my soul once again.