Saturday, November 27, 2010 | By: Melody Joy King

Cathartic Honesty....

I have never really considered myself a writer, just someone who has figured out how to get by in that particular department. I honestly believe that God has wanted me to write this note for a while. I don't think I have been avoiding it, just waiting for the proverbial "perfect" words and timing, as if there is such a thing. There has definitely been a lot of fear involved in the process as well. Let's be honest here, it's hard to be real. It makes us vulnerable, and we feel open to attack when we're honest. Bottom line, honesty and realness are hard and sometimes even painful. They are also healing and cathartic. I have written some pretty honest posts on facebook before, then one day when I was feeling particularly vulnerable, I deleted them. All of them. Truth be told, my sharing openly and honestly in a blog isn't really about me, although I do reap some wonderfully cathartic benefits. Over the course of the past three and a half years, God has and still is helping me understand that my reputation rests securely in His hands. What can man do to me? He has also helped me realize that silence is oft a tool wielded destructively by the devil himself. To keep silent about my journey over the past few years is to risk leaving someone else who has perhaps struggled as I have still feeling isolated and alone. Perhaps still believing satan's age old lie that they are the only one who struggles this way and they better keep quiet about it, lest someone think ill of them. I can be silent no longer.

In July of 2007, I started experiencing severe insomnia. About a month later, I moved to Martinsburg, West Virginia to teach 1st grade at a wonderful Christian school there. I had a lovely little apartment, I knew a few people from that area that I had gone to college with and had even found a great church. I was a 24 year old Bible college graduate who finally felt like all her "ducks were in a row." Long story short, the insomnia intensified to the point that I really started to feel like I was "losing it." After a week without sleeping, I had an emotional breakdown that landed me in the hospital. I'll let you fill in the gaps here. A week later, I moved back home with my parents to recover. At the time I honestly thought I had just had a bad couple of months and figured that I'd be able to "get back on my feet" within 6 months. In some ways, I did. A distinct cycle began to manifest itself however, and it was concerning to me as well as my family. Each month, I would experience a week of severe depression, followed by a week of extremely high energy and insomnia. Then I would be "normal" for the other two weeks of the month. I saw a Psychiatrist regularly and it didn't take him long to diagnose me with bipolar disorder. He started me on an anti-depressant which did nothing for my symptoms, but provided me with a plethora of unpleasant side-effects. During this time I was working with Autistic Children. Work I loved, but was highly stressful. Eventually, the cycle got so intense, that I had to give up my job. My Psychiatrist switched me over to another antidepressant combined with another new medication called Abilify that was supposedly good people with Bipolar disorder. It didn't help me and once again I was provided with a lovely dose of side-effects. Finally, I decided to go to my regular doctor for a full physical, blood work, etc. to get a second opinion. He looked me straight in the eye and said that I didn't have bipolar disorder. He then informed me that my difficulties were purely hormonal and could be easily rectified with birth control pills. While it did help a little bit, I still experienced the erratic monthly cycle of depression, mania, then normalcy. I had to give up working once again. Finally I scheduled an appointment with a Psychologist (counselor.) in the area. After 9 weeks, he said he really did think I was suffering from bipolar disorder, and referred me to a Psychiatrist who could actually make the diagnosis and begin treatment. A little over a month ago I made my first visit to Dr. Denilo deSoto's office. After meeting with him, he decided to put me on a mood stabilizer. Since that time I have not experienced a bout of depression or mania. As my husband so aptly put it, we are cautiously optimistic at this point. I haven't felt this "normal" in over three years. To be quite honest, I am not exactly sure what to do with the "new normal."

Having said all that, I would be remiss if I did not mention two key components in my journey toward wholeness. My heavenly Father has literally not only been with me, but held me every step of the way. John 10:27 & 28. Even in my darkest hour lying in an emergency room hospital bed, when I cried out to Him, He met me in a very real way. His mercy and faithfulness have become tangibly real to me over the past three and a half years. When He said He would never leave us or forsake us as His children, He wasn't messing around! I can honestly say that I am thankful for the past few years because I would not know how very kind and personal our God really is had I not walked this path. We do indeed serve an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise God! I long for heaven and home where I can be in His presence and worship Him forever and always!

The last thing I wanted to mention, was that through reading and doing a little research, I have realized some things that I can do naturally that really help me manage my bipolar disorder on a daily basis. First of all being sunshine and exercise. My husband is really good about helping me stay on top of those two things. I have gotten a lot better at it recently too. I make it my goal to get outside and take a long, brisk walk every day. Even if the sun isn't shining and it's really cold, I do my utmost to get out there. Exercise and vitamin D are vitally important to every human being, but especially important to anyone who struggles with depression of any kind. The other three things I have found to be helpful, are making sure I am eating enough dark green, high-iron vegetables every day, maintaining a similar routine from day to day (definitely the hardest thing for me right now.) and drinking the same amount of caffeine from day to day. I know that last one may sound weird, but messing with your caffeine intake, can really mess you up, especially if you have a propensity for depression. I drink one to two cups of coffee every day, and it really helps me if I remain consistent with that. I also try to make sure I drink plenty of water as that helps me as well. Oh I also forgot to mention that I take vitamins every day that also keep me evened out.

Having shared all of this, my hope and my prayer is that this note has somehow in some way been an encouragement and blessing to you. God in His infinite mercy has been more than kind to me and I am forever grateful!

Psalm 103

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies you years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle. The LORD performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed.He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.For He Himself knows ]our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them. The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. Bless the LORD, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word! Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you who serve Him, doing His will.Bless the LORD, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!"


Alison said...

Thanks for sharing, Mel. Cathartic maybe, but still not easy at all. Your story will bless many. Do you take Vitamin D as well as absorbing it? I just started and hope it will help me over the winter months, not just with my mood but also to prevent illness. Love you dear!

Melody Joy King said...

Thank you Alison. :0) I do take vitamin D, along with a multi, C, B Complex, B12, a cranberry tablet, and a partridge and a pear tree! :0p It is difficult to be honest, but every time I have been, God has blessed it. :0) We serve a wonderfully kind and gracious King! Love you too my friend.