Back From Haitus

I took a sudden and unexpected haitus from blogging due to me having horrible time management skills and needing to get some things accomplished. My time management still stinks, but I’m working on that.

I don’t have the ability to post here as frequently as I would like, so I’m hoping to make up for it with the quality of my posts. I recently discovered a few applications that should help me organize both my posts and my “real life” much more effectively.

Due to lack of traffic and time, I’m not currently using the Twitter or Tumblr accounts associated with this blog. In fact, I’ve completely disabled the Tumblr. The Twitter still exists, but will remain inactive until I build enough of an audience for my time spent tweeting to be worthwhile. I realize now that making that account was a bit premature.

The Facebook page is up, though currently a bit “under construction”. I hoping to design some personal One Woman Won graphics once I have my life more organized and can find the time. Until then, the clipart I found will remain. It’s cute, if a bit rough.

I’m kind of lacking in the “post ideas” department. I’m feeling uninspired as of late, but I’m hoping that my searching through Scripture will both bring me back to being closer to God and also help me to find appropriate, relevent material for this blog. In the meantime, please feel free to leave comments here, or comment/message the Facebook page with any topics you would like to see me writing about. All ideas are welcome and will be given appropriate consideration, although I can’t promise they will be used, or used in the manner the contributer was hoping for.

I do still hope to have some guest writers contribute some posts, and plan to contact several people here very soon to see if they’re at all interested in writing. I’m also hoping to gain a few male contributers, as my blog is geared mostly towards women and Godly relationships. I feel having a male perspective would be quite useful, considering they are the ones we hope to build relationships with.

That being said, I also hope to steer the main focus of this blog away from relationships and focus more on being Godly in general. After all, there is much more to being a Christian than just romantic relationships, and we must first center our own lives around Christ before adding more people to the equation.

All in all, I have a lot on my plate right now, both with this blog and otherwise. I will do my best to stay on top of things, but I am only human and I can only take on so much in a day. I hope to be back soon with something inspiring and uplifting!

Absolute Truth

As a Christian, I find there is one thing that I must do that surpass all other things.

Jesus preached love. Above all else, he loved everyone. Not just the people who agreed with him, or those who did what he told them. EVERYONE.

The way that I translate “love” in this context is two fold.

1) Respect. As a Christian, it is my duty to respect all humans. I must respect their choices, even when they are different from my own. I must respect their beliefs, even when they are different from my own. It is non-negotiable. With love comes respect.

2) Compassion. I also must demonstrate compassion towards others. I must be empathetic to their struggles. I must, to the best of my ability, be understanding of their feelings. It is non-negotiable. With love comes compassion.

This is not hard to accomplish. As children we are taught “The Golden Rule”, which is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. If we were to follow this one, simple rule, the world would be a far better place. It’s really quite simple. I’ve been striving to follow this one rule lately, and it’s amazing how much easier my life has become. Try it out, and tell me how it goes for you in the comments below.

Struggles

As my blog states, I am bipolar. I’ve never really talked about it though, and I think it’s time.

Since my early teen years, I suffered random bouts of depression. I also had periods of what I later learned to be mania, but I didn’t identify it as such. I thought it was just being normal. Feeling full of energy and happiness was how normal people feel, right?

My depression was the hardest part, and it still is. In fact, it’s why I haven’t written in a while. It takes a lot of energy for me to put any of this into words, but I feel it’s necessary. I don’t usually tell people when I get to my low points. It doesn’t solve anything. It just makes me look weak. I get told “Just focus on good things and you’ll feel better” or “You’re over-reacting, your life isn’t even all that bad.”

Let me just say that these statements are counterproductive, demeaning, and only feed the feelings of inadequacy one feels when depressed. I’m broken, and I’m wrong for it. It’s out of my control, but I’m still wrong. I need to stop being pathetic and take control. After all, that’s what grown-ups do.

Bipolar is overwhelming, and it’s different for everyone. First, I would like to address the common misunderstanding that bipolar is a “flip of the switch” disease. I do not randomly get set off by little things at any given point. I do not have “triggers”, though it’s my understanding that there are people who do, specifically those who have very intense bipolar. Mine is more mild to moderate, and it is cyclical.

I’m “normal” about 90% of the time. Most people have no idea that I have bipolar at all, which actually makes it harder when I have manic or depressive episodes. What happens for me, personally, is that for about 3-4 months I will be completely fine. My emotional responses to things would be considered average and healthy. But then comes the month where everything goes all wonky. First, I begin to slip into depression. It starts off very mild, just a little apathetic, maybe a little “moody”. Seemingly normal, still. “She’s just feeling a bit off today, maybe we should try to cheer her up.”

But it doesn’t work. I can’t be “cheered up” because there’s nothing wrong, per say. Then my slow decline turns south and becomes a rampaging plummet into a bottomless pit of despair. For about 3-5 days (I’ve had much longer episodes, but those are usually when my life is already overly stressful and “depressing” so it feeds the disease) I just hate everything, for no reason. Nothing is happy. Nothing is right. I CAN’T feel better. I have to just ride it out. I am (and feel) completely helpless. I feel hopeless, out of control, like nothing will ever matter again, even though logically I know that in a few days I will be fine again. These days are the longest days of my cycle. These are the days that I’m just coming out of today.

Gradually, I manage to climb back out of the pit, except it’s not a pit anymore. It’s a mountain. A huge, towering Everest of insanity and pseudo-happiness. I can’t stop halfway. Once I get out of the trenches, I have to keep going, all the way to the top. This is where things start to get kind of interesting.

I become very hyper and excitable. I have insane amounts of energy that make it hard for me to sleep. I start to feel invincible. I’m in control of EVERYTHING and nothing can stop me. This can lead to some poor decision making, especially if I’m around the wrong people during this period. I’m easily influenced, and while it sounds like an excuse, it’s kind of not my fault. I will do things that make no sense, and if asked about them later, I will not be able to tell you why I did them, or what was going through my head at the time. I won’t remember my decision making process, because there really isn’t one. The only thing I’ll be able to say to you is, quite honestly, “It seemed like a really good idea at the time.” This doesn’t make it ok, by any means, but it’s the only explanation I can ever offer, besides just saying “I’m bipolar and this is what happens sometimes.”

This, too will go on for close to a week. Then I start to come down a little bit. I level off at somewhere around normal. I’ll be absolutely fine for several months, and then it starts again. I can’t control it. I can’t stop it. It’s just the way I am.

I’ve had many people ask me why I don’t just take medication to “be normal”. I have many reasons  why I don’t take medication for my bipolar.

1) I’ve tried several. The side effects I experience are always far worse than the disease itself. The last one I was on kept me from ever sleeping. I would become so anxious and paranoid, that if I closed my eyes, I truly, honestly believe that someone was standing over me with a knife prepared to stab me to death. Needless to say, this was not fun. I was now sick every single day instead of just a few weeks here and there (technically, I’m always sick, but it doesn’t affect me the majority of the time).

2) I’m not sick or different most of the time. I go 3, 4, sometimes even 6 months without an episode. For mental illness medications to work properly, I need to take them every single day, all the time, so that they’re in my system when these spells hit. This means putting chemicals into my body for the rest of my life, even when they aren’t necessary for me to function normally. I can’t do that to myself. Maybe if they made something I only had to take on my manic and depressive bouts, I would medicate. But I’m not going to “fix” my brain when it’s not broken.

3) I am lucky, in the world of bipolar. My disease does not keep me from being able to function in society. Even at my worst, it is hard to keep going, but not impossible. Since I can feel it coming about a week before it gets bad, I can usually start to prepare myself and take care of things that might be unnecessarily stressful the next week. I’ve learned to cope with my disease, which is something very few with bipolar can accomplish because they have it so severe. Many of them never experience any “normal” without medication, they just cycle back and forth. Some can cycle back and forth in a matter of days, which I believe is where the “flip of a switch” mindset of bipolar came from. It sometimes manifests in such a way that you can’t describe it in any other way.

4) I believe God made me this way for a reason. I believe He would want me to seek help if it gets to the point that I cannot control it. There have been times where I have sought help, in the form of therapists, friends, and on a few occasions, medication. I also believe that He has blessed me with the ability to maintain myself, that I can educate others about my disease as I’m experiencing it. He’s also blessed me to be able to relate to those who suffer not only from bipolar, but also depression. I know those feelings. I’ve experienced them so many times over the last 10 or so years that they’re like relatives you don’t particularly care for, but are forced to share your life with.

5) I’m not afraid of medication becoming necessary. I’m fully aware that my disease may progress. It may become far more severe than it currently is, and if that is the case, medication will become a part of my daily life. If that happens, I will not be ashamed. There is nothing to feel shame about.

6) I’ve discovered that eating healthy and regular exercise while in my “normal” phases lessens the severity of both the mania and the depression, and if I’ve kept them established while “normal” it becomes easier to maintain them during my spells, which gives me something to distract myself. By having ANY specific goals that I’ve been working on, I have something to focus on. Something to help keep my mind a little less cluttered and help me push through til I level off again

Bipolar is my diabetes. My high blood pressure. My auto-immune disorder. It is a disease I am forced to life with, probably for the rest of my life. It is something that I need to think about regularly. Something I have to plan my life around at times. Something I can moderate, to an extent, but that also requires medical help when I fail.

Bipolar is serious. It’s not something to be taken lightly or joked about (well you’re being bipolar today). I also don’t want anyone to think I’m saying people who suffer from bipolar or other mental illness should stop taking medication, or try to self medicate. It’s not something a lot of people can do, and it should never be done without a doctor’s supervision.

Praise Moments!!

I’m feeling just wonderful today, and I wish to share a couple notes with all of you lovely people.

First of all, how about this  past Memorial Day?? Per usual, my family had their annual picnic that doubled as a graduation party, this year for my youngest sister. It wasn’t as big as we’ve had in the past, but it was wonderful nonetheless. I am bless to have such a wonderful family, both literal and church, to share in one of my favorite holidays.

I love Memorial Day. I come from a service family, I have one cousin currently in the service and another leaving in February to begin her career with the Navy, as well as a brother in boot camp, and another cousin who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I also have 2 (or is it 3? Maybe 3) grandfathers who served in different branches, and several uncles and more cousins (that I don’t know well enough to be specific about) who serve or have served in the past. On top of all of that, I know dozens of other individuals who have served time in the military. I am honored to know each and every one of them. I know in my heart that I am not cut out for military service, but the fact that I know so many people willing to risk their lives for my freedom is truly humbling. Memorial Day is dear to my heart because it is, in my opinion, one of the least-selfish holidays. From a secular standpoint, most holidays are about personal gain in one way or another. Memorial Day is different. On Memorial Day, we come together (or not) to remember those who came before us. We say thank you to those who have done what we could not. As messed up as our country may be in many ways, I am a patriotic American through and through. The flag means something to me. The military means something to me. I love having a day for all  people active, retired, or deceased, who have defended me and my family, a day for them to know they are appreciated.

Second, I talked to a few of the college girls from my church, and I might have a few guest writers in the future! If all goes according to plan, I’m hoping to have them start of with their perspectives of being a Christian in college. It works out nicely, as one attends a Christian university, and the other attends a liberal arts college. If it goes over well, hopefully I’ll be able to have them back, and potentially even keep them on as semi-regular contributers to One Woman Won By Him. It is my hope to grow this blog into at least a small-scale ministry, and I believe these two lovely young ladies can help me to do so.

I cannot begin to express to you how excited I am about the possibility to share these ladies’ writings with you. I admire both of them, and have known them most of my life. I know them to be honest, God-fearing women who wish to share their faith and their struggles with the world. I would not have asked them to write for you if I did not have such a deep respect for them. One of my favorite parts of summer is the fact that it means they are home, and we are able to have long, wonderful conversations about life as a young Christian. I hope that, if this works out, you all are able to see why I hold them so dear. I pray that they can touch each of you as they have touched me so many times.

Third, as some of you know, my son is not much of a talker. His father, grandparents, and I have all teamed up using a few methods I found online to help him speak more clearly, and just in the past few days we’re seeing some progress with him trying new words/sounds and pronouncing the things he already says more clearly. I do intend to speak to his doctor at his upcoming appointment about ways to help him, and to determine if there might be an underlying cause as to why he hardly talks at 2 years old. Overall, I’m not too worried though. He’s definitely behind, but he’s slowly working his way forward and he (thankfully) has a wonderful and supportive family willing to work with him.

Finally, I’m just in a super happy, loving, affectionate, praising mood! God is good, and I have witnessed that in so many ways today. Every day really, but today even moreso than usual. Glory to God, and may He bless you all!

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24

Jennilyn Harrison Has Been Found!!

Thank you so much to everyone who shared or offered prayers. We recently received a phone call that Jennilyn has been found and returned home. For obvious reasons, I cannot discuss the details, but all that really matters is that she is safe. Please continue to pray for her and her family.

Praise God that she has been returned to her family.

Twitter!!

I’ve recently been spending less time on Facebook and my addiction has shifted more towards the Twittersphere. Bearing that in mind, I’ve created an account for the blog! Come follow us at 1WomanWonSocial for inspirational Scriptures, clean humor, random tidbits, and the ability to contact me quickly and efficiently any time I’m awake!

I’ll be using Tweetdeck for Android to allow me to balance my different Facebook and Twitter accounts all on one interface. All you’ll have to do it tag one of my pages in a post and I’ll be able to see it almost instantly! Man I love technology! God bless 🙂

Pray for Jennilyn Harrison – Please 2 minutes to read

A young girl from my church, Jennilyn Harrison, has gone missing. At this point, details are uncertain. I realize that the majority of my readers live nowhere near me, but please click on the link at the bottom of this article and share the Facebook post. Early action is critical, and we need to get her face on people’s minds.

I will be sharing this photo daily (at least) until she is found. I do not expect the same of all of you, but I do ask that you share it one time.

Jenny, I don’t know you well, and we have never been close, but I’ve known you most of your life, and you are very dear to me. Please, sweet girl, if you are able to, contact someone. Anyone. Let us know you are safe. I will be praying for you each and every day, that you are safe and that you can find your way back to us. God be with you.

Jennilyn Harrison, missing 5/26/2013

Here is the post we are sending around Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201285577491652&set=a.2186050220980.2128225.1538770895&type=1&theater

Thank you in advance for all who share.

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