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Patience and Friendship

Jen T.

Patience means...

Not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting

I read this recently...and here are some thoughts I have on what I am waiting for...

I read this recently...and here are some thoughts I have on what I am waiting for...

1. I am waiting to start my phd at the Uni of queensland in jul. I have very generous parents who are funding my tuition fees but i still hope to get some financial aid so as to lighten the load on them. in the process of applying for at least one scholarship and the australian visa, i've had to make known the fact of my bipolar diagnosis.

At the back of my mind, i always wonder whether I would be discriminated against. I am thankful that the visa came through with no issues. Ultimately, the ability to wait and have a good attitude while waiting lies in having full trust in God who alone holds the key to everything. Thank God He is a loving God :)

2. I am waiting for this rash to clear that I got from a drug allergy with my previous mood stabiliser Lamictal. I had been on Lamictal for about 3 months with no problems (except for the exorbitant cost, each tablet costs SGD 3.80, thank God I get some subsidy from my company, but still - OUCH) but when i took a penicillin-based antibiotic for a throat infection, it set off an allergic reaction that has literally been a pain in the butt for almost 2 months now. I am going to see the dermatologist on Fri to see if she can help the rash clear faster...I really don't know why the rash still flares up although I have been off Lamictal for four weeks already. The discomfort keeps me up at night...which is why I am typing this blog entry at 5.24am singapore time.
I have been up since 3.04am.

I am watching my mood, because I know that lack of sleep can destabilise the emotions, and on occasion, i have taken stillnox 6.25mg to help me sleep because I know that I cannot go without good sleep for more than 3 days in a row. I try to minimise my intake of sleeping pills because the effect is quite long lasting and it's hard to be a journalist when I am falling asleep while typing on the computer, or when I doze off in the middle of a phone interview and I have to frantically wake up and remember what in the world it was that I was asking my interviewee...sigh.

The key to waiting in this instance? Knowing that God's strength is enough for me. Because waiting has a way of sapping one's energy.
i choose to draw strength from this verse

Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:31 NASB)

3. I am waiting for friends to respond on various things. Some can be incidental, others I feel reflect deeper on what our friendship means to each other e.g. i can ask you out X number of times, but it would be nice if you could return the favour a little more frequently? In this time, especially before I leave for australia for the next three years at least, there is a tension between wanting to cherish the relationships I have while at the same time, learning to hold everything with open hands. I have written before in an earlier blog that I am someone who feels deeply. Some part of that may be due to the bipolar condition, but I am more inclined to think that this is how I have been fashioned by my Creator.

For someone like me, letting go can be painful because sometimes, you are waiting for something to return to you. Truth is, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. All I know is this: open hands are the best posture to have in order to receive of God's fullness, in whatever shape or form that comes ;)

4. I am waiting and praying for a friend who until very recently was in denial over the possibility that he may have a mild form of bipolar. In the manic phase, his family found him difficult to be with and he made some poor financial choices. Now in the depressive state, he is overwhelmed by the damage and finds himself with no energy to face the world. even sleep is not a refuge for his dreams are troubled. I feel very much for this friend and his wife because things can be so bewildering. I have done what I can to help and for now, the ball is in his court to see whether he follows through with what has been discussed e.g. 30 min brisk walk each day while talking to God in addition to taking meds and seeing the doc. Waiting well in this case, without being overly pushy with my friend, has to do with trusting the resilience of the human spirit. Yes we are fragile, but we do have the ability to bounce back. Bounce back, W. It can be done. We believe in you.

Moving on to second part of this blog entry... friendships:

I just want to say that I am very grateful for the friendships that have come my way because of my diagnosis. W's wife was first introduced to me because she was hoping to understand what he was going through. I also met up with the nurse who took care of me when I was admitted to hospital back in 2008. Thanks to Facebook and a mutual friend, we got to know each other. Can read about it below... (from a blog that I kept when I was doing my masters in brisbane - this was from Week 10
http://dreamdiver21.blogspot.com/2010_04_01_archive.html

---START OF OLD BLOG ENTRY EXCERPT ---
"....Finally, I want to thank God for an amazing revelation that came about through Facebook. I had reposted an invitation to a Yum Cha outing that I was considering to go and a friend commented on it. His friend, who works as a nurse in a hospital in Singapore, saw his comment and recognised me as a patient from two years ago when I was admitted during a manic phase of my bipolar condition. Her name is Gwen and she messaged me saying she was glad that I was doing well. I wrote her back to ask what she remembered about me since I have an idea to write a book about my experience.

Her reply blew me away:
"Hi Jen! I definitely remember you cos your admission really left a deep impact in me! I remember you sobbing and scared so I sang 'Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus' to try calm you down when we were alone and I was amazed when you started singing it too. That's how I knew you were Christian, and I knew you were in good hands of our Lord."

Reading that just brought brought tears to my eyes to know that God sent someone to minister to me through that song...just on sunday, in my service here, we had sung that song and on monday, I get the message from the nurse. isn't that amazing?

Indeed, He is so faithful, even in our darkest times, when i was incoherent and out of it, He was always there... I do recall someone praying over me, saying "keep the faith" - maybe it was that nurse...
The friend she knows is the guy i went diving with a few weeks ago. what a small small world...and if not for that posting about the Yum Cha outing (which i didn't even end up going in the end), the nurse would not have messaged me and I wouldn't have known about how tenderly God cared for me when i had my breakdown...

I see God's hand all over this...All praise to Him :)

I share this in the hope that it will encourage those of you who may feel all alone in your dark times. He is there. He is always there. and He loves you.
As King David said in 2 Samuel 22:29 "You are my lamp, O LORD;
the LORD turns my darkness into light."

I especially appreciate how it says "my" darkness. God knows the particular darkness that we each go through..and no matter how we feel no one can understand, God does. May the light of Jesus' love shine in your heart today and always - amen.
--- END OF EXCERPT ---

Gwen is amazing - competent and compassionate. She told me of how I wanted to go home with her - kudos to her, she wasn't freaked out by this. While she was in the ward, she let me follow her around because I just had so much to say and no one to say it to (quite the talker I was, when in the manic phase ;) - no doubt I would have been somewhat of a distraction, but still she did it. She also remembered my love of wordplay! she said I was speaking with alliterations and even remembered some of them :) I am just so glad that we can be friends. I know that not all medical encounters are like this...in my two week hospital admission, she was only there for a couple nights at most. but what a difference she made and I will always be grateful for this friendship :) "

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