How do I pray, as someone who lives with bipolar disorder? In my younger years when I was fairly stabilized on medicine, the daily Scriptures were my prayer and my study, sometimes studying several hours with my commentaries and allowing the silence to foster the Holy Spirit’s voice. During daily Mass and throughout the day new things might connect; but there was always a Connection. As a liturgist and musician, this was my food so as to give my gift to the prayer of others.
As that medicine has now become dangerous for my health, I am living with a different combination of medicines; for the past several years, I have found myself in bipolar depression for an average of 8 months out of every year. These episodes occur because of physiological changes; nothing is wrong. I am not sad or upset about anything. However, I become emotionally dead, mentally confused and experience great vulnerability, often isolating myself during these times.
How do I pray, as someone living inside bipolar depression? I am unable to experience the Connection during these times; I am like a shell having limited memory of my studies; all routines or rituals that I enjoy when well are merely times of going through the motions.
And so I give what I have. I know that Life comes from Death, and to this I cling. I know that in my deadness there is new Life that only the Giver of Life can call forth into new Being. There is grace in knowing that I am able to suffer with the entire Body and Blood of Christ in a way that my well self, the in-control self, cannot….