Wednesday, November 15, 2006


So as I'm puzzling through this friendship thing (I wrote pages and pages yesterday as I sat in the class on mediation) I had to continue living my life.

It happens. (Life, I mean.)

And I sat in the hotel lobby and talked on my cell phone to my dad, who is my hero of friendship and mediation but probably wouldn't understand this situation at all because it's a girl thing. But then again, he would probably have a different outlook than the two women who have actually heard the details. Nope, I'm not repeating them here. The woman who didn't hear the details but just that I was very disappointed and hurt said that I should speak the truth in love and remember grace. And that I should stand in my friend's shoes for at least a minute. Then she said she'd pray for me and that I could call her before I call my friend to talk about what happened and that she'd pray while I was talking to my friend. Wow. I didn't know I had someone that would walk that mile with me.

Tonight, I'll come home, flop on the sofa and watch the first DVD on stewardship (I missed the first class.) The guy who does the DVDs is a bit eccentric but a good teacher. I think this might finally get me on how to manage my money, especially since Sally and I are going to use this opportunity to use the forms in the book to look at my money, which is why she started helping me on Thursdays to begin with--the original concept was a barter: I'd babysit for her so she and her husband could have a date, and she'd help me untangle my money. But then she came over one day and the bigger problem, the mess of my apartment was more immediate and so she helped me with that.

I think I have a few gold ones I didn't realize I had (make new friends...some are silver and the others gold).

Marian is still not working--if you're the praying kind, say a prayer for her. She's not responding to us reaching out and we kind of don't know what else to do. (And I, of all people, should understand the isolation of depression.)

Yesterday it was very interesting riding the bus back to the hotel (the Rachel Simon talk was at Heinz Field--y'know, where the Stillers play!!). You could tell which women (we're librarians--we're 95% women) understood Rachel's message and which women hadn't had a situation where they were faced with a disability in someone they loved.

Bipolar isn't labeled a disability, it's a disorder. And I pretty much function like anyone else. I have an exuberent loud laugh, I enjoy life, and sometimes I get deep into the pit of the muck of my life. On the surface, I'm fine. And yet, those that know me, know that my life is hard. Harder because I have to take meds four times a day. Harder because I need to see my therapist every week. Harder because I have to deal with these inner mood swings. Harder because when I see someone who is hurting, I want to help them so badly because I know what it's like.

Rachel talked about "curism" and how a lot of folks in the disabled world hated Christopher Reeves before his death because he was so hooked on getting a cure. (They didn't so much hate him after he died.) But how his relentless search for a cure--well, some of us know that we are better people for the broken places. We are more sensitive to others with disabilities or disorders. We understand the human condition just a little differently than someone who doesn't have a disability or disorder. If someone could cure me of bipolar disorder, I'm not sure I'd take that cure. I have developed a social network because I am one of those lucky people that need people. When I hit my hard roads when the future is bleak, I have to look at my life and see where the patchwork has unravelled. I don't know that I would work that hard at my life if I didn't have the mood swings to manage. Rachel shared a wonderful phrase that I'll share with you: she is a woman who happens to if it was one of a myriad of qualities. Which it is. I am a woman who happens to love pink. I am a woman who happens to love country music. I am a woman who happens to love the city of Pittsburgh. I am also a woman who happens to have bipolar disorder.

Others who broke my heart they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms

(Rascal Flatts, God Bless the Broken Road)


Amy said...

I was thinking of you yesterday (I hope you don't mind). I tape Oprah everyday (I don't always watch) and they had a special on about depression. It was an extreme case (of course) where the dad killed his twin daughters during a severe bout of depression, but they talked about symptoms and even about bipolar and I found it all to be so fascinating (as a person who's never suffered from either - or not really suffered, anyway).

I can understand some people's desire to not live life only holding onto a hope for a cure. You have to LIVE regardless of the status of a cure. But I think if a cure came along, you'd still have amazing friends, and you'd still have a great support group. And I think you'd find you're still an amazing person.

Sarah Louise said...

Gosh, thanks! And I rarely mind if people are thinking of me. It's nice to be thought of.

It is fascinating. And I look forward to a day when I don't have depression. But it doesn't consume me. I have bipolar--it does not have me.

Nick & Lauren said...

I love you for your honesty and openness, as well as the serenity that you have reached about bipolar. About a month ago the BBC did a documentary on bipolar hosted by a famous actor with bipolar, who interviewed people around the country, and the overwhelming consensus was that they wouldn't change it about themselves. Despite the challenges, or maybe because of them, they are aware of how it has shaped the person they are today. I was impressed by the creative energy that can be unleashed as a result as well. Who knows what style of writer you would be without it? And the sensitivity you have to the human condition - what a Christ-like gift to have.

I also LOVE country music, and Rascal Flatts is my favorite! (tied with Keith Urban) Unfortunately it hasn't made it "big" over here yet....

Much Love, Lauren

Sarah Louise said...

Wow, that sounds like a cool documentary. I wonder if they'll release it to DVD?

We country music lovers need to stick together...