30 March was World Bipolar Day. Mental illness continues to hold certain stigmas to it and it’s so hard to seek help without misunderstanding and discrimination. It’s better now than perhaps 10 years ago with more information and education but I remember the first time I found out that someone I knew had bipolar, I was devastated. I felt a myriad of emotions, from anger to sadness and then guilt at how I had should have known earlier and how I should have been different. I was 20 years old, at the threshold of adulthood but completely unaware of how to approach someone suffering from this.
12 years on, after having gone through bouts of physical illness myself and being in the pastoral ministry, I think I have more clarity and compassion than I did back then. It is so much easier for me to seek treatment for a physical illness than for someone to seek help for their mental illness openly without the need to hide or feel ashamed and judged. Today, as I resolve to journey better and to be more loving, more supportive to this one and others struggling with various illnesses, I know that God will carry us through under His wings. In the bleakest of times and in the utmost pits of despair, there is still hope because there is still Jesus, the light of the world, and it is not yet over. Not till we meet with Him, and can surrender the parts of ourselves that we do not fully like and cannot fully control.