We were emailing backwards and forwards when I suddenly realized a few things:
- Twenty years’ ago, I would for sure have been handed a diagnosis of ‘manic-depression’, if I’d ever set so much as a toe in the office of a psychologist.
- Drinking 2 litres of diet coke every day is definitely not helpful, when it comes to maintaining an even emotional keel (I kicked the habit 15 years’ ago, when I was pregnant with my oldest, and I couldn’t believe the difference it made to my moods and overall sense of volatility.)
- Manic depression actually rocks! – But only once you know what to do with it, and how to manage it.
Let me explain.
Without experiencing my huge, horrible periods of depression, I would probably have turned out to be a pretty superficial person. I’d be obsessed with appearances and external ‘success’; I’d be relatively oblivious to other people’s pain, and I’d be dismissive and judgemental when other people hit emotional obstacles and mental blocks, and couldn’t just ‘make it happen’, whatever the ‘it’ in their life actually was.
My depressions were very debilitating and painful, especially when I didn’t know what was actually triggering them off. But thank God, now that I’m more or less out the other end of the process (although I can still have the odd bad day), I’m actually so grateful for all the insight, compassion and depth they left me with.
My depressions made me much more thoughtful, much more empathetic about other people’s suffering, and most importantly of all, they forced me to dig deep, to see past all the superficial fluff that modern life is so full of, and to work very hard on a developing a genuine relationship with God.
In that sense, they were priceless.
You get a lot done when you're 'manic'
Now, what about the ‘manic’ side of the equation? Well, if I was only depressed, and not manic with it, I don’t think I’d have got much done. As it is, that killer combination of manic-depression has given me the spiritual insights and personal experience to help other people with their emotional issues, and also the crazy bursts of energy I need to keep writing book after book and post after post, to get the information out there.
Now, you might think I’m being a little sarcastic here, but I’m actually really not. God created me exactly the way I need to be, to get my spiritual mission done in the world – and He’s done the same for you, too.
Being 'abnormal' is actually not a problem: it's a gift
Being ‘abnormal’ in some way doesn’t actually have to be the big problem the shrinks (and the drug companies) like to make it out to be. It all depends on your perspective, and how close to God you stick.
If I didn’t have God in the picture – I’d for sure be 200% bonkers, a bona fide lunatic. With God, I’m just 125% bonkers, which is hopefully just enough to change the world (because you KNOW that you have to be at least a little crazy to do that, don’t you?)
I’d like to develop this idea, so I’ll come back to it again from time to time. But let me leave you with this thought: If God made you a little bit crazy, it’s because He wants you to do something awesome with it. Your job is just to figure out what.