It was 15 years ago that I heard that my life was never going to be the same again, I had bipolar disorder. Those days were not filled with hope and joy. They were filled with dread and pain. They were filled with escapism and avoidance. I did not want this to be true. I wanted to be me before bipolar. I wanted to be free from mental disorders. I wanted to be normal.
Now, when I look back on the two intensive years of getting my bipolar managed, I can see the hope and remember that those terrible times passed. I can see the work I did and see the payoffs. I can see that those two years were only a season.
The temptation now is to look back on those times knowing the end of the story. I want to see the days throwing up because of the wrong medications and know it was part of a process. I want to see the times when I did not want to walk on this world any longer and tell myself that I always knew I could make it. But I did not. Some of those days, I did not know that it was going to be ok. Some of those nights, I just wanted the pain to stop.
I usually think about Good Friday in relation to Easter. Jesus’ disciples were counting on him to free the Jews from Roman oppression. He was their hope. Then Good Friday came, and he died. I know that Easter came. I know that he did not stay dead. But what was it like on Friday?
Good Friday is the day that hope died. Jesus was entombed; there was no hope. Nothing could get better again. I can imagine Peter speaking to the disciples, saying, “Jesus is dead. Hope is a luxury we cannot afford.”
I have spoken that sentence, that “hope is a luxury I can not afford.” I have seen hope as a commodity far beyond my own reach. How could I ever afford to hope? I would never be the person without I was without bipolar disorder. I would always have bipolar. What was there to hope for? 15 years ago, my hope died.
Between 15 and 13 years ago, I could not hear that there was hope for me, it was too overwhelming. I knew my own situation too well. At times, I thought I was not going to be able to do anything with my life. It was my Good Friday, no hope and a big mess to celebrate it.
Now seeing people everyday who are in the midst of mental disorder, I have to remember that my own hope died. I did not know if it was ever going to come back. The one thing I could hear was that someone else had made it. I could hear that, and maybe, just maybe, I could be there someday too, but there were times I could not believe that I could be better myself.
Good Friday is a reminder to remember the dark times. There are days when it feels like hope has died, and tomorrow can never be any better. There are days when life does not just lose its luster, but burdens us with the weight of living. There are Good Fridays.
There are also Easter Sundays, but who could see them from Friday?
On my Good Friday, all I could see was the pain, the hopelessness, the loss, and the failure. But something amazing happened: I found hope again. I got my bipolar managed. I learned to be whole. I experienced healing. In a way, I experienced Easter Sunday.
I have seen Good Friday. I resonate with it well. But if you are there, or are watching someone there, hope is still alive, and Sunday is coming.