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Sure, sometimes you wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

You probably can’t imagine what it feels like to wake up not knowing that there is a world beyond the thick blackness of the blankets pulled up over your eyes.

And some days you’re excited. It’s the first day of a vacation trip. It’s Christmas morning.

You probably can’t imagine waking up five or six times that enthusiastic, without any reason at all.

Having bipolar disorder means that steady is as steady does. Because the feelings are almost random.

When blackness enfolds, I write down a list of tasks — even tasks as mundane as “wash the dishes” — and work through them. Otherwise nothing happens. At all.


When enthusiasm overwhelms, I have to choose to write down a list of tasks — especially tasks as mundane as “wash the dishes.” Because otherwise I’ll enthuse in 10 or 12 or 20 different directions, almost simultaneously. At the end of the burst, I’ll find myself surrounded by a clutter of unfinished projects and the clutter of an untended life.

I stay steady by trying to focus on what I need to do. And I stay steady by remembering that the way I feel today is not likely to be the way I feel in three or four weeks.

Female surfboarder
Not me!

I ride my feelings like surf: the enthusiasm powers forward movement; the blackness cannot be allowed to fuel anything bleaker than anticipation. Happily, God has promised a future that is extraordinarily bright, and allows that I live this life in the brilliance of God’s presence, even when God is invisible through the enfolding darkness.

Steady is as steady does. No one is more steady than God.