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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Embracing My Crazy Cross

Catholics often talk about “embracing their cross”.       I viewed my bipolar disorder as the cross I had to carry.   The imperfection I suffered as a result of original sin.   It’s effortless to embrace a cross that’s easy to carry.   When my bipolar is stable, I can carry my cross from here to California and back again.   But, when hit between the eyes with a manic or depressive episode, you are paralyzed under the weight of that cross.

I realized that I was in trouble about six months ago.   I wasn’t sleeping but was full of energy….symptom number one preceding a bipolar episode.   I was crying when I was alone, at home, in my car, in the office…symptoms two.   I started a blog….time to see my therapist!     I often see my therapist when my symptoms begin to interrupt my life.   My therapist helps me figure out what is real and imagined and how to manage my symptoms.   After my visit, I discovered that my work pressures were real, and my coping skills were not working anymore.   I realized I needed more than just therapy; it was time to pull out the big guns, so I turned to our Blessed Mother.

My mom died in 1999 when I was thirty-three, but in the past three years I learned the power of intercessory prayer and my devotion to Mary increased.   My relationship with my earthly mother was beautiful.   I shared with her my joys and pains, laughter and anger, worries and triumphs.   When I was a child, my mom was a buffer between my father and me.   If I did something wrong, she would often intercede on my behalf and lesson my punishment. If I wanted to have a special privilege and I was afraid to ask my father, I would go to my mother, and she would have that special way of asking my dad for me.   So you see, invoking the intercession of Mother Mary was a natural progression for me.

I prayed the rosary every day on my hour long commute to work.   I would talk to Mary as I would speak to my earthy mother and my relationship with her grew.     My conversations with Mary focused more on my "cross" as the pressures of my job increased. The day of my resignation I said “Mary, please talk to our Heavenly Father about my crazy cross.   I know that my cross doesn’t even compare to the cross your Son carried for our sins.   I know that I’m a sinner, and I know God has a lot of other things to worry about right now.   Our world is in such turmoil, my problems are minor, but this cross is too heavy for me to carry.   Your Son carried the cross for the sins of humanity but he is God, and I’m not, please intercede for me to our Heavenly Father.   I need help carrying this cross; I can’t do it alone anymore.”

God answers prayers in unexpected ways.   He didn’t respond by lightening my workload or opening the eyes of my employer to be more accommodating. God answered my prayer by giving me the strength to stand up under the weight of that cross.   He gave me the courage to say “enough is enough”!   He stood with me, and I have no doubt that he sent two of his craziest angels, “Goodness & Mercy”, to get me safely home the day I resigned.   Since my resignation, I continue to feel God near me every day.   As I begin this new journey of unemployment and personal discovery, I realize that for the first time in my life, I have choices.   I continue to pray the rosary every day, and I'm eager to discover what our Lord has in store for me.     So with the help of Jesus, I’m leaning into this “crazy” cross.   Thank you, Mother Mary, for interceding for me!

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