Bipolar and fear. Unfortunately, living with bipolar disorder and fear often go hand in hand for a couple of reasons.
When you are in the middle of a bipolar episode, you are fearful it will never end. You think your circumstances will never improve.
Once the episode is finished, your perspective shifts. You fear your symptoms will return at any moment, and they will be worse than ever.
Pull up a chair, and let me tell you my story to make bipolar and the fear that accompanies it more real for you.
Bipolar and Fear: My Personal Experience
In 2021, I experienced the worst depression of my 25-year bipolar journey. I thought the season would never end.
And just like that, I woke up one Saturday, and the depression had lifted.
The sun was shining. There was hope again. There was joy again. Life was good and full of possibilities, whereas just a week ago there had only been darkness and pain.
For the next two and a half months, every Saturday I counted the weeks I had been depression-free because I didn’t trust the happiness. Although I was relieved the depression had lifted, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I wasn’t actively living in fear, but there was an undercurrent of distrust just beneath the surface of my relief that the symptoms of depression had abated.
Bipolar and Fear: Missing Out on Today’s Joy
The problem with living in fear—even if it is not active fear—is that you miss out on today’s joy. You define yourself by bipolar disorder and the symptoms you have experienced when that is just a small part of who you are.
Let’s be real. You have a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Your life will never be unicorns and rainbows, but life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.
So, how do you learn to overcome bipolar and fear, so you can actually live your life and not just exist while you navigate the many ups and downs of your bipolar journey?
The best way to overcome fear in your life is to replace the lies fear tries to sell you with God’s truth, so you can activate your faith. So, that’s exactly what we are going to do today.
Bipolar and Fear: Harnessing the Power of 2 Timothy 1:7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).
I call 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) my bipolar scripture. This is the verse I go back to time and time again when my mind is not my own, and bipolar tries to tell me that “I will always” and “I will never.”
When the fear hits, I roll this verse around and around in my mind until it quiets—however long it might take for faith to overtake my fear.
Let’s unpack this scripture verse piece by piece and use it to break the chains bipolar and fear create.
1. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear…”
We were not created to live in fear. That is not how we were designed. We can look further into scripture to confirm this.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18 ESV).
Jesus Christ loves us with a perfect love. It’s a love that defies understanding because we have a finite mind. Nonetheless, it is a love that has the power to cast out the fear bipolar is trying to sell us.
I love the Dorothy Bernard quote: “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”
When you harness the power of Jesus Christ’s perfect love through prayer, it casts out that fear and replaces it with supernatural courage. With that courage, we can face our fear and release our faith, so we are able to move forward.
2. “…but of power…”
When we look at navigating the most difficult parts of our bipolar journey through our own strength, it is only natural to feel overwhelmed and fearful. But the good news is we serve a God who provides us with His supernatural strength for the times when our strength fails.
The Amplified version of Philippians 4:13 perfectly articulates this idea:
“I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]” (Philippians 4:13 AMP).
Not only does Jesus give us strength, but we are made sufficient through HIS sufficiency. Your peace may fail, but Jesus infuses your with His confident peace to carry you through.
3. “…and of love…”
There are literally so many scriptures you could plug in here. So much of the Bible speaks of God’s lavish love for us, but I chose this verse because it talks about God’s affection for us, and the Amplified version speaks specifically about fear.
“…casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]” (1 Peter 5:7 AMP).
I love the idea that God not only loves us, but He also has great affection for us. It makes me think of the love a father has for a child.
It conjures up an image of a loving Daddy God hugging His most precious child.
4. “…and of a sound mind.”
This is a hard one. Let’s be real here. Living with bipolar and not having a sound mind is a legitimate fear.
We have all been there. There are times when our mind is not our own. That is just a hard truth.
But the thing that you must always remember is that bipolar disorder is episodic. Yes, you will have bad seasons, but they will not last forever. Ultimately, your mind will be sound again, so focus on that.
Another truth to keep in mind is that God created science and medicine, so He has provided the tools to make your mind sound again.
How can we know how to use our sound minds to serve God?
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2 ESV).
When it comes down to bipolar and overcoming fear to figure out the best way to use your sound mind to serve God, the bottom line is, you must always look to God and test your intentions and plans to see if they line up with God’s Word and His big picture for your life.
The Takeaway: Walking into Your Eternal Purpose
Bipolar disorder is episodic. That’s the good news and that’s the bad news. Whatever season you are in will pass, whether it is good or bad.
If you focus on what God can do, instead of what you can do, that’s where your courage comes from. That’s how you replace living in fear with walking by faith.
That’s how you learn how to actually live your life instead of just existing between episodes.
You live with bipolar disorder. Your life will never be unicorns and rainbows, but it doesn’t mean you can’t live a big, fat meaningful life.
An abundant life. A life with purpose.
God chose you for this life because He has specific kingdom work only you can do that serves an eternal purpose.
My prayer is that you walk into that eternal purpose by faith and not fear.
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Thank you for the insightful article. When I was growing up my parents ’sent’ me to church, one of those that preach hell and condemnation. Up to this day I still cannot accept God as loving even after accepting Jesus. As a result I feel guilt and fear which exacerbates my BP symptoms. Attending church hasn’t helped, in fact it sometimes has made my BP worse.
I do however find solace in being in the country and away from a lot of people. There I can see God’s creation and have some peace.
Thank you for the kind words. I am so sorry for your experience in the church. Unfortunately, churches sometimes bring us farther away from God rather than closer. I am glad that you can see God’s creation and find some peace in the country. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my blog post. I am so glad you found it helpful.
Thank you so much for your light in this dark world! My son went off to college and came home on Christmas break when the catatonia and mania hit. He had no previous mental problems in high school was a straight A student and cross country/track star. He had a complete lifestyle change in college and started having anxiety and insomnia. We thought his insomnia had gotten better. He hasn’t officially been diagnosed yet. He just got home from being in the hospital for 3 weeks. He’s still confused but we are thankful that he is home. He’s having delusions and psychomotor agitation. He/we are strong in our faith and are so thankful to have found your posts. God has a plan for his life and we are trying to keep our faith through this horrible nightmare we are living in. Please keep your light shining for others!
Thank you for the kind words and for sharing the story of your son’s experience. I pray that he gets an official diagnosis soon and that all his symptoms resolve quickly. I am so glad you have found my posts helpful. I will be praying for your family.
Thank you Andrea for your prayers and kind words! You are an inspiration!
You’re welcome, Martha!