I accepted Christ as my Lord and personal Savior at the tender age of eight. I was born into an abusive household in which my Christian mother, sister, brother and I were subjected to the anger of a tortuous father. I am convinced my relationship with Christ enabled me to endure the horrific treatment by my godless parent. After putting up with my father’s abuse against her and her children for 11 years, my mother finally divorced when I was 10 years old. She later married a good man who accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior shortly before marrying her.
While I had a very close relationship with Christ as a child and teen, I slowly drifted away from Him as a young adult. I was diagnosed with a debilitating illness at age 22 for which I subconsciously blamed God. However, despite the horrid effects of my illness including many suicidal attempts, I never denounced Him. I only lost my close relationship with God, and Satan convinced me with lies that God no longer loved me. In June 2000 I finally succumbed to the atrocities of my illness and retired on disability at the young age of thirty-nine. I have since grown close to Christ once again.
This illness from which I suffer is a rare form of bipolar disorder—atradian rapid cycling disorder. Most individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder cycle through highs and lows one or two times a year. I cycle weekly if not daily or even hourly. This makes my treatment most difficult and challenging.
After 17 years of dealing with this extreme form of bipolar disorder, I finally succumbed to my illness at the age of 39 in June of 2000 and filed for disability. Three months later I was approved, and I have been disabled since. The likelihood that I will ever be able to return to work is quite slim. However, I have since found purpose in my life.
God led my wife, Teresa, and I to Parkway Baptist Church a few years ago where I am able to minister and witness to others at the Family Life Center as a volunteer. I also minister to others through my support group; I teach computer skills at a Senior Center; and I offer free computer training and support in my spare time.
God continues to deliver me from many crises including one very recent one I would like to share with you. You see, in many ways my illness is governed by sleep. If I get too much sleep over an extended period of time, I will invariably experience the depths of depression. On the other hand, should I repeatedly receive too much sleep, a cyclic motion is let into play in which I repeatedly go back and forth between extreme highs and lows. During these lows I am often confronted with strong feelings of suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
Just this week I was unable to receive an adequate amount of sleep over a five day period of time due to much worry about not only my life but the lives of others of which I am close. Over this period, I experienced several days of extreme cycling during which time I dealt with desires to end my life. I called upon family and friends, both local and over the Internet throughout the world to pray in my behalf. God heard these prayers and answered them. He gave me peace of mind and spirit that only He can give—peace that defies all understanding.
I am now determined to make my story and testimony known to all with whom I come in contact hoping that they might seek to find this everlasting peace. I am doing this to the praise, honor and glory of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, with whom I now have closeness like never before.
Thank you for allowing me to share my testimony with you. I pray that you, too, will share in this ever-flowing peace if you do not already.