From Chaos to Unashamed Faith
My name is Teddie Holt and I live in a cozy little town in Western Kentucky. I have been diagnosed with bipolar and schizoaffective disorder. One of my favorite things to do is painting, but I have to be in a specific mood and know exactly what I want to paint first.
My most prized painting is of an enormous elephant. Two things make it special to me. First, as a child I wanted to be an elephant when I grew up! Also, when you turn the painting sideways, the profile of Jesus appears! I painted my elephant, "Forget Me Not" when I was living with my parents after my 2nd manic episode. I can barely remember anything from that year, but my elephant painting is testimony enough to prove that God was with me, even in the darkest place imaginable, the caves and the deserts of my very own soul.
My first break from reality happened the summer of 2008. A few months before, February 14th to be exact, I had been through the most traumatic event of my life. I was date raped. Shortly after, I lost ANOTHER job. I thought that my father would be angry and disappointed in me, so I decided to keep it a secret, at least after my sister's wedding which was in July. We were going on a family vacation to Disney World, and at the end of the week my sister was going to be married! It was a special time, and I certainly did not what to ruin it for her.
As if Disney World was not stimulating enough, being sleep deprived made it feel as if I was on acid, not that i know what that feels like exactly! Anyway, I had lost sleep for 3 nights in a row, because I did not want to face reality and share how bad I was feeling to my family. After riding "It's a Small World" and "Peter Pan", Someone, not sure who, discovered that something was wrong with me, so they took me to the clinic. When the nurse asked me if I knew where I was, I said, "umm... heaven. right? cause you are all here, too". That was the beginning of a really long journey.
Now, after almost 9 years with bipolar and schizoaffective disorder and 11 hospitalizations later, my life is finally getting back to my normal. I have a part-time job, where I get to go and play with the most adorable children ever. I've been getting back in the dating game again, and I'm very happy at the church that I attend on a weekly basis. Recently, I shared a short version of my testimony to my church, thanking them for all their prayers. I read a list of 30+ symptoms that I no longer suffer from, and then I tore up the list! It was extremely liberating!! I felt as if I could run a marathon; I felt so free!!! Of course, I did mention that I still go to my doctors and take my medication.
It took almost 8 years to find the right doctor who prescribed the right combination of medications, before I became the person I knew I was all along. If you are struggling, don't give up hope. The right doctor and medication is out there for it, but sometimes you have to fight for it. Keep searching and never be too embarrassed or stubborn to ask for help.
It would bring me much joy to be able to minister to those suffering with mental issues within the walls of the church. Sometimes people feel shunned from society as a whole, and when they turn to the church for help they are either met with silence or rejection. Instead of getting the compassion and spiritual guidance that they so deserve and desire, they are given an extra helping of shame from others that have no clue what a chore it is to for them to just get out of bed on some days. My position is that we, as a church body, need to be informed and we need to embrace these individuals as Jesus demonstrated.
Bipolar stole many things from me, but it could not even come close to steeling my faith in God. I clung to a prayer from a friend during my darkest hour. Maybe you could use the prayer, too. It goes like this, "Lord, please give Teddie the stability and counsel that is needed to give her a since of peace. Bind the evil forces that are at play in her life and restore all that was taken from her in the past. Amen." I am actually thankful for the storm, because it has made me into a stronger woman. It has also taught me to never take anyone or anything for granted. I live my life with more passion, now that I know how swiftly it can all disappear.