Bipolar and Religion
For Bipolar Disorder patients, religion often plays a distinct role in their lives. Many people with bipolar find the support of their church families to be invaluable. However, some bipolar patients have also faced judgment, stigma, misunderstanding, and have even been accused of demon possession.
Religion and spirituality, for other bipolar patients, are two different things. These people with bipolar do not necessarily go to church, but still find comfort through prayer and a personal relationship with God.
Religious people misjudge people with bipolar disorder because of a lack of knowledge of the disorder. They observe the symptoms, such as depression, and misunderstand the person who has Bipolar Disorder. For instance, they believe the person has a lack of faith because he/she takes medication for the disorder. Yet these same "religious" people do not criticize or judge other Christians who suffer from diabetes for taking insulin for their conditions as having a lack of faith.
People with Bipolar Disorder take medication to adjust the neurotransmitter levels in their brain, in the same manner that people with diabetes take insulin to enable their body to function normally. It has nothing to do with whether they are a "good Christian" or not.
In religious circles in our society, there is a huge stigma attached to mental illness in general. It is seen as a character flaw, or as something you should be able to control by yourself and, if you can’t, there is something wrong with your "spiritual walk." But this isn’t true.
Bipolar Disorder is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is not your fault. It is not something that you caused by being a "bad Christian." People aren’t perfect, and "Christian people" are no different from other people. Bipolar Disorder is not caused by lack of faith, a weak spiritual walk, or sin in your life. Nor is it caused by demon possession. It is also not a punishment from God.
Bipolar Disorder is still not curable, but it is manageable—by medication and, for many people, by prayer. Many people with Bipolar Disorder have found comfort in the Bible, especially in Scriptures that have helped their depression. One of those Scriptures is the following:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:6-7)
Notice that it says that God will guard our hearts and MINDS. He may not take away your depression, but He will give you peace in spite in spite of your depression.