Working to end the stigma and discrimination of mental illness.

Pete’s Story

Jesus, quoting Deuteronomy, asserted that man does not live by bread alone, and one of the most basic of these internal necessities is the need for meaning and purpose. Human dignity rests on the assumption that life is in some way significant. And that’s one of the greatest struggles with bi polar, the feeling that you are damaged goods, that you are somehow broken.        

As my own life got caught in the revolving-door-cycle of crisis to hospital to shaky healing to crisis again, I watched the people I knew all go on with their lives. I saw them finish high school, college, start careers and families. Have “normal lives.” I felt so left behind and filled with shame, that for a long time, I denied there was anything wrong. And I went through another phase, where I wore my pain, my disease like war wounds, like an emotional coat of arms. I identified myself in relation to the pain I had experienced, those who had hurt me and all that had happened to me. I learned that there are benefits and costs to taking my spiritual identity from the shape of my wounds. Because by doing so, I mistakenly believed that my pain was unfair and I wanted to know who had stolen my life, who was to blame. Why I couldn’t have a normal life.       

One of the insights I’ve been graced with is understanding how many new gifts come with my bi polar. By being forced to focus our attention on our inner lives, we discover new paths of creativity and our hearts of courage. We dedicate our lives to finding the love and peace and justice that we have only imagined in the privacy of our own hearts.       

Through my wounds I’ve been given a chance to make up for all the things I missed or was denied. It’s a chance we all have, to give healing to the world. Through our pain we have been given unique gifts and knowledge about the human condition that are potentially more valuable  than almost anything we could have offered if our lives had been “normal.” We need to discover this significance in our lives, and to share it with each other. There is no such thing as “normal life.” There’s only life, and all we can do is live it.