Deep, deep, deep down at a heartfelt level, I am attracted towards beauty and light. My inner compass is orientated towards goodness: be it the sunshine in the park or the kindness and compassion of a friend; yes I am content in my own skin.
“Contentment is a feeling of quiet happiness and satisfaction” (Dictionary.com) in the place where I’m at. It is more than a sense of achievement with my personal and career goals. God knows I have my passions and desires, and they will be fulfilled in good time.
It was through my recovery with bipolar that enabled me to make this fundamental shift towards beauty and light. I did 35 sessions of psychotherapy over 15 months. When I began this process, I was torn by a false attraction, something that prolonged my depressive episodes. In many ways, I was like a man in chains. I had little control over my impulses. I was living a quiet death.
I also began ‘faith therapy’ with a trusted guide from my church. I wanted God to be a bigger part of my life: in my prayer, in my world, and in my decisions. There was some overlap in these therapies but they were also independently unique.
In psychotherapy, it became clear early on that I had lost a sense of power in my life. A bullying incident as a schoolchild was identified as a root cause. As I became fully aware of this traumatic event, there was an invitation to get my power back. Slowly, over the weeks of psychotherapy, I began to practice assertiveness through my circumstances: with my housemates; with my family and friends; and with the general public. These changes were not easy, but I saw rays of light shine through the cracks, so I pushed onward.
In ‘faith therapy’, I developed the sense of a divine presence. I paid attention to my heartfelt desires such as with work, prayer, and relationships. In the beginning, to sit in silence was very challenging so I structured my prayer with scripture. I have come a long way since then as I now do a half an hour of prayer everyday. I enjoy imaginative contemplation, which uses all of my senses in a biblical scene, and it encourages my faith to be tangible – with my workmates, and so on.
I feel spiritual bliss from ‘faith therapy’ and it doesn’t bother me that I have to travel to another side of the country for the sessions. God is good, and he is becoming more and more part of my life.
A goal of psychotherapy was to become my own therapist and I take great pride in this feat. I am very grateful for the help I received from a compassionate professional. I am not in perfect condition but I have enough tools and inner resources to continue on my journey.
Thank God for psychology and spirituality – I am content in the conviction that my heart is in the right place. If I turn away from beauty and light, I pray that I may always return home, to this territory of contentment.
Thank-you Gavin for sharing your blog post with us. Gavin blogs at I Love Bipolar.