It took life beating the holy hell out of me, but I finally realized that if I want to live a stable life with a reasonable degree of peace of mind, I need to apply myself to a mental and spiritual regimen each day. Including prayer, spiritual/recovery readings, cognitive behavioral therapy, the AA way of life, medication, and more.

These actions, along with the help of a Higher Power of my understanding, make and keep me spiritually fit. But that spiritual fitness can be fragile, unraveling like a ball of yarn in a room full of kittens.

If I don’t tend it and feed it like a precious fire providing the only source of warmth on a wilderness survival trip, its flames will become embers, eventually leaving me rueing over a cold pit of ashes.

And when I’m not spiritually fit, I’m vulnerable to “overload mode,” which is as difficult and fraught with danger as walking a tight rope wearing concrete shoes.

Simply put, when I stop taking care of my Bipolar Disorder, it takes very little time for the “overload mode” to put me onto the train of mania, into the quagmire of depression, or into brutal obsessive, distorted thinking.

And none of those are places I can afford to be. I have been blessed enough to have been there and back quite a few times. But next time I go there, I might not return.

I recently had a friend and fellow sufferer go there. And his story ended with a plunge from a highway overpass.

May he rest in peace. And may that be a lesson to all of us with a mental illness to take care of ourselves.

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