April 28, 2014 by Kara Nichols
Believe it or not missing one night of sleep can land me in the emergency room. I’m especially vigilant in the spring, when the extra light is known to trigger mania. A few weeks ago I found myself wide awake. By 3 am my anxiety levels were through the roof. I imagined myself being handcuffed by the police, which has happened before in a similar situation, and taken to Virginia Baptist Hospital’s psych ward where I’d be practically comatose because of the heavy doses of medication.
Eventually I did fall asleep after taking some extra medication. I got maybe 5 hours when I typically get 9-11 hours (side effects of my medicines). The first thing I did when I woke up was tell my dad about missing sleep and my fears about being manic. He was able to calm me down some, although he said he noticed a few signs that seemed out of the ordinary for me – mainly driving long distances alone and being more social. Things I haven’t done in awhile. This really stirred up the fear in me. The next thing I did was text my sister and two girlfriends, who are great prayer warriors and asked them to go to God and plead for my sanity.
That day satan really dug his claws into me. I had flashbacks of all of the scary experiences I’ve had with this mental illness and everything I’ve lost because of it, including some very important relationships. I laid in the hammock in the back yard and wept. There are times in life where I go days without thinking about this chronic disease except for when I mindlessly take a handful of beige pills.
Thankfully two days after I lost sleep I had an appointment scheduled with my psychiatrist. I told him about my fears and he had a simple solution. Take one and a half doses of Zyprexa instead of one dose and that should knock me out for the night. I was so relieved to have a plan, one that should have already been in place, but I’ve been a bit careless in my continuous days of health. He also reminded me that I can call him anytime. I felt so at peace after speaking to Dr. Judd and also knowing that I had pray warriors on my side.
I have not had any signs of mania since then. And I don’t think I was actually manic that day. I think it was satan trying to get me to believe his old lies about myself: that I am crazy and worthless. I know satan would love for me to succumb to my fears and just let the insanity wash over me like the waves of the ocean, beating against me over and over again. But I stand firm in the Lord and trust Him and His ways. If I have God on my side, who or what should I fear?
Yesterday in a church service the pastor said that fear is a sin. I am sure I’ve heard this before but it left a tickle in my throat as I thought about that night at 3am when I was saturated with fear. Has satan ever just bombarded you with lies that so seem like truth? One right after the other? He’s known as being the father of lies and being deceitful, it’s his hobby.
Ephesians 6:12 – For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].
I’m reminded of something that happened when I was manic a few years ago. I was taking a long walk around my neighborhood lake. There’s a small bridge and the water rushes down this concrete mouth and is forced under the bridge. I stopped to talk with a man walking his dog and he pointed to the bridge and said “Look at that!”
And about halfway up the side of the concrete mouth was a snake trying to worm it’s way to the top. It was perched on a rock and there was no way it was going to be able to fight the current and reach the top or over to the side to dry land. I chuckled, probably a little crazily, because the first thing that came to mind was this verse:
Romans 16:20 – The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
Even in the midst of insanity I had this incredible reminder that satan is like that snake trying to reach the mouth of the lake. He will never succeed. He is a loser, trapped under a fierce current that eventually will carry him downstream and back into the gates of hell where he belongs.
I know that there’s a good chance I will get manic or severely depressed again some day. In fact, statistics show that the disease worsens with age. But I remember this verse and I feel so much better:
John 16:33 – I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Yes, there will be trouble, and maybe a visit or two to the psych ward, but Jesus overcame the world and I cling to that so fiercely that if Jesus were here in the flesh with me right now he’d probably tell me that I’m squeezing his arm too tightly.