I’ve been told I am lucky. But luck has not saved me. A hand pulled me up from dark, deep pit that held my soul so tight there was not a bit of air left in my lungs. Each day I traveled down a road with no street lights, that had houses with no doors, and rooms with no windows. To the world I was fine, but in my own mind I couldn’t slow the racing thoughts or get off the roller coaster of highs and lows; which would dip and turn, leaving me frantically cleaning my home or staying in bed with the breakfast and lunch dishes on the counter. When I was manic, I lived without consequence and could go with little food or sleep. But when I was sad, sleep was my friend, and I loved that I could shut out the world by closing my eyes. My very being, that I held to be so real, was only a shadow that disappeared when touched by the sun.My body spoke up when I was twenty-six years old, saying that was enough. I developed shingles, the illness inside me spilling out and staining my skin. I reached out to a nurse friend, desperate for answers.“Can you change your life by yourself?” she asked, the concern evident on her face.I wanted to say yes. I wanted to believe that after everything I’d been through, I could do anything. But I dropped my chin and my eyes went to the floor. “I can’t,” I admitted. “Not without help.”Soon I was sitting in an office with a psychologist, replying to a myriad of questions to which I could only answer, “yes.” In the early part of 1996 he diagnosed me with Bi-Polar Disorder. This is a manic-depressive disorder categorized as mental illness.Being diagnosed was only the tip of the iceberg. What lay beneath the waters of my heart took a lifetime to form. When I crashed, it was only with God’s help that He transformed me from the inside out and completely changed my life. This is my story.You can get Ammie’s story of hope and healing on Amazon, or at www.ammiebouwman.com/shop

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