David had been hiding his illness from everyone in his life for as long as he could remember. It wasn’t easy, but it was manageable. Now everything was going to change. His father was giving him his church, the largest church in the city, a mega church that had the potential to bring David’s illness out into the open. David knew the stress, responsibility and pressure of being the senior pastor had the potential to have his illness overwhelm him. His decision to tell his wife and board that he was bipolar was well-intentioned, but it was too late.
Events overtook him; events that included a tragic accident that would cause him to lose his church and possibly his marriage. In order to avoid jail time, his lawyer arranged for David to spend a year in a psychiatric hospital. David bowed to the reality, but felt he didn’t need the help the court decided on. He needed to return to society.
How do you manage a year in a place where you feel you don’t belong? How do you deal with the psychiatrists who are trying to get you to accept the fact that you can no longer manage your illness as you had in the past? How long will it take to realize you’re never going to be cured, that you will always be bipolar? How does God relate to all of this? What does He think of David’s plight? Why is it so difficult for David to accept the fact that God is there to help him, though He may not fix David’s brokenness? Finally, how will David survive when he is finally released from the hospital into a world that has labeled him as “mentally ill”?
David’s journey is not for the faint of heart. Every relationship in his life will be redefined, and in some cases, changed forever. David’s father will deny that his son has any mental illness, and will write David out of his life. David’s wife will use his tragedy to further her own career as an author and speaker, and will visit him only once while he is in the hospital. David will emerge from the hospital with a plan for his life; a plan that makes sense to him considering everything he has been through.
God, however, is not quite through with David. Though David has pushed God down into the recesses of his soul, God has been pushing back. This battle has a surprising outcome, one that David would never have foreseen. David will discover that though being bipolar is an integral part of who he is, it is not the defining characteristic of his life.