At Barneys, I’ve found a warm community that was, and still is, a reminder of how much God loves me.
Since 2004, I have had a mental illness called Bipolar Disorder. It causes me to experience extreme ‘highs’ or states of happiness, during which I can make terrible decisions. Then I can crash to a state of depression, where I only want to cry or hide in bed all day. For many years, I didn’t receive the right diagnosis. My treatment and medication weren’t working, and seeing all the faults within myself I felt so unworthy and undeserving of God’s love. Instead of running to my Father in Heaven, I took things into my own hands and self-harm began taking over my life.
I started to meet people at Barneys and found a new supportive family away from home.
I started to meet people at Barneys and found a new supportive family away from home. Having people surround me with love, encouragement and prayer helped me to reconnect with God and realise why I fell in love with Him in the first place. In the past few months, God has been gracious and I received the right diagnosis of bipolar. The mood swings aren’t gone, but I know my Father in Heaven will provide me with what I need, including support I receive from my brothers and sisters at Barneys.
I still have scars from when I used to self-harm. I put them there because I felt guilt and shame for the things that I’d done. But Jesus took on scars so that I don’t need to feel guilt or shame anymore, to give me hope and a promise that one day, I will never feel sadness again. I’ll only have joy – not a ‘high’ that will crash – but a joy that comes with being with my God who loves me.