Gillian Bell

Disability, Spirituality and Faith – my experience of living with all three.

I was diagnosed (late compared with most people) in my mid 40’s with a condition that had apparently come via genes from my Father.

I have still not fully accepted my condition but am gradually working towards a more comfortable relationship with it.

Churchill called it the black dog, mine is more of a charging, fearsome bull but also has the other persona of a mad monkey swinging through the trees believing it can leap any distance, climb any height and escape any trouble it might get itself into.

At my lowest ebb, God can seem very far away or even invisible. At the other extreme, I almost believe that I’m his daughter, Jesus ‘sister ! I feel incredibly filled with the Holy Spirit and have amazing new insights into the Bible and the Word of God becomes much more meaningful.

I liken these experiences to the difference in Mt. Ruapehu (symbolic of God) from Taihape (where you can’t see it but you have faith that it is there) to coming round the bend approaching Waiouru, when it is there in all its’ glory and sometimes looks so close you feel you could almost touch it!

I have never been admitted to hospital (for this condition) and the medication I am on is supposed to stabilize my moods but that is another story in itself.

I have come to terms with the fact that I’m probably saddled with this burden (and blessing) for the rest of my life. I worry about my two daughters having inherited the same horrible gene but at least they have more insight than I did and will hopefully seek help if they do become symptomatic.

It is now a celebrity disorder I see, with Catherine Zeta-Jones disclosing hers!

In terms of Faith – I think it has strengthened my faith if anything. I know there have been times when I took serious steps to finish my suffering but every time I tried the Good Lord intervened in some way or other and I decided that He wasn’t ready for me in Heaven (at the loony wing of the mansions!)

Now I’ve just realized I’ve exceeded the 250 words I suggested as enough for these stories so I will stop there but if anyone wants to know any more I am happy to share …

Gillian Bell

Chair of DSF Network Inc