Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the tag “bi-polar”

Nothing To Fear

In the Depths God is There by Mark Chatwin

When we were kids we believed in things that go bump in the night. We had our dad check under our beds for the boogey men. Not every night, but some nights when TV was too scary or 2nd grade too overwhelming. And there was an old wives’ tale going around that said if you were falling in your sleep and didn’t wake up before you landed you would die. Now I believed that one for sure. I don’t know what reliable soul told me that one, but I believed it. I fell in my dreams, but I always woke up before I landed. Whew! I’d think to myself and go back to sleep. I used to dream all the time I could fly too. I had bad dreams, but also very fun, freeing, wonderful dreams.

Now I’ve mentioned that I was very ill with bi-polar disorder when they first discovered it. Probably because my boy Davey was very sick and I had to keep him going. I used all my physical and emotional stores to care for him, so that when the illness hit me, I didn’t have a lot left to fight it with. It hit me hard. And then little Davey died after I’d been in the hospital about 1 month or so. With that to absorb I got worse. I had excellent care, and many people loved me and were praying for me. Yet many days it felt like I was fighting very hard and going nowhere.

Before I got sick my favorite Psalm was 139 and when I was feeling really bad I would recite it to myself, as much as I could remember:

Psalm 139
1 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

One night I was lying in my bed trying to sleep. Sleep was the hardest thing for me, because it was hard for me to quiet my mind and get peaceful. I was just lying there fretting about this and that. All of a sudden, I heard the still small voice within me say “let go”. Let Go? That isn’t right I’ve gotta fight this thing. Persistently the thought was there, “Let Go.” Finally I let myself relax and inwardly say okay. Suddenly I felt myself falling fast and hard not like in a dream, more like in a horror flick. I thought, oh no I’m going to die. I’m not ready to die. I don’t want to die I want to live, please Dear God, let me live. I kept falling and falling and falling. Then I landed, not hard, but soft and gently. And I didn’t die, nor did I feel awake. I felt surrounded by the warmest, strongest, most all-encompassing, dearest love I had every felt or even imagined. I knew it was the amazing love of God.

Then it struck me I had hit the very depths and God was there. I had gone as low as my soul could go, and God was there surrounding me his love. And then I knew like the Psalmist, that I could climb to the highest heavens and descend to the deepest depths and no matter where I went the love of God would be there before me. “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there will thy had lead me and thy right had will hold me.” I was sick, but I was no longer afraid.

My doctors said that from that night forward, I started to get well. They didn’t need to tell me, I knew I was, but it was very nice to hear.

Made For Each Other

Mike and I -- A Dream Come True

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
― Dr. Seuss

I have thought hard over the past years about why I survived all the loss that I had in my twenties. The obvious answer of course is God and His Supernatural love and power in my life. The second was my will to live and continue on and be a part of my own little family again, and then there’s the old, I came from hearty stock argument. I do not dismiss any of these and rather think it was a strong combination of the three factors that pulled me back from sorrow, and depression, kept me from self-pity and bitterness — and helped me rebuild my life on a the rocky foundation of a condition that reared its ugly head 9 months post-partum with my son: bi-polar disorder. That was the hardest battle. When it hit, it hit very hard. I was very sick and it took the best minds and hearts in the psychiatric community in the Twin Cities to put together the plan that saved me. And it took an enormous force of will on my part. Pure fight and will to live and build and have a new life. Get my job back, get a family again, be a whole person again and I really didn’t know or care in what order. The quote above was like an echo for me. I was stripped bare in every way. Lost my nuclear family: my husband and my boy, my job was on hold, my mind was in turmoil and not my friend as it had always been. I was just raw Libby. So I was honest about everything. I put up no fronts, sugar coated nothing. No more cockiness of my youth, my smart mouth had been replaced with bare bones honesty…what you saw was what you got. My best girlfriend and I were remembering this time today together at lunch. She said she felt inadequate to know what to do for me. I said, “You were great! You were there for me. You visited me in the hospital. The cage. How much better does it get?” We laughed together. The first guy she met in the hospital told her he was Jesus Christ. She told me. I said yeah, he told me the same thing too, his name is Michael.” We laughed again. Boy if you can laugh about your life, not just later, but during the nightmarish times, you have been given the greatest gift of all. Which brings me to my other theory: I come from hearty stock. My paternal grandmother was the strongest woman I ever met. And she could find something funny in any situation. She was a survivor. My dad, now that I’m older says I remind him more and more of her and honestly I couldn’t be more complimented!

I don’t have a picture of her, but I’ve got one of dad and I which is almost the same thing, the three of is look alike!

Dad and I


Well my dad saw me making a new life for myself. I had a new job at a different company. I didn’t like the old place when I tried to go back to it. And I was doing some writing at this job. I was happy and fit, jogging, that sort of thing. He said, “Would you like to meet someone?” I said, like a guy? He said yes. and I said sure. So two weeks later he picked me up at work and drove me to his place and introduced me to the man I was made for: Mike Sweiger. Needless to say we hit it off and were married approximately 4-1/2 months later, all the while planning a beautiful wedding. How did things progress so fast? I don’t really know. We were best friends from the start. Fell in love and were engaged within weeks and started to plan the wedding. Mike even asked my Dad to lunch to ask for my hand! In all solemnity, my dear dad said yes, but promise me one thing Mike, make her wait at least 3 years before she gets pregnant again, her body and mind need the rest. And I did! And he was right. Both Dad and Mike. I was married to a dear man, one I could trust to look out for the very best for me. One with a heart who loved God and loved me and loved and would always protect and keep strong our little family. It was the happiest end to a really tough story and all I can say is we were made for each other.

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