Red Vine Spirituality

Taylor K. Arthur balances Bipolar 1 Disorder, marriage, and motherhood with a nitty-gritty faith inspiring a twisted, blissful life.

Tag: Bipolar Mom

What No One Tells You At Your Baby Shower

Motherhood keeps surprising me. I just relaxed into the routine of summer with kids home full-time lolly gaggin’ around the house and whining bored. I just settled into morning snuggles and afternoon swims, grilled dinners on paper plates after the sun sets to our backs. Now it’s over. And this turning of the seasons from green grass to golden leaves always stings me just a bit. Why? It’s more than just summer being ended or school beginning; a whole season has packed up and left me. We’ve phased in seasons from summer to fall, but as a family, from babies to big boys. And this mama stares change in the face again, to find her way into a new season, to swim the current of motherhood’s phasing. Continue reading

Bipolar Mama: Careful

Sometimes even the good things in life can cause me to start feeling bipolar disorder symptoms.

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

Psalm 139: 1-2

Life’s a little hectic around here these days. There’s the big wedding in two weeks. Then, there’s the bridal tea the week before that wedding I’m excited to host with my sister-in-crime, Karolina. I’m taking a writing class and writing my butt off, sending out queries and book proposals. The weeds are growing high in the front gardens with no mama to root them out. There’s teacher appreciation week just wrapped up, a different themed treat each day for the staff at the boys’ school, every door decorated, every teacher smiling. There’s birthdays heading up around the bend and a kindergarten graduation. And the hole in my hallway? My gutted bathroom? Oh, yes, it’s all still there. That project starts this week . . .

I don’t know why life seems to hit all at the same time, why the weeds grow when they know I have to write. Why this time of year, as my first peony unfurls her vanilla center scantily clad with her hot pink petals, explodes with party invites and holidays.

I know I’ve hit my limit when I’m riding the Nordstrom escalator the other night and can’t hold back tears. Why are you crying? my accuser chides me. I don’t know I blubber back. And even though I don’t feel like it, I start praying right there on that escalator. Sometimes I need Him to search me, for Him to give me the answers. I need a clean line of sight when I can’t find true north, even when the only things crowding the way are good things. We weren't meant to blunderbuss through every emotion and trigger that can cause bipolar symptoms. Sometimes we need to be a little careful with our hearts.

As I move from store to store and dig through my purse to find the receipt for the boys’ ties, a kind whisper stops me, mid-stride: “It’s Dad, Tay.”

A rush of relief moves through me, and I stand with people streaming all around, in the middle of the mall, breathing in this understanding. Of course it is, Lord.

The accuser has no voice here, and there is no more confusion. In the midst of all of this wonderful, there is sadness in every step. And now that I see the twisted bliss, I know what I need to do. I need to be very careful.

This aching heart needs some shelter, a lot of sleep, and some time in her garden. This mama’s heart needs deep breaths and time snuggling her boys. Life needs to be slow right now: less phone time, less Facebook, more peace.

We weren’t meant to blunderbuss through every emotion and every trigger. Sometimes we need to just be a little careful with our hearts. If it means putting off a remodel, or staying home from a few parties, that’s what I do.

This mind of mine is special. It absorbs layers of light others simply miss, and it feels the earth quake when others feel footsteps.

“Are you just being too sensitive?” is the question that pops up during these times of careful being. Yes, I am. And that’s what makes me me.

So, friend, be careful with yourself today. Be mindful of your moments of confusion. Ask for clarity, and it will be given to you. And, once you see, you can carefully tip toe past the quakes and the sunbursts. You’re worth the extra steps.



I’m running for you, brothers and sisters

. . . let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us . . .
Hebrew 12:2

Dear Bipolar friend, dear Mom or Dad of a bipolar kid, dear friend whose loved one died of madness,

This morning as I sit in my bed dog-tired from a packed, heart-breaking, heart-soaring, traffic-filled yesterday, I struggle to find my way into writing. And then, I remember you. And I remember why I’m writing on weekends and nights, why I’m missing events and postponing regular visits with friends.

I remember YOU. And I listen to this:

And I hear Paul’s words: Run the race set before you. And I know it’s my turn, friends, and I’m running, running straight to you.

I feel a dawning, a new beginning, a new way for those of us labeled, drugged up, pushed to the corners, spiritually damned in this world, only to be surprised how loved we are in the next.

It’s time, time to stand up for you. And this humble, broken, flawed servant is going to stand. for. YOU.

Change is coming.

I covet your prayers.

All my fierce heart,



Bipolar Mama: We have this anchor

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Hebrews 6:19

One of the deepest fears we bipolars live is the possibility of a relapse. I live with a chronic illness, and when it flares, it could mean my life.

Now, I know a lot of you don’t really believe me when I say that. But it’s the truth: this illness is a life and death matter for me and so many others living with it.

So, this fear? It has kept me from things. It can be disguised as good common sense, depression. But I know deep in my heart that the calling I answer today has been put on hold until I figured out how to address this fear.

Every day, sitting down to this computer, I pause and hear that fearful voice in the back of my head: What if today’s the day you get lost in the sick? What if today’s the day you can’t put down this bottle of crazy? What if it overpowers you, and you lose everything?

And so, I avoided this work. I stalled in fear.

But, friends, we are not–no matter how much we’re convinced we are–braving the waves of this illness alone. We’re riding the waves, that’s for sure. Some days, they’re kicking my butt. Somedays, I feel my ship groaning as it tries not to break apart. But, He never lets go of me.

No matter how far out on this ocean you’ve roamed, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen dry land, look for the tether and give it a tug. It’s secure. You’re anchored in.

So am I. So, as I spend another day, week, month immersed in crazy, I do what any sailor does before they set out to see:

Lord, I thank you this morning that you’re my anchor. I’m answering your call, and setting out to see. I’m tying this rope right around the middle of my soul, and I trust you to be my anchor. Give me courage, and keep me firmly fastened to you. Amen.

Let’s get’er done!


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