As of February 1st, my status with The Church Pension Fund is "Disability Retirement." I am grateful to everyone who helped make this happen. It took a village. I have been granted two years before a re-evaluation. During the second of these years I may "work" a minimum amount, and a may return to work after the two years, either fully or partially.
In some places I have been using the term "Medical Retirement." I chafe at the label "disabled." Its use is hierarchical and, ultimately, judgmental. It is part of the cultural worship of productivity being the primary measure of one's worthwhile existence.
I am going to use the coming Lenten season to shape my life with God's help. First and foremost in seeking to just be, being honest about the ways in which my being is a source of constant struggle and temptation and, therefore, in need of healing. I will look for some volunteer work to do that has nothing to do with the church, in fact I will have nothing to do with the church save being a Sunday communicant.
The challenge in all of this will be, as much as possible, to integrate my bipolar disorder into my life. This will not be, I believe, giving in to it, i.e., giving it control over my life. It is, however, a part of my life that will never go away. I am weary of fighting it, including having to call forth the extraordinary energy required to mask it publicly. That is what finally broke me last year, when I could not summon forth the public persona anymore.
It promises to be an interesting journey of much trial and error, with God's help, and that of my family and friends.