This is another edition of my ongoing series of feature articles of my fellow bloggers in the mental illness community. The complete series is here. This feature is Katie R. Dale.
Living with Faith in a Bipolar Life
What hold’s the fabric of our existence when we struggle in a single day? It’s a question each of us in the mental illness community must find or are actively seeking. It can be anything that helps you get through the hardest moments in your life. People have turned inward to meditation as a way to understand the “why” in their existence. Other’s find their place in writing their story down, and finding why they struggle. Some of us turn to faith.
Katie R. Dale, a young woman from Warrensburg, Mo, has found her place within her diagnosis of Bipolar One. The grace of God. It helps Katie to have faith when dealing with the daily struggle of her mental illness.
“He’s the one holding my life together,” Katie explains about the present and her faith in God. “That entails a relationship with Him. That means reading His word daily, praying, having family and friends support me. It also means having a purpose, a job, and the miracle of medication.”
Katie’s official diagnosis is Bipolar One disorder. The journey Katie has to take to get the right diagnosis started at the age sixteen. It was a time of major life change for Katie as she was switching from public to private school. Katie fell into a deep depression and at this age that she began her first inpatient stay. It was at the juvenile psychiatric ward, and it was where she received the diagnosis of Bipolar One.
“The doctor didn’t diagnose me at that age, but it got to a point where it stuck.”
When Katie met with her psychiatrist, the doctor prescribed an antidepressant. Katie made a request to switch her medicine to a different antidepressant. The switch was cold turkey, and in turn, it made her go further into psychosis.
Katie remembers her life before her early experiences with Bipolar disorder.
“I lived a happy, and healthy childhood. It was a relatively normal life. I was always creative. I was into writing, drawing, computer graphics, and challenging the status quo of thinking,” Katie remembers.
Once the realization came over Katie that she was mentally ill, it was too late for her. When her next hospitalization came, it was because she needed help yesterday.
“But, the hospital admitted me, fortunately. I need to get a steady dose of medication. It was imperative to have medical professionals track my behaviors around the clock.”
Katie considers herself blessed. When dealing with the daily struggles of life. Katie doesn’t struggle with symptoms or the side effects of medication. In working through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Katie has found her way to deal. A teachable spirit and a positive attitude became how Katie hashes out her issues in life.
“Thus, I approach my daily challenges in stride.”
Even with her can-do attitude, Katie’s mental illness has affected her life in the past.
“Mental illness was once possessive and oppressive thing that kicked my butt,” Katie explains. Once I heeded the wisdom of my doctors and started a daily regiment of medication it started to change me. I now work my issues through with CBT.”
Now for Katie her mental illness doesn’t affect her daily life, “It hasn’t affected me. Except now accept it. I will gladly share my struggles and successes with others. Nothing is impossible with God. With God, impossible is nothing. Mental illness happens. Mankind is fallen and we’re not perfect. But God is faithful. And allowed this sickness to affect me insomuch as His grace has prevailed through all.”
Katie wants to share within the confines of this feature article her wisdom of her journey. First Katie wants to express that you should let shame come from the fear of having a mental illness. To put out the fire of the stigma surrounding mental illnesses we must project courage.
“It is a blessing if we learn from it, and share that with those around us without fear or shame.”
When writing these feature articles I prefer to also get to know the blogger side of my interviewee. Not only their story. That means perusing their website. I get to see what they bring to the table as a writer for the mental illness community. That is the point of why bloggers in the community write. One of the most powerful forms of sharing experiences is through writing.
It was amazing what I found on Katie’s blog. Bipolar Brave. One of the first articles on her blog site that caught my eye was Why I Say ‘I Have Bipolar’ and ‘I Am Bipolar.’ This blog post she has this to say, and its one that we all can relate. I know it does for The Bipolar Writer.
“When I say I’m bipolar, I am addressing the illness because it lives in me! It does not own me, but it begets the symptoms and characteristics of bipolar disorder, therefore I am characteristic of that disorder. I am bipolar.” – excerpt from Bipolar Brave.
It is therapeutic to write about your experiences in a blog. It is the same for Katie. It has opened up doors for Katie. It is through her shared experiences on her blog Bipolar Brave that Katie is able to encourage others. This is a nice bonus for Katie to be able to share her story on her blog. I would recommend Katie’s blog to anyone living with Bipolar disorder.
“By his stripes, we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
The little things in life are what keeps us going when dealing with a mental illness like Bipolar. Katie turns to her faith and all things that lead her down the right path to God and her diagnosis.
“Christ’s sacrifice on the cross means many things to me,” Katie explains about her faith and mental illness. Among those things is largely the reason I can live and have a whole mind. Since claiming victory in the life I have with Christ. Believing he has given me eternal life in Him, I am more confident that He gave me my sanity back. He makes it all worth living. Even the darkest day has a glimmer of light because of Him.”
Katie is true to her faith and believes in His love. She can’t resist Him. It is her faith that keeps her moral compass centered. In her faith, Katie believes that even if she were to take her life, she wouldn’t be going to hell.
“It’s not the unforgivable sin. He and the blessings He’s given me in the form of my family, friends, and health. Make life worth living.”
In Katie’s life writing has always been a great and important thing. Katie is currently looking for a publisher for her memoir. She plans to try the traditional way of publishing if possible. If not she looks to self-publish sometime this year. Katie plans the memoir to reflect the name of her blog, Bipolar Brave.
I write these feature articles about the different members of the mental illness community because it feels right. It is a way for me to further end the stigma surrounding mental illness. I am amazed that the human beings I write about are real people. People I can relate to every day.
Katie is an amazing human being, writer, and blogger. The way that she exudes confidence in all she does with her faith is astounding. It took me years to say “I am Bipolar, and that isn’t a bad thing.” Katie found her place and is in a place of solace with her faith. It was a pleasure to share another story here on The Bipolar Writer.
You can find Katie @ www.BipolarBrave.com
Author: James Edgar Skye