My parents were raised in Roman Catholic families; my mother left the Church in her 30’s.
I was baptized Catholic, and even though I didn’t go through the full “process” of Catholicism, I still attended mass with my grandparents on hundreds of Sundays.
I observed Lent and was often guilt-ed using The 10 Commandments.
During my battle with mental illness, my personal relationship with God has been tumultuous. There are some years when I can’t live without talking to God daily; other years I have completely abandoned Him.
Ultimately, though, I know God is taking me along my path.
To me, my struggle with bipolar disorder is directly related to my spirituality.
Having mental illness has showed me just how important faith and prayer can be.
Not all of us are religious or spiritual, but those of us that are should feel comfortable with both sides of the coin.
It only makes sense to me that places and entities of worship be educated about and sensitive to members with mental illness.
Celebrity evangelical pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, is starting a mental health ministry following the recent suicide of his 27-year-old son Matthew.
Matthew suffered through years of depression before he died last April.
Warren will team up with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange to raise awareness about mental health in the faith community.
On March 28, the group will host the Gathering on Mental Health and the Church. It’s a day-long event at Warren’s Saddleback Church that will cover a wide range of mental health issues, including bipolar disorder.
Warren is on a mission. He feels that God is bringing him through his suffering in order to change something.
As someone with a mental illness, I feel that my suffering too can be used for good.
That is where my spirituality intersects with my pain. I feel that there must be a bigger reason for all of this.
If I didn’t put faith into that, I might not be here.
It’s the only way, and I know this is all happening for a reason.
I commend Rick Warren for speaking out about mental illness in the wake of his son’s death, instead of hiding from it.
Facilitating understanding in the religious and spiritual community allows people with mental illness to feel comfortable with their faith.