Bipolar and Call to the Mental Health Ministry

This is a great insight and post from my friend Kitt O’Malley.

Since I was in my early twenties following my grandfather’s death, I had a sense of religious calling. Now that I’m fifty-nine years old, I can look back over my life and see a purposeful pattern. Everything I learned, all my struggles, education, and work experience, gave me the knowledge and skills I needed to take care of my mental health, be a good mother, be a good wife, care for my parents when they suffered from dementia at the end of their lives, and be a mental health advocate.

That I attended my seminary in my forties, AFTER I had been voluntarily hospitalized for bipolar, indicates that my sense of calling never quite died. Given my history of mental illness, I’ve questioned my sense of religious calling, and whether I was suited for ordination and pastoral ministry.

Still, after my psychiatric hospitalization, which I discussed openly with my pastor, he recommended me for seminary. While at Fuller Seminary, I wrote a Mental Health Ministry manual. As I explored what my calling was, it became clear that I was called to a mental health ministry.

Now, I don’t even go to church. When I become involved in group activities, like attending church, I get overstimulated, overwhelmed, and overextended. I do better with solitude. Praying alone or with my husband.

Both my religious and mental health recovery journeys have led to acceptance. Acceptance is essentially a spiritual experience. Whatever your faith, whether you believe in a higher purpose, to accept yourself is to love yourself.

I am not weak. I am vulnerable. I am not perfect and flawless. I am loved, lovable, and loving. My life has meaning. My life experience gives me purpose in helping others. I am grateful that I can write and speak to share my journey with others, hoping that it inspires others to accept themselves.

Do you want to know more about Kitt? Please visit her website at:

Have a PHENOMENAL 🤩 Day.


One comment

  1. Reblogged this on Kitt O'Malley and commented:
    Thank you, Cary Brandes, for welcoming me to post on the Renegade Retailer blog at!

    Cary openly shares his story of living with bipolar. He has a thing or two to say about retail, too!

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