And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. ~ Galatians 6: 9

I was moved early this past week with a post on FB from Iris, the wife-to-be later this year of one of my sons. Opening her heart and soul and informing us that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I was touched by how boldly she expressed her own situation and her ongoing challenge with Bipolar Disorder since her diagnosis in 2012.

There are many of you within the scope of the various groups, pages, organizations and contact lists of FB and beyond with whom I interact on a daily basis, who are going through similar trials and testings, and who can be uplifted and encouraged by Iris’ testimony.

And it is with that in mind that I share her story with you. Further research led me to many uplifting stories, a few of which I’ve intertwined with that of Iris. They’re the ones in italics with first names attached.


May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I always find it important to slowly chip away the stigma of these life altering, and at times life ending, diseases by offering up my own story.

Early in my treatment for bipolar disorder, I had a doctor who urged me to accept my “disability” and pursue more “realistic” career options—ones that did not involve returning to the pressure cooker of an Ivy League university to complete my undergraduate degree. ~ Miguel

Today, it is estimated 5.9 million Americans are living with Bipolar Disorder and in April 2012, I was one more person added to that statistic.

For years, I saw my bipolar as something separate from me, a wild unknown with the power to render mania indistinguishable from reality and establish crippling depression as my new normal. ~ Terese

Statistically, my life span is expected to be 9.2 years less than my peers due to the high rates of suicide from this disease. However, I refuse to be a number that contributes to that statistic.

Fast forward three years: I am completing my final year at Harvard University. I work for an amazing nonprofit health agency that provides free medical and mental health care in disadvantaged communities. I am setting my sights towards graduate school. ~ David

Lost in Egypt? … NAH, just canoodling.

The picture attached to this is one of my favorite photos of Kyle and me. It was an adventure when we hired a boat from Jordan to Egypt and the whole day went wrong.

The Egyptian government forgot to tell us that the “Sea was closed” and there was no tour guide for this Crusaders Castle and the snorkeling was too dangerous.

On our way back, our boat broke down in the Red Sea and we slowly motored our way back to Jordan with the Israeli, Egyptian and Saudi Arabian navies looking on. Through it all though we laughed, drank the boat dry of beer, and said “what can you do?”

Accepting the reality of my rock-bottom opened the door to other important forms of acceptance. While I consider myself extremely fortunate to have a second chance, so to speak, I have come to accept that this recovery business is continuous and never-ending. ~ Julie

That’s how being bipolar feels sometimes. I feel closed off from the rest of the world, though I want to be open to everything. I feel I’m moving slowly and everything around me is moving too fast. And I feel alone, stuck in my own thoughts, because I don’t always know how to articulate what I’m feeling to those who don’t understand.

I have come to accept that my strengths cannot be separated from the challenges I face as a person living with bipolar. My big personality and bursts of creativity are connected to my periods of depression and self-isolation. ~ Denise

Iris and Kyle… they sure have great smiles, don’t they?

Regardless, modern day medicine, supporting friends and family, cardio, and the Texas sunshine make those days few and far between.

I say this to you all to say; I, Iris Summers, am proud of who I am and this hand I have been dealt. I will continue to bring awareness to this disease, and any mental health disorder, and know I am ALWAYS available as a resource to you all.

I’m just a normal 29 year old female, trying to plan a wedding to the man of my dreams with a case of the Bipolars. 

[To which yours truly adds a hearty ‘Amen’ and God’s speed to them both. Waddya say?!]

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. ~ Ecclesiastes 12: 13


Be sure to check out:  Health Awareness Month


Face of Jesus by Richard Hook

Soli Deo Gloria!