But Deliver Me From Crazy by Katie R. Dale is a memoir of living with bipolar disorder. You may know Katie from her blog, and she also contributed a story about bipolar I to my book Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis.
The book begins when Katie was in high school, when her illness first appears. Her mania was accompanied by a strong psychotic element as well as hyper-religiosity, and it was interesting to read her descriptions of that. Psychosis doesn’t get talked about that often, so I think it’s really valuable when people are able to share the day-to-day reality of psychosis like this.
While Katie’s family was supportive, it sounds like they really didn’t have a clue what was going on, and had to learn it on the fly. She did end up requiring hospitalization, but found a combination of meds that worked well.
Jumping forward several years, Katie was stable and had gotten married. Many of us have not-so-good going off medication stories, and Katie’s began after being inspired by something a televangelist said about healing.
She ended up becoming manic/psychotic, and much of the book is devoted to that time as the illness was building and she was in and out of hospital. She writes about her psychotic experiences that still feel real, even though she knows they were not.
She’s very open about what’s like to be a patient on a psych ward and critical of decisions not to put her back on the meds that worked for her. At the conclusion of the book, she provides recommendations for improving the system of mental health care. She writes
I realize that is not encouraging to someone who is considering getting hospitalized for their mental health crisis, but I wouldn’t sugar coat the experience just so that someone else would be more encouraged to get hospitalized.
What I found most interesting about this book is Katie’s perspective as someone who’s devoutly religious, and then becomes hyper-religious when unwell. She seems to have found an effective way to reconcile all of it. She frames taking medication in this way:
I give God the glory for His infinite wisdom and grace in the distribution of medications through the scientists, pharmacists, and doctors that I needed in order to find my deliverance from my crazy.
Katie did a really good job of capturing the experience of being manic and psychotic. I think this is an especially powerful read for anyone who’s struggling with making sense of their illness in terms of their religious beliefs. Katie’s message about medication is certainly one that deserves to be heard more widely.
But Deliver Me From Crazy is available on Amazon (affiliate link).
Visit Katie on her blog at Katie R. Dale.