Christians And Mental Illness: Our Experience With Bipolar Disorder

Remembering back over ten years ago to the police officer's phone call still gives me a chill. “Mrs. Flett, We have taken your daughter to the hospital. We found her at the radio station acting very strange.” I was confused. I was in shock. Our brilliant and beautiful daughter, acting strange? There must be some mistake.

I was still in a state of confusion when the doctor diagnosed Samantha with bipolar disorder. We wondered what they were doing to her. We were afraid to let them put her on drugs. After a few days we brought her home, and I tried my best to take care of her.

She was on a high most of the time, laughing and giggling, hearing voices, and thinking she was infallible. I was constantly on edge wondering what was going on, wondering why it had happened and if it was demonic, wondering why our prayers for her recovery were not being answered, and wondering if the nightmare was ever going to end.

It was hard to see her acting, and thinking like a three year old. We prayed for her and asked others to pray. Many people thought it was demon possession, and we were not sure what to think.

There was definitely reason to believe that Satan was playing with her mind. Some days she would think there had been a rapture and we were all just figments of her imagination. Other times she would hear the voice of a movie star, telling her that he wanted to meet with her.

It wasn't until after she had done something pretty scarey that we called a Christian psychologist friend and asked for advice. “I know what you must be thinking,” he told us, “but you do need to get her to the hospital. There is something medically wrong with some of the connections in her brain. The receptors are out of control and need to be brought into line.”

I was scared enough to take his advice.

She crashed while at the hospital, and the down with it's flow of tears was as hard for me to take as the high. If she tried to read the Bible she could gain nothing but condemnation from it, and again I wondered.

She gave me permission to go through her things and throw out anything that wasn't good for her to have. I found a book and pictures of the movie star. The book was filthy and demonic. I did a thorough housecleaning of everything among her possessions that was Satanic.

During her sane times she wanted help. She asked for prayer, and during that time she let go of her obsessions. We felt that she was delivered. But the sickness was still there.

We finally realized that we were dealing with two things. Samantha had always walked the fine line of the creative genius. Her walk with the Lord and our prayers had been what kept her sane all these years, but she stepped out from under that protection when she developed an interest in the satanic movie star.

She opened the door a crack, and her mind snapped.

The mental imbalance in itself was not demonic. Bipolar disorder is a medical term for a medical condition that happens in the brain. All sickness is a result of sin in the world, and mental illness is no exception. It can often be a hereditary weakness or the result of an imbalance in the system caused by dietary deficiencies or other physical health problems.

But the devil can easily manipulate the weakened mind of the mentally ill if that mind is not thoroughly protected by prayer. When Samantha gave herself totally back to the Lord, her brain still malfunctioned, but we could see a difference in her actions and thought patterns even when she was having a break.

She learned to keep away from any of Satan's favorite tools. She got rid of her TV and tried to keep from watching it anywhere else. If she didn't, we knew there would be trouble. Satan used every foothold he could find.

We could also see the difference it made when we surrounded her with prayer. As her mother, that responsibility fell heavily on my shoulders. The connection between prayer and Samantha's safety was so great that I plan on dedicating an entire post to that topic.

Many of the questions that plagued me back when it all started happening have been answered. I now know more about bipolar disorder than I ever wanted to know. I also learned more about myself than I wished to know, but that was God's doing, and I plan on discussing it in the next post.


  1. supermom said:

    One of my brothers has Bipolar and was diagnosed 12 years ago at 22 years old. I read your story which was so similar right down to the fact that he was picked up at a radio station(he was trying to get in to talk to them) It has been a long and hard struggle for the family. My older brother since has been diagnosed with it as well. He seems a little “better” than my younger brother. My younger brother is on medicine which has to be changed often and it is hard for him to keep a job. His wife divorced him and moved away with their children. He is very depressed and rejected on top of everything else. When he had his first break down he thought he was 100 years old and would call people and think he was married to girls he had grown up with etc..My mom is so consumed with it all. I am the only child that is healthy praise be to God but I feel so much pressure. To take care of them someday(I have a bunch of kids myself. I am my moms”therapist” I am just so strung out. I know I am being selfish but I am truly overwhelmed. Are there Christian support groups or Christian group homes for people with bipolar. He just needs a little extra help to get by in life. My mom needs to have a friend she can talk to. I just can’t do it right now. I am pregnant and homeschooling. We are all Christians. My brother and my parents. People in the Christian community have been the hardest and treat him different now.. Thanks for listening.

    January 29, 2011
  2. said:

    Supermom, You have brought up a point that is so important to address in the Christian community. Christians need Christian support. I learned the hard way. If any of my readers know of Christian support groups for the mentally ill, or Christian group homes, could you please share them with us?

    January 29, 2011
  3. said:

    Supermom, You have detailed an important shortfall in the Christian community. The mentally ill desperately need our support. If any of my readers are aware of Christian support groups or Christian group homes, could you please let the readers know about them? Thanks.

    January 29, 2011
  4. Dorothy Ruppert said:

    Your experiences with bipolar in your family are very similar to mine. For way too long, Christianity and mental health providers have been out of touch with each other. This past year I published a Christian book called, “God Placed Her in My Path -Lessons Learned fromt the furnace of Bipolar Disorder. It is the story of raising a child who suffered from bipolar disorder. My husband and I are now raising two grandchildren who also suffer from it. I feel called to comfort the affected families and to break the prevalant stigma of mental illness. Thanks for sounding your voice for this issue.

    December 26, 2011
  5. Dennis Greeno said:

    I confess, when you say “Bipolar,” I say “Demonic activity.” My older sister is a Christian and apparently suffers from Bipolar. I denied it as just being mood swings, but the most recent incident is actually causing family chaos; her with her daughter/grand-daughter, my mom siding with her and ignoring the issue at hand, etc., etc. I biggest problem I see is “Christians” using this as an excuse for their behavior. The most recent incident actually involves my sister running over her daughter’s foot, and then lying to the police saying that her daughter slipped under the vehicle. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I asked her as kindly as I knew how to seek Christian counseling, if not professional help. Each time, she tried to switch the issue back to me. As a last resort, I went to visit my niece in the hospital to get her side of the story. When I did, I saw a very broken person who is hurting in more ways than the obvious. I also paid a visit to my mom, who also was admitted in the same hospital, and again she was taking my sister’s defense. With my mom being a Christian also, I insisted that her defending (my sister) is not getting her the help she needs, and asked if she would rather see her daughter in jail due to killing someone (next time), or try to correct the problem NOW before something more tragic happens. My niece may or may not be a Christian, but then again is she isn’t it could be because she hasn’t really seen where it has helped her mom any! How can one persuade a “Christian” to seek help when they deny having the problem?

    January 24, 2015
  6. Kasper C. said:

    I suffer from a form of bipolar myself (as there is many levels of bipolar) and as I sat here today, I thought to myself. Does bipolar come from Satan in some way or another? And as I searched around online to find an answer to this question I stumbled unto this webpage.
    I can’t say I’m a devoted-good-Christian, I want to be. Yet, in my life with work, and how I have to live my life, I feel trapped. Where I find myself continuely sinning and I’m sure falling farther from Gods grace in being a better Christian. Regardless of that however, I have read all the comments on this page and would like to share my experience with this illness. If I may?
    When I was younger, I had no idea what was wrong with me. I lost myself completely into a life style I am not proud of for many years in an (unknowingly) attempt of self medicating myself from all the emotions and Ups and Downs I went and still go through.
    To date, I life a better lifestyle, at least I can say I no longer do the things I once did. However, I still feel at times there is this darkness in me that wants nothing more then for me to die.
    I know that is hard for some reading this to understand or fathom. And quite honestly, it feels at times I don’t have control over my own thoughts, and emotions at times. And when I lose myself to a deep depression, anger and rage? I feel like something else has taken over.
    The only way I’ve been able to describe it to friends and family, as well as my counselor is. At times, it feels like there is two of me inside my head. A bad me, and a good me. Both of us are in a vehicle (my head in this case) and the bad me is at the wheel driving recklessly out of control trying to do everything he can to kill us both. While the good me is stuck in the back seat all tied up, screaming and holding on for dear life.
    The bad me is the darkness, in which is where I lose control of myself. The good me wants nothing more then to be happy and live a Christian way of life, yet as I said before I feel trapped.
    I know this illness isn’t easy for anyone involved, and as I read all the comments here, my heart ached due to the overwhelming fact that this takes such a toll on everyone.
    I live alone myself. I try my best to isolate myself away from others so they don’t see, or have to be burdened with what I go through. As well as what it does to them as well. With being frightened, not knowing what to do. Or worse, not caring. And letting me sit here to suffer alone.
    I applaud you all for helping those of your family that suffer from this illness. And I am so sorry it is so overwhelming to deal with. I wish there were more people like you in this world that were there for all those who don’t have anyone to be there for them.
    I wish you all the best, and hope one day (hopefully soon) a cure is found for this debilitating condition.

    May 8, 2015
  7. Von said:

    My family member suffers for bi-polar and refuses to take his medicine or get help. What can be done to help them. They had an episode and was shot, nearly killed. I fear for their safety. What advice do you have to help him

    March 5, 2016
    • Bipolar1 said:

      I know it has been over four months since you left a comment for advice, but I would still like to help. I suffer from bipolar one, and your family member MUST take their medicine. Get them to take their medicine, even if it means sneaking it in their food, shoving it down their throat, or hospitalizing them. (All of these things happened to me and I am grateful) I did not get better until I took my medicine. Also, look up different types of medicine, for example, my doctors first put me on one that reacted badly to. Look up Lithium (A widely used drug for bipolar patients) and contact a highly-reccommeneded phycologist. Prayer is important, especially to give him/ her peace of mind on their recovery, but TAKE THE MEDICINE!!!

      July 18, 2016
  8. Vicki said:

    Thank you so much for your blog posting! I think you are right. It is a combination of an existing PROGRESSIVE physical brain problem that then also MAKES a person even more vulnerable than others to having themselves taken over by/affected by negative spiritual type entities that do indeed exist (but our society pretends don’t). Television and movies and books are more truly un-good for a person’s mental, emotional and spiritual health than ever before. I have another important dimension to add to the arsenal of dealing with such terrors. BRAINS of people with bi-polar and schizophrenia have been PROVEN to often contain “toxicities” that certain hard to find licensed medical doctors are actually trained to TEST FOR through special blood tests and TREAT. This is how they get at what can be a ROOT physical CAUSE of mental illness that standard “free” medication can not and may only make worse.
    Best wishes on your journey and remember nothing God gives us to experience is for nothing. It is for us to grow.

    July 24, 2016

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