Letter To My Parents

A Letter To My Parents: 14 Years Past

Granted, this is a letter written in retrospect to my parents about my illness and what happened as it began. In writing this I aim to show parents what it can be like when your child is going through an unexpected episode of bipolar, and to show the priceless value of parental support through a child’s struggle with bipolar disorder. 


Dear Mom & Dad,

Do you recall how depressed I was in 2003? It seemed like I was on the brink of the blackest bottoming out. Then without notice, my mind was a buoy, bobbing on cresting waves of euphoria.

Evidently, the changes I went through my junior year of high school lent themselves to my breakdown. I guess the switch to private school wasn’t all I expected it to be. I wanted a Christian education with a Biblical worldview, but it wasn’t black and white that way. I was ignored by my classmates, sidelined for my poor soccer performance, shamed for being late or showing any opposition to the rules, and undermined when I began to have a voice.

My actions and behaviors may have been a bit strange, especially when I stalked my class crush, but I don’t think I meant to embarrass him or you. I simply wanted everything to fall into place. After all, there’s a place for everything, and a time for everything. I was just listening to my instincts…I think.

The days were trying. Mom, I remember you meeting my spiritual awakening with such a fear…even an unwanted denial. Dad, I felt as though you barely saw the depressed me. And then when I began to get happy again, Mom, you didn’t know what to do. I’m sorry for jumping on the car and trying to call my classmate at 7:00 am on a Saturday morning. Dad, I’m sorry I didn’t know my spontaneous raps and rhymes were really a manic high. Though it was pretty cool I could do that, wasn’t it?

I apologize for such crazy behaviors, but I understand that at the time none of us had a clue what I was going through. There was no one to brief us on the surprises that bipolar disorder would bring. Who would have known I was destined to break from reality and be disposed to this burden of a disease? It wasn’t like there was a handbook that came with me at birth letting you know “at sixteen, Katie will quickly descend into bipolar depression and need immediate psychiatric care.” There simply wasn’t a sign or foretelling clue. At all.

So, not only do I apologize, but I thank you. I thank you for the patience you bore as my symptoms emerged. I thank you for getting me to a psychiatrist when you did. I thank you for your support and unwavering presence while I was in the hospital for 21 days. I thank you for your work to get me to an outpatient clinic for more help. I thank you for advocating for me at school, to keep me in classes so I could finish my studies to pass for the year. I thank you for your hearts of compassion, to see me at my worst and love me unconditionally. And I thank you for all the time and effort that went into keeping me well. You were my biggest supporters. I couldn’t have made it out as well as I did without you.

To God be the glory. He was there in providing me the parents you have been to me. I hope this gives my story more clarity and closure for you. I love you.

Your daughter,



2 thoughts on “A Letter To My Parents: 14 Years Past

  1. Upon Being Healthy says:

    This is amazing. What a great letter to your family.

    I always wonder if it’s “easier” (and I use air quotes lightly) for people were diagnosed in the last few years than it was for us in the 80s and 90s. I start exhibiting signs in the late 80s/90s but my parents ignored them out of fear.

    I wonder if some of the fear that my parents had and still have is because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. I know that some of their fear is from personal scary experiences with a family member.

    I think it’s amazing that your parents are your allies. That is truly a blessing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Katie R. Dale says:


      Thanks for your feedback. I think what has helped my parents is the support they found when they invited others to help the situation. I know my mom is a very critical thinker in that she would ask the questions of the social workers, doctors, and mental health workers. My dad, bless him, was able to use up health insurance from his work to take care of the hospital bills. He did have a tough time reconciling my odd behavior with the diagnosis and its reality. And my husband has been my biggest fan 100%. I’ll be interviewing him in a future post. And perhaps even my parents. I am blessed to have the family I have. Nothing close to perfect, but once they understood, unconditionally supportive.


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