To my family and friends:
I’m sitting in the chair by my new bookcase, sipping some Corvus coffee while my fluffy pup, Beowulf, snoozes at my feet. I’ve been staring at my computer screen, wondering about how to start this post, and I’ve decided just to dive in.
As many of you know, I was diagnosed in 2013 with Bipolar I disorder. Since then, I’ve had three major episodes and what feels like a thousand mini ones. After the diagnosis, my life got turned upside down. I’d been a Christian my whole life, but I was, for the first time, confronted with some tough questions: Where is God in pain? Where is God in silence? And where in the world is God in mental illness?
These questions turned me away from my faith for a while. A long while, actually. I wallowed in my disbelief and turned, once again, back to disordered eating and an unhealthy body image. (Disordered eating = any kind of unhealthy relationship with food.)
I started an MFA program about two years ago. It was actually during my time in that MFA program that I began to return to the God of my childhood. Writing my thesis forced me to confront my issues with my Bipolar disorder, my body, and my beliefs. The written word is transformative.
I used to rant and rave via the blog when I was in college, but I think (hope) I’ve grown up a little since then. Eventually, I’d like to start an online spot in which we open up about our faith struggles in the midst of mental illness. So many people of faith struggle with all sorts of mental health issues: depression, anxiety, body image issues…so why don’t we talk about it more?
The first baby step in this endeavor? Transforming the blog. It’s going to take a while–I know that–but I’ve got to start somewhere. In this blog, starting this spring and into summer, I’ll open up about my life in order to help you do the same. I imagine that there will be posts about all sorts of things, but mainly any of these three topics: bipolar, body, and belief.
My thesis-turned-book explores these three topics at greater length, and one day I’d like to get that book published so that even more people can engage with these ideas and join the conversation. But before I am able to do that, I need to have a platform. I basically need to prove to a publisher that people care and will read about the intersection of faith and mental illness. No one is going to read the book of a person with no followers.
That’s why I need you.
You are the ones who can help me build a platform. I need you to do the sharing, re-posting, re-tweeting, re-everything. I used to pride myself on being a social media ghost, but now I have to do the opposite. It’s daunting, so I need your help. As I start posting, I’m asking for your help to start sharing.
Would you help me out by following me on Twitter and liking my Facebook page “Anna Shane Stadick”? (I don’t even know how to use Twitter, so it’ll be a steep learning curve.)
And I would love for you to subscribe to my email list so that you are notified whenever I write a new post. And if you like pictures of a fluffy puppy named Beowulf, you’ll probably like my Instagram.
If you’d like to write a guest post, or just share your story with me so that I can share it with others, just let me know! I want to welcome as many voices into this conversation as possible.
If you don’t consider yourself a person of faith, I still want to welcome you to read the blog. Don’t re-post if you’re not comfortable with it, but don’t give up on me just because we may have differences of belief.
So, stay tuned. Be prepared for some posts coming your way over the next couple of weeks and months and, if you’re willing, get ready to share them.