Discernment and bipolar disorder


How would you differentiate a genuine vocation amid the obsessive side of this mental illness?


You don’t.

Discernment is not something you do alone. You need spiritual direction to determine if you do, in fact, have a vocation.



Are you talking about a vocation to religious life? Some type of psychological evaluation and/or counseling is usually required as part of the discernment process for every candidate. Speak to the vocations director for the diocese of for an oder you are interested in to get more specific direction.


Monja, you’re asking a very deep and profound question. As someone with bipolar, you know firsthand the struggles and the painful experiences of feeling somehow distant from your own personal truth. I know some people in the religious vocations in other churches who struggle with BP and they are able to lead successful careers, though it is difficult for them sometimes.

How are you doing with your meds? Are they making you feel pretty consistently OK? This can make a big difference to you as you begin this journey to a vocation. Thats the thing, you DO have a vocation, a sacred path, regardless of whether or not you will become part of the ordained ministry. Is it to become a priest or nun? Its just as sacred to become a spouse or a parent.

Who are you on the inside? What moves you? What are your skills?

Do you have a spiritual director or a priest in your parish that you turn to? Please reach out to someone and receive some help.

If you are feeling an intense call, to the point of it being something distracting or overwhelming, please tell your counselor or therapist. If they are good, they will respect your spirituality and help you consider this. Your well being is God’s number 1 concern, so please be sure you are feeling well and receiving help so you can do the holy work of finding your vocation.


It’s difficult, but not impossible, to discern with a mental illness. I have depression and anxiety. I also have to take a mood stabilizer because my depression medicine doesn’t work as well as it used to by itself. I’ve spoken with the religious order coming to my parish next year and they said they will allow me to try the life as long as I pass the psychological exam. My pastor introduced me to them and he knows me very well. I’ve been VERY active in the life of the Church, so that helps tremendously. If you have someone to back you up to say that you are outgoing and active, then all the better!

Like the others have said, it really helps to have regular spiritual direction. I am unable to receive such help as my pastor and assistant priest are VERY busy running the extra large parish I am in. I used to have one at another Church, but he became very busy as well so I haven’t been able to find one since. Good SD’s are like gold – once you find them, hang on to them!

All the best to you! You are in my prayers on this World Day of Prayer for Vocations. :thumbsup:


I’m actually just starting out with bp…



I wish you well and will pray for you. Be about keeping yourself healthy and also try to connect with a Catholic chaplain at the place you're getting treatment or at your church. You are on a powerful path to healing. God calls us all in our ways, but so importantly through our challenges in life and our imperfections.There we feel our need for Him.


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