As of August 8, 2016, the Charles A. Olayinka scholarship will be permanently discontinued. Please go to http://www.top10onlinecolleges.org/scholarships-for/mental-illness/ for bipolar and other mental health scholarships. Thank you.
Charles was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the spring of 1991, a year after he graduated college. He was 23 years old. It was an illness that he hid from everyone except his immediate family, parents, and sisters, because of the stigma and misconceptions surrounding the disease.
Charles was a chess master. He had his own strategy for winning. He stayed focused on the board, anticipate the moves of his opponent and skillfully countered them. All of his mental resources went into defeating his opponent.
Charles played to win. Initially, his struggle with mental illness caused him to lose focus on the realities of life and he was unable to successfully maneuver around the many obstacles that sprang up in his path. In time and with much support from mental health professionals, family and friends he did regain his focus and, like in the game of chess, was able to put his bipolar disorder in check.
He reached a point in his life where he refused to let the negative attitudes of the misinformed affect how he lived his life. He also made a decision to be truthful and open about his illness, regardless of the outcome. There were some who abandoned him, some who remained steadfast.
Charles did not ask to be bipolar. He did not see it coming. It just happened. He lived his life with bipolar disorder, hoping for the best, but ready to deal with the worse.
Charles died in the summer of 2007 of a non-related illness. The quality of his life, after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, can be summed up in just a few words, “he took bitter and made it better.”