Diane

I am grateful that my bipolar disorder has been stable for over twenty years after ten years on the bipolar roller coaster. After many brushes with death, hospitalizations and ping pong treatment of my dual disorders, I was able to take my bipolar illness seriously once I got sober. Mixing my medication plan with the doctor’s plan did not work well in treating my illness, in fact, it prolonged my ability to recover.

After I got stable, a crazy thing happened. I fell in love with a man who had an undetectable mental problem. Several years after we were married he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. His illness has been quite a challenge over the years, but his doctors are now amazed.

My personal recovery from mental illness and various addictions gave me a unique sensitively to my husband’s illness, which helped him tremendously. We are diligent about caring for ourselves and each other. Together we gained insight into what very few people understand and have been able to live full and successful lives.

We marvel at our lives, so I wrote about our amazing journey. It took me seven years to write our love story, In Sickness and in Mental Health but it is worth it when I see how our story is opening people’s eyes. It gives a transparent look at mental illness from both sides – living with and loving someone with mental illness. I am thrilled that minds are being changed.

It isn’t easy to tell the world that my husband and I have such serious mental illnesses, especially in our community where we are respected business owners. People see us as successful people living “normal” lives, so I hope that by coming out of the shadows, we shatter the stigma. I am excited to share our experience and our genuine hope for recovery.

When my husband and I began to open up to our friends, we received acceptance and compassion which did wonders for our mental health. It actually accelerated our recovery.
Like Bring Change 2 Mind, I hope to change society’s perception of mentally ill people so that we are not all feared or ostracized. When those of us with mental illness are better understood, we will receive greater compassion. That will bring change 2 mind.

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