We are privileged to share blog postings from our Ambassador Jessie Close, Adrienne Gurman, Henry Boy Jenkins, and other guest bloggers.  Please visit regularly as our content will be updated often.

Fall

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I have lived with chronic depression for most of my life. I tried to figure out how to lift my mood without medication but even with exercise and light and eating the right things, I fell down the black hole. So, I take the medication my doctor prescribes and I use the light box and the sitting in the sun trick.

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A Loss of Innocence, A Loss of Life

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This morning, as I scrolled through my Facebook feed wondering which of the numerous pictures in memory of 9/11 I should adopt for my profile, I felt conflicted. My profile and cover pictures were about Suicide Prevention Week. It felt wrong, disrespectful of this national tragedy to NOT change to a 9/11 theme. But it also felt wrong to push aside something that was so woven into my everyday life, personally and professionally.

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Untamed Heart

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My collections of music and movies and games do not inform my emotions. Rather, they are my emotions. By this definition, I can find joy and sorrow, adventure and strife. I can love. This may be the result of a lifetime of maverick psychosis, as I am only aware of this function in recent years.

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Taming the Lion

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I pride myself on having married a man who loves me dearly, and the brilliant light I’m gifted with daily from our beautiful son. I’m a productive, active member of our community, living a life I never dreamed possible.

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Back to School

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Mental illness is, in my belief, chronic. That means we’re not out of the woods forever. The disease is in remission, and hopefully will stay that way for a long, long time. Our psychiatrist has a goal of getting his patients to a point where they can, even briefly, feel well, so that they have something to fight for, an ‘eye on the prize’, hope.

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Starting Over

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People whom you normally wouldn’t think to speak to can actually be going through very similar circumstances. Saying hello to someone can change his or her day dramatically…it does mine.

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Reality Check

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I take my advocacy seriously. When I was invited to blog for Bring Change 2 Mind, I decided to share my story in such a way that others living with mental health issues might glean a kernel of hope. Maybe I could inspire them to find acceptance in a world filled with prejudice and shame. I would need to be courageous when I was afraid, and outspoken when I was shy.

I hoped that I could provide a fresh perspective on the subject of mental illness by being open and honest about my ups and downs. I wanted to offer the lawmakers, families, caregivers, and friends reading this blog an opportunity to see a bigger picture, one where the individual is not their diagnosis. I would need to offer data in lieu of opinion, and experience instead of conjecture.

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Defining Stigma

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Recently I had the honor of representing Bring Change 2 Mind at a press conference for philosophy’s Hope & Grace Initiative. I had been featured in a short film underscoring the realities of mental illness. The cosmetic company will be giving 1% of their proceeds to grass root organizations supporting and advocating for mental health awareness and wellness.

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Smile for the Camera

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I was not born depressed. I have proof. The images of me in old photo albums show a normal, happy child. A wide grin appears on my face as I’m being passed around from my mom, to her mom, to my dad’s mom, to aunts, uncles, cousins, and close family friends. My smiles were real. I can tell. The yellowed tape that still barely adheres the pictures to the cardboard pages is a stark contrast to my bright, alert eyes and pearly-white smile. “Let’s see some teeth!” my dad, an orthodontist, used to say as he focused his camera lens and clicked away. It’s ironic that so many years later I’d be using these images as concrete evidence that I didn’t come into this world with anything close to the chronic depression I developed in adolescence.

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