I just want to share a thought I’ve had recently about facing the challenges of mental illness. Instead of running away from bipolar disorder, when it made it’s grand entrance into our lives a few years ago, I decided to run at it!
How does someone run at something as severe as bipolar disorder? It almost seems it would be easier to hide rather than face it. Well…I ran at it in many ways. The day we brought Kim home from the hospital, after her second suicide attempt, I found myself withering physically as well as mentally. And then…as a mother would do…I stood up and made the decision to do something.
1). I took graduate clinical counseling classes to fulfill a lifelong dream of helping others. 2). I read the Karla Smith Foundation brochure I was given at the hospital.
3). I checked out their website: http://www.karlasmithfoundation.org/
4). I purchased their book: The Tattered Tapestry.
5). I read the Smith’s story and discovered I was not alone.
6). I started attending KSF mental illness family support group meetings.
7). I connected with KSF and signed up to be a volunteer.
8). Along side KSF I went with Bill for seven days to Ottawa, Kansas to help build a home for the beautiful Hill Family.
9). I made new friendships that I can tell will be lifelong and will help carry us along throughout our journey.
10). I started blogging about our volunteer experiences as well as our experiences with a loved one with a severe mood disorder and the amazing people we are meeting along the way!
11). I volunteered at the 5th annual KSF Dinner Auction in November.
12). I spoke publicly alongside my husband at the KSF dinner auction to over 300 people about our experience with the bipolar disorder and suicide attempts of our daughter.
13). I began volunteering with The Balanced Mind Foundation.
14). I accepted an invitation to be interviewed in December by three students who attend MICDS in St. Louis for a documentary about mental illness.
15). I continue to take care of myself by pursuing things I love to do such as writing!
That is how I ran at bipolar disorder in 2011, and I plan to run at it with just as much passion in 2012 in hopes of continuing to raise awareness, to let others know that they are not alone, to advocate, to help erase the stigma, and to provide support to anyone facing a similar challenge…and for my beautiful family.