BringChange2Mind

About Our Authors

Marc

During Marc’s freshman year at Syracuse University, he had a psychotic episode. He was hospitalized and spent a semester on medical leave. After returning to school, Marc worked his way back onto the Dean’s List and in 2007 was recognized by the Harry S. Truman Foundation as one of the country’s 65 top future public servants in his graduating class. Currently, he is a graduate student at the Clinton School of Public Service. From January 2009 to January 2010, he worked as a chapter coordinator for Active Minds. Most recently he served as a field organizer for Mark Critz for Congress in Pennsylvania.

His blogging experience includes serving as Students.BarackObama.com blog director, a Change/Wire blog editor, US Public Service Academy blog director, and contributing blogger to the V3 Campaign. Marc is excited to be a member of the BC2M team and invites you to check out his personal blog on living with bipolar disorder, BipolarRealities.com.






Jeremy

Jeremy has been working as a mental health advocate since 2002.  He began his early work while in high school as a co-founder of Caring, Outreach, and Prevention for Everyone (COPE), a program dedicated to educating his community about the warning signs of suicide and depression.  He also served on his town’s Substance Abuse Prevention Commission and its Suicide Prevention Grant Committee as the sole student liaison to both organizations.

In college, Jeremy became the Founding President of Active Minds at UConn, dedicated to de-stigmatizing mental health on college campuses.  From there, he was selected to serve on the Active Minds’ Student Advisory Committee comprised of fifteen student leaders from across North America, and quickly elected President by his peers.  After graduating from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in political science and sociology, he worked as the Director of Marketing for Energy Inside.  He currently serves on the Active Minds Alumni Network’s Executive Council and Co-chairs the Fundraising and Communications Committees, as well as the Connecticut Youth Suicide Advisory Board.


Linea

Linea is 25 years old and a recent college graduate from Seattle University. At the age of 19 Linea was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, leading her to pursue a career in mental health awareness, specializing in youth advocacy. Today she spends most of her time speaking nationally about mental health, advocacy, youth voice, and transition.  She has recently accepted an offer from Saint Martin’s Press to publish her first book. Visit Linea’s website here: www.lineacinda.com, and her personal blog here: lineajohnson.blogspot.com

Linea’s Favorite Youth Friendly Resources

  • NAMI’s Strength Of Us: Wonderful social networking website for young adults living with mental health conditions
  • The Jed Foundation’s Half of Us: A campaign raising awareness of the prevalence of mental health conditions on college campuses while offering support, resources, education, and personal stories.
  • Active Minds: Utilizes student voice to spread mental health awareness on campuses around the country.
  • Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation’s FlipSwitch: Helping youth in their teens and 20s connect and better understand depression and bipolar disorder.
  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance’s Facing Us: A wellness tracking tool that provides inspiration and support for people living with mood disorders.

Keith

Keith was born on November 10, 1960, in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. He graduated from Dalhousie  Law School in 1983 and practiced law for three years. He then attended University College London, England, and obtained his Master in Laws in 1987. Keith returned to practice until 2003 at which time he was diagnosed with depression. He lost his health and career in the span of 5 days.

Keith has recovered and in the last two years he has become a mental health advocate. He has spoken at two national conferences in Canada and presented a speech in his hometown at the 5th Annual Living With Mental Illness Conference before an audience of 550. Keith has had articles appear in publications of the Canadian Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Keith thinks it is important, perhaps even incumbent on those who can, to speak / write about  mental illness, for all to benefit.

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5 Comments »

  1. Hi Keith,

    I followed your blogs and they are wonderful..Congrats on your road of Recovery. It sounds like you may have found your Calling as well. We definitely need more people with the experience to assist others.

    You posted a minute ago to check your Blog and that is what I did. I have just begun online Advocating myself, with limited pc skills but I just keep on going.

    I admire all that your doing, so keep up the good work.

    Penny

    Comment by Penny Sherwood — August 1, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

  2. Hi Keith. I found out I was Bipolar I in 1994. I was working in the healthcare field as a very smart,mentally sharp, skilled RN. I went on disability in 1995. Since that time, I have done volunteer work in my career field, I have helped many people, yet I cannot find my nitch. I do not feel I can work yet and am still on disability. I live in an area of the country where I remain , shall we say, “In the Closet” with my Bipolar Disorder. My husband, family and friends treat me as “different” because they know I am Bipolar, not that I am behaving differently. I have a label now and I hate it. It hurts my feelings to be so mistreated. My relationship with my spouse and family has changed since the diagnosis. My parents were of the generation that if you went to see a Psychiatrist or therapist you were ” KooKoo” and should be locked away in the funny farm. Needless to say, I have old taboos to try to deal with or ignore and get on with my life. I have chosen the latter. I find I am very shy to let others know the real , total package for fear they will leave me once they hear I am Bipolar. Does anyone else still struggle with these stigmas and how do you bust through it all or work around it? I am scared to share with people who become good close friends for I once told a friend about my Bipolar and she backed off as if she had seen a ghost. I was so hurt. I need some good advice. Thanks.

    Comment by Linda — September 13, 2010 @ 1:46 am

    • Hi Linda, I am so sorry that we have not responded until now. I understand the pain and fear that comes with disclosing your illness. Sometimes we get the wrong reaction and it can just break your heart. Though I cannot say I know how you feel I have certainly felt betrayed and let down because others could not understand my illness. It took me a long time to get to the point where I can realize that that is their issue. They are not understanding something that is normal and human, and whether they try and can’t or are unwilling to try in the first place, you are the one that is being honest, open, and brave, even if it is only through this one comment. You are the one that is doing the right thing and demonstrating your strength and intelligence. I am so sorry that you have received so many wrong responses, but you are in good company here. Please also check out our BC2M facebook site (http://www.facebook.com/BringChange2Mind) and you will find even more people that really “get it”. There is nothing wrong with you, simply people who are too afraid to listen and learn.
      -Linea, BC2M Volunteer

      Comment by BringChange2Mind — October 21, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

  3. Hi Keith
    I am in a position that I have had to take FMLA due to my illness to keep from losing my job. It has been a long road for me. I was diagnosed first with PTSD after my husband lost his arm in an auto accident, went through hurricane Andrew, and then had to have major surgery. This was between 1988 to 1996. I have had my ups and downs. Right now it is as bad as it has ever been. The last two years have been hard with my daughter going through a rough period in her marriage and I had to take care of her and the children in all respects, financially and emotionally. Things ended up working out and then she was diagnosed with a heart condition. She has since had surgery and is somewhat stable. Then after a medical screening they found a large mass in my head. I ended up with a rush trip to the Mayo and having Gamma Ray knife surgery. I came home and my mother became ill and passed away a week later. Through all this I have tried to keep my job up. It was about 5 weeks after my mom passed that my husband had a fall and ended up having emergency brain surgery twice. He could not return to work and now I am in charge again of taking care of everything and I do not feel up to it. I have a boss that is trying to make life hard for me and has told me the organization comes first my health second. He expects more out of me and crying is INAPPROPRIATE OFFICE BEHAVIOR, DO I UNDERSTAND THAT! My work probably is suffering even though I am working as hard as I can, but he seems to have no compassion and is very intimidating.
    Now that you have some of the background I can tell you that I cry all the time. I see no future, no dreams or hope. My thoughts have not been the best and I don’t smile anymore and I look like I have aged ten years over the last two. I don’t know what to do. I have gotten myself to a doctor and a counselor. They have decided that I am depressed and my health is run down. I am seeing the doctors and taking the medications. They have also decided I need to revisit the Mayo and have the mass reevaluated since my vision is deteriorating and am having pain in my head again. I just don’t feel an improvement. I live minute by minute telling myself that there are others that have life worse than me and I need to stand tall and move on. I am having a very hard time. I am trying so hard to get things back in order and it just isn’t happening. I have to go back to work next month and am scared. I have a boss that I feel is using my health condition against me. I was moved by your story that you lost everything in 5 days and wondered how you were able to make it through and get back into life.

    Comment by Karen — January 4, 2011 @ 5:50 pm

    • Hi Karen
      I thank you for contacting me. I hope I can lend some assistance to you. I read your a few times in order to truly understand all that you have experienced. I am torn somewhat_ I am sad about what has happened to you, but I am glad that you have reached out. My story, my journey, is focussed on the events in March, 2003, those 5 days as you mentioned. Getting healthy took a lot. I was fortunate to have a supporting and understanding family. They took turns sitting by my bedside for months. As well, I had support from my Bar Society, they made sure I knew of a psychologist to see and even paid for her for awhile. I went to therapy once a week for 2 years. With each therapy session, I learned about depression, and I discussed each session with my family so we all learned what had to be done for me to get well. It was series of baby steps, though small, each step to me was a huge accomplishment. Going to a book store for an hour was the highlight of my week at times. A couple of friends also helped, such as taking me to my 1st lunch at a restaurant in 4 years. I think though the most important thing was that I wanted to get healthy, I worked hard to get my life back, it took 3 years to any semblance of a life. Now, 4 more years later, I can say…life is good, even wonderful at times. I see in you what I saw n myself, that you want to get well, you have the hope to do so. Please never loose that hope, that desire to get healthy. It took a team of people to also provide what I needed, I could not have done it all alone. I do not know what support resources you may have. So I would like to suggest that you look under Resources at our website, http://www.bringchange2mind.org, for a list of groups and phone numbers that may be able to help you. As well, please consider sending an email at our website , there is a form to use to submit a request for help. You will hear from a BC2M Volunteer who can assist you. I wish you well, Karen, please try to stay on the path, you are not alone.

      Comment by keith anderson — January 5, 2011 @ 9:22 pm


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