After my mother and I crossed the finish line of a breast cancer walk, it hit me. Why wasn't there a walk for mental illness? When I commented on it to her she replied, "What else is new?" We both know from personal experience, myself the consumer and my mother the family member, facing mental illness straight on is extremely difficult for most people. It's still a stigmatizing, misunderstood and frightening illness.
I know what it's like to struggle with the painful and debilitating symptoms of bipolar disorder. I know what it's like to be in and out of hospitals countless times, endure countless ECT (electroconvulsive shock therapy) treatments and barely hang on while waiting for medication changes and adjustments to take affect. During those awful times, as far as I was concerned, it was all trial and error. I believed I was going to be a mentally institutionalized person for the rest of my life. I really thought I had no potential to live a normal life. Thanks to my dedicated doctors and loving and supportive family, I am achieving the goal I set for myself a long time ago. It's finally a reality. Taking Strides Against Mental Illness is the not for profit organization I've founded to help support research in depression, mood disorders and schizophrenia.

Proceeds from our 7th Annual Taking Strides Against Mental Illness Campaign will benefit NARSAD, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

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