I have lived with a diagnosis of severe bipolar I disorder and experienced dozens of major depressive episodes, including extended periods of suicidal depression, and psychosis for over 20 years.
More specifically, my experiences include personal and career disruptions, withdrawal and isolation, suicidal depression, five severe manic episodes, three involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations, four relapses, and criminal justice involvement. I also have extensive experience in mental health recovery through my own journey and engagement with peers and caregivers pursuing recovery. I have been happily living in recovery since 2018 after an 18-year battle with serious mental illness.
My Serious Mental Illness Lived Experience Expertise is based on many sources, including:
My experiences over the years have taught me strategies for helping caregivers or other family members learn skills to:
I have shared my lived experience expertise in many ways. These include academic publications, industry conference appearances, presentations to companies and hospitals, and interviews with major news outlets. My favorite way is writing. I have written widely regarding serious mental illness since 2018, the year I reached recovery. My writings have been widely recognized for their insight, information, and inspiration by readers and thought leaders impacted by and focused on serious mental illness. My life’s mission is to share my hope and inspire others to believe that serious mental illness recovery is possible and to help them reach it more easily and quickly than I did. My writings share my hard-learned lessons along with evidence-based insights from academic research, peers living with serious mental illness, their caregivers, and treatment providers.
My favorite place to share is the NAMI Blog particularly due to its wide reach with caregivers. I believe I can best help my peers living with serious mental illness by helping those who love and support them. My writings always seek to provide guidance to parents on how to best work together with their loved ones. I help parents understand their loved ones with serious mental illness. This insight can help strengthen their relationships, reducing tension and conflict, to reach recovery together. My many blog posts have been highly praised by mainstream, academic, and clinician readers. They consistently rank at the top of Google search results for relevant mental illness related keyword searches. My posts for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Blog have generated over 750,000 views. Further below is a list of my various writings.
I help caregivers better understand and connect with their loved one, particularly if and when their loved one may be ambivalent about getting help. This is a frustrating, and all too common, dilemma facing both caregivers and loved ones adding further stress to the difficulties caused by the illness itself.
These are a sample of my writings:
Firsthand knowledge and experience about consumers unmet needs amid the evolving treatment landscape. Providing insights from lived experience expertise to enhance patient treatment outcomes. Understanding patient perspectives when forecasting the impact of new treatment options. Appreciating how patients define recovery for themselves. I look forward to hearing from you.