BENEFITING: DEPRESSION AND BIPOLAR SUPPORT ALLIANCE
ORGANIZER: DEPRESSION AND BIPOLAR SUPPORT ALLIANCE
As long as I can remember I've been prone to anxiety, but beginning in high school feelings of depression took center-stage. I took medication for awhile and eventually felt well enough to go off of it - until my junior year of college, that is.
The thing is, I was happy in college. I liked my classes, loved my friends, had a fairly stable environment so when I started to have panic attacks and withdraw from friends and doing things I used to enjoy, I just didn't understand it. I managed to go to class (most days) and was still doing fine on tests, but whenever I was in my room I was down lower than I had ever been.
Fortunately, I was raised in a family who didn't have any qualms about going to therapy so I had the sense to call our school counseling center and set up an appointment.
Unfortunately, when I started talking to the counselor about the suicidal thoughts I had begun to have, she told me that it was completely normal to have these thoughts. (While that may be true, it was not helpful to me at that point!)
I set up an appointment with a psychiatrist, but that appointment was still several weeks out.
Feeling utterly at a loss for what I was supposed to do now and with my thoughts of suicide getting more and more pressing - I called my mom.
She came and got me from school and took me to a family doctor who prescribed anti-depressants immediately. The down-fall... I was too depressed to be able to wait the 2-4 weeks for the meds to kick in. After another 48 hours of agonizing pain, I asked to be admitted to the hospital.
I remember that night as one of the scariest of my life and the ER staff did not make it any easier. Ultimately, the hospitalization was good for me (I had a relatively good experience), but I dealt with many doctors telling me I couldn't go back to school, that I was sick, etc. I did learn many good coping skills though - many of which I still use to this day.
It was hard, but I did go back to school two weeks later. My hospitalization forced me to be more open with my friends, family and school advisors. And, my experiences instilled in me a desire to talk about mental health on my campus.
I started creating some educational sessions around stress and mental health and talking about my experiences. I couldn't stand the idea of someone else going through what I had and not knowing that there were others out there who had gone through it too.
Once I graduated I found DBSA and couldn't believe what a good fit it seemed to be!
DBSA has brought so much to my life. In addition to providing me an opportunity to grow professionally and enhance my skills, it has allowed me to talk openly and honestly about my diagnoses as well as what works for me and what doesn't.
I love that DBSA is so accepting and doesn't push anyone to follow a particular path to wellness. And I love that we're wellness focused! I have never experienced a place that is so focused on personal-choice and supporting the individual.
Each of our voices is so important as our story truly can help someone else and I feel so lucky to be in a position to help people share their experiences - through our websites, through our programs and of course - through our amazing chapter and support group network!
DBSA has helped me tremendously personally and I believe strongly in what we do.
I want to make sure that DBSA continues to be there for others and to continue spreading the messages that we are not alone (even though it may feel like it sometimes) and people who have been there can often help the most!
DEPRESSION AND BIPOLAR SUPPORT ALLIANCE wrote -
We need your support to win $100,000!
The Depression and Bipolar Alliance (DBSA) was founded over 30 years ago and works every day to raise awareness of two of today’s most prevalent mental health conditions. Combined, depression and bipolar disorder annually affect more than 20 million Americans, or almost nine percent of our country.
Unlike other national organizations devoted to mental health, DBSA was created for and is led by individuals who live with a mood disorder. Our bylaws stipulate that over half of both the governing board of directors and paid professional staff must have, or have had, depression or bipolar disorder. This first-person lived experience informs everything we do. From the more than 54,000 people meeting in DSBA peer-led support groups across the country to the 3.3 million individuals directly touched by our other programs and online communities, we are creating a world in which every one of us may realize our potential, our strength, and our best selves.
We need your help NOW to fulfill our mission to improve the lives of people living with mood disorders. We have accomplished a lot over the past three decades, but there is so much more to be done—millions of people are still struggling.
Charitable donations are critical to DBSA’s ability to help individuals and families desperately in need of support, resources, education, and hope. Through your generosity, individuals living with a mood disorder can find new strength and comfort by joining our support groups. Others can use our wellness tools to take control of their own life journey. Still others can find inspiration in our insistence to the clinical community that the peer voice be heard.
By donating now, you can become a champion for mental health. Together, we can have a truly lasting impact on the millions seeking wellness and thriving lives.