Share Your Story

There is #noshame in telling your story. One day it will become part of someone else's survival guide.

“The courage it takes to share your story might be the very thing someone else needs to open their heart to hope.” — Unknown

“The courage it takes to share your story might be the very thing someone else needs to open their heart to hope.” — Unknown
There is #noshame in
telling your story.
One day it will become
part of someone else’s
survival guide.

In 2017 I discovered I’m bipolar I with psychotic features. At the time, it was devastating and embarrassing as I suffered the effects of a nervous breakdown and psychosis. It required me to close some very big doors at the time as I tried to regain my footing.

Time has passed and things have improved. I thank my doctor for providing me with meds and help but I really couldn’t have done it without the help and support of my family who have helped me learn a lot about myself, grow, and just be there for me as I tried to learn how to live with bipolar disorder. What was a terrible moment in time in 2017 opened the door for a lot of great things in the coming years and I feel I have a better handle over my thoughts and feelings now than I ever have before.

The takeaway from this is that if you or someone you love is bipolar, it’s not the end. Meds and therapy work. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it.


Boardman, Ohio

I have experienced mental health issues for many years now, but apart from a few close friends and my family members knowing it was my own struggle. I always felt that no one around me could understand what I was going through. I just pushed through and tried to keep busy to keep my racing thoughts and anxiety in check.

In 2011 my whole life came crashing around me. I then had to get professional help. I now have better coping skills, have set boundaries and have an amazing support system. I still have depression as well as periods of anxiety and panic attacks, but I am able to get through them with my knowledge of my mental health issues. I am also able to listen and give back to help others move forward in their recovery journey.


Youngstown, Ohio

My Mom dealt with anxiety and depression when I was growing up but back in the 60’s and 70’s people didn’t go to counseling and certainly didn’t talk about it if they did. I grew up thinking low self esteem and constant self-doubt were normal. Life went along reasonably well though: high school, college, marriage, a series of good jobs. Things took a dark turn though when my husband was injured at work, diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and PTSD. My marriage became abusive as his personality and how he saw the world changed dramatically. He died in 2010 due to pulmonary embolism and I was left to pick up the pieces of my life. It was a very dark period and now, in large part due to a combination of genetics (thanks Mom) and environment, I now have diagnoses of my own: Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and PTSD.

Life is tough but I found a medication that helps a lot and I have an excellent support system including a wonderful man whose love helped me heal. I still struggle, A LOT at times but overall life is better. I find my joy in loving dogs and helping things (and people) grow. My best advice: “Remember this is YOUR journey, do what helps YOU heal. Follow YOUR road of recovery but don’t forget to reach out for support because YOU ARE NOT ALONE!”


Youngstown, Ohio

I have been severely mentally ill since the fifth grade. Anxiety and anorexia after my parent’s divorce when I was 11. Impulsive suicidal ideation a few years later, and then relationship issues. Mood swings, depression, panic attacks, dissociation, you name it…

I’ve been diagnosed with about 10 different things, although I likely don’t have that many. The main ones are Borderline Personality Disorder (which is very misunderstood), Bipolar II, and Panic Disorder.

I have been alienated from my family and friends because of mental illness, and always live in fear. Mental illness is like living in an ever-changing terrain. The worst part was that it can be dangerous as I almost died many times. I wish I could say my family understands, but they do not (at least in any depth). Therefore, I seek support in friends and therapy. Therapy saved my life. I also have decided to take mood stabilizers to help control my symptoms. They have been pretty helpful. For me, meds aren’t a fix-all, so it’s still important to constantly monitor my mental health.

My message is help is out there and you are never alone, even if you feel like it.


Warren, Ohio

I’ve struggled with depression my whole life. It reached a new stratosphere when my only child, who also struggled with it, ended his own life at 17.

I’m still struggling to process the loss and probably always will. (There is no such thing as closure, or moving through, past, around or over it.) However, someone advised against “wasting the pain”. I’d like to channel it instead into mental health advocacy and fighting stigma.

Stigma about mental health issues contributed a great deal to his loss and speaking out against it honors his memory.

While I realize sharing my own story is important, it’s really my son’s story that should be shared.

If you would like to prevent suicide, I genuinely believe the best tool for it is any that fights stigma around mental health issues and suicidal struggles.


Youngstown, Ohio

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NAMI Mahoning Valley believes in the power of sharing your own personal story. Someone else might be inspired or helped by your story.