Accomplishments and Announcements
by Mandi Sonnenfeld
NAMI has made a great impact on my life. February of last year I was diagnosed with bipolar mania with catatonia. This was shocking both for me and my family. Previously I was a high functioning mother going to school to get my PhD. After my two hospitalizations, I was discharged and not sure what to do. I remembered my counselor at the hospital mentioned NAMI, so I sought them out via an internet search.
I attended the meeting despite my fear of seeing someone I might know. I did not want any one to know I had a mental illness, plus I had lost my ability to adequately socially interact with other people. However, when I entered my first NAMI meeting, I was met with smiles, support and a non- judgmental environment. I suddenly moved away from fear to comfort in knowing I made the right decision to come. The group leader helped me sort out my complicated feelings that I had in dealing with my new diagnosis. I felt that I was not alone in my illness and I had someone else to help and guide me through. If it had not been for NAMI I would have continued to feel alone and scared.
Now a year later, NAMI continues to help me in my growth as a person with mental illness. First, NAMI has provided empowerment for me to not just accept my bipolar disorder but to embrace it. Second, I chose to make the best of my life. I learned this from NAMI. Third, in the future I hope to advocate for mental health to decrease the stigma persons with mental illness have to deal with. I know that NAMI again will help with me with my growth process in my advocacy journey.
I now identify myself as a confident and supported individual ready to face the challenges of the next day and beyond. I am rewriting my story with NAMI being a central component in moving forward with my bipolar disorder. I am so grateful for NAMI!