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Mental Health overall has been getting more visibility in main stream media and socially, now more than ever. The awareness continues to increase, and more and more people are understanding the importance of not only their physical health, but also their mental health.

We don’t always realize however, that our mental health at work is just as important as when we are outside of the office or job site. With the responsibilities of every day becoming more and more strenuous, we find ourselves with fewer and fewer opportunities to address our mental well being. There’s a million and one things that pull us in a million and two directions every single day, which means that self care can go by the way side in favor of simply trying to make it through the day. Opening up and talking to someone; reaching out for help when the pressures of life become overwhelming, feels more like a luxury than a necessity. Or worse yet, feeling like asking for help is a sign of weakness, rather than self-awareness and strength.

My colleague, friend, and fellow podcaster, Petra Velzeboer joins me on this episode of the podcast to talk about her work as a mental health business consultant, as and how using her own life experiences helps break down the walls in the workplace, and encourage employees to speak out about their own struggles and not be ashamed in asking for help.

I also had the honor of being Petra’s podcast, Adversity to Advantage, where I share some of my story of surviving and thriving after trauma. Give it a listen on her podcast website or your favorite podcasting app.

Petra Velzeboer is a psychotherapist, living in London, as well as an executive coach, mental health consultant, speaker, and podcaster.  Her expertise of mental health in the work place, allows her to travel abroad speaking to companies or all types, about the importance of addressing mental health within the company.  By sharing some of her own story to help break the ice, she encourages employees from all walks of life to normalize the conversation of mental health in their lives.

During our chat on the podcast, you’ll learn how Petra was raised in a religious cult, where she experienced multiple types of abuse and public punishment. By the time she was able to leave and strike out on her own, she had no idea who she was, and how to survive in a world that was so foreign to her.  The pressure was so great that she found herself nearly unable to function outside of that atmosphere, and this quickly lead to thoughts of ending her life.

In a final effort to survive, she made a pact with herself to give it 1 year to figure things out and learn to live successfully like she saw others doing. This was the opportunity she needed, and during that time she learned and practiced mindfulness, living authentically, taking care of herself, and realizing her own potential to not only survive, but thrive.

As she shares, you’ll learn more about her struggles with being sexually assaulted, living as a young mother of two, struggles with relationships and boundaries, eventually through all her trials; realize her calling as a therapist and coach. Even in the midst of extreme trials and circumstances, she was being transformed into someone who now inspires and encourages others not only in the work place, but in their personal lives as well.

Petra talks about the important lesson she learned in the darkest parts of her life and throughout her ongoing healing; to show continue showing up in life. Be authentic, and keep tearing down the walls that only keep others out, but keep you from receiving the help you need as well.

We discuss the importance of allowing yourself a designated time to “fall apart”, and feel the emotions and struggles without pushing them aside and burying them in favor of simply pressing on. Learning to take care

Welcome back to our self-proclaimed, Mental Health Megacast, a semi-regular round table discussion with 3 mental health advocates and survivors who are trying to find our way through recovery.

I think we’ve finally nailed down a proper episode numbering system for these “shows within a show” that the 3 of us are doing. So this one is officially, Season 2, Ep. 3…at least that’s what I’m calling it.

Anyways, just in case you aren’t familiar with the Megacasts, you can check out past episodes here, and also on cohorts platforms as well….

To that end, the Megacast is creation of the collaborative brain powers (more or less) of Wes from AudioRising.com and Mike from MikesOpenJournal.com, and myself.  I encourage you to check out and follow them online and through your favorite podcasting platform. Each of these has a tremendous message to share and an inspiring and unique way in how they go about it.

In this episode, we talk about how doing not only the Megacast, but also our own individual shows, has influenced our  journey of healing. How has talking about mental health encouraged us, challenged us, and forced us to confront some things about ourselves that we never thought we would have. We share the education aspect of doing these shows, as well as the humor; the challenges and the rewards. We also do a bit of catching up, and organically dive into the topic of a fear of failure, not only podcasting but in advocacy, and in our personal lives. The doubts and fears can be very powerful, and if we aren’t careful can keep us treading water instead of moving forward.

We also….wait for it…actually deciding on a new approach to figuring out what to talk about on these collaborative shows. If you’re a regular listener you know that we also mention our struggles with time, and trying to figure out a topic to discuss. To be honest it’s not much of a struggle, it’s just become something we joke about more than anything else, but at the same time the beauty of this collaboration is that once we start talking, subjects just come up and we run with it. So instead of trying to figure out a gameplan for the next show, we’re just going to let it unfold naturally and see where each one takes us…rest assured whatever we discuss it will be with our own unique flair and about mental health.

We hope you enjoy this latest episode, and yes if you do have suggestions for future shows, we are still taking them. 😉

Be sure and follow Wes on Twitter @WesA1966 and Mike @Mike_Douglas_ & Open_Journal_  …oh and don’t forget to follow and subscribe to all of our shows on your favorite podcasting app!

-Matt Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

Trauma survivors have literally experienced first hand what many could not even comprehend. A past filled with abusive parents and  caregivers, toxic family members and friends, and a childhood full of secrets that, when told, can make your hair on the back of you neck stand up on end! It’s a past that none would wish for, yet is more common than we realize. Chances are if are reading this or listening to the podcast, you know someone who is a survivor, or perhaps you are one yourself.

What about a different type of trauma though, one where you don’t need to experience first-hand, in order to feel its effects. I’m talking about intergenerational trauma, and I’m honored to be talking with expert, author, and coach, Emily Wanderer Cohen about this very subject.

Over the 2 years or so that I have been recording this podcast, I’ve covered many different types of trauma, modalities of treatment and healing, and talked with incredible survivors who have overcome tremendous odds and now share their story to help inspire others.  This is the first time I’ve covered intergenerational trauma, and I learned quite a bit from talking with Emily.

Emily Wanderer Cohen is a two-time international bestselling author, speaker, coach, and intergenerational trauma expert.

A second-generation (2G) Holocaust survivor, she knows what it feels like to live with transmitted trauma and helps her clients, including second- and third-generation Holocaust survivors; sexual, spousal, and child abuse survivors; and other genocide, natural disaster, and other severe trauma survivors heal from the trauma, move forward with their lives, and stop the cycle of intergenerational trauma.

So what exactly is intergenerational trauma is (also referred to as inherited trauma or transgenerational trauma)? As Emily explains, it’s described as effects of trauma that the sufferer did not experience first hand. She dives deeper into that explanation during our chat, as well as:

  • Does it only affect descendants of Holocaust survivors or others as well?
  • What are some of the common signs of intergenerational trauma?
  • How can someone stop the cycle of transmission?
  • How do we know it’s real? Are there any scientific studies that you can point to?

Emily also shares case studies and information on how those who have experienced this type of trauma often have lower cortisol levels, and therefore can be less equipped to handle this or any other type of trauma than someone who has normal cortisol levels. Intergenerational trauma survivors also have an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease and trauma based chronic illnesses such as Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and more.

We cover these topics and more as Emily Wanderer Cohen gives us insight into a type of trauma that can begin to manifest itself without the survivor ever even considering the possibility of its existence in their life.

I encourage you to listen to the podcast and do some additional research, including checking out both of Emily’s international best selling books: From Generation to Generation, and The Daughter’s Dilemma.

You can follow Emily Wanderer Cohen on Twitter, Facebook, and her website, TraumaHealingCoach.com

I hope you’ll consider sharing this podcast on your social media, and maybe even subscribing and leaving a review on your favorite podcasting app! I would definitely appreciate it.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP

 

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites ar

As fate would have it, divine intervention, or just total coincidence (not that I believe in coincidences), recently on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, I’ve been talking with guests surrounding the area of men’s mental health.

Being a guy myself, it’s not like I haven’t covered this topic before on the show, however given recent events politically and socially, I’m glad that these recent episodes are helping to shine light on the male side of mental health and being a survivor of trauma. We are truly all in this together, regardless of gender, and the more we continue to bring this out into the open, the more we chip away at the stigma and shame of reaching out for help.

In episode 89, I talked with Andrea Schneider LCSW about overcoming shame, feeling alienated in regards to the #metoo movement, and reaching out for professional help as a male survivor of trauma. 

My guest here on episode 90, fellow podcaster, advocate for men’s mental health, and friend Al Levin.

“I’m an assistant principal in a public elementary school.  I’ve been in education for nearly twenty years.  I’m married and have four children. I’ve recently completed all of the coursework in working towards a Co-Active coaching certificate through the Coaches Training Institute.  The coaching work has allowed me to support the staff I work with in the public schools, as well as others who are seeking support in reaching their goals or working past challenging times in their lives.

I am also a person who has recovered from a major depressive disorder, an illness that was quite debilitating for nearly six months of my life.  Through this experience, I have become very passionate about learning more about mental health and supporting others with a mental illness, particularly men with depression. In addition to this blog, I speak publicly for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and I tweet @allevin18.”

Al’s podcast, The Depression Files, and his advocacy work focuses primarily on men’s mental health and specifically with depression, along with encouraging men to open up and seek help when their depression reaches a level where thoughts of suicide begin to surface. Al Levin himself was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and knows first hand what’s like to wake up in the middle of night contemplating ways to take his life, feeling like a burden on his family and society, and living life completely consumed by depression.

His website, also outlines more of his story of “how everything seemed to be going well, yet everything seemed to come crashing down.”  Which is precisely the topic of our conversation on the podcast. I wanted to chat with Al because his story is one that so many men and women today can relate too. A guy who’s life was seemingly humming along; good job, hard work paying off with a new promotion, loving wife and family, good friends, yet something lurking in the background and beginning to surface that he didn’t expect.

During the podcast you’ll learn how:

In 2010, Al received the promotion he had been working so hard towards, but once he took on the new responsibilities, everything began to change and his was slowly but surely being turned upside down. The stresses of late hours, budget constraints, managing staff, and oversized classes began to take its toll. He was running on adrenaline more often than not, not sleeping well or eating properly,  and not communicating with his wife, family, and friends.

How those events translated into seeking help from his family doctor and starting on medications to help with a new diagnosis of depression.

As things began to continue spiraling down, affecting his job, family, and friendships, thoughts of suicide began to surface.

How waking up in the middle of the night after dreaming of ways to take his own life, prompted him to talk with his wife and family and seek the help of a mental health professional.

Along wit

For all of the progress that has been made in recent years in the area of men’s mental health, or male mental health; it’s still a subject that can yield a variety of responses based on not only who you talk too, but also the current social media and political climate as well.

I can remember back when I was I was in school, (and no the 1980’s weren’t all THAT long ago) the subject of mental health in general was not something you heard much about, and even less in the area of men’s mental health. We didn’t have bullying prevention rally’s in school, sex education was a 1 semester class in your senior year, and intro to psychology was class you took to study the reactions of other classmates when you asked them certain types of questions.

Nowadays, mental health is all over social media, commercials on TV and radio, there are podcasts devoted to all aspects of it, incredible advocacy groups who share knowledge and help inspire change,  and overall the exposure that this previously ignored and taboo topic is getting is encouraging.

So why is it then, that for all of that positive movement, there are still so many that feel ashamed to talk about it with a doctor or therapist, much less discuss it around the campfire or weekend cookout?

My point is, to reiterate that while we have come a long way, there is still so much work to be done. So much stigma and shame to expose in the area of men’s mental health.  I feel it’s important to mention that I am by no means minimizing the important of mental health in women, but for the purposes of this podcast with Andrea Schneider, we’ll focus more on the male challenges of this topic.

Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in San Dimas, CA. She received her MSW from University of Michigan (the top ranked social work program in the country) and her B.A. in Psychology from UCLA (#2 in the country). 

During her 20+ year career, Andrea has counseled thousands of individuals and families covering a broad range of issues and challenges, developing specialties in maternal wellness, narcissistic abuse recovery, special needs parenting, and  grief/loss.  Andrea is EMDR trained, a modality which helps clients dealing with a wide range of concerns in trauma recovery, including PTSD, complex-PTSD, relational trauma, depression, anxiety, grief and loss.

She also has experience in helping children and families deal with loss and trauma issues. Not only is she trained in EMDR, but during her Master’s program, Andrea interned at a hospice agency and trained under an art/play therapy program. She uses art intervention in her treatment with both children and adults, and has a Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy Credential from the Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute. 

Andrea is also a fellow podcaster on the Mental Health News Radio Network, where you can find her show, The Savvy Shrink.

During our chat on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, we discuss some areas surrounding men’s mental health including:

The man card, and tough guy image that follows males regardless of background
Building the trauma language, emotional language, and confidence in opening up to others
How men are getting more confident in reaching out, yet still feel ashamed and self-conscious
How much political climate and social media affect our confidence in talking about mental health, and how much we share.
Bullying and mental health, and the changes from decades ago and now in 2018.
Men and the #MeToo movement, including the feelings of alienation that are present even with all of the exposure.

Andrea Schneider and I dive more into each of those topics and hopefully shed some light on not only men’s mental health, but the importance of reaching out for help regardless of gender. Everyone deserves to be heard, validated, and appreciated for who they are and what they’ve b

Healing and Transformation, something most of us have likely heard about in one form or another. Perhaps it’s in regards to mending a broken heart, transforming negative mindsets, or a shift in the way we feel about ourselves in everyday life. When we’re talking about healing from trauma, it’s all of those ideas and more.

When you are working through something that has negatively affected your life on a level that perhaps you don’t even fully comprehend yet, your core beliefs are shaken and many times completely twisted so much that you don’t even remember who you once were. Or, you have very little idea, if any at all, of being any other way than what you’ve been groomed to believe and accept.

Changing those negative core beliefs is an essential part of healing, and if we’re being honest, it’s vital to our healing. If we don’t learn to transform the very way that we see ourselves in all aspects of life; healing becomes exponentially more difficult. Essentially we are fighting to change something that we aren’t willing to or don’t know how to change, because it’s been so ingrained into our minds over years, decades even.

My guest on the podcast today, Christy Maxey, talks about the importance of changing negative core beliefs with 3 key components of healing and transformation.

Christy Maxey, MC, LPC, is based out of Arizona, and works with clients locally and virtually in the areas of depression, anxiety, relationships, trauma, self-esteem issues, divorce, and PTSD. She has also branched out into personal development coaching, which you can read more about on her website. 

Christy utilizes a method she created and developed, called the Maxx Method, which helps manage emotions, identify the inner critic and find ways to change negative core beliefs, solve the wounds that keep you stuck, give yourself permission to dream and learn how to take action now on your own behalf. You can learn more about her Maxx Method by clicking here.

During our chat on the podcast, Christy talks further about the essential components of healing:

Awareness
Acceptance
Self-Compassion

As you listen to Christy share about these 3 key areas, you’ll learn not only the importance of each and why, but ways that you can implement them into your life. After all, it’s good to know about something but it’s even more important to learn how to do it.

In addition to those key components, we also chat about topics including:
The 3 areas that we are all driven by in daily life and in healing
Why we can get stuck in one or more of those areas
More on the negative core beliefs and how to change them
How we judge ourselves, and why that makes it uncomfortable to revisit feelings and events of the past
How we are all born valuable, but along the way in life we learn to devalue ourselves

There’s so much more I could tell you, but hey I don’t want to spoil the podcast for ya before you even listen to it, so why not click that play button right here in this post, or listen on your favorite podcasting app and learn more about Christy’s work in counseling and coaching, and about the importance of changing our negative core beliefs in order to heal.

Don’t forget to follow Christy Maxey on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin as well as her website, MaxxMethod.com

– Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers

Living life day in and day out, as someone who has experienced extreme hardship in areas such as loss, childhood trauma, addiction, eating disorders, and more, is hard enough as it is, but to speak about it publicly as you continue to face your past each day can be even more difficult. After all this is something that we’d probably rather push down into a dark corner of our mind, and never think about again.

It’s often a source that still has open wounds which are decades old, some of which still feel as fresh as the day they happened. Others, well the scars are there to remind us of what we experienced. Either way, those things that we’d rather forget, can be a source of motivation and encouragement, both for us and for those whom we influence each day, knowingly or otherwise.

Charlotte Underwood is an advocate, author, and freelance writer who’s dedicated her life to talking about areas of personal struggle in hopes of helping others and instituting the change that she feels is so desperately needed. Her content includes topics including: Anxiety & Depression, Self-Harm, Suicide Loss and Suicidal Ideations, Eating Disorders, Bullying, and more. Bringing her on as my guest for this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, is something I have been looking forward ever since I came across her profile on Instagram and began following her work.

As she outlines on her website, CharlotteUnderwoodAuthor.com :  I’m Charlotte Underwood, a young 22-year-old from Norfolk, UK. I am a growing mental health advocate and like to use writing to inform and support. On this blog you can keep up to date with my written work, both self published and through other means. I post a lot about mental health, depression, anxiety and suicide. I want to raise awareness as well as end the stigma.

I have been writing professionally for a year now but don’t let that put you off, for though it seems like I have little experience, that is not that case. I have written two E-Books and run my own growing and successful blog, soon I even hope to break my poetry out into the world! I have written over 100 Guest posts, …and have worked for The Metro, TalkSpace, Young Minds and The Content Wolf.

My content is focused on mental health and lifestyle, you can expect candid and thought-provoking content from me.

During my chat with Charlotte, you’ll learn:

When she first felt like something was wrong in her life.
What it’s been like for her living with a mental illness
How her recovery continues to progress
Ways that she manages daily life with her mental illness
What being an advocate means to her, and why sharing from personal experience is so important.
Seeking out mental health assistance in the U.K.; including her personal challenges and ways that she’s working to help change that process.

Charlotte speaks very candidly, with a perspective that is well beyond her age. Indeed, she’s lived through some tremendous adversity, including losing her father to suicide and surviving her own attempt. Her honesty and drive to help others and bring about awareness and inspire change, is inspiring.

There’s much more I could share about my chat with Charlotte Underwood, but rather than me writing about it, how about I just turn it over to my podcast with Charlotte, and let you find out for yourself :).

Please consider following Charlotte on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, where she is very active on a daily basis. Her blog is a great follow as well, and her two eBooks are available for download on her website.

Thanks again Charlotte for joining on the podcast, I’m honored to know you and to help share your message!

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

All conversation and information exchanged during participation on the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on t

Beyond Your Past, a podcast hosted by Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP on Mental Health News Radio Network, aims to provide a platform for trauma survivors to heal and share their experiences.

The podcast grew out of Matthew’s blog, Surviving My Past. Himself a trauma survivor, Matthew decided to leverage previous podcasting knowhow from an NFL fan website into a weekly show documenting his personal battles and breakthroughs overcoming trauma. Beyond Your Past evolved into its current format of weekly interviews with other survivors of trauma and addiction, who share their work and recovery journeys.

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Living with a mental health challenge of any type, often means that you go through many stages of exploration until you reach a true diagnosis that will allow you and your helping professional to put a plan in place of the proper treatment and self-care routine. Initially these types of changes in our mental health can often lead to having more questions than answers, but in time the new insight gained can be invaluable to our recovery.

My guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast, John Dickson, lived with Major Depressive Disorder for 40 years, before being officially diagnosed. As he shares on his blog, The3inMe.ga, …Over the majority of that period, my illness was undiagnosed and untreated. It’s only in hindsight that I can see that I’ve experienced many depressive episodes. Each episode was both darker and longer in duration than its predecessor. The most severe episode culminated in a suicide attempt in September 2014. It was after this attempt that I was diagnosed as having Major Depressive Disorder.

More recently I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder. Bipolar II Disorder differs from Bipolar Disorder in having a hypomanic state rather than a manic state. Hypomanic simply means less manic. I’m still coming to terms with this new diagnosis and don’t yet fully understand it. I’ll share what I learn in this blog.

Depression is the silent killer. This is true especially, among men. Men remain silent and steadfast while they suffer. I was one of those men. I suffered in silence until I succumbed. This lesson has taught me to speak out about the dangers of silence and in this blog, I speak out. I also have a son and family who I love very much. This blog is for them. Here they can see for themselves that I’m recovering.

John and I first met at the HealtheVoices 2018 Conference, in Chicago. We struck up a friendship there and have kept in touch since that event. You can listen to some thoughts that I had about the conference on a special edition podcast that I recorded this past spring. 

During the podcast, we cover topics including:

Why John is so open about sharing his mental health struggles.
More about the events that lead to an attempt in taking his own life in September, 2014.
How those events lead him into not only his blog writing but advocacy work.
Talking specifically with your therapist or counselor about specific diagnosis treatments and options.

How his life has changed since the events in 2014, including the new diagnosis of Bipolar II disorder and learning to understand what it means for him, including the hypomanic states that come along with it.

Be sure and check out his blog, The3inMe.ga , as he writes weekly about his journey of understanding and healing, both past and present. John’s message is one of vulnerable insight… an expression of hope, a declaration of love and a celebration of a life reclaimed. Ultimately, it’s my letter to my son, my apology and my promise.

You can follow John on Twitter @Zelandroid009

If you haven’t done so yet, please consider subscribing to the podcast, to get notified when I release new episodes each week! I’d sure be stoked to have you on this journey of inspiring others with the power of sharing their stories.

-Matthew Pappas, CLC, CPNLP

All conversation and information exchanged during participation the Beyond Your Past Podcast, on BeyondYourPast.com, and BeyondYourPastRadio.com is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing on these podcasts or posted on the above mentioned websites are supplements for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers.

When I was approached by recent college graduate, Anja Burcak, about being a guest on the podcast, I was intrigued not only because she wanted to share her story, but also that it would be coming from the perspective of a young adult, fresh out of college, speaking on the struggles of Depression, Bipolar, and mania. I’ve covered these topics many times in the past, usually though from the perspective of someone who had experienced similar struggles during their younger years.

I’m always on the lookout for ways to help share get the word out about what living with a particular mental health challenge is like, from as many perspectives as possible, and being able to chat with Anja is surely going to help reach so many, especially those who are young adults and parents who’s children are growing up and heading out on their own.

Anja is a blogger and advocate for Mental Health, and a recent graduate of UNC, Chapel Hill, where she studied Psychology, and is now looking to begin her career in addition to continuing her current advocacy work.

As outlined on her blog, “She often writes about mania, depression, and anxiety, from a first-person perspective. Being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (Type 1) 2 years ago has given her insight into the struggles many face with finding the right diagnosis, treatment, and providers. She hopes that sharing her story will create more open, honest conversations about mental health, fighting the stigma one conversation at a time. Lately, she has been exploring new ways to be an advocate, including getting involved in a podcast, guest posts, and vlogging.”

Her blog, The Calculating Mind, is her thoughts on living with Bipolar, Depression, and Mania, written from a unique and insightful point of view. As I read through several of her recent articles, it gives me a sense that Anja writes with the intent of telling it like it is, and not sugar coating the challenges or what she feels needs to be changed. Her blog was also recently nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Congrats, Anja!

Some of the topics we cover during her podcast include:

FIRST SIGNS OF DEPRESSION: What were the first signs that what you were experiencing was more severe than a typical “low” period? How did you know that it was depression, not merely sadness?
BIPOLAR DIAGNOSIS: When did you realize that your diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder was inaccurate? What were signs of bipolar disorder? How did you react (i.e. denial, sad, angry, relieved)?
IMPACT OF ILLNESS ON COLLEGE: How did being depressed or manic impact your academic life (i.e. exams, grades)? –This could also be asked about impact on family, friendships, relationships, etc
HOSPITALIZATIONS: From your experience (hospitalizations), what do you believe are some misconceptions the general public has about psychiatric wards? What did you think the hospitalization would be like (i.e. Were you scared to be admitted)? How did your perception of those with “severe mental illnesses”, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, change during your hospital stay?
RECOVERY: What has helped you get back to “baseline” level? Medications? Therapy? Support networks? Coping mechanisms?
ONLINE MENTAL HEALTH COMMUNITY: You are an active member of the mental health community online. What got you started? Why do you continue to be active with mental health blogging and social media? What is your overall goal (i.e. fighting stigma, psychoeducation)?
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: What is your outlook regarding your future and your condition? Are you concerned about relapsing? Are you keeping a more positive outlook? Given your past episodes and what you know now, do you feel better prepared for another episode, should it happen?

If you are in college, have a child in college or perhaps getting ready to head off to school soon, you’ll definitely want to check out Anja’s perspective on how these diagnoses changed her life, a

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