Personal Stories

Personal stories highlight the experiences of people just like you. You’ll find stories from people who experience mental health or substance use problems, people who support a loved one, and people who work in mental health or substance use fields. They share their own experiences and perspectives, and describe their personal journeys to understanding, health and well-being.

Personal stories highlight hope and well-being, not treatment advice. Check out the Self-Help Resources section of this site for info sheet and workbooks, and talk to your doctor or health care provider to discuss treatment options that might be a good fit for you.

  1. On the Road Again

    S. Linda Walker Reprinted from "Women" issue of Vsions Journal, 2004, 2(4), p. 27 I was diagnosed as bipolar almost 18 years ago after waking from a coma, the result of head injury from a head-on car crash. I may have been genetically predispose ...

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  2. Self Control and Bipolar Disorder

    Erika Reprinted from "Self-Management" issue of Visions Journal, 2003, 1(18), p. 21 "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." — Rei ...

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  3. Guilt

    The mother of all feeling Victoria Maxwell, BFA/BPP* Reprinted from "Parenting" issue of Visions Journal, 2004, 2(2), pp. 20-21 When I was a teenager I blamed my mother for a lot of things: my big ears, my geeky highschool reputation, my lack of ...

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  4. My Journey

    From blowing up rock to taming bipolar disorder Stewart Ludtke Reprinted from "Men" issue of Visions Journal, 2005, 2(5), pp. 23-24 Dynamite attracts a strange breed of people. One day in 1974, when I was 19 years old, I saw a guy drilling a hol ...

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  5. Discovering My Dragon

    And starting to tame it Neil Reprinted from "Concurrent Disorders" issue of Visions Journal, 2004, 2(1), p. 22 In some ways I've just landed, treading solid ground instead of shifting sands. I'm a landed immigrant, having arrived from ...

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  6. My Path to 'Mental Illness First Aid'

    From young adult with mental illness to facilitator Shannon Ryan, MA Reprinted from "First Responders for Young People" issue of Visions Journal, 2006, 3(2), pp. 23-24 My first experiences living with mental illness occurred in my late teen year ...

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  7. My First—and Hopefully Last—Hospitalization

    Barbara Bawlf Web-only article from "Trauma and Victimization" issue of Visions Journal, 2007, 3 (3) For many years I experienced periodic bouts of depression. I’d get through each one on my own, without any medical intervention. Usually there w ...

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  8. Perennials

    A survivor and thriver of manic depression Tara Web-only article from "Families" issue of Visions Journal, 2004, 2(3) One might think that after 3 "nervous breakdowns" it's time to give up. Well, the first one occurred when I was ...

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  9. The Dark Side of the Moon

    Monique Stocker I was 12 years old, sitting on my friend’s bed, when I saw a crow and thought to myself: “Something bad has happened.” Twenty minutes later, my Dad was at the door telling me that my mother had an accident and that he had to take me to the ...

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  10. Little Red Riding Hood in the East End

    Turning her back from drugs Jane Woolfe My grasp has always exceeded my reach. I chastised myself bitterly when I 'dropped the balls.' Drugs softened the pain. Three years ago in the spring of 2003, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Initial ...

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