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. A Careful Treatment Plan Helped Dreams Come True

    Managing lithium in pregnancy Julianne Reprinted from "Having a Baby" issue of Visions Journal, 2012, 7(3), pp. 16-19 Having children was always one of my goals. Because I’m a woman who was diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder when I was a ...

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  2. Banishing the Shame From My Life

    Ron Nunn Reprinted from "Aboriginal People" issue of Visions Journal, 2008, 5 (1), pp. 17-18 As a Métis man with bipolar illness, I have worn a mantle of shame—a sackcloth of self-loathing, fear of exposure and a deep sense of failure—for most o ...

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  3. Bipolar Disorder. Reckless Spending

    Pat Merrett and Marguerite* Reprinted from "Income" issue of Visions Journal, 2011, 7 (2), pp. 10-12 Out of control and in the red Marguerite says: “My life is so much better since I cleared up my money problems. Without the tremendous dedicatio ...

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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. Is There Love After the Psych Ward?

    Victoria Maxwell, BFA, BPP* Reprinted from "Couples" issue of Visions Journal, 2015, 10 (4), p.17 I’ve been with my husband Gord for 14 years and married to him for eight. Nine years before I met him, I was diagnosed with my mental-illness trife ...

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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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