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May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Judging from some of the stuff that flies across my Facebook feed, there is a big need for such awareness. As an individual living with bipolar disorder, a psychotherapist, and a mental health educator, it astounds me how much intolerance and ignorance is out there. One such example is an Internet meme that’s...
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In the past 16 years, I have been on a lot of different medications – all of which have affected me differently. Some caused me to gain weight due to feeling hungry all the time and overeating, sometimes they caused me to retain water, and who knows what triggered weight gain with some of the others. In addition to medications, time has taken...
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Claire Griffiths

Claire gave this speech at our Behind the Mask Gala on May 7, 2016. I keep trying to remember the person I was two years ago, the way I spoke and behaved, the way I would have reacted to someone if they were displaying the same socially unacceptable behaviors that I took part in. I’d like to think I can recall my journey to this point with a...
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Claire Griffiths

Claire gave this speech at our World Bipolar Day Press Conference in Washington DC on March 23, 2016. I was brought up on the precedent that kindness for both yourself and others was the way to get through life. Love surged through my family, an energy that you never questioned and was never absent. A few years ago I saw my cousin’s life torn...
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When I'm doing day-to-day things, it is very common for other people to ask me why I have a semicolon tattoo on my right wrist. A semicolon is defined as “a punctuation mark indicating a pause, typically between two main clauses, that is more pronounced than that indicated by a comma.”Project Semicolon is a “non-profit movement dedicated to...
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Society places many pressures and points of stress on the male gender all of the time. Everywhere we look, the men have incredible amounts of pressure to “live up” to what society expects or thinks the male gender should act, feel, or do. One might be surprised that there are just as many societal and personal pressures on the male gender role, as...
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Moving Forward

May 23, 2016
I have had quite a bit going on lately. I would like to share with you some of the things that have been keeping me so busy. As summer wound down last year, I went back to work. Why is this important – because I have been on disability since April of 2011. Things had happened and I thought I was going to lose my disability. So I started looking...
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Michael: I first saw Allison at an AA meeting that I had been attending for several years. She was (is) a beautiful, lively and animated woman who I decided I wanted to get to know better. Little did I know that after she accepted, and we went on our first date, that we would fall in love and become a lifelong couple. As our relationship...
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We can live full, successful lives, even if we have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. We cannot forget that recovery is possible, and that we have control over our own recovery. The first step in taking control of your recovery is defining what recovery means to you. Recovery to me means that I am the best wife, mother, supporter and...
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Emily Finnemore

May 23, 2016
I am Emily. My onset of bipolar disorder was most likely in my childhood. I was always different: I thought differently, reacted differently, and exhibited my emotions differently. My parents first sought help for me in 4th grade, the year I developed anorexia. For the next 9 years I would fight all attempts of treatment and put myself in some...
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