I used to spend my days as an agency recruiter for creative types and then spent several years in corporate recruiting. In 2011, I traded in my resume reading skills to focus on my family and to pursue my passion - writing - which would eventually lead me to discover my life's purpose.
I am a 39-year old wife and mother of two young children who loves the beach, books, fitness and eating healthy (most of the time). Nearly twelve years ago I suffered my first two manic episodes and several months and many doctor’s appointments later was finally diagnosed as having Bipolar Disorder – type 1.
I experienced four psychiatric hospitalizations within five years – two before any diagnosis was reached, and two more because I was trying to protect my newborn son (postpartum psychosis) and my unborn daughter – and all were because I was unmedicated at the time. After nearly seven and a half years of stability, I had a fifth hospitalization due to a manic episode after the sudden death of my dear friend and partner who helped me launch my nonprofit, Anne Marie Ames. Living in recovery is a daily struggle, but I am determined to live successfully despite this condition. I'm so fortunate to have loving, supportive family and friends who are there for me when I need them.
I have learned so much from my journey thus far and hope that by sharing my experiences I can help other women who may be wondering if they’ll ever be able to make their dreams of a family a reality. You can – I am living proof that it is possible. I take medication and have regular appointments with my psychiatrist and therapist because these are my responsibilities to myself and my family. My incredible support system helps me to live fully and I attribute a great deal of my success to their encouragement over the years.
Writing openly about living with mental illness inspired me to start a non-profit called This Is My Brave, Inc. which provides a platform for people to share their story live on stage through poetry, original music, comedy and essay. We professionally videotape all our shows and make them available on our YouTube Channel. So far we've produced 45 unique shows across the US, and last year expanded internationally, with three shows in Australia.
In October of 2016 I gave a TEDx talk where I shared my take on the legacy I hope to leave behind with the organization I’m leading and the mission we’re advancing.