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Your are not alone in this fight

Spread the word! “You are not alone in this fight” when it comes to mental illness.

Our goal is to raise $300,000 by Dec. 31, 2012. Your donations help NAMI provide free education and support programs, publish reports and provide resources for people in need.

This year we’re asking you to share your story to inspire hope and break down stigma everywhere.

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Donna's Story

I am not alone because of my relationship with a higher power, my family, my colleagues and the comfort of literature, music and nature.

I was diagnosed 15 years ago at the age of 42 with bipolar disorder by New England Medical Center Psychiatry department in Boston. Upon hearing my diagnosis my mother cried. I think my twin brother and father breathed a sigh of relief because upon recognition of my condition recovery could start.

I had previously spent seven years homeless except for shelter life in New Hampshire, New York and California after the “bottom fell out “of the computer industry in north-central and eastern Massachusetts and my family could no longer afford to financially support an adult child of 30 plus years and I would not have had shelter or food except for my faith and religion.

I had experienced two psychotic breaks with a tentative diagnosis of chronic depression up until that point. I had been sexually assaulted, mugged and stolen from. I had slept under seats in an airplane terminal, stolen, been arrested and walked across Central Park in Manhattan nightly at 2 a.m.

Upon hearing my diagnosis my mother cried. I think my twin brother and father breathed a sigh of relief because upon recognition of my condition recovery could start.

Had it not been for the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, the YWCA and local libraries and book stores I would not have had any quality of life to speak of.

One month before Thanksgiving in 1995 my twin brother offered a plane ticket to stay with my parents in Florida and return home to the family. My dad allowed me to stay with the family for seven months inclusive of my then rampant manic behavior. He then gave me a plane ticket to Boston where I was accurately diagnosed.

I then soon came to live at the YWCA where I met a wonderful woman named who worked for Vinfen and gave me my first pocket cash of $50 not received from family, helped me to receive Social Security Disability Insurance and assisted me in the process of regaining autonomy and independence. Thru a friend at the “Y” I was connected to the opportunity of a return to the retail world as an associate at a department store and family and friends helped me to return to computer knowledge with classes and instructions and it was not long before another friend at the “Y” suggested I volunteer at the front desk. I also returned to volunteer work at a local day care center because through the eyes of innocence I found further self-compassion. Twelve step programs and gainful employment ensued thru further development motivated by family, friends, spirituality and “worker among workers” expertise and support.


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