Shannon's Story

 Chicago, IL USA

"For as long as I can remember, mental illness has been a significant part of my life. My journey began with my brother's diagnosis of severe Bipolar I Disorder and Anxiety when I was 17. I always thought he was just 'difficult' and that receiving hundreds of texts at 3AM about random topics was just his overactive imagination. Instead, it spiraled into intense mood swings of mania and depression.


It wasn't until I graduated college and moved to Chicago that I myself began to experience Anxiety and Depression. I left all of my friends behind, moved here without a plan, and became increasingly lonely. I lost a lot of confidence both socially and career-wise.


And then, this winter my dad attempted suicide.


It felt like the world was spinning so fast and I was standing in the center with no control. Slowly through positive affirmations, lots of communication, therapy, and my family and friends, I have learned that you create your own happiness. Just because your support group isn't around you physically, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.


My Dad was the strongest one of my family of 7, in which the majority of us suffer from mental illnesses, and he still felt like he couldn't open up. You never know what is going through other peoples' minds and lives. I have learned that being kind and nonjudgmental toward others can help them on their journey toward peace.


Mental illness is a daily struggle. It is a roller coaster ride of emotions. But, you are not alone and by sharing my story, I hope to change the narrative of mental illness and work toward acceptance and understanding."