Make a wish This year, I am actually well enough to put something worthwhile into Mental Health Awareness Month.

At this time last year, I was coming off of severe episodes of depression and mania after having to leave my Master’s program (more on that in a future article).

I was just starting a new job, and I was unsure of myself and what the future would hold.

A year later, I’m proud that I am writing furiously, I am working furiously, and I am meeting so many people that are making an impact on my life.

The mental health community has meant more to me in the last five years than I can describe.

From face-to-face support groups to mental health non-profits to great friends I have made on Twitter and, I am so proud of how well the bipolar community and the mental health community as a whole props one another up in times of darkness and celebrates each other in times of joy.

I have been anticipating Mental Health Awareness Month for a couple of months now. Yesterday, my article started being featured on, and I was also hoping to write this article to commemorate the month of May.

Many times in my life, I have idealized events, later being unhappy because they didn’t fit my expectations.

But the supporters of mental health never let me down.

When I woke up yesterday, I was delighted to see organizations like NAMI and HealthyPlace posting banners and graphics to inspire and support people affected by mental illness.

I have seen tweets and Facebook posts educating the public with facts on what mental illness is really like.

I have seen people congratulating each other for months of personal success. I have seen the determination, already, of people who want to end stigma.

And we have almost a whole month left.

You have no idea how much you all inspire me. There are so many talented, thoughtful, courageous people with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses out there who are determined to make a change in the world.

They are determined to bring an understanding to their illnesses, no matter how many times they have to fall down and get back up again.

What good is a life if you don’t make a difference? I have the belief that one’s mental illness can either destroy them or be a great gift.

Every single person with a mental disorder is beautiful. Why do I say this? Because it takes a special person to live with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder–any illness of the mind.

You have to be creative, relentless, strong, hopeful, and extremely tough to live this way.

If you care about the future of society’s view on mental health as well as the future of the care that our mentally ill community receives, I encourage you to do at least one thing to commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month.

Some Ideas:

  • “Wear Lime” and tell people why you’re wearing it. Lime is popularly considered the color of mental health awareness.
  • Write a blog or article about mental health.
  • Educate someone with a fact about mental disorders.
  • Create an art piece devoted to mental health awareness and ending stigma.
  • Organize a fundraiser for your local mental health organization, or donate to mental health organizations in need
  • Spend time with a friend or family member with mental illness
  • Take time to go online and learn facts about a mental disorder (I suggest sites like National Institute of Mental Health)

The possibilities are endless. Just educate, support, love, and make it a point every year to do so.

I’m really excited about the way things are looking in 2013. I hope that we will be even more open, honest, and understanding next year.

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month! Please let me know how you are celebrating!


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Photo Credit: darwin Bell via Compfight