On May 25, 2017, I launched The Standing Strong Blog. A blog where anyone, no matter who you are or where you’re from, could share their story of living with mental illness and be assured they would not be judged. Since our inception, we have featured stories from all around the world. We have highlighted Bipolar disorder, both I and II. Schizophrenia, OCD, PTSD, post partum depression and complicated grief to name a few.
The idea for the blog transpired just a month before its launch, and made its debut exactly a week after the suicide of musician, Chris Cornell. I never dreamed of the following we would gain betwen now and then and the various messages I’ve recieved from strangers…
“Thank you for bringing light to a much bigger issue.”
“First off, thank you for caring about stigma attached to mental illness, and for doing something about it. As someone who has spent time in the looney bin and subsequently lost the job I loved because of it, It means a lot that there are people like you out there.”
“The Standing Strong Blog is a valuable resourse for help and information.”
While I do not have a degree, I am certified to recognize a mental health emergency and have educated myself extensively when it comes to mental illness. Everyone has mental health, but 1 in 4 adults live with a mental illness. Due to the Covid pandemic, mental health awareness has whole new light shining down on it but it shouldn’t have taken a pandemic to make that happen.
My sister’s various hospitalizations pushed me to create our platform. Since then, I have gone through my own journey of being diagnosed Bipolar II. (Myself, my sister and my brother were all diagnosed the same diagnosis within a two year span.) I have helped others seek help and continuously encourage others to share their stories.
We’ve been very quiet since last summer. My mom was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in October and fought til she couldn’t anymore and left this world in February. My priorities have shifted to trying to keep a roof over my head amongst this whole new world without her. She was my biggest supporter. I have decided to throw my grief into providing more content for you during the blog’s fifth year.
My favorite memory from the last five years was getting to talk with Cynthia Germanotta (or Lady Gaga’s mom), the president of her daughter’s Born This Way Foundation. Talking to her about my sister and the blog was a highlight of my life.
I hope the next five years bring just as many highlights and memories. I hope we can continue to inspire and encourage those around us to share their stories of living with mental illness and by doing so, we will continue to “stomp out stigma.” Stay tuned.