Michelle: My Journey to Wellness


I was born into a beautiful family. My childhood was peaceful, secure and happy. I graduated from high school with honors, ranking 16th out of 450 students. I was involved in numerous activities. I have always been a leader. All my adult life I was an independent person. I have a husband of ten years and two great children! Then, three and a half years ago, I was going through a period of stress. My husband and I had great marital tension and I was overloaded at work and taking care of my children. My husband works out of town. Needless to say, I could not handle it all. Then one day there was a surprise attack – an overburdened mind and my scattered spirit exploded into a Bipolar Mania! In one evening my life changed and would never be the same. There was a complete loss of logic. I experienced feelings of elation, and then I experienced a hospitalization, the first of five more to come over the next three years. I had forgotten to take time for myself, for my higher power, and my mind. Bipolar Disorder, hand-to-hand with the reawakening of my soul (my true self), has taken me on a journey of despair and, ultimately, enlightenment.

I have been paralyzed in the depths of depression. It would take all that I had to get up from the couch to walk outside to get my son off the preschool bus. I could barely get out of bed, cook, or clean. I realize now that depression is very real and scary! I have also been in the sky of mania – believing at times that I was an angel. Through my spirit’s strength, God, Community Mental Health, medication, and the love of my family, I have reached recovery after years on the roller coaster.

One evening after returning home from my fifth hospital stay, I threw my hands to Heaven and asked God to take this disease from me, for however long he would allow. I promised him at that moment that I would do His will and help other people who were suffering. I realize that this strength was inside of me all the while; it just needed to be encouraged and nudged to awaken. Every one of us has the power to overcome obstacles in our life. I understand now the purpose behind being “blessed” with a mental illness: To share with others in suffering and to give them hope for recovery.

Community Mental Health in Cadillac has been wonderful through my ups and downs. I received excellent medical care and guidance. Even through my wellness, my doctor, counselor and social worker give me much encouragement. However, I realize that change is needed, specifically in the mental health hospital system. While in the state mental facility I felt belittled and imprisoned. I have a strong desire to have my ideas on improvement heard. It’s the least I can do to advocate for myself and others that are afflicted with mental disorders.

God gave me my mind back, even stronger than before. I am taking a “Leap of Faith” into the next path for my life. I am starting college next month, majoring in Human Services. My road ahead is clear – to give of my strength to help fellow men and women. I expect my future to be peaceful, happy, and fulfilling! My heart and soul have been humbled through this journey. I need to use my gifts to continually heal myself and bring the hope and reality of healing to those in need. I am not scared to share my story. This can happen to anyone at any time.

My message is “To never give up.” Even with a possible relapse, recovery is attainable to all who desire it! I expect to share my knowledge and receive great wisdom from others on the road to wellness and beyond – those who have recovered! I am so grateful for the peace granted to me through one year and six months of stability. I have my life back. My children and husband feel secure once again! I see only light and rainbows in the future. I refuse to let the dark side of my disorder overtake me. I am thankful for every day I am “myself” and WELL!