LET'S FLIP THE SWITCH ON MENTAL ILLNESS
Christy, John & Sharon
Christy is a 29 year-old U.S. Army Veteran who experienced the onset of schizoaffective disorder,
bipolar type, in her early 20’s while serving in the military. Her parents John and Sharon have spent nearly a decade of their lives caring for Christy and advocating on her behalf. They have aggressively pursued appropriate care through the Veterans Administration hospital system, have sought help from community based resources including Karla Smith Foundation, and have relied heavily on their faith community for support.
While Christy’s illness currently prevents her from working, she is an active community volunteer. Her mother describes her as generous and loving: “She would do anything to help you, and she has a special gift with children. You should see her with children. They run to her. They just love her.” Christy describes her illness as a constant struggle between rejection and acceptance by the world. She says, “I feel out of place. I constantly weigh whether or not I should go places or be around people. It’s like a roller coaster. I am learning how to control my emotions instead of letting them control me.” Christy works to manage her illness daily through medication, therapy and her involvement in her faith community. She is a talented musician having played the drums since she was a teenager and is also a guitarist. She dreams of starting her own band, which she intends to call “The Daisys.”
“OUR HOPE IS SIMPLY THAT CHRISTY WILL BE ABLE TO LIVE HER DREAMS.”
Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized primarily by symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations or delusions, and symptoms of a mood disorder, such as mania and depression.
(National Institute of Mental Health)
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click below to see their story
Laura was diagnosed with major depression when she was 18 years old and bipolar disorder at 21.
Aaron was diagnosed with post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving his country for five years.
Michael began using drugs at age 13 and was determined to beat his addiction at age 19; heroin changed his plans.
After multiple diagnoses, Jon was officially diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder at 21.
Braden was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) when he was two years old.
Christy experienced the onset of schizoaffective disorder and bipolar type in her early 20’s while serving in the military.
Nick died suddenly by suicide at the age of 25. He had no known mental health conditions.
Cindy was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder and seasonal affective disorder in her forties.
In her sophomore year at college, Karla became deeply depressed, left school, came home and attempted suicide.
Dalena and Daryn are sisters, legal guardians, and caregivers to their father who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when the girls were young.