Recovery is Beautiful | My Name is Donna. This is my Story.
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My Name is Donna. This is my Story.

My name is Donna. This is my story.

I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2000. For a number of years I lived with a husband – now ex-husband – who was verbally, physically, and emotionally abusive.

In 2012 I lost my mother. As the oldest of seven siblings, four of whom also have mental health issues, I saw it as my responsibility to take on some of the “mom” roles. I now realize I was so focused on how other family members were doing during that period that I neglected to pay enough attention to my own mental and physical health needs.

My illness along with my loss-related stress resulted in several hospitalizations during 2013. A discharge planner at one of the hospitals referred me to Beacon Health (then Neighboring), a provider in the Lake County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) network. There, a physician assistant got me connected with the appropriate medications, and I began working with a therapist and a case manager. My road to recovery had begun.

As I got better, my team at Beacon Health referred me to Bridges, a COS (Consumer Operated Service) provider also in the Lake County ADAMHS system. There, I began interacting with other people who had stories similar to mine. I made friends. I began attending Bridges-sponsored outings – movies, miniature golf, bowling, and “mall walks”.

The positive impacts that the programs, activities, and staff at Bridges have had on my recovery are enormous and very much appreciated. Today, I am proud to be an active member of the Bridges board, and I am happier and more fulfilled than I’ve been in many, many years.

Is recovery beautiful?  I am living proof that it is.