She has been diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder and lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and panic disorders.
“I am the stigma associated with mental health and mental illness,” says Katie, who works as a Peer Support Specialist at Ontario Shores. “If you saw me around town with my children you probably wouldn’t think anything of it. I’m just another wife and mother trying to balance work and family life like so many others.”
The Bipolar II Disorder Katie lives with includes Rapid Cycling, which is defined as a pattern of frequent, distinct episodes in bipolar disorder. In rapid cycling, a person with the disorder experiences four or more episodes of mania or depression in one year.
She is now open about her own experience with mental illness.
“In my time living with mental illness and helping others in the mental health care sector I have witnessed a change in how the world is viewing this issue,” notes Katie. “The progress has been remarkable. However, there is more to be done.”
Part of her motivation for sharing her story is her children. With a history of mental illness in her family, Katie realizes her children may have to deal with mental health issues at some point in her life.
“It’s heartbreaking for me to think about it, but my children may have to walk in my shoes one day,” she says.
“I get emotional just thinking about that possibility.However, if they do have to deal live with mental illness I hope I have laid the groundwork by then so they know I will be there to support and love them without judgement.”
Katie says her goal as a mother living with mental illness is to present her health challenges to her children in a way that is real.While she does experience some struggles, she manages her mental illness.
“It’s hard work and requires a great deal of commitment,” she says. “It has taken time to get here, but my recovery journey is a success story.”Back
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