Hello! I’m Joanne. Welcome to Light Project Stories. Storytelling is so powerful and that’s precisely what this blog is all about! By sharing my past and present adventures, I’m hoping you can find support, love, and comfort here. Maybe you’re trying to cope with a mental illness or you have a loved one you’re trying to support. Either way, let Light Project Stories illuminate a path to help you navigate through it all when you’re feeling lost or lonely.
My own journey with mental health has been long and rocky. I’ve been trying to cope with depression and anxiety for a decade now. In August of 2014, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was hospitalized after a suicide attempt. It was my first time being institutionalized even though it was my second suicide attempt. Before that, I silenced myself because I assumed my closest friends and family would treat me differently if they knew the truth about what I was going through. I couldn’t hide it anymore after I was involuntarily admitted into a hospital. Facebook was my platform to announce my new shiny diagnosis.
The truth was raw and my wounds were stretched open. Some of my family members did treat me differently and a number of my friends dumped me. The reality was jarring and it was a cause for change. My new focus and goal was to shine light and expose the stigma and barriers that individuals with mental illnesses have to cope with everyday.
After I was released from the hospital, the life challenges I faced were animated and drawn out like a reality show. I grasped for straws when I tried to find someone to talk to about it – someone real – someone that wasn’t my psychiatrist or psychotherapist, but the group programs were limited, my money was tied up without a job, and it didn’t accommodate reality at all. It infuriated me.
This anger became passion, which bloomed into Light Project Stories – 100% real, uncensored, and may cause a laugh or two.
P.S. My wonderful front page image is from the talented and beautiful photographer, Lisa Mark Photography.