At The 19th Annual Family Cafe this past June in Orlando, mental health advocate Erin Callinan led a conversation about her experience living with, and recovering from, bipolar disorder.
From 2001-2004, Erin endured incredibly difficult manic and depressive episodes. She found herself needing an outlet. Fortunately, she kept a journal as a means to process the various feelings of pain, confusion, understanding and growth she was experiencing.
Several years later, after relocating to Phoenix, AZ, she had the opportunity to live by herself for the first time. That change gave her the clarity to write. To reflect. To be. Undisturbed and on her own. She encountered more emotional growth and confidence than she ever knew she needed. She finally had the chance to confront the great sadness she felt when she reflected back on her life. She read through her journals from those earlier years, relived those horrific memories, and faced them head on. She knew she had a story to tell. In May of 2013, she published Beautifully Bipolar: An Inspiring Look into Mental Illness.
In her keynote, Erin shares the story of the trauma she experienced, the suffering her family felt, the sadness that still lingers, and the path she traveled to wellness. Her powerful story illustrates the depths of bipolar disorder and the many ways that mental illness affects the lives of so many people.