Letters to the Editor

Sees broad societal impact in mental illness

Oct. 5-11 was Mental Illness Awareness Week. Many are unaware that recovery from mental illness is very possible. At the age of 24, while teaching elementary school and going to graduate school, I was diagnosed with a serious mental illness due to long-term childhood abuse.

An important principle of recovery is this: recovery is a process, not an event.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Find_Support/Consumer_Support/Recovery.htm). Recovery is unique for each person. One way I continue living in recovery is by volunteering as an English as a second language tutor and at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI. Through facilitating support groups and mentoring education classes, I give back to my community. Helping others allows me to live with a better quality of life as it continually teaches me new skills to cope with serious physical and mental illness. NAMI strengthens my recovery.

In NAMI support groups we have a principle that “we expect a better future in a realistic way.” Though my life goals have changed from before I was diagnosed with serious mental illness at age 24, my life is just as meaningful.

What I would like to make people most aware of in Whatcom County is there is hope for people living with mental illness. Serious mental illness can deeply affect an individual, yet any person can grow in wellness and recovery.

Laurie Maxwell