After my son stopped going to school and started getting arrested for disorderly conduct, I learned that he had bipolar disease. While knowing the reason for his behavior helped, the stigma that accompanied his mental health condition isolated us even further.

Nobody believed there was a psychological reason for my son’s behavior. Even my family didn’t understand. And my friends? Well, they didn’t get it.

Gradually, I grew more depressed and frustrated. Then, I isolated myself.

Luckily, I found a support group for families dealing with bipolar disease in our community. It was good to know I wasn’t the only mother dealing with this issue.

Now I know that reaching out and connecting can make a big difference in your life.

Today, I still use the coping tools I learned from that group. Perhaps the most important thing they taught me was not to let stigma stand in the way of reaching out for help and connecting with others.