Hey everyone, my name is Mitzi Bachmann and I’m coming to you from over in Peterborough New Hampshire. I’m here to tell you a little bit about my experience living with mental illness and the successes that I’ve had in spite of it. Um, so for as far back as I can remember, all my days were filled with hopelessness and dread. The prospect of going out with friends or going to school or doing my homework, just filled me with a sense of fear and overwhelm and all I could do was stay at home and isolate. When I was in high school I discovered boys and alcohol as a way to kind of ease that sense of helplessness and dread, and by the time I was in college I was a full-blown alcoholic. I was very successful in my life but every single day was a struggle. I used to describe it to people as having a hundred pound gorilla on my back. Life was hard enough and I was carrying this heavy weight that I didn’t know what to do with. When I was 42 years old I found myself in the closet banging my head against a wall and I had no idea what was going on. I called a friend and she scooped me up and took me to a doctor who diagnosed me with bipolar 2 disorder, which is bipolar disorder characterized by long periods of depression with little bleeps of what we call hypomania or increased activity. I found out afterwards that my grandfather and my great-grandfather both had bipolar disorder and I learned that bipolar was a genetic disorder and that um I had inherited it. I was able to accept my disorder and learned how to deal with it with medication and with coping skills since I was diagnosed. That was 13 years ago. My life has been a series of ups and downs. I did raise two amazing kids who are both in New York City, who are both changing the world. I did get divorced about 10 years ago and which was horrible for me, but I used that change of my life to make a big difference. I decided that if I was going to be alone I was going to go out there and change the world, so I did. I started a life coaching business about five years ago and I have made the live the a difference in the lives of countless men and women. Um, I help them with love and life and relationships and guide them through till they can find happiness. I also started doing the In Our Own Voice program for NAMI Vermont back in 2016. In the In Our Own Voice program we travel around telling our experience of living with mental illness. Um, I’ve done the presentations in Vermont, in New York City, and in New Hampshire. I’ve been trained to train people to do the presentations, and now people I have trained are all over Vermont and New Hampshire making a difference in the life of other people living with mental illness. I found love, I moved to Peterborough New Hampshire, and I really feel like I’m living happily ever after. Every day is not easy. I have my ups and downs still but I know that um I can make it through whatever life throws at me, and that yes, I might have a mental illness, but that doesn’t mean I’m not amazing. Thank you so much for listening. Um, I hope this helped you in your journey and um have a great rest of your summer bye.