Mental Health Matters Speaker Highlights Trials, Triumph Through Bipolar Disorder – The Republic News

What Amelia Zachry saw as a death sentence has created an empowering new path for her life—one that brings new life to thousands.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I didn’t expect that.”

He referred to a medical diagnosis at age 20 of PTSD and bipolar II disorder.

The Lexington, Ky., resident served as the keynote speaker at the annual local Mental Health Matters meeting Tuesday at The Commons before about 300 people representing a broad cross-section of the community, from everything from healthcare to non-profits, from faith to the arts and beyond.

“I knew what people with mental illness were like,” Zachry said. I’ve seen (the movie) ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, haven’t I? There are people in chains, people in line waiting for Nurse Ratched’s medication.”

He let out an understandable chuckle as he made an over-the-top serious opinion about his awkward denial.

Humor was just one of the many ways that author and advocate Zachry also pointed out that the vast landscape of mental illness can be felt by anyone and everyone, from the overachieving to the struggling. His message was timely as May is National Mental Health Awareness Month.

When he started meeting with specialists years ago, he gradually felt an ebb of hope, significant for an impulsive extrovert who finally hit rock bottom one day by curling up in the fetal position while incoherent at a party at home.

“I started to realize there were ways to overcome,” he said. ”… It was just me and (husband) Daniel figuring out the world. We had no resources, no people around us who knew he had a mental illness because he didn’t want anyone to know.”

He said he heard all the resources being released and evolving in Bartholomew County, and all the ways doctors, counselors, law enforcement, nonprofit leaders and others are working together on a cause that community leaders have considered very important and important. urgent in all sectors. Underscoring that breadth and scope were handmade artworks by local artist Kimberly Rose Free, whose latest creations depict her journey through psychiatric treatment and grace a new Columbus Area Arts Council free exhibit at the 411 gallery in downtown Columbus just two and a half blocks from where Zachry was speaking.

Julie Orben, project director of the local initiative Healthy Communities, heard Zachry speak at last year’s National Alliance on Mental Illness state conference.

“His message deeply affected my thoughts and feelings about my loved one’s journey with mental health,” Orben said. “Without realizing it at the time, it gave me and other members of the audience new hope to change the perception of mental health. Listening to Amelia share her incredible journey, we learned that some perceptions and stigma related to mental health exist within us.

“And by sharing our journeys with each other, we learn that we are not alone and that together we can and will be better.”

Zachry finally discovered what specialists told him shortly after his diagnosis: that his situation promised a better life. He speaks across the country to remove the stigmas surrounding mental illness. She, as the author of the memoir, “Enough: A Memoir of Mistakes, Mania and Motherhood,” covers her aftermath of sexual assault, her bipolar struggles and more in a life that reads as uplifting and inspiring.

The part of the book about motherhood covers her righteous indignation at a doctor who told her she would never be a mother with her diagnosis.

Zachry posted a message on his Facebook page Wednesday morning that serves as a unified call to action, which Tuesday’s local organizers highlighted: “Together, we can create a world where mental health is treated equally importance than physical health, where everyone feels supported and empowered to thrive.”

For more information on Amelia Zachary’s book, blog and more:


Information about Amelia Zacharys book, blog and more:

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