One very important thing I learned over the course of my mental health recovery journey, which was reinforced by my professional work and training as a peer support specialist and clinical social worker, is that I cannot separate my mental health from my physical health. I am a whole being, and my mind, body, and spirit are completely interconnected. When I was diagnosed with both bipolar disorder and Crohn’s disease 25 years ago, my doctors and health care providers had their separate areas of specialty and usually did not communicate with each other.
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As a peer counselor, speaker, and mental health clinician, many people have shared with me that they feel stigmatized by having a mental health diagnosis and they feel reluctant to tell others about it. I felt that way too for many years after I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Serena Goldsmith is originally from the East Coast of the United States (New Jersey and Virginia), but moved to San Diego County with her family at the age of 13. Serena graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1994, with a major in Sociology and a minor in Spanish.