Carissa is a teacher, mother, wife, and writer who lives in the Pacific Northwest. Now in her mid-thirties, she has lived with bipolar since she was a teen, as well as having a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder and C-PTSD. She also lives with blinding ocular migraines and Ankylosing Spondylitis (a genetic condition that causes back pain through bone damage as well as sever eye pain through nerve damage). While terrified of needles, she successfully gives herself the necessary injections to keep her AS manageable, and works with a service dog to differentiate between the eye pain caused by migraines and the one caused by the AS. She’s turned her bipolar sleep schedule into something she can use to her advantage, working on her second Master’s through an online program during bouts of insomnia.
Carissa has provided safe living spaces to individuals with mental health disabilities over the past decade, in her home, and has traveled with her students to the hospital when they were experiencing suicidal ideation. No one that knew her was surprised, as she first took a friend to the hospital to thwart his suicide attempt when she was 12. She is a firm believer in the idea that counseling, sunshine, medication, and safety all can play a vital role in living with a mental health challenge, but that neurodiversity has its positives.