My name is Maureen, and I am forty years old. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about eight years ago. I have battled depression since my teens and was diagnosed with it in my late twenties, while struggling with a stressful career and difficult marriage. My episodes became longer and more debilitating, and short-lived bursts of energy and activity followed. After one particularly difficult episode, I was unable to work and barely able to function. At this point, I was given the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Soon after, I lost my job, my marriage, many “friends,” and my independence. Today, with the help of meds and therapy, I am fairly stable. I have returned to college to work toward a degree in counseling and hope to work full-time again soon, helping others with mood disorders. My goals and dreams have changed, but for me, finding a new sense of purpose has been some of the best medicine. Self-care and stress management remain large components of my daily routine. My recovery journey continues to be a long one, challenging yet rewarding. I hope this blog can provide a source of inspiration as it challenges the stigma surrounding mental illness in today’s society.