Pilar Cárdenas-Gimber is a licensed marriage and family therapist in practice for 25 years, serving the San Diego metropolitan area and remote clients, through virtual therapy. She is also mom to Ana, now 22 years old, and living with bipolar 1 illness since age 12. Over the course of the past ten years, Pilar has shared Ana’s journey from illness to wellness, with many twists and turns and myriad challenges that bipolar disorder presents.

On that journey together, Ana and Pilar shared many milestones, from the emergence of symptoms, the diagnosis and learning to accept and live with it, the treatment, and the ensuing and far-reaching ramifications: social and emotional effects, sensitivities and nuances of parenting, effects on siblings and family, non-compliance with medications and subsequent psychiatric hospitalization, effects on schooling– including a legal action to enforce student’s rights (FAPE), and considerations and strategies for employment–among others.

Pilar is deeply passionate about mental health advocacy, education, and de-stigmatization. She believes that health management should be an integrative approach that encompasses both physical and mental aspects, without separation. She is a valuable member of the International Bipolar Foundation. She has developed helpful and practical content, through both editorial and video, including recent resources for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. Above all, Pilar shares her daughter’s struggles and triumphs, as seen and experienced through the eyes of a mother.

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