DBSA Is Improving Lives
Each year, DBSA reaches over four million people! In addition, billions of people each year hear our messages through the media that depression and bipolar disorder are real, treatable illnesses; that there is help and hope; and that no one with these illnesses needs to feel alone.
No matter how people find support from DBSA---whether it’s through our 1,000+ peer-led support groups, through our interactive website, through the million+ brochures we distribute each year, or through our outreach and training programs---we are proud that our message of hope, help and recovery is being heard. And that our mission, to improve the lives of people living with mood disorders, is being fulfilled.
The following are a few testimonials from individuals sharing the impact DBSA (formerly National DMDA) has had on their lives.
Was it really over 20 years ago that my doctor in Dixon, IL introduced me to a young lady that had information on a support group that addressed manic depressive illness? I was at once interested since I had battled bipolar illness for most of my life. DMDA was started and I soon became a part of it and now, with DBSA of Illinois Valley, I continue in my own recovery (that was not an option at one time!), and have helped many others in their own recovery, using my wellness recovery principles and Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance as my guide. Thanks you DBSA!
-- Doris M.
Just wanted to say thank you. I was diagnosed today as bipolar and when I read your brochure on rapid cycling it’s like you guys interviewed me…I’ve spent the afternoon and evening reading [your brochures], listening to your video and am still feeling relieved but also very, very sad. But I wanted to thank you personally, from the bottom of my heart. It is such a huge relief to know I’m not broken or just insane. You’ve helped give me my self-respect back. I know it’s going to be a long road but now that I’m becoming better educated it’s not so scary…So thank you and God bless you and all you do. It’s overwhelming to think of what you guys do in the name of love and caring for complete strangers.
I just wanted to drop you a line and tell you … the enormous help [chapter name] has been to me. I really felt that no one understood what I was going through until I came to the group and listened and was able to talk about it. I didn't understand that kind of depression before, and I was probably one of those crude people that say "why can't they just get over it?"…until it happened to me. But through [the group], I was able to talk about it in a safe place, where I could let my guards down. I got an understanding and an education about medication and counseling, both of which I don't think I would have sought out on my own before coming to the group and learning about the disease depression and how to deal with it.
---B., chapter member
I want to thank all of you at DBSA for everything that you do. You are truly saving lives. One of the worst parts of living with this disease is having to feel so utterly alone, no one can possibly understanding how you are feeling and why you can't just snap out of it. Thank you for all of your efforts in educating people and standing up for all of us that live with this horrible disease. You give me hope.
I am a forty-nine year old woman who has suffered from depression for at least twenty-seven years. It has been a long and lonely road for me. There have been years of therapy, years of medications, and many attempts at trying suicide.
Six weeks ago I was introduced to an organization called the DMDA, Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association. They have made me realize that I am not alone. That many people suffer as much as I do. They have organized this group to help each other in our fight against one of the most crippling illnesses that any of us will face. They reach out and listen, make us understand that no matter what, every problem does have solutions and that we can, through understanding and guidance, have choices, and that we can lead “normal” lives.
Just six weeks into the program, I can already see a difference in my attitude and in my life. I am still depressed but I am not alone any more. Thank you, DMDA, for being there and caring. Now that I am in this support group, I hope that I too someday can and will reach out and help others as I’ve been helped.
---G., letter forwarded from a chapter leader
I would like to thank this organization for its fine web site. Thanks to this web site's self test for possibly being bi-polar, I took your advice and saw a doctor. He did confirm that I am bipolar. The medication he has put me on is helping me very much and I feel that my family will be a lot more peaceful than it has been in a long time. I am very thankful for my sanity and to finally feel like I can finally be a normal person again. My parents tell me that it is like seeing the real me that they haven't seen in so long they can't even remember. Thanks again for your web site!
I have suffered from depression on and off for years. I think I have had it since I was a child. For many years I was able to manage it without assistance. I thought that depression was a state of mind and that I would overcome it at some point. In fourth grade, I rarely showered. I was just too tired in the morning to take a shower and make it to school. I never thought to shower the night before; my mind just couldn’t make that connection. In high school I cried often, almost every day; I thought this was what everyone did.
In 1997, I sank in to the worst depression I had ever felt. Depression was an overwhelming illness that affected every aspect of my life. While there may have been answers to some of my dilemmas, my depression refused to let me see them and all I could see was bleak. All I could see were the negative answers, the impossibilities. Depression impaired my concentration and made it difficult for me to do my job, which added stress and increased my depression. The pain I felt from my depression was complete - from my psyche to my physical being. My entire self, my soul, was hurting. Suicidal thoughts came it was not so much that I wanted to die, but that I want to end the pain.
My therapist suggested that I begin attending a support group for people with depression. Towards the end of November, shortly after I began taking my new medication, I attended a local meeting of the DMDA. Two weeks later I went to a second meeting, and attended regularly for close to two years. This support group was what got me through December. It saved my life. [my friend] began attending a group for family and friends. Continuing attendance at the group helped us both.
The skills I learned in therapy and the support group have helped me cope with the stresses in life -- from the events of September 11 (I live in NYC) to the traumatic birth of my child. I cannot express how different my life has been for the past few years. I still marvel at how once I couldn't get up out of bed, and I now I am happy and fulfilled.
I found my DMDA support group at a very low point in my life. Through this and other support networks I have "gotten my life back together" for the most part. I struggle with the illness on a daily basis, but I am functioning and again have hopes, dreams and aspirations and not mere fantasies. Thanks again for being there.
I just wanted to die. I stood there on a street corner in the middle of New York City and wanted more than anything else in the world to throw myself under the cars rushing by. Somehow I got to a phone and found the listing for your DMDA support group. Going to the group, talking to people who had actually been there and knew my pain, got me and kept me in treatment. The group saved my life but it didn’t end there. Perhaps more importantly the group set me on the road to wellness so I could have a full, rich life again.
My personal path to wellness was paved with proper medication, good therapy, and the peer support and education I received through my DMDA support group.
My illness has affected my life and my family in many ways. I proposed this question to one of my sons first. This is what he wrote:
My mom has been dealing with depression for quite a few years. For a long time, I didn’t even know what was going on. There were times when she would spend days in bed. I guess no one told me because I was too young to understand and maybe she was trying to protect me. I definitely feel that now that she talks about it and is involved in DMDA, there have been many improvements. I have also attended a family and friends meeting of the DMDA to offer my support and to also gain knowledge. I feel DMDA has made a positive impact in both of our lives.
---B,, age 19
Thank you very much. I just received the package from your org about Bipolar. Thank you so much for this useful and info-rich package and thanks for sending me for free. The booklets you have sent me are all very useful, and I must say, the "Personal Calendar" is of particular usefulness as it helps to chart my "status" and it can help to improve my communication with my doctors. Thank you once again. May God bless you richly and may your hard work be of help to the many patients all around the world!
I have just visited your (web) site and I must say, it is wonderful! There is so much useful info, I learned quite a bit. I found the site from a brochure about [name of medication removed] that I received from my doctor. I was glad to find out that depression does not mean that I am a weak, sorry person. I did not know that it was actually considered an illness. The site helps me cope with things a little better because I am better informed. Thanks!
---A., age 17
I was referred to your website by my psychiatrist. I have to say, it is the only website around that is addressing so well the stigma and the isolation that faces people with depression. This is an issue that is so important, yet most organizations do not even address it.
---Adult woman with depression
Your information on how to help someone who has told you they had thoughts about suicide was quite helpful. It took a lot of my stress away and saved someone’s life. I am only twelve and I figured I might need some help on this one! I just wanted you all working at NMDA have saved another live. Greatly relieved,
Dear Dr. G.,
I just wanted to thank you for pushing the DBSA meetings, even when I was being resistant to them. The reason I'm saying this is because I went to a meeting last night.
I got a chance to talk with a few women one on one who had been given the same diagnosis as me. It was so reassuring to speak to them and know that things will get better in time. And it felt good to know that there are other people on similar wavelengths.
I just thought you should know...
---21 year old patient. Message sent from Dr. G.
page created: June 20, 2006
page updated: May 19, 2008