Jaclyn M. Daniels, DBSA Ambassador

Many Thanks to My DBSA Ambassador Network

Since childhood, I had always struggled with security issues. I remember from a very young age feeling worthless, but not wanting to tell my parents for fear it would hurt their feelings. It grew especially bad as I entered high school, where body insecurity became prevalent in my mind. That coupled with other devaluing feelings and emotions I had sent me spiraling into several depressions. I did not seek help. "Depression" was not something children had in my family. We should just "get over it." So into college, I tried.

With comfort eating becoming my main source of contentment, I grew to 200 lbs by my freshman year at school. I decided to lose weight and did. By not eating. Anorexia became the result of not addressing my insecurities and sadness. I finally sought help from a counselor while at school at the insistence of my then-boyfriend (now husband). She assumed depression, but could not diagnose me, as I was away at school and she was not my GP. I continued to ride this roller-coaster of occassionally-happy, occassionally-sad, and tried to find a way to get better. Nothing worked.

Once out of school and working, things improved slightly. I sought a LMHC who officially diagnosed me with Severe Chronic Depression and I was put on medication. And then I had to move.

After I was married, I lost my job and what followed for the next two years was misfortune after misfortune in the lives of my husband and I. I turned to living recklessly with my body, mind, friends, and family, and then once the guilt took over I would be wracked with depression for days. When I started having vivid suicidal visions, my husband said I had to save myself. I had to check in to a facility. So in January of 2012, I did.

I was one of the best choices I ever made. I was finally accurately diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder and placed on appropriate medication. I now work daily to maintain my disease and my life, living on schedules and finding incredible support from my family and friends. I thought I wouldn't, but all it took was a simple Facebook post to recognize how mush I am supported. My parents and husband are my biggest cheerleaders, constantly checking in and making sure I'm being my best self.

As an Ambassador, I am making it my mission to make others suffering silently know they are not alone. The mission to support each other in the Mental Health Community is so vitally important to our success, and DBSA is nothing short of a miracle in that field.

We are LIVING WITH, not SUFFERING FROM disease. Always.

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