This Women’s History Month, DBSA is sharing the stories of important women in our community, beginning with our co-founder Rose Kurland. As we celebrate and uplift these incredible women, we also recognize the disparities and challenges women face when it comes to mental health. In addition, March 30th is World Bipolar Day. We have gathered resources to help you as we move through the month.

Honoring Women

Rose Kurland was a pioneer for individuals living with mood disorders. Rose recognized that in order to find wellness, she would need to find others with a similar experience. At a time when speaking about mental health was taboo, Rose put a stake in the ground to find and offer support to others who lived with—what was referred to in 1978, as manic-depressive illness. What started out as peers meeting in a living room turned into Rose co-founding the grassroots organization that we are today.

We’ve got a responsibility to live up to the legacy of those who came before us by doing all that we can to help those who come after us. –Michelle Obama

As Michelle Obama quoted, DBSA has the responsibility to live up to the legacy of those who came before us. DBSA strives to live up to that legacy by providing hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of people who live with mood disorders.

Did you know women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression than men?

Mood disorders may have set diagnostic criteria, but biological and social factors play into women’s mental health. Between hormonal changes in puberty and pregnancy and social expectations and experiences of women, mood disorder symptoms may appear differently than they do in males. Learn more about women’s mental health.

Pregnancy and Motherhood

Mental health issues are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth. Women with a history of mental health issues prior to pregnancy have a significantly increased likelihood of experiencing a mental health crisis in motherhood. Read more about maternal mental health.

Postpartum depression is not a character flaw or sign of personal weakness, and it does not mean there is anything wrong with your ability to be a mother. Read more about postpartum depression.

March 8th is International Women’s Day

I am tired of hiding, tired of misspent and knotted energies, tired of the hypocrisy, and tired of acting as though I have something to hide. –Kay Redfield Jamison, Author of An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Choosing to disclose a mental health condition is not a light decision. As a society, we’ve come a long way to reduce stigma, but the roots are deep and we have a ways to go. Starting with our Life Unlimited series, here are a few women from our community who decided to share their stories so that others can feel hope, including one brave teen who shares her story about depression. In addition, hear from young adults in our I’m Living Proof podcast series.

Life Unlimited

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly before my 30th birthday. Acutely manic, powerfully overconfident, and terrified that medication or even stability would kill my creativity, I refused to take meds. Read Ellen’s story

The loss of insight and connection to reality were complete, and I found myself acting in ways that were unrecognizable to myself and those around me. I also began to experience extreme moods, some of which appeared beautiful, but which ultimately hid a vast darkness. Read Dr. Han’s story

After ten years of watching my brother decompensate with severe mental illness, I began to have uncontrollable crying spells that baffled me. Read Colleen’s story

When I was only twelve, my father passed away from a brain aneurysm in front of me. I was so devastated by the loss, I felt myself slipping into a place I didn’t quite understand, but at my young age, I didn’t know how to share my feelings with someone so they could throw me a lifeline. Read Dana’s story

“I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to live in pain,” my internal thoughts said to me during my suicide attempt at the age of fourteen. I didn’t realize until after trying to kill myself that I wanted to be alive. Read Naomi’s story

I’m Living Proof

For Brianna, it was a long road to find the support she needed for her diagnosis of depression and bipolar. In overcoming a great deal of adversity, Brianna has found that she is living proof. Read Brianna’s letter to her younger self and listen to the interview.

Lauren, a DBSA Young Adult Council member, speaks about her first experience with hypomania. Lauren talks about her experiences from setting up treatment to difficulties with insurance. Read Lauren’s letter to her younger self and listen to the interview.

March 30th is World Bipolar Day

March 30th is World Bipolar Day. This worldwide awareness initiative provides us a chance to share information and resources that help eliminate the stigma around bipolar disorder and support those living with the condition on their journey to wellness. To celebrate World Bipolar Day, DBSA worked with peers living with bipolar disorder and doctors who specialize in working with peers to develop a guide for people newly diagnosed with bipolar.

Read More

Your Support is Needed!

You can ensure all women who seek support from DBSA receive help when and how they need it. Your support provides resources across the lifespan for women with mood disorders, culturally specific support groups, and educational materials for mothers and caregivers.  

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