How Beautiful Brain Collective Came to Be

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Back in 2014

I was diagnosed with generalized disorder and bipolar disorder.  When my psychiatrist diagnosed me, I was in a state of shock. What was this “mental” illness that I had just been labeled with.  There was no way that a person like me, could have a mental illness. I have to admit, I was uninformed about mental illness and who it affected.  I was a smart, hardworking, creative young mother. How in the hell was I going to be able to tell people about this. It was something that I did not want to admit to myself, much less tell other people about it.


When I got over the initial shock of my diagnosis,

I decided to do some research on my own.  This thing could not be as bad as everyone had made it out to be. I was determined to get as much information as I could.  I did a lot of research on anxiety and bipolar disorder. I read up on the illnesses and I also looked for people who were living with the illness and doing well.  It was discouraging to not see as many people as you had hoped talking about their lives despite bipolar disorder and anxiety.

What I did pick up in my research was how important it was to have support systems and the benefit of  going to support groups. It would be a good way for people with similar circumstances to discuss their trials and tribulations despite having a mental illness.  I was determined to find a support group in my area that I could go to and talk to people who I thought would get me.


My first visit to the mental health support group in my area made me feel uneasy.  

There were a lot of middle aged, mainly Caucasian men in attendance who spoke about their illnesses.  The mood of the room and the group in general was very sad and depressing and to be quite honest, I was one of the younger people in the group and felt like no one there would be able to understand me and how I was feeling.  I didn’t write the group off completely. I went back for a second meeting. I decided to give it a chance. I desperately wanted the group to work for me so I went back. Let me just say that the second meeting was worse. I felt worse than I did after the first meeting.  I was depressed and I felt like I was doomed. I would not be able to live a normal life with my anxiety and bipolar disorder because the people in the group did not appear to me that they were thriving. Just merely surviving.


Last year I decided to start Beautiful Brain Collective.  

I wanted to help people who lived with mental illnesses who had jobs, families and were deemed high-functioning.  My mission has always been to show others who have mental illnesses that they can live a great life despite a diagnosis.  I have been on my recovery/stability journey for a year and a half, and I must say I have never felt better. This does not mean that there will not be difficult times, or that hard work will not be required, but I am here to tell you that recovery is possible!!!!!


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Everyday Warriors: Stephanie Mitchell Hughes

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There is no secret that I am passionate about talking about mental health.  

My journey started back in 2014 when I was diagnosed. For years I thought that I was the only one in the world who suffered from a mental health disorder.  I had gone through a range of emotions trying to figure out where I “fit in” as I navigated my way through life while dealing with a mental illness. I am always amazed and intrigued when I meet and talk to other strong, brave men and women who are thriving and surviving despite their mental health disorders.

This brings me to the reason of this post.  

I met a woman named Stephanie Mitchell Hughes on Instagram a few months ago. She is amazing!  She is a mother, attorney, speaker, and she also lives with a mental illness.  She is very passionate about helping others and spreading the word about mental health and mental illness.  I want share a podcast from the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) in which the talks about her mental illness and how she was able to find recovery and stability.  

The link to her story is below.

https://soundcloud.com/aba-colap/aba-colap-voices-of-recovery-podcast-series-episode-7-featuring-stephanie-mitchell-hughes

Please take some time to listen to this enlightening, and inspirational account.  

There are so many pearls of wisdom, and I know that you will find her story powerful.   


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Let Michelle Williams Be a Lesson to All

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When I learned that singer Michelle Williams had voluntarily checked herself into a mental health facility. I was happy for her for two reasons.  First, in recent weeks we have been hearing stories of celebrities who have lost their battle with mental illness. Her story was the opposite of what we have been seeing in recent weeks.   Second, in my opinion she is so in tune with herself and her needs that she knows when to stop and ask for help.  This was a commendable and courageous act on her part.  This really got me thinking.  I see a lot of posts on social media that promote self-care, and self-love.  But what do those things really look like?  My idea of self-care and self-love will vary greatly from the person next to me. 

Michelle’s story was a reminder to me that the ultimate form of self-love and self-care is getting to know yourself, and your illness so intimately to the point that you know when you must stop, acknowledge that you are not well and get help.  I have said this before and I will say it again, dealing with a mental health disorder is no walk in the park.  However, mental illnesses can be managed with the correct tools and support systems in place.  Let this story be a lesson.  Get to know yourself and your illness so that you can make the best choices for your care.

5 Amazing Reasons to Attend A Support Group

Ever since being diagnosed, I have done a lot of research on things that would help me manage my mental health.  Support groups are a great way to manage your mental health in a positive way.  I have attended many support groups and I love all that support groups stand for.  Below are 5 great reasons to attend a support group.

  1. Shared Experiences – When you attend a support group, you meet up with people who share similar experiences and circumstances as you.  This allows you to feel comfortable. 
  2. Open and honest communication – You can engage in honest communication about your experiences with people who are familiar with what you are going through without the judgement you may face from those who are not in similar circumstances.
  3. Sense of community – You feel like you are a part of an exclusive club when you a part of group of peers who share a similar experience.
  4. Comparison of resources – Being in a support group is a great way to share tips, resources, and advice on your illness and treatment.
  5. Developing and understanding of your situation - When you surround yourself with people who share similar expeiences as you, you are able to look at your situation in a way that you may not have done so in the past.  This gives you a new outlook on your circumstances, and this may be for the better.  


If you are dealing with a mental health issue and are looking for a healthy way to deal with it.  Consider a support group.  It may be just what you need.