9/22/18 #SameHere Hero: Meredith Blis

Today’s #SameHere🤙 Hero: @MeredithBlis
The “simplicity” of her story should resonate with many. Loss of her parents & and close grandparent all within approximately a yr of one another, along with an injury that took her away from pursuing her dream as a dancer, sent her spiraling. Symptoms of underlying Bipolar 2 started to surface more. But she’s so strong & has fought to find the right coping mechanisms, right practices, right medication, & even the right passion – for music & her own MH Movement you’ll read about below. Welcome to the Hero Alliance, Meredith!
“The death of my parents & my maternal grandmother all within a yr of each other in my late teens/early 20’s as well as what I believe to be a genetic predisposition in my family have been the contributing factors to my mental health challenges.
Following my graduation from college, after the death of my mother & my grandmother, I went into a severe depression. I was unable to work or function. I also struggled w rapid mood cycling. It took years to receive the correct diagnosis of Bipolar 2. I have also struggled with SAD as well as PTSD & ADD.
When my mother was diagnosed w cancer, I began therapy in order to handle that situation as well as the loss of my career dream of being a dancer (I had an injury that resulted in multiple knee surgeries). Initially, when meds were recommended, I was very reticent. A dear friend said to me, ‘If you had diabetes, would you take insulin?’ That statement shifted my whole perspective. I realize now how the stigmas around medications impact mental health choices! I think it’s a huge issue that we are raised to treat our mental health so differently from, as well as secondary to, our physical health. It took years of trial & error on different medications until a Dr. finally got the correct diagnosis of Bipolar 2. Up until then, I was only being prescribed for depression. It was a journey to find the right treatment & I am grateful that I stuck with it! I have been in therapy pretty much consistently for most of my life.
On top of the therapy, yoga, creating & writing music, proper medication, self-care practices, supportive friends, & meditation have all been vital to maintaining my mental health. I also think it’s important to educate the people around us about our mental health diagnosis. It’s difficult for people to grasp the situation when they don’t have the information they need to understand what’s happening with those they love.
For most of my life – I was very quiet about my bipolar diagnosis. I feared judgment or stereotyping from people. Last year I released a song called ‘Shine Again.’ This song was written while struggling w both depression & PTSD. It’s about holding on to the spark of hope when your world is dark. With this single, I have taken to the streets (or technically Instagram lol), & have become public about my diagnosis & my journey. My hope is that my story will help others on their path. The movement I started is called, “The #ShineAgain Project” My goal is to create community amongst people who are struggling, raise awareness for mental health & help end stigmas. We are having people post pictures with a simple sentence about their diagnosis (or about someone they love or have lost to suicide) followed by #ShineAgain or I’m / He / She’s gonna #ShineAgain. Becoming more open about my #SameHere🤙 Story & connecting w incredible people who share a similar experience has been amazing, healing, & inspiring.”

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