When our son was struggling with bipolar disorder, our family and the life we knew was turned upside-down. We were fortunate in that not long after he was diagnosed, we discovered NAMI. But it was only after our son was truly solid in his recovery did we begin participating in the annual NAMI Connecticut Walk. We shouldn’t have waited. However, up until that point we were afraid, afraid of being judged, afraid of being shunned. We didn’t realize how liberating the Walk experience would be; surrounded by approximately 1,000 others just like us: parents, children, relatives, friends, providers; and people in recovery. Folks with who we could share our story, without feeling shame, who “got it.” We realized we were truly not alone, that everyone knew someone who may have struggled with (or is still struggling with) a mental health condition. And it was OK.
You really felt it in your heart what it meant to know “You (us!) are not alone.” We left that first Walk energized and full of hope for the future, knowing that we were part of something bigger, a real community of caring people.