Founder & CEO, BecauseYOU
Living with bipolar disorder

Daniel Lobo was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2015 and initially struggled with an identity crisis, trying to understand where the symptoms of his mental health challenges ended and where his personality traits began. Daniel has used a combination of Western science and Eastern philosophies to find healing. He says, “I’ve learned over time that we need to take care of our mind, body AND spirit to thrive.” Daniel believes that the inner work impacts his outer way of being and he’s dedicating his life to global mental health.

Daniel’s Story

How has your condition impacted your life?

On one hand, my life has been challenging on many levels. I still struggle sometimes with managing my drive and energy and separating my mental health issues from my identity. I deal with the pressure of thriving as I’ve decided to build an organisation that supports people with mental health issues to thrive. To do that, I need to thrive every day, and the pressure (albeit, light and self-imposed!), is not easy to live with.

On the other hand, it’s been an incredibly life changing period. It raised my consciousness by allowing me to pause, get to know myself better, and go on an inner journey that has only made me stronger, wiser and more creative.

When were you first aware of your conditions and what was your most difficult time?

A manic episode in 2015 when I was in Hong Kong completely upended my life. The most difficult thing was to reconcile who I was, whether the qualities that I thought defined me were due to my mental health issue. It was an identity crisis, and one that completely transformed my life.

What is your life like now and what does success and living well look like for you?

Success to me is harmonizing my personal and professional lives and being able to shine in all my identities as a dad to a beautiful toddler, an ambitious entrepreneur trying to make a dent in the mental health space and a global citizen. It’s a tall order, and I take it one day at a time. And I now appreciate that I am a whole human being, perfect in my imperfections.

What help or specific strategies helped you to get well and move to stability?

I’ve used a holistic approach to my mental health, using both Western science (meds, therapy, understanding approaches like trauma resolution, the science of somatic practices, etc.) and Eastern philosophies of balancing the energies, meditation and working with the body. I’ve learned over time that we need to take care of our mind, body AND spirit to thrive.

I’m deeply spiritual and believe in balancing the energies of life. Having a meditation and yoga practice supports me to do this beautifully. A supportive community of my wife, friends and well-wishers who support me, has been transformational. Right now, my biggest centering force and my anchor is my toddler.

So I guess the only strategy I’ve used is to go deeper within myself, to truly understand what I need. The means may differ, but that’s the one thing that has remained constant.

Are there positives that have come from having a mental health condition?

Hell yeah! I credit a large part of the way I show up every day to my mental health condition. It helped me pause, slow down, reprioritize life, and truly understand what I need. The inner work impacts my outer way of being. I’ve become a more conscious human being and much more empathetic. I have moved away from my mental health diagnosis as a ‘label’ but I recognize that it’s important in the beginning.

How has your condition impacted your work and your career?

I’ve dedicated my life now to working on global mental health. I do this not just because of my own experience, but because I see the massive need and opportunity in the world.

In the beginning of course, my mental health condition ‘slowed down’ my path when I was doing extremely well. I was frustrated that I needed to go slow to pander to other people’s fears that I would crash and burn. In hindsight, I’m glad I did slow down. It gave me the space for acceptance, and the time to disengage my identity from my work.

What words of encouragement would you give to someone struggling with a condition similar to yours?

That this too shall pass. Dealing with a mental health issue is like being in a storm. The dark clouds shall pass. We are the blue sky.

What motivated you to join The Stability Network?

Going through a mental health issue is lonely and scary. Finding others who have similar experiences is not easy, and especially stories of hope. The Stability Network’s vision of normalising mental health conversations and providing hope for others was inspiring when I first heard about it. And my mission is to support others on this journey, so it was a beautiful match.