Clinical Supervisor and Staff Counselor; Writer
Living with bipolar 1 disorder

Rosalin emphasizes good self-care as one of her most crucial aspects to staying well, which for her takes the forms of exercise and time spent outdoors. Battling depression since childhood, she was finally diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder as a young adult. She finds that her mental health condition has strengthened her empathy and compassion for her work and the world around her.

Rosalin’s Story

How has your condition impacted your life?  When were you first aware of it?  What was your most difficult time? 

It seems like I’ve been struggling with depression since grade school. I was officially diagnosed with major depressive disorder in my first year away at college, then was later diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder when an anti-depressant medication triggered a hypomanic episode.

The early years of my diagnosis were the most difficult. I was trying to finish college at a top school but was having delusions and mood instability which affected my friendships. Ultimately, I had to move back home for more intense treatment and to be close to people who knew me well and could support my recovery. I spent the 10 years after finishing college just trying to get stable before I could even consider attending graduate school.

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

Now, I’m happily married, am a cat mama, have deep friendships, and am working as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor at a church counseling center. Most of the time my mood is stable and I am asymptomatic. I pay attention to my triggers and any early signs of depression, hypomania, or mania. I take care of my responsibilities and make time to enjoy my life.

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

Finding the right psychotherapists and doctors and adhering to a medication regimen that works for me were the most important factors in my gaining stability. Without the symptoms being alleviated, I was not able to stay stable for long periods. I had to learn that taking medication did not make me a “weak person,” but instead gave me the freedom to live without the burdens of mood instability and delusions.

What do you do to manage your condition and stay healthy on an ongoing basis?

Good self-care is non-negotiable for me because I have such a small margin before I start to get symptomatic. I need to get enough sleep, eat and exercise regularly, take some alone time, and get out in nature. Surfing and snowboarding help me to enjoy moving and give me the motivation to continue exercising when I can’t be outdoors.

I have learned to say no to things and people that may have a negative impact on me, e.g., drinking alcohol, staying out too late, taking on too many responsibilities, but still say yes to things that allow me to work and have fun. My main supports are my relationships with God and with my husband. My Christian faith strengthens me in my weakness. I have hope in a purpose bigger than myself and beyond my own recovery. I can make an impact through my counseling work in the church which affects the lives of others who are living with mental illness, too.

Are there positives that have come from having a mental health condition?  If so, what?

My mental health condition humbles me in a good way. Having experience of what it is like to be the person seeking help enhances my clinical work with clients. I am more compassionate towards other people who are struggling or who do hurtful things out of their own pain and confusion. Depression has helped me grow in acceptance of my brokenness and the darker aspects of life. My hypomanic and manic episodes have fueled my imagination and have contributed to a greater sense of wonder and an expansiveness in my creativity.

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

There truly is hope. It is important to get care from professionals and it is okay to ask others for help. Getting stable is possible. It does take work, but it is definitely worth it. There are resources available and people willing to support you to get to stability.

What motivated you to join The Stability Network?  What do you hope to get from it?

Being open about my mental health condition is an important step in my recovery. Hearing from other people who were doing well, getting stable, and moving forward was helpful for me. I hope my story helps others to move toward stability themselves.

Are there resources (books, videos, websites) that helped and/or inspired you that you would recommend to others?

  • Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (
  • Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness by Kathryn Greene-McCreight
  • Books on bipolar disorder by Kay Redfield Jamison