Semi-Retired Independent Management Consultant; In Our Own Voice presenter
Living with bipolar disorder

Steve feels fortunate to have been correctly diagnosed with bipolar disorder after his first manic episode over 40 years ago. Today, he volunteers with various organizations focusing on mental health, where he works on sharing his own personal story of hope. Because of – not in spite of – his mental health condition, Steve has been able to connect and share with people from all different backgrounds, which he especially cherishes.

Steve’s Story

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

The impact of my condition to my life has been mostly positive. I became first aware of my condition in February 1977, and the most difficult times were the first several years.

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

My wife, Chris, and I have been married for 40 years, this year. She rescued me in 1977, during my first manic episode. She’s stood by my side since that day. I had a successful career in the restaurant industry for 9 years and have been in solo consulting for the last 30 years. For me, living well includes having positive relationships and experiences, managing my sleep, and reading about mental illness. I volunteer with IOOV and NAMI, where I focus on telling my story of hope. I’ve also been a board member of Transitional Resources for over 20 years.  

Who in your life or what specific strategies helped you to get well and move to stability?    

My wife, Chris, and my long-time psychiatrist helped me to get well. I have also been inspired by several public personas, including Randy Revelle, Lincoln, Nash, and Princess Diana. The specific strategies that helped me to get well include fostering my positive relationships, charting my mood, weight, and exercise, and taking part in routines.

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

I manage my condition through living a healthy lifestyle, alongside coping mechanisms such as healthy eating, consistent sleep, avoiding toxic relationships and experiences, knowing my triggers, and maintaining routines.

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

Because of my mental health condition, I’ve created special relationships, of which I’m always building/maintaining. This large personal network from work, of old friends, etc. spans across ages – of people from young to old. My mental health condition has also had positive effects on my career.

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

It’s important to build a support network – personal, medical – and to never give up. If something does not work, try something else.

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

I am excited by the opportunity to tell my story of hope. I’m also looking forward to moving ahead on a project for a new presentation for In-Patient and others, called SOAR – Story of a Recovery. I have been working on this for over 2 years with a partner from NAMI.

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

Some books I’d recommend:

  1. Brilliant Madness – Duke
  2. An Unquiet Mind – Jamison
  3. Perfect Chaos – Johnson’s
  4. Marbles – Forney
  5. BP Hope

Is there anything else you want to say / share?

I had uncountable lucky breaks – my first being a correct diagnosis at intake in 1977, and so many more.