bipolar disorder mom life mental illness storytelling manic episode podcast


Friends, today I am so happy to introduce you to a woman who is helping to change the stigma of mental illness.  Jenn Marshall shares about her first manic episode in 2006 which landed her in the psychiatric hospital and later resulted in a diagnosis of Type 1 Bipolar Disorder and forced her to retire from her job.  This put her into deep depression and anxiety as she had felt that she had lost her identity.  Jenn would experience three more manic episodes and hospitalizations, all while being off of her medication and deprived of sleep, two of which were associated with trying to protect her children.  She shares what a manic episode looks and feels like and what her treatment plan is.  Jenn shares how after she began to control her symptoms she turned to blogging as a way to share with other moms that the they too could realize their dreams of having a family, even with bipolar disorder.  She tells why she wrote only under the pseudonym Bipolar Mom Life for several years and how it felt to first attribute her real name to an article she published.  She shares the inspiration for the non-profit she co-founded called This is My Brave which hosts shows across the country, providing a stage for those suffering from mental illness to express their story through art and storytelling.   Jenn also offers up 3 suggestions on how someone struggling with mental illness can handle what they are going through and have hope for their future.  You will be inspired by her bravery which has allowed so many others to share theirs.

Want to know if this episode it for you?  This episode is perfect for someone who suffers from a mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder or for someone who has a loved one who suffers or wants to understand it better.  It is perfect for someone who wants to learn more about how they can have hope for a symptom managed life with a mental illness and one that will allow them to have the family they have dreamed of.  It is also good for someone who believes in the power of vulnerability and the sharing of stories to connect one another and who would want to attend a This is My Brave show or watch it on YouTube.

What is this episode about?   In this episode you will learn about:

  • Jenn’s first manic episode – what it felt and looked like, what brought it on, what the psychiatrist said, and what happened because of it
  • why Jenn had to retire from her job
  • the effects of depression and anxiety on her life
  • what her diagnosis was after the manic episodes
  • what the symptoms are of hypomania, mania, and psychosis
  • what brought on her third and fourth manic episodes due to trying to protect her children
  • what she was like when she was hospitalized
  • the mood scale and why you want to be in the middle
  • how she has been close to symptom free for years
  • how she drew strength from reading others’ stories and why she turned to blogging to share her story
  • why she began writing under a pseudonym
  • what happened when her article went on the front page of AOL and how she felt about using her real name
  • how her readership responded to her using her real name
  • what sparked her idea to start This is My Brave and why she chose the format of a live show
  • what is her goals with This is My Brave
  • what is the format and how you can participate in the show
  • the “me too” phenomenon and is effect on those attending the show
  • the one experience she has had with someone attending the show that has made it all worth it
  • why she believes storytelling saves lives
  • the power of vulnerability and the sharing of one’s story to create connection
  • one presentation from This is My Brave that struck her hard and why
  • statistics about mental illness
  • her vision for the growth of This is My Brave
  • how you can participate or view a show
  • three things that those struggling with mental illness can do to help handle what they are going through and to have hope in their future


Show Notes:

Bipolar Mom Life blog

This is My Brave website

“What to Expect” article- 5 reasons exercise keeps me out of the psych ward

Boston Globe article on trichotillomania

Danielle Fiorello’s presentation

Washington Post article “Unwell and unashamed”

The LifeBeats Project podcast episode with Ashmae Hoiland, “Overcoming self-doubt and finding your brave with Ashmae Hoiland of We Brave Women”

The LifeBeats Project podcast episode with Karan and Kerry Bajaj “Unlearning everything you know to learn about your true self and to connect as a couple”

Jenn’s Instagram @bipolarmomlife

Jenn’s Instagram @thisismybrave

This is My Brave YouTube channel

This is My Brave Facebook page

O, Oprah Magazine article, “The Beautiful Way These People Are Coming Out About Mental Illness”