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NAMI Colorado's mission is to build communities of hope and recovery by educating, supporting, and advocating for individuals affected by mental illness and their families.

Visit here often to read stories from those who have experienced the challenges of mental illness.  Our bloggers are In Our Own Voice presenters, family members, volunteers, staff, public policy committee members, and NAMIWalkers.   

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NAMI Colorado Blog

A Passion for Fighting Stigma

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Hello.  My name is Amanda Stettenbenz and I am thirty-two years old.  Why is my age important?  Even at age twenty-five, I didn’t think I would make it to thirty.  I am diagnosed with bipolar, PTSD, and ADHD but I am so much more than that.  I am a mother to an amazing eleven-year-old daughter, I am a pet owner, and I am getting married later this summer.
    Mental health issues have been a part of my life as long as I can remember.  In fact, my first suicide attempt was at age seven.  When I was manic, I was talkative, the life of the party, I was fun.  When I was depressed, I thought I could not go on anymore, I had a hard time getting out of bed, and I thought I was a burden to everyone around me.  I also was a cutter and took handfuls of pills, just to make myself sick.
    My teens and twenties, were a huge struggle.  Through many circumstances, I got help at twenty-five.  I learned everything I could and took advantage of every opportunity thrown my way.  Now, I am a fierce advocate for mental health rights and fighting stigma. 
    My passion for fighting stigma, eventually lead me to In Our Own Voices and I knew I had to sign up for this program.  I believe the only way to fight stigma is for people to talk about mental health and to normalize it.  I notice that when I do these presentations, that so many people are touched by mental health issues and that people are generally open to hear what I have to say.  I love the format and how we end on such a positive (and my favorite part) note.  Doing In Our Voices presentations, it always reminds me how far I have come and how far I would still like to go.  I hope to fight stigma, one In Our Own Voice presentation at a time.


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