Welcome to the NAMI Colorado Blog


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.   

You are NOT alone. 

NAMI Colorado Blog
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02

May Is Mental Month

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Every year at this time, I think of my maternal grandmother, Amy Nicholson Garl, a Swedish immigrant to Minnesota. She was a handsome woman, born in the late 1800’s, who came to America when “dumb Swede” jokes were the mode. My grandmother had suffered childhood trauma—her mother died before they came to America and her father farmed out the kids to relatives because of his drinking. As a child, I remember her being afraid of many things—driving over bridges, strangers, dogs, etc. Today she...
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05

Everyday Heroes

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Marilyn Robertson Board Member NAMI Colorado Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump............. We live in a celebrity culture, where we glorify persons of fame, wealth, status, wouldn't you agree?  These celebrities are our heroes.  And the media glorifies them. From my personal experience as both a volunteer attorney for the NAMI Colorado Law Line, and a family member of a loved one who lives with bipolar disorder, I believe that our culture has got it all wrong.  In my opinion, the true everyday ...
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16

In Our Own Voice - A Gift To Share

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From the start, I realized that In Our Own Voice had the power to change and shape the way we see mental illness. A positive perspective offered through the personal stories of two brave presenters. What I didn't fully realize is the profound impact it would have on my own journey. Now that I have personally done many IOOV presentations, I fully grasp the gifts of this program. In my opinion, some of the greatest takeaways for the audience and presenters are putting a different face on mental i...
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09

Furthering Recovery Through IOOV

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Fear and trepidation swelled up from my stomach when I was asked to speak at a lock down facility in Denver. I sat down and practiced my mindfulness training to find the source of my fear.  Thoughts surfaced into my brain like, "Will this remind me of my personal experience with hospitals?", "How will the audience react to our message?" I decided I would do this to further my own recovery and hope I can help others in theirs.   I was surprised how many people showed up.  Over 15 individuals we...
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11

Offering Hope, Opening Minds

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Within a month of completing training for In Our Own Voice and having been a presenter several times, a fairly recent acquaintance of mine shared with me that she had been diagnosed three years ago with Bipolar II disorder. Well, it was more like whispering it to me. Kathy (not her real name) admitted that she had not really accepted her own diagnosis, didn’t like the way her meds left her feeling and had dismissed therapy as a treatment and coping tool. Although Kathy knew I had a mental healt...
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24

Walking for Nana

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I walk because I am proud of the legacy of my Nana. She was bipolar. She had no name for the classic symptoms of an illness that disrupted her daily life and made no sense to the world around her.  Nan suffered and because we loved her, we suffered too.  Despite her illness, as a commercial real estate developer and builder Nan achieved success and won the respect of colleagues in a field that, after two generations, still remains predominantly male. She was a single mom who taught her children...
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24

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 ...
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16

Why I Walk

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WHY I WALK Six years ago, my son committed suicide at age 49 as a result of bipolar disorder.  He had shown symptoms for many years that we had not understood, but then the doctors and psychologists had also failed to understand his challenge until it was too late and his life was a shambles. In the wake of his death, my wife and I had many questions and few answers.  We looked around for resources and some friends of ours who had also lost a son to suicide suggested we do the NAMI Family-to-F...
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12

The Power of In Our Own Voice

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The first time I went before an audience and spoke as an IOOV presenter, I was nervous. I remember my knees shaking (a lot), which is weird, as I’m a performer and stand in front of groups of people all the time. My fellow speaker that night was a beautiful soul, an amazing artist I’d met during IOOV training. We had connected immediately, and I felt safer speaking with him for the first time. On that particular Wednesday evening, we were presenting at an inpatient behavioral unit in a local D...
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08

A Public Policy Perspective

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When I first started showing symptoms of bipolar disorder, I was only ten years old. Back then, no one really talked much about mental illness, and even professionals in the field didn’t believe mental illness could affect kids as young as I was. I didn’t seek help until I was eighteen years old in college, and the “help” I was given was ineffective, to say the least. My first therapist gave me a battery of tests and concluded I should stop lying about the severity of my symptoms and just ma...
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