About erin

I am 4yrs old, mother of 3, (Sam, Becky, and Emma,) married to my electrical engineer husband (Adam,) & 'a kept woman.' This enables me to do a great deal of volunteer and community work. I have a B.S. in Psychology from Brigham Young University. I tinker with my Non Profit Organization, BipolarNOW - that is on sabbatical right now. I currently act as NAMIUT's Walk Volunteer Coordinator.

Getting out of the pit

“At the depths of despair, nothing matters, I can’t do anything, got to get out of here, walls falling in, throw me a rope, I can’t move, can’t stand it, nothing, throw me a rope…

And one day, like any other day, finally tired of waiting for help that never comes, make a rope, tie it to a rock throw it up pull yourself out and walk away…

And it took all that time just to find yourself.

And that’s how long it had to take:  And it was well worth every moment.”


“You hesitate, you think and struggle and finally you don’t even think about it anymore, you just lie there in defeat, you just lie there forever.  And then one day you get up and do what you have to do, and go on along to the next thing.”

Paul Williams, Das Energi.  pgs. 103-105 (Used with permission from Cindy Lee Beryhill.)


An example of content

The following 12 “52s” are representative of the topics that I am addressing in the book.  Each uber-content of a 52 is expanded into a series of 365s  (get it, 52 weeks in a year, 365 days per year…)

To see the ‘52s’, go to the tab “Heart of the Book”…hover over it and ‘Outline’ becomes one of your options.  Hovering over outline shows option ‘outline guts.’  The Outline is a list of main concepts.  Outline guts show the 365s are listed below them to flesh out the ideas.


  • If you are not getting the answers you want, ask a different question.
  • Getting off the fence.
  • Why does it seem that we have to learn the same lessons over and over?
  • What are you willing to do to take care of yourself?
  • Victim-ology
  • How to magnify your lot in life
  • Coming out of the closet (Have this linked with the Stigma 52)
  • Ferocious optimism
  • What is paralyzing you?
  • What would a forgiving person do?
  • What does it mean to be patient?
  • Rent free in your head

Fierce Optimism as a Way of Life


My “official” experiences with bipolar disorder have spanned 27 years, since I was diagnosed at age 14.   The disorder has waxed and waned and woven itself into the very fabric of my life.  After struggling with it for many years, feeling like it had control over my life, I find that the only tenable position that I can take is one of fierce optimism.

I have been disabled since 2006, when my ability to cope with the vagaries of work was overshadowed by the suicidal repercussions of any job that I held.  I am a hard worker, giving my all too each project or assignment, and that would invariably lead to trouble.  Like the two poles of bipolar, my work was either stunningly good, or scrape-the-barrel less effective.

To be productive and involved in the world around me, I stay current with the latest scientific findings regarding bipolar disorder and its attendant manifestations.  I am always involved in at least one major activity in my community.

Winter of 2011 I coordinated my children’s middle school memory book.  April-September of 2011 I was the volunteer coordinator for NAMIWalks UT.  The work for the walk in 2012 is ongoing.

My family and my religious beliefs are the bedrock of my stability.  The first and only time I was hospitalized my husband made me sign a contract that I would not complete the act of suicide because of the ramifications on the kids.

I see how my moods and actions impact others.  I am not always able to control my words or actions, but I realize that I am accountable for them, nonetheless.

Bipolar is not an excuse for bad behavior.  Every day I have to decide how I will face that mood or feeling and meet it head-on.  Some days are more effective than others.  Life is too short to be a victim of something that could ruin and run me if I let it.

This all sounds good on paper, but it is truly my life.  I am Bipolar I, Rapid Cycling, Mixed Mood.  I go to a CBT trained LCSW therapist weekly who is trained in EMDR.  She helps me recognize distorted thinking and is trying to help me see that it is OK to just take a step back and just be “me,” without having to accomplish so much .


On Recovery

Severe mental illness is not sexy. It is not clearly understood. It is not something that can be packaged or managed with a magic pill or injection. It is not predictable. It comes with a heavy cost to society. But isn’t this true with many other major diseases? So why is it so hard to wrap our minds around the concept of recovery in mental health? Other disorders can identify when someone is in recovery or remission. Are we so certain we are broken and beyond repair?

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has been conversing with consumers and providers to come up with a new definition of recovery that would be relevant to the mental health community. “The new working definition of Recovery from Mental Disorders and Substance Use Disorders is as follows:

A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

Notice that this is a “process of change.”

Looking at the definition is empowering, but also can be daunting if you don’t know where to start.  The goal is to improve both “health and wellness” as they go together. You cannot separate your body from your mind.

We are to strive to be as involved in our own care and life plan as possible and live life to the fullest.  Realistic changes are often made by baby-steps.  Understanding how to integrate recovery in your life is a vital first step.

Through the Recovery Support Strategic Initiative, SAMHSA has identified four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:

  • Health: overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) as well as living in a physically       and emotionally healthy way;
  • Home: a stable and safe place to live;
  • Purpose: meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family care-taking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income and resources to participate in society; and
  • Community: relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

The authors continue by expounding on the “Guiding Principles of Recovery.”  These are ten aspects to guide our way.  By understanding them, we are in a position to work with supporters and care givers to create our own baby-steps and wrap our minds around hope for the present and action plans for the future.

It is well worth a look at the site to see more about how you can apply this concept of recovery in your life.  You can find further information at