The Mental Illness Awareness Week blog, sharing stories of recovery, personal experiences, and mental health/mental illness news.


Marc's Story

Every year, we connect with so many great people through our Face Mental Illness Campaign. We meet people from across Canada with unique experiences with mental health and mental illness.

Marc is one of the people we met this year. Here's his story:

In my view, mental illness means a disease or ailment that affects the brain and/or mind. Such an ailment affects the way one thinks, feels, acts, and engages in society. Chemical imbalances and heredity are thought to be contributing factors regarding mental illness. I first experienced mental illness visiting my mother in the hospital when I was a kid. She has manic depression, a.k.a. bipolar disorder. I have chronic depression and take meds daily, for me, my downward spiral began in high school, and it’s been an uphill battle ever since, even being hospitalized a few times. I want to talk openly about it because it is a very real thing in our society, it has affected me and my family my entire life. It’s something that should no longer be ignored or frowned upon in society. Unless you’ve experienced it, you wouldn’t understand what it’s like. It can be very difficult having a mental illness, and/or living with someone who has it, or even knowing someone who has it.

The stigma (ignorance) that still exists in society today is why depression is treated differently than diabetes, cancer or other harmful physical illnesses. It isn’t fair because all illnesses affect a person’s health to a certain degree, no matter the severity. Mental illness does scare me, speaking from experience, as it relates to depression, I’ve had suicidal thoughts countless times, but I’ve managed to survive one way or another, I would say primarily with the support and love of my parents, especially my dad. I believe people can recover from a mental illness, with the right medications and psychotherapy, their lives and symptoms, including emotional and thought patterns, can be controlled. My emotions vary from anger to loneliness to guilt surrounding mental illness, including depression in particular, which to this day I still struggle with, some 20+ years later, perhaps even longer, as it relates back to an event in my pre-teen years, when me and my family moved, for the first time. My mother has struggled with bipolar for 35+ years roughly.

Lastly, I still know when something’s wrong, it’s like she becomes a completely different person, similar to someone being drunk and affected greatly by alcohol. I am currently an award-winning volunteer and aspiring writer. I live the way I know how to now, through thick and thin, one day at a time, good, or still bad.

You can share your story with us by connecting with us on Facebook at the Face It: Mental Illness Awareness Page, or on Twitter, @MIAWCanada .


Our sponsors over at Janssen have launched a great new online resource for those affected by schizophrenia. Visit and find a wealth of information about schizophrenia for patients, caregivers and healthcare providers. This includes outlining treatment options, ways of recognizing symptoms, avoiding relapses, and tips on how to educate others on the disease.

Most notably, features a series of videos called “Spend A Day In My Life”. These four videos reflect everyday scenarios experienced through the eyes of someone with schizophrenia – being at the doctor’s office, on the bus, at the pharmacy, and being in the midst of a schizophrenic “mindstorm”. Watching these videos allows you to step into the mind of someone living with schizophrenia.

Take a moment to visit the website and tell us what you think. Does experiencing these everyday moments from inside schizophrenia give you a different perspective on the disease and the people who live with it? How can videos like these help promote awareness about schizophrenia?