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


Meet Bethany Butzer

Through this year's Mental Illness Awareness Week, we came in contact with Bethany Butzer. Read her story below to see what elements aided in her recovery from mental illness.

Bethany Butzer

I'm an author, speaker, researcher and yoga teacher who provides inspirational products and services that help people manage their stress and mood. I suffered from anxiety and depression in my early 20s, and I've made it my mission to motivate others to achieve their highest level of mental fitness.

My book, The Antidepressant Antidote, chronicles my personal struggles with anxiety, depression and a dependence on antidepressant medication. I also share how I finally managed to get off the medication for good.

I truly believe that everyone is meant to enjoy optimum mental health. All of the products and services that I offer, from my writing, speaking engagements and research projects to my yoga classes for anxiety and stress, are geared toward making the world a better place by nourishing and honoring our mental wellness.

I received my Ph.D. in psychology in 2008 from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. My early research focused on anxiety and depression, which was, as you might imagine, somewhat depressing! So, after spending several years studying psychopathology, I changed my focus to positive psychology, which emphasizes the development of human strength and potential. My dissertation research on the psychology of romantic relationships garnered the Martin E. P. Seligman Award for Outstanding Dissertation Research in Positive Psychology.

After receiving my Ph.D., I originally planned on becoming a psychology professor. But the ivory tower lifestyle just didn't feel right for me. I wanted my work to be consumed by and have an impact on the general public. So I turned down a fully-funded postdoctoral research position to take a job in the private sector as a Research Analyst for Info-Tech Research Group, a leading IT Research Firm.

After almost 2 years in the private sector, I realized that the 9 to 5 cubicle life wasn't for me either. So I made the bold (and scary!) decision to quit my job to start my own business as a Mental Health & Wellness Advisor. Following my passion has been an amazing journey filled with both incredible joy and the occasional dark night of the soul.

Today, I fill my days doing what I love: writing, speaking and research. As an example, I'm currently collaborating with Kripalu's Institute for Extraordinary Living, Harvard Medical School and the Yoga Care Foundation to conduct studies on the effects of yoga on well-being.

I'm also a certified yoga teacher and have completed over 200 hours of training in yoga postures, philosophy, breathing techniques, meditation, anatomy, and ayurveda. I've also received life coaching training from the Coaches Training Institute (CTI), and I have my first degree Reiki certification. I'm a member of the Canadian Yoga Alliance (CYA) and the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT).

In addition to my book, I've published professional papers in several leading psychological journals, including Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and Personal Relationships. I've also won numerous national and international awards for my achievements.

A unique aspect of my approach is that I've not only studied the topics that I'm passionate about - I've also lived through them. I combine my professional training with my personal experience to provide products and services that are both empathetic and backed up by solid research. I've personally overcome the obstacles of a rocky childhood, anxiety, depression, and a dependence on antidepressant medication. I've experienced grief, loss, abuse, abandonment, burnout, and almost everything in between. I've been to doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, and've tried many forms of alternative medicine. And I've come out on the other side.

Based on my familiarity with both the dark and light sides of life, my style is down to earth and approachable, and I have an extensive knowledge of the services that are available to those in need.

To connect with Bethany or learn more, you can visit her website

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