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About Natalie Jeanne Champagne, Author of Recovering From Mental Illness Blog

My name is Natalie Jeanne Champagne and welcome to my blog, Recovering from Mental Illness. I am twenty-six years old and am a freelance writer among other things. (People are, of course, much more than their chosen profession!) I have spent the last couple of years working to lessen the stereotype of mental health issues and this blog will reflect that.

I have published a book, “The Third Sunrise: A Memoir of Madness” on my experience with bipolar disorder and addiction. You can learn more about it on my website @ www.thethirdsunrise.com

My Experience with Mental Illness and Recovery

I have struggled with mental illness since birth (my mother can certainly vouch for this) but was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the age of twelve. I was stabilized at the age of fifteen but fell deep into addiction, alcoholism, and eating disorders. I achieved sobriety when I was twenty-three years old.

recovery-spelled-outI have become an advocate for mental health and recovery because, at one point, I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now that I have recovered, although there are bumps in the road, I look forward to waking up each morning. I appreciate being able to communicate with people about recovery. We can and do recover from mental illness and addiction and I think that’s extremely important to point out!

Sometimes I can be a bit satirical, that is just in my nature, and my writing can reflect this (not often I assure you). I am liberal in regards to my feelings about mental health and recovery (more on this in my blog posts), and open to discussion on many different topics. I hope readers will hold back very little so we can have an open and honest discussion.

I’m glad you found me. I look forward to writing the Recovering From Mental Illness blog and connecting with people!

You can also find me at:

The Third Sunrise (for my book:”The Third Sunrise: A Memoir of Madness”) and on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook

28 thoughts on “About Natalie Jeanne Champagne, Author of Recovering From Mental Illness Blog”

  1. I just found your writing about depression so ME! Thank you for sharing, it is still applicable today, 3 years after you posted it. Thanks!

  2. Hi Natalie.I wanted to touch on one thing in regards to the stigma of mental illness.I myself experienced a mild alienation at the same age as you because of the discrimination & stigma involved with it.Did you go through the same thing?Also I wanted to pass this info that CMHA got started on January 26 1918 because of WW1 veterans suffering from shell shock by Dr.Clarence Hincks who himself suffered mental illness and Clifford Beers when is was then known as Canadian National Committee on Mental Hygiene instead of the Canadian Mental Health Association one of canada’s oldest charitable organizations.I though you’d like to know this.I’m also eager for your answer on the stigma you experienced.

    1. Hi, Paul
      Yes, I experienced stigma and I still do. It’s getting better but it will always exist. I think that as we grow more comfortable with ourselves, our diagnosis, stigma bothers us less. But it’s a work in progress, both on a personal and societal level.
      Thanks for the interesting comment,
      Natalie

  3. I just noticed and read your entry “Is It Possible To Recover From Chronic Mental Illness?” In it you seem to answer my question (above)–recovery from mental illness implies remission, so mental illness lingers and may resurface. Also, using your ankle injury as an example, that it isn’t the same as recovering from a physical injury or illness, which can be cured or healed.

    I agree. When I was given a clean bill of mental health after a couple of years of therapy, I could tell that recovery didn’t mean problem solved. My psychologist and psychiatrist both recommended that I keep taking a small dose of Wellbutrin daily, though, and that if a depressed mood lasts for two weeks, make an appointment. Still, I didn’t realize that maintaining mental health would be so challenging and arduous. I guess I assumed it wouldn’t be too difficult after all the hard work I’d done to get back to a good place mentally.

    We live, and we learn. Like you say, given the choice–and we always have a choice–it’s best to see the glass as half-full. And to keep on. As you also say, we get better. Even if I never achieve my goal of peace of mind, I can keep moving ever closer to it.

    1. Hi, Carl
      Yes, I believe with chronic mental illness recovery is remission. The nature of mental illness is that of constant growth and learning. Therapy can help just as much as medication can if a person is open to the process–which can be difficult. Thanks for your comment!
      Sincerely,
      Natalie

  4. I just started reading your blog. I appreciate your courage. Mental illness is easier to deny than to deal with.

    I wonder if you think full recovery is truly possible. Six years ago I was diagnosed with depression, underwent a couple of years of excellent therapy with a wonderful therapist, was deemed cured. At the time, I’d say I was, at least conciously. But I think an undercurrent of the illness persists. I know how to avoid the bitter depths, but I’m still somewhat OCD, given to negative thoughts and even self-loathing at times; I somehow find ways to sabotage relationships without realizing till later my mistakes, and have developed an internet addiction to boot. A few times things have been so bad I’ve sought counseling. I’ve moved since my earlier life-changing counseling and recovery, and the counselors I’ve seen here haven’t been as effective or as convinced I need ongoing help. Maybe I haven’t opened up enough to them. In any event, the more recent counseling has been more of band-aid than anything else.

    I’m 62, divorced, a father, a writer (luckily with a retirement pension from teaching for 30 years). I had a very successful and fulfilling teaching career, have friends, do volunteer work, work at my writing (though sporadically, to my distress), am close to my children (though I continue to make things difficult at times, even as I so desperately don’t want to), am friends with my ex-wife, play golf, walk, exercise, eat healthy stuff–but I don’t think I’m completely over my depression. I learned in therapy I’d been suffering from it off and on since childhood (during which suffered emotional and sexual abuse). So maybe it’s hard-wired, a habit of mind too ingrained to undo fully.

    Forgive my self-centered babble. I’m curious to know if you think mental illness can ever be cured in the same way the flu can be–you have it, you recover, you don’t have it anymore. Or is coping with mental illness the best we can do?

  5. Hi Natalie,

    Just read an older post of yours, “Depression is Terrifying,” and found it to be a strikingly accurate description of how serious melancholy feels. Thanks. And I enjoy the detail and honesty in your writing and how observant you are. I hope you are helping a lot of people and finding healing for yourself while doing this.

    Glen

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