I remember in my teens how scary it felt to be mentally ill. Those first few years were harder than anything I have ever experienced. I went from being a popular kid with many friends to being alone. When I sat lying in a psychiatric hospital, it felt hopeless. Over two years, I went through five different hospitals staying in each for over a month. I remember feeling locked away and that my life was shattered.
It is by the grace of God and love of my family that we persisted. I eventually found the right medications and realized my life needed to change. I dedicated all of my energy to slowly rebuilding my life. I eventually went back to school and pressed onward. I made friends, started dating and went back to being a normal part of society.
When I grew stronger, I knew I wanted to help other young people. I had heard of very few people who had this illness and were open about it. I began sharing my story and was honest about living with a mental illness. With time the world opened up for me. I have shared my experiences to help foster children, tons of organizations, on a national media tour with Dr. Drew Pinsky and to over 1,000,000 others.
I also have written four published books including being published by the top health publisher. I have been married and this year will mark 12 years with my wife. I have two beautiful children ages 6 and 1. I have been blessed to coach and teach tons of young people who face these issues. When I lost my only brother to a heroin overdose and depression this year I continued to teach. I wrote a book about my brother and as a guide to help others with mental illness and addiction. I know that God has used my struggle to help others. I am so appreciative to have found my calling and to make a difference. If one young life has been saved from my education I have already served an important role. I hope I am given the days to keep going and reaching even more. We all need to know we can make it through even the hardest and most overwhelming situations.
If you need help feel free to reach my office at (213) 304-9555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always willing to help others work through their struggles. You are never alone and hold onto hope.
Blake LeVine, MSW