How Support Groups Helped Me


My depression and anxiety manifested itself before kindergarten. It was clear something was very wrong, so my mother took me to a child psychologist. My inability to make friends and fight depression was obvious. The psychologist wanted to set me up for long time treatment with her. My mother, however, was overwhelmed with poverty and six other children. She sadly stopped the sessions.

I spent the next two decades barely coping with my symptoms. I did manage to get through college and function on a couple of careers. I basically became addicted to work. I was able to do the job but only cope by doing almost nothing else but work. I was putting in fourteen-hour days.

My world came crashing down when I was laid off. Since work had become my reason for existence my depression became intolerable. My legs felt like heavy logs and I could not move off the couch.

This is when I had my first episode. I thought that someone was trying to poison me. I would only drink milk. It was at this time I went to see a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with bipolar 1. He charged me $200 per visit and I had to see him twice a week. Eventually, I used up all my savings and could no longer see him.

It was during the worst of these times that I reached out to the NAMI Helpline and got the days and times of the support groups. I began going either by myself or with a family member. Listening to others with the same condition gave me strength and added insight. It also taught my family how to help me.


Find out about our Support Groups!


NAMI Seattle needs your help to support the many programs and services that it delivers. As a NAMI support line volunteer, I can tell you that we make a huge difference to those who call in. There are many support programs as well as advocacy on both the national and state level.

The helpline is often the first point of contact for those suffering from mental illness, and your donation today ensures that all affected by a mental health condition can reach a caring and supportive voice to help them on their journey to recovery.

-Denise Grizzell

Helpline Volunteer