After being diagnosed with a mental illness in 2011, I thought I would never be understood. Living in a community without empathy and riddled with stigma for persons with disabilities, I felt downtrodden and broken, despite many attempts to overcome limitations — often imposed upon me by others.

It was assumed that my diagnosis meant that I could no longer discern what was best for my overall well-being, or envision a future for myself. I spent many days and nights searching for answers to the question: How can I heal?