Entries - OC87 Recovery Diaries

I Suppressed Everything – A Story of Abuse and Bipolar

This mental recovery story focuses on Lisa’s journey of childhood trauma, abuse and eventually her diagnosis of bipolar. After years of physical, sexual and mental abuse, Lisa thought she had found stability, until her mania set in followed by severe depression. Lisa’s life felt like it was spinning out. Her physical, sexual and mental abuse dictated her life, her mania felt out of control, how Lisa came to terms with her diagnosis of bipolar and past trauma and found a way to heal. With time and therapy Lisa found ways to cope. Read more about Lisa’s journey!

Can a Man (and a Bug) Drive Out Suicide?

OC87 Recovery Diaries’ Editor in Chief Gabriel Nathan travels around the east coast in his beloved Herbie the Love Bug replica to raise suicide awareness and meet people whose lives have been changed by suicide.

Emptying My Head: Bipolar Depression, A Tale of Two People

This mental health recovery story focuses on Erica’s journey through an abusive childhood, a diagnosis of bipolar depression and the feeling of being misunderstood, by other and by herself. Her bipolar depression and anger left Erica confused, when she found therapy she was able to see what was beneath her rage and come through to the other side. Erica realized that her anger masked a deep sadness, as she worked with a counselor she found a way to explore her past and understand her present. Learn more about Erica’s journey!

The Kid’s Alright, or Close Enough; My Asperger’s Diagnosis

Rachael grew up with a feeling that she was different from others. She experienced anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms and had regular meltdowns. Eventually these things turned into a problem with substance abuse. Her inability to adapt to change and childhood anxiety created a barrier, how Rachael’s diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome in adulthood helped her to understand her past and gain a newfound stability. Once, Rachael could understand what was going in her mind, she was able to take back control of her life. Read more about Rachael’s story!

Sailing for Life and Surviving PTSD

Hell or High Seas follows veteran Navy rescue swimmer Taylor Greiger and friend Stephen O’Shea on the sailing adventure of a lifetime to prove that Taylor is stronger than his PTSD diagnosis.

Combating OCD with Narrative Poetry

An OCD story from a young woman who writes about how narrative poetry is helping redirect her obsessive compulsive brain in a beautiful, inspiring way.

Dancing Away Depression

it has been a very long time since I have been out dancing. I am much too depressed and the pain is overwhelming; however, there came a meeting of my many minds and the solution was couch dancing. LOL, you say? I would be willing to bet you have never tried it!

Hope amidst the Hopelessness of Depression

I had always been a sullen, solitary girl, sensitive and moody, prone to uncontrollable emotional outbursts. But the sadness I felt that winter was deeper, the outbursts more frequent, intense, and all-consuming.

The Mental Health of an Addict’s Mother

It is impossible to ignore the impact that a child’s addiction and mental health has on a parent. Because of this I started therapy myself, and I believe that it saved my life.

Physician Mental Health & Suicide

by https://youtu.be/7qBobGOF0fs Doctors are the healers and the helpers. But what happens when it’s the doctors who need the healing and the help? An estimated 300 to 400 doctors die by suicide each year, a rate...

2 Gabes in A Car Sharing Mental Health Stories

In addition to sharing a first name, they also share a passion for busting stigma about mental illness. Mental health advocacy brought them together, but something deeper created a connection.

Seeking Sanity Step by Step

My illness devastated me at age twenty when I was committed to a psychiatric hospital for sixty days and eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Psychosis: A Beginning. An End.

My impaired judgement was obvious even in the early days of my illness. I exhibited so many of the symptoms associated with psychosis—a substantial drop in my grades, trouble concentrating, declining hygiene, a significant weight loss, oscillating from strong emotions to a feeling of emptiness to name a few.

Is Mental Illness Your Rabbit, Too? Living with Anxiety and Depression

Not hallucinations, but rather some of the smaller and fuzzier denizens native to Cambridge, Massachusetts. There is no metaphor more fitting for the person I was back then: twitchy, easily startled, a propensity to run scared from others. I had lost all the avenues I’d had to hide from depression and anxiety, and they closed in like a pair of gangsters in an alleyway.

Tackling PTSD: Hell or High Seas

Taylor Grieger was diagnosed with complex PTSD several months after his release from the Navy with little-to-no guidance on how to cope with his condition.

My Five Stages of Depression

The Five Stages of Mourning is a perfect template for my own Five Stages of Depression: Anger, Anxiety/Exhaustion, Depression, Treatment, and Recovery.

How to be an Active Listener

A rising number of college students are seeking treatment at campus counseling centers for serious mental health challenges. Our video features the powerful listeners from Cogwell@Penn. Watch (and learn) how they skillfully role-play as active listeners when presented with a variety of stories from friends in need.

You Just Can’t Talk to Crazy People: Bipolar, Depressed, Recovering

My psychiatrist became so annoyed with my theological nonsense that he abruptly stalked out of one session, exclaiming, “You just can’t talk to crazy people.” I sent him a note later, in which I informed him that I could talk to crazy people, so that was his problem, not mine.

My Social (Anxiety) Life Online

Social anxiety still exists online. You’re still putting yourself out there and you feel vulnerable opening up, not knowing what response you’ll get.

From Depressed and Suicidal to a New Outlook

I went from unhappy to miserable to struggling to overwhelmed to depressed and suicidal. First I was diagnosed with post-natal depression, followed by treatment-resistant clinical depression. Then came the biggest clanger of all, diagnosis number three: borderline personality disorder.

Unforgotten – Marlboro State Psychiatric Hospital

A few months ago, I saw a photo on Facebook of a cemetery in Marlboro, New Jersey. The cemetery was on the grounds where the Marlboro State Psychiatric Hospital once stood, and was the place where people who were once residents of the hospital were laid to rest.

Addiction and Anxiety – My Poetic Recovery

Trapped between fear and anxiety, I would drink and use drugs to cover up my feelings. After years of living this way with several bad trips, blackouts and hospitalizations, I went into treatment.

Cumulative PTSD for a Police Officer After 9/11

This video features Officer Ron Griffith, formerly of the NYPD. After 9/11, Ron’s personality shifted. He became a controlling, angry person. He says he wasn’t aware of this change until his family left him, and all he was left with cumulative PTSD.

Bipolar Disorder Videos on YouTube

by I host a monologue in my head all day long, as I assume most people do; I run through my to-do lists, organize my tasks at hand, and guide myself through my own emotional reactions. These are the types of...

Dating with Schizophrenia

Despite getting progressively better at social interaction, dating with schizophrenia is just too much and, every time I try, I crash and burn.

The Push and Pull of Depression

Still, I resisted. For several years, I didn’t want to accept that the push and pull of depression was a permanent part of me.

Bipolar Disorder: Never Giving Up

There is only one thing that gets me through the bipolar cycles and that is time. It is a cliché but, during my cycles, the only way is through.

Traveling With Depression

After traveling with depression, I know that I am a powerful being who overcame the dragon blowing fire into my brain. I fought, and I won.

The Blended Shades of Depression

This disassociated state, where you plan your death as though you were planning Tuesday night’s dinner, is one of the many shades of depression.

Episode 6 – Mental Health in Comedy

Comedians Robert Ecks and Jacquie Baker discuss the complicated ways in which mental health is impacted by comedy, and how the two can go hand in hand.

Disclosing Your Mental Illness

Disclosing your mental illness has costs and benefits, but the thing to remember is that, while it’s a tricky choice, it is most definitely a choice.

Waves of Ennui and Depression

I start to feel a bit of ennui, a French word meaning, “general malaise.” This can go on for a while until the ennui surrounds me and depression sets in.

What is “OC87” Anyway?

“OC87” is a term coined by one of my therapists. It refers to the year 1987: the year I wanted to control everyone and everything.

22 Mental Health Podcasts

In celebration of our new podcast, we’ve rounded up 22 mental health podcasts that are doing their part to #buststigma around mental illness.

Listening: My Time in a Psych Ward

Perhaps it is important to talk about how I ended up in a psych ward and how I ended up having an earache. I can explain pieces of the first thing.

The Side-Effects of Side-Effects

Living with schizophrenia, I’ve been through the full gamut of side-effects. New side-effects pop up to say “hello” with each medication I’m prescribed.

A Bipolar Diagnosis: Suicide Watch

“Honey, I will be checking on you every fifteen minutes.” I stared at her, puzzled, until she leveled me with a four-word gut punch: “You’re on suicide watch.”

Talking About My Depression

I’m talking about my depression, not in vague terms any longer. It is a problem. It has a name. My boys know that name and I hope they’ll be stronger for it.

Schizophrenia and Love

Love can be the gasoline on schizophrenia’s fire, playing tricks on your mind and it can lead you to places from which you may not be able to return.

Losing My Job, Keeping My Mental Health

The severity of my depression in the wake of losing my job solidified the notion that, for people with mental illness, having a job can make all the difference.

The Light Switch Effect of Stress

The effect of stress is serious to your mental health. It’s easy to fall into delusional holes if your stress level gets to a point that isn’t manageable.

Beginning Therapy; Being Vulnerable

People say the first step in therapy is acceptance. I can’t speak for others, but I’ve started taking my steps. It’s okay if you want to take yours.


Disclosure is about feeling safe enough to find a kinder voice for ourselves. Every time I share my experiences in safe spaces I feel truer to myself.

The Family and Schizophrenia

Family is the most important thing for a person with mental illness. We need support and validation that we are not alone in the world

New Editor In Chief

It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Gabriel Nathan as editor in chief of OC87 Recovery Diaries.

Mental Health Wish List

What is your mental health “wish list” for yourself in 2017? How would you like to grow personally? Where will you look for inspiration and strength?

Schizophrenia & Talking To God

There are nights where I lie in bed, staring up at the ceiling and I ask for help. Sometimes the voice comes; sometimes it doesn’t. By now, I’m used to it.

The Downside of Empathy

Narcissism begets hyper-empathy: narcissistic parents produce children who become attuned to the emotional states of their caretakers in order to survive.

I Have Schizophrenia

Yes, I have schizophrenia. But I don’t want to sit around feeling sorry for myself because I have schizophrenia, and life can be difficult sometimes.

The Pain of Being Labeled Crazy

The pain of being labeled crazy doesn’t present itself as one big sweeping hurt, more like a series of small little jabs as you go through your days.

In Discovery With Bipolar Disorder

It took a year for me to find the courage to google “bipolar disorder.” On some level I knew I needed professional help, but there were a lot of risks.

OCD or The Art of Self-Humiliation

I have learned the tools and techniques with which to deal with the many facets of my OCD, including being able to laugh at it once in a while.

Seasons of Depression & Kevin Breel

“Real depression isn’t being sad when something in your life goes wrong. Real depression is being sad when everything in your life is going right.” – Kevin Breel

Living With Schizophrenia

Living with schizophrenia has made me aware of this fact: I have a mental illness that causes me to question the reality of things.

Hearing Voices With Berta Britz

For years I didn’t question hearing voices. I felt powerless. I was just at their mercy. I think recovery is about reconnecting with who we are.

Who Am I? A Student With OCD & Anxiety

What would you say when someone asks “Who are you?” The first word that comes to mind when I think about this question is Student. I’m a student, an academic, a professional learner for life.

Young, Black and Bipolar

“Young, Black and Bipolar” helps people navigate through the craziness of accomplishing a normal life after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

How I Accepted My Anxiety

I once heard anxiety compared to a superpower. Once I stopped being so ashamed of it, I saw that anxiety was my superpower too.

Mental Health Recovery Stories: 2015 In Review

by Another year has come to an end. I have to say that this is one of the quickest years I’ve experienced in my lifetime. Many people I’ve spoken with have felt the same way. I’m not sure why people are...

Born into Addiction and Withdrawal

We were a white, middle-class, Jewish family. Born into addiction with junkie parents, I came out of the womb and began having withdrawal seizures.

Rachel’s Recovery On Film

Rachel has been on her own since high school. She has fought to overcome depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety.

I Still Lose Myself

I hurt so much. I didn’t understand how to take care of my body. I didn’t know that I was sick with Bipolar II and a major anxiety disorder.

Best Day Project

To cope with depression, Grace Kim set out to do something scary every day, and the Best Day Project was born, giving Grace a new perspective on life.

Drawn to Forgiveness

Ron Thompson is a fascinating guy — an artist with a pen, a poet with words. His video, Drawn to Forgiveness, incorporates both of these strengths.

PTSD & Healing Hurt People

Healing Hurt People works with young people in Philadelphia who are seen in the emergency room for violent injuries (gunshot, stab, or assault wounds).

Tyler Hurst’s Recovery Reflections

Tyler and Brooke are active in YPR, an advocacy organization that aims to make it easier for youth to find and maintain their recovery from addiction.

Things Blur

“Things Blur” is a story about a break from reality. Due to PTSD (among other things), I had what was later described to me as a manic episode.

Life Lessons from “Our Town”

The staff at Montgomery County Emergency Service (MCES), a private, not-for-profit, psychiatric hospital put on a production of the play Our Town.

An Open Letter to Everyone

I used to be like you. Why should I air my dirty laundry? What if my friends all think I’m weird if they know my brain is broken? This is my brave.

Lessons From A Year Well-Lived

A recap of the 5 most popular posts on OC87 Recovery Diaries from 2014 plus the OC87 Recovery Diaries team shares what helped us along throughout the year.

A Director’s Journey

I was 14 and my mother, in the depths of depression, sat in our living room crying. This experience began a director’s journey into documentary film.

First Person Recovery

OC87 Recovery Diaries & public television station WHYY have teamed up with first-time filmmakers to create videos that tell inspiring first person recovery journeys.

Learning To Trust Again

As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, it’s very difficult for me to take the perspective of other people. Recently, I made a breakthrough in this area.

A Hero’s Life

Lost to paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Ed was in limbo for 30 years before finding the right medication and community to heal and play music.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

It’s okay to not always know how to navigate complex memories, emotions and traumas. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was a gift in teaching me these things.

Torrey Pines

Interview with Clyde Petersen about Torrey Pines, a stop-motion animated adventure film about coming of age with an undiagnosed schizophrenic single mother.

Message To The World

A short video with a simple question: What is your message to the world? It’s a big question, but very few people appeared at a loss for words.

Child and Family Connections

Evan Kaplan of Child and Family Connections talks about new services for parents with mental illness and other mental health challenges and their children.

Mental Health > Art

Is art more important than mental health? Laura Farrell shares her own mental health art and says that mental wellness is more important than creating art.

Darlene’s Recovery Story

Video from the Hollywood Beauty Salon documentary: Remembering neglect in foster care, alcoholism, and mental illness, Darlene talks to her inner child.

The Perfect Storm

Bud Clayman, from the documentary OC87, talks about his experience with Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) therapy while at the International OCD Conference

A Journey Within

Monica, a young transwoman, talks about her experience with mental health challenges, homelessness, and finding her chosen family at The Attic Youth Center.

Rachel “Hollywood” Carr

“I would not want to change my life, even all the negative and bad stuff, because it actually made me who I am.” —Rachel “Hollywood” Carr

A Choice

I don’t really want to share any of this. My mind is like a pendulum swinging from, “I don’t have any mental health problems and it’s a sham to pretend. . .

Delaney Ruston

Interview with Delaney Ruston about her documentary Hidden Pictures, where she visits India, China, South Africa, France & the USA looking at mental health.


Marbles is a hilarious moving graphic memoir about artist Ellen Forney’s diagnosis & recovery journey with bipolar disorder, a search for clarity & wellness.

The Reel Mind

“The Reel Mind films have a message of hope and recovery. People come in feeling alone and isolated and leave feeling very differently” –Dr Larry Guttmacher

Mental health recovery inspiration on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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