My husband of 47 years has had bipolar disorder since he was a teenager. Despite battling this disabling brain disorder for over a half century, Paul has accomplished many things, but he has also had times when he has been very  ill and never more so than from 2002 to 2007.  His doctors termed it treatment resistant depression and his prospects for recovery were very slim.

In May of 2007, the NAMI Washington County newsletter published a summary on the latest research from the National Institute of Mental Health on bipolar depression. This information ultimately led to Paul’s doctor charting a new path of treatment and medications for Paul. Within 3 days of new medications, Paul was out of bed and began his upward journey to recovery.

Today, two years later, Paul volunteers for two libraries and for NAMI, and has become a member of a NAMI Outreach Team that speaks to patients in the behavioral (mental health) ward at St. Vincent Hospital. When Paul tells his riveting story, there is not a sound or a dry-eye in the audience. Afterwards, patients come up to shake his hand and thank him for his inspiration. For you see, Paul has been where they are and he is proof positive that you can recover and become a contributing member of society again. We call it the Journey of Hope.

On May 17th, we walk to give our thanks to NAMI for the support they have given us. We walk to help others have a brighter future. We walk because we care. -Sydney Lizundia