Michelle’s Story

Stories of struggle, perseverance and hope are shared by countless San Diegans. Facing stigma and discrimination, overcoming hardships such as abuse, homelessness and traumatic memories can be difficult, but it can get better. Finding inner strength and connecting with the right people or local programs can make all the difference. Visit www.Up2SD.org to view personal story movies created by San Diegans to inspire, offer hope and challenge stereotypes.

“When I was in college I loved life and was working hard to achieve my dream of becoming an attorney. I was also active in my church, and I had my own apartment and owned a car.

I was working a full-time job and pulling all-nighters to keep up my grades to get into law school. I loved the feeling I got from being recognized for my hard work.

Then I began sleeping less and less. I started having lots of creative ideas – jumping from one to another without completing any. And I was not able to keep my focus. I also did strange and impulsive things.

My family took me to a doctor and eventually I was told I had bipolar disorder. At first I didn’t take my diagnosis seriously, and went on with my life. But with time I realized that ignoring it did not make the problem go away – in fact it took years off my life, not getting the help I needed.

Today I have an 8-year-old son. I finished law school and I am studying for the California Bar exam. I am still realizing my dream, but also taking care of myself.”Michelle Shirley

Watch Michelle’s story at: www.Up2SD.org