9 Difference Makers You Should Know; Bipolar Disorder Advocates

Mental Health Summit in San Diego

This is Part 2 of my blog about the mental health summit I attended in San Diego hosted by Sunovion.  (You can read Part 1 here where I talk about the Be Vocal Collection, which is literally changing the way we see mental illness by featuring 150 free images writers can use that show 10 people with mental illnesses doing everyday things.  Full disclosure:  All travel expenses were paid for by Sunovion, but this post was at my discretion and the opinions expressed are my own.)  The image above is a group picture taken at the summit, which was held at the lovely Sparks Gallery.  I had a great time bonding with everyone. Below, are profiles of the amazing advocates I met:

Nine Difference Makers You Should Know!

Me and Gabe Howard

This is me with acclaimed speaker, blogger, and vlogger GABE HOWARD, who writes for bp (bipolar) magazine and Psych Central.  I was so excited to finally meet him in person after years of sharing each others’ work online!  I can’t wait to interview Gabe for Fashionably ill.

With fashionable advocate, Hannah Blum

Blogger and aspiring author KATIE R. DALE, was also there.  Check out Katie’s website, Bipolar Brave, here.  Katie talks candidly about how her faith helps her navigate mental illness and how clergy can positively and negatively impact their members’ mental health.

Here’s a picture of me with writer and vlogger, HANNAH BLUM.  The instant I saw her flawless makeup and hot pink cape blazer, I thought, OMG! We need to be friends now!  Follow Hannah’s insightful column, Mental Health for the Digital Generation, here on Healthy Place.  Hannah was just featured in a Teen Vogue piece on dating with bipolar!

YASHI BROWN is a spoken word artist, poet, and speaker.  I got to hear a bit of her spoken-word at the summit. Yashi spoke about how her psychiatrist who really listened to her and helped her find “the right medications” saved her life.  Yashi has a forthcoming book on Amazon called Black Daisy in a White Limousine.

Me, Sasha Kildare, Hannah Blum


SASHA KILDARE is the is the author of Dream Walking, the semi-autobiographical novel about a character who struggles with bipolar disorder, PTSD, and her hair.  You can read her column on bp magazine here.  One thing Sasha and I discussed was the importance of adequate sleep and exercise when you have bipolar disorder and how our fast-paced, 9 to 5 society makes it hard for many people (not just people with bipolar disorder) to exercise and stay healthy.

KARL SHALLOWHORN was another advocate I met–we share similar beliefs about mental illness and church–how having faith and seeking professional help are not mutually exclusive (a subject I have written about on this website).  You can read Karl’s work here in bp magazine.  Karl is also the author of Working on Wellness: A Practical Guide to Mental Health (2010, Chipmunka Publishing).

I got to meet JOANNE M. DOAN, the publisher of bp magazine and Esparanza.  I’ve read bp magazine for years.  The magazine offers practical advice for living with bipolar disorder.  Bp magazine has also featured interviews with celebrities who have bipolar disorder like General Hospital‘s Maurice Bernard and the late Carrie Fisher; read my tribute to Fisher here).  Check out this great article Joanne wrote on NAMI’s blog called, “Inspiring Hope In The Bipolar Community.”

I also met comedian, DAVE MOWRY.  He is hilarious!  He’s the author of,  No Really, We Want You to Laugh. Mental Illness and Stand-Up Comedy: Transforming Lives.  No Really tells the story of Dave and five others whose lives have been impacted by mental illness.  (I’m a big believer in the power of laughter in surviving all my illnesses; that’s why I “vacationize” my hospital visits.) Check out Dave’s column in bp magazine.  Dave writes about life with bipolar and anxiety.

Sparks Gallery; San Diego

Want To Share Your Story? 

JENNIFER MARSHALL, the Founder of This Is My Brave, spoke at the summit.  Jennifer shares her story of coming back from hospitalizations for bipolar disorder.  Jennifer says her mission is to create a world ,”where we won’t have to call it ‘brave’ when talking about mental illness. We’ll just call it talking.”  This is My Brave hosts shows around the country where people tell their stories of living with mental illness through essays, original music, and poetry.  You can apply to host a show in your city or apply here to audition.  Popular bipolar disorder advocate Rudy Caseres recently starred in a This Is My Brave show.  See my Fashionably ill interview with Rudy here.

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno


Hi there! I am a patient advocate, writer, and public speaker most well known for my TEDx Talk, “How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed.” As someone who is juggling 5 illnesses: bipolar 2, myasthenia gravis, endometriosis, psoriasis, and asthma, I’m passionate about helping people who navigate life with both chronic physical & emotional pain. If you’re interested in hiring me to speak at your event, check out the CONTACT tab.

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