Our team focuses on building an alliance of trust and making sure our community members know that we will stand by them throughout their journey. Even when there are setbacks and clients become frustrated with the process, we hold the hope for them and continue to motivate them to work towards their goals. Connection and joy are at the center of why we do what we do.
In the mid 60’s, Dianne was 15 years old and found herself diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression. Over the years societal norms, therapies, and options have dramatically changed. The rollercoaster of debilitating depression and multiple suicide attempts resulted in frequent hospitalizations. We welcomed Dianne into our Supported Living Community (SLC) with open arms 10 years ago where she received 24/7 support. In October of 2022, Dianne moved into her own apartment and transitioned to Individual Support Services (ISS). We are so glad that we are able to continue to support Dianne while she lives on her own in the community.
LIFE BEYOND MENTAL ILLNESS
Living a rich life has not eluded Dianne! During her 34 years working for the Environmental Protection Agency, she became a mother to 3 children, and now has 5 grandchildren to enjoy. Dianne is so much more than her mental illness, she is the author of Dancing Injury Free which she wrote based on knowledge obtained while earning a Masters Degree from George Washington University in Education/Dance. Clogging in particular continues to be her passion. Performing at the International Night in Rockville at the Fitzgerald Theater inspired her to teach clogging classes this summer.
STRUGGLES & GOALS
It has certainly been a journey for Dianne to identify successful strategies to overcome the symptoms of her depression. Her biggest struggle has been extending grace and kindness to herself when functioning is difficult. During her time with Help in the Home, she has learned that accepting support is a sign of strength. At her core she is a collaborator and teacher, and embracing opportunities to express that part of herself has helped her manage symptoms well. Her resilience, intelligence and independence is what endears her to others.
Stability and incremental progress makes all the difference in the life of a person with severe mental illness. When Dianne joined us, the first goal we collaborated on was for her to go 6 months without being hospitalized. The next step was to give her support with everyday life activities – establishing routines, exercise, paying bills on time, maintaining relationships, and attending regular medical appointments.
Dianne has now been living independently since October of 2022. She is able to reach out to her Help in the Home team when she needs support with activities like going on a cruise, flying to a family reunion, and visiting her children. The battle with depression continues, but she is never alone in her struggle.
Now that Dianne has moved to her own apartment, her care coordinators still provide support. They make sure that she stays on top of her medication routine, healthcare and dental appointments, plus continuing to meet with her psychiatrist and therapist on a regular basis.
Moving into her own apartment is Dianne’s biggest win to date! She is thriving at her senior living apartment community where she leads a music group. Even though Dianne is living on her own, she is still a welcomed visitor at the SLC. Our community members light up when she joins us for the SLC music group, and attends holiday and birthday parties. She brings joy and inspiration to our community!
Dianne would love for her extensive experience with mental health to encourage others to know what is possible. She recommends the books, “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help” by Xavier Amador and “You Are Not Alone:The NAMI Guide to Navigating Mental Health-With Advice from Experts and Wisdom from Real People and Families” by Dr. Ken Duckworth. They have been very helpful during her personal healing journey, and might just be the inspiration others could use to see what they can accomplish too!
Dianne is not only a valued member of the Help in the Home community, but an active mental health advocate in Maryland. Every year Help in the Home participates in NAMIWalks Montgomery County, MD. This year Dianne was proactive and asked to help lead our team with Care Coordinator and Peer Mentor, Cornelius Kuteesa.
When we asked Dianne about why she wanted to be so involved this year, here is what she had to say:
“NAMI has helped me a great deal. I have been to Family to Family groups and Peer Support groups. My niece has a child with mental illness and has benefitted from NAMI also. Their support has meant so much to us. Participating in NAMI walks and seeing all the people in support of mental illness, hearing speakers, and getting information really helped. Now I am an advocate and participating in advocacy for bills to pass to help people with mental illness.”
How could we say no!? Dianne has already been working hard to get as many of our community members involved as possible, including promoting the walk every week during the SLC community meeting.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMIWalks promotes awareness of mental health, raises funds for NAMI’s free, top-rated programs, and builds community by letting people know they are not alone.
Help in the Home has participated in the NAMIWalk annually since 2011. Then in 2018, Cornelius stepped in to lead our walk team. It’s amazing to see everyone come together in support of mental health! Help in the Home will be matching donations up to the first $500.
Sign up here to walk with us.
Start living life to the fullest with the help of our client-centered team. To schedule your free consultation, fill out this short form or give us a call at (866) 967-9994.