Joanne's Journey with Behavioral Health
Joanne volunteers to help others.
My name is Joanne, and I have been a volunteer at Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital for the past six years.
I am happy to listen to our patients and visitors.
Many families have members struggling with mental illness. I have been living with Bipolar for about 44 years, which was first discovered when
I was 25. Despite five hospitalizations (four for mania, one for depression), I was able to continue my career. I am a retiree of the state of Wisconsin,
serving 36 years in civil service (UW-Whitewater and UW-Milwaukee Libraries).
Key to my wellness journey has been my medical providers and my supportive family. My licensed clinical social worker is with Ascension. I also see a psychiatrist for medication and psychotherapy. Attending support groups at NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), as a member and later as a group facilitator, strengthened my skills and helped me reach out to others in their own struggles. For 34 years I have been involved in the mental health movement and, currently, I serve as a volunteer receptionist at NAMI. My sister Nancy has also benefited from NAMI, participating in the Family-to-Family course geared to people who have one or more family members with a mental health challenge.
Moral support from my family has been so important.
I now live a full life, sharing the peace and joy of Jesus with others. Retiring to the Fox Valley, I dedicate my time to various volunteer pursuits, including the hospital, Appleton Public Library, NAMI and the Trout Museum of Art. In my spare time, I reach out to family, friends and the elderly with my homemade cards made with my nature photographs. Other creative pursuits include art therapy and listening to music. Walking is my primary type of exercise. It gets me out in the fresh air. I have found hope through NAMI and excellent clinical care.
"What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly." - Lao-tzu