Working to end the stigma and discrimination of mental illness.

Larissa’s Story

My name is Larissa and I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2004. Overwhelmed with life's difficulties, including the stress of the college transition, a sense of separation from the people and places I dearly loved, and tormented by a world that existed only in my mind, I ended up in a mental hospital in Pennsylvania.  I was tired out by life, unable to cope with the demons haunting my daily walk.  In 2009, I graduated from college with a bachelor of science degree in biology. As I proudly limped across the stage to receive my scroll of congratulations, the only thing on my mind was not tripping and falling before I reached the department chair fifteen feet away.  When I gave the closing speech, my only thoughts were that I should avoid saying “ummmm” and speak clearly with appreciable volume.  But when I walked off the stage and back to my family in the lobby, all I could think about were the years of blood, sweat, and tears that went by while I pursued this degree. 

I have schizophrenia but it hasn't stopped me from pursuing my dreams and living my life as fully as possible.  I'm now a Ph.D student, a teacher, a daughter, a wife, and an advocate for the end of stigma surrounding mental illness.  Join with me and others on this site to stem the tide of fear and hatred that surrounds our community.  Only sharing our stories will change this.  One story at a time.