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On Camera: Personal Experiences with Serious Mental Illness

Early CREATE project adopters Angelica and Athmani invited us to their homes and shared their stories of SMI.

We feel very fortunate to have had Angelica invite us to her home, and tell us her story of dealing with a serious mental illness (SMI) from an early age into adulthood and future dreams. Her parents offered to tell us their side of the story, the good, the bad and the ugly. We spend a couple of hours talking, filming and interviewing in their living room in their rural home on the outskirts of Machakos. Angelica lives with episodes of severe depression and anxiety disorder since her early teenage years. Her ambition and dream is to build a support network in Machakos to train people with her condition to becoming caregivers like herself, while she starts her work life with the CREATE social business.
The afternoon was dedicated to spending time with Athmani, who has suffered from bipolar disorder. Athmani shared his struggles, ups and downs, crushed dreams, lost friendships and hopes in a new environment that understands and accepts the conditions that bipolar disorder puts someone through. His mother, who lives alone with Athmani, prepared us a lovely meal which we shared in their home before sitting down and listening to Athmani's story. His mother followed sharing her perspective and how she has lived through her son's struggles. Athmani's story shows that even if your initial dreams vanish, a renewed direction and focus in life can help build new ideals and hopes. Today, Athmani supports his small household, has hired a helper around the house, and can sometimes buy his mother a gift. Shifting his mindset has allowed him to look forward to a hopeful, brighter future, one step at a time.
We look forward sharing their stories on video soon.
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