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Mi Story


Mental illness did not break me; it broke me open.

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Mi Story


Mental illness did not break me; it broke me open.

 

MI Story

On June 8, 1988, at the age of 23, I experienced my first major depressive episode.  Six months later, my beloved father, Giovanni Tiberi, took his life. I experienced over half a dozen major depressive episodes between the ages of 23 and 42. 

Shortly after my father’s death, I made a quiet promise to do something so that other families would not have to endure what my family experienced. My promise remained unspoken for 20 years. I married my childhood sweetheart, raised 2 extraordinary daughters and ran a successful small business for over 14 years. I have not had a major depressive episode since 2006 and I have been off anti- depressant medications since 2013. Mental illness did not break me; it broke me open. My story of recovery, healing and thriving is a transformational process that challenges the perception of mental illness as an affliction.

In 2008, I spoke my promise out loud. As a fulfillment of my promise, and along with my friend Benny Caringi, we co-founded the charity Hats On For Awareness. Hats On for Awareness’s mission is to raise funds to further the reach of mental health programs that enhance the lives of those living with and affected by mental illness and addiction.  By 2016, the funds raised surpassed $600,000 in support of organizations in Toronto, such as CAMH (Center for Addiction & Mental Health), Jack.Org and Humber River Hospital. In 2016 Benny and I had the great privilege to receive the Stephen Dupuis Community Building Award from BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association), honouring us for our commitment to community building through exceptional charitable community involvement.

But I knew there was more to do. In June 2016, I consciously completed the operation of my small business of 14 years (Decorenza) and embarked on a sabbatical to follow my heart and ignite my soul. In October 2016, at the Hats On For Awareness’s, 8th Annual Hatsquerade Gala, I declared to 750 attendees that, “I will lead the charge to change how we see and treat mental illness. My life experiences with mental illness lead me to the path of my life’s work.  I face that path with gratitude, honour and great privilege, for through the grace that has brought me here, there is much to share, much to improve, much to inspire and much to ignite.”

Looking back now, at the events before, during and after that night of my declaration in October 2016, I am astounded by the depth of raw courage I offered in surrender to MI Calling.  Faith carried me in the short term; grace kept vigil in my heart, and slowly but surely, hope for this path that I am now on showed up and ignited my soul. That hope illuminated my way here to this blog, and to you reading it. I am forever grateful to the many teachers who showed up on my path at just the right time with just the right lessons and invitations to grow beyond my comfort zone. I am grateful to my guides, earthly and in spirit, for their guidance and support of MI Etcetera and the community it brings together. 

MI Etcetera is the manifestation of my deeply held belief that “Our stories have the power to create understanding, support healing, spread compassion, ignite hope and create unity deeper than we can imagine." This blog gives voice to my journey and experiences through mental illness, through healing and recovery and beyond. It is the etcetera of my life’s story with mental illness. It is another expression of that quiet promise I made so many years ago. It is the tale of my lived experience of transforming family tragedy into triumph.

It is my wish that MI Etcetera build a community to CONNECT people and IGNITE hope by providing a safe, sacred space to SHARE stories & experiences that foster understanding, support healing and spread compassion.   

At my core I am a humanitarian and a lover of connection who chooses to see life through rose coloured glasses.  I cannot forget those we have lost to suicide and I will never give up hope for the end of suffering for those who are struggling with mental illness. I speak for those without a voice. I have much to say and I will not be silenced. 

 
 
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Etcetera


Etcetera