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There is no shame in mental illness, only love and kindness

Special thanks to our guest speaker, Auburn native and fashion model Jackie Cioffa, who shared her own personal journey with mental illness. Her remarks were especially fitting at this time when so many have suffered in isolation and grief during the pandemic. Thank you Jackie!  Unity House

An Auburn native, Jackie is a champion of women’s rights and a staunch advocate of mental health awareness, especially timely right now. A celebrity makeup artist and an international model for 17 years, Jackie was living in New York City when her life and identity were forever changed, altered by a psychotic episode and a diagnosis of manic depression. Her memoir about her mental health journey, The Red Bench: A Descent and Ascent into Madness, has received critical acclaim. Living with bipolar disorder, Jackie believes passionately in using her voice to advocate and inspire others.

A snippet from the speech…

“There is no shame in living with a chemical imbalance
There is beauty in feeling too much
You are the miracle by just getting up

And showing up
Trying failing thriving

Find the quiet spaces
Seek out the helpers
It’s okay not to be ok
But I promise after living almost twenty years with manic depression
There is sunshine and rainbows and joy and music and laughter and blessings

Five minutes ahead
Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle

Your life matters
You are the miracle
And you matter to me

I am determined to beat the shit out of this disease
If I can, so can you”
– Jacqueline Cioffa

Published in BLOG ESSAY MENTAL HEALTH Spirituality Women


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