Reclaiming Your Life Back From Mental Illness With June Converse

Reclaiming Your Life Back From Mental Illness With June Converse

OYM June | Mental Illness

 

Suffering from mental illness can take a toll on your life. For some, as it manifests later in their lives, it can be detrimental to their career, faith, and personal relationships. How can someone emerge from that dark hole and reclaim their life? In this inspiring episode, Timothy J. Hayes is joined by author and blogger, June Converse. Here, June openly shares her story of living with bipolar disorder, telling us of the mental breakdown she had in 2012 that cost her so much in her life. She talks about how she emerged, ready to reclaim her life, with the help of writing and using fictional stories to show the chaos of mental illness. Now, she invites other people to do the same, revealing her writing process and the ways she is prioritizing taking care of her body.

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Reclaiming Your Life Back From Mental Illness With June Converse

June Converse is an author and blogger who lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart and husband of many years. She openly shares her story of living with bipolar disorder and having had a mental breakdown in 2012. This resulted in the loss of her career, her faith and many of her friends. After nine weeks in inpatient rehab, she emerged, ready to reclaim her life and share her journey. June shares honestly, authentically and invites her readers to do the same. She invites them to join her in choosing the life they live. June, thank you for joining us here.

Thank you for having me.

I haven’t yet read or read the two books that you’ve written with hope in the title. I’m hoping to do that soon. I’ve read several of your blog posts and I’m thrilled that you’re willing to share your story with us here. Can you tell us a little bit about what got you started on this journey as an author and a blogger?

I tell people that I’ve had three careers. The one I was required to have, the one I wanted to have, and the one I needed to have. I was forced into a business degree by my father. I was in business but my gift was to be a teacher. I did that and then that fell apart with a mental breakdown. When I woke up from that mental breakdown and worked through it, my career was over. I had lost that career. I started to write. I needed to process all that had happened to me, including the therapy, the intensive rehab that I went through that needed to be processed. That became the blog. In all of that, taking care of my physical body became a priority.

I was hiking a lot by myself. While hiking, fictional books came to me. What it ended up being in retrospect, if you read the books, it’s my journey dramatized. I didn’t realize that as I was writing them. It wasn’t until I finished it and somebody said to me, “That’s not what rehab looks like.” I thought to myself, it is what rehab looks like because that’s what it was. It was interesting too when I looked backward on the books, see that it was my journey but fictionalized. I didn’t even realize that as I was typing it. That was interesting.

How many books have you written now that is your journey in a fictionalized form?

There are two, Decide to Hope and Journey to Hope. The third one is not although it’s going to be what I hope my journey is. The first two are my journey. The third one was what I hope the rest of my journey is.

Is that one already written?

No. I am about halfway through writing it. It’ll probably be another year.

What about the blog? What motivated you to initiate the blog?

When I came out of rehab, I was an inpatient rehab for nine weeks. There’s a lot of good about that. There’s a lot of stuff that gets turned up that you don’t get to deal with in those nine weeks. I started writing. I did the morning pages thing. I realized there was a lot in there. One of the things the blog first started was trying to explain to my husband what was going on with me. That was trying to let him see the inside.

What you’re calling a mental breakdown happened, you were already married?

I was married. It only happened in 2012.

How long have you been married?

We’ve been married for many years. The second book is trying to show the reader what’s happening in a rehab center to the person in it. It’s also showing what’s happening to the family as they can’t be involved and they don’t know what’s happening. It’s also his story of how do I help my wife when I can’t even get to my wife and I don’t know how she’s being treated. It was a dual thing. The blog started originally like that. As I was doing it and realizing it was decent writing, I decided to start a blog and thought, “Had I been able to talk about this before the crisis, I probably wouldn’t have had the crisis.” That’s what I’ve found when people respond to me that they appreciate that I’m telling things that they wish they could say and are afraid to. I’ve found that helpful for them and for me. The blog is important. It’s more important than books.

What was the series of treatments that you received?

OYM June | Mental Illness
Mental Illness: If you’re intentional with what you’re doing, you’re going to make the right decision.

 

Growing up, I was anorexic and what I would call bipolar now. If I knew those terms back then, even the word anorexic wasn’t known. My father was one of those you pull yourself up by your bootstraps. I didn’t start treatment of any type until I was 25 and things got progressively worse. I couldn’t hold it together. I would be angry one minute then tears the next. It was difficult. I started therapy then went in and out of therapy. Like how people do they get better, so they stop and then they needed again and they should have stayed. I did all of that for years. In 2012, something happened that if I tell you about it and I’m happy to tell you about it, people are going to go, “That’s no big deal.” It was that last piece. I had a three-day gone for me.

My husband finally found me in a hotel room. At that point, it took us six weeks. I went from there into nine weeks of inpatient care up there in Chicago. After that, it’s been a constant situation of never get out of therapy. Even if I think I’m doing well, I don’t stop therapy. I’m super careful. I now know where I need to be super attentive to my mental health. I know now what causes more problems and my husband also keeps a firm eye on things. If he sees me overdoing, he’ll say something and help me figure out what to stop. That’s helpful too to have someone that is beginning to understand you and that you trust to go, “Here’s what I’m seeing. Are you seeing that?”

One of the things you’re talking about is giving voice to the internal process. What we like to promote in Journey’s Dream and the On Your Mind show is the idea of looking at the whole person either with a functional medicine approach or an integrative medicine approach or a holistic approach, whatever terminology you want to use which means we take a look at the diet, the exercise, the presence of love in your life, the sense of purpose, connection to family, a role in the community, etc. All of these things that functional medicine specialists know are rather simple but inclusive list of areas of my life that I need to look at if I want to live a healthy life. What did your journey look like addressing those various aspects?

First, it became the physical body for me. Partly because I had time to spend after I came out of rehab, I had lost my career. Even to this day, exercise is the most important thing for my mental health. It’s the thing that if I miss a week, it’s noticeably in my mental health.

I want to address that right now because one of the blog posts of yours that I read something to the effect of, “I finally learned exercise.” We want to be clear for the audience that you’re not a marathon runner who realized if she kept running that it would keep her healthy.

No. If I don’t do it when I get up, I put it off and I have it on my schedule by 3:00, I’m talking myself out of it. I need to get up and do it because I don’t like it in like people that like to run sense. I like knowing that I did it even though it was hard for me to do, but I do know that it does help. If we go on vacation and I sit on a beach or whatever, not the third day. My husband, who’s that loving component will go, “We need to go for a walk because it’s showing in your attitude.” How I made it fun was I always listened to a book. I love to read.

I always have a book going. I make sure something good so that when I get my time for exercises up, I’m in the middle of the chapter, I keep going because I have a rule. I can’t listen to a book unless I’m exercising. I stay on my elliptical because I want to finish the chapter. That’s been helpful. I do go to personal training and that’s helpful because I liked the guy. I’m also paying him whether I show up or not. I’m highly motivated to go and that’s the whole strength piece. As I stick with it, you starting to see muscle definition. It’s one of those things where you can see the physical change. For me in my mental health battle, that is the most important frontline attack.

Exercise and you had to work to learn how to make it something you could tolerate and like.

If you let the world run over and everything goes too fast, that's when you go under the bus. Click To Tweet

I had to be honest about what I won’t do. I will not ride a bike. I’m not going to do a stationary bike. I’m not going to do it. I get to define what’s exercise for me. I don’t have to go to a spin class if I don’t want to. I don’t have to row if I don’t want to. There is something out there that I like, so that’s what I do. That’s important. Sometimes people think exercise has to be this, this, and this. Exercise is movement. It’s moving your body. I’ve accepted that this is what I like to do, and this is what I’m going to do.

What other aspects did you need to focus on to create a healthier lifestyle for yourself?

I did change my diet. I don’t eat processed food. What I’ve noticed is I get sick. My gut doesn’t respond to it. I didn’t believe that was true. I did some experiments around it thinking, “That’s not true.” It’s true. I do try to eat well and always have breakfast, which I never did before all of this happened. Now, I never miss breakfast. That’s important. It’s a healthy breakfast. It’s not a bagel and cream cheese. It’s oatmeal and fruit. That’s made a huge difference. The other thing in the diet, I drink at least a gallon of water a day and that has been helpful too, so I don’t get dehydrated. I eat more fruit. I eat more vegetables. I cook my own food most like five nights out of seven, so I know where it came from.

I’ve noticed when you go to a restaurant, even if you think you’re ordering healthy, you’re not usually because of whatever they’re using. Those are the things I’ve put in place, cooking my own meals. Usually on Sunday, what helps me is I prep for the week. I get my husband in to help me do it and we listen to a book while we’re doing it. I’m chopping vegetables while reading to the murder that happened in my book. The book thing has been helpful. When you’ve got little kids at home, you want to protect them a little bit more and sometimes that’s a little bit of a mistake. My kids know all of my battles now. I can say to them, “I need a break. I got to get out of here.” They can say to me, “Mom, you look like you need a break.”

How old are they now?

They’re now 23 and 33. The other thing that has been helpful is how most people feel like you got to go do X. I never feel that way. If it’s not good for me, even if I’ve scheduled it, I will cancel it. If you had said to me that we’re going to meet at 10:00, but I was not in a decent frame of mind, I would have canceled it. I would have said, “For my mental health, we’ve got to reschedule this.” That’s been helpful too to know I have some boundaries. I only can take care of myself. You’re not going to take care of me.

It’s excellent advice that most of the people in our culture don’t get fed to them. We’re into set a goal and achieve it and be driven. As you pointed out, if I do that without regard to my values, priorities, the balance in my life, what state I’m in physically and emotionally at this moment, then I end up shredding any boundaries that I had intended to establish.

They’re hard to gain back. That’s what I’ve discovered too. When I let them loose, they’re hard to pull back. You’ve set this expectation for others that she’s going to do it if I ask her to. If I had taken care of it on the front end, I wouldn’t have to fight hard on the backend. Not that I’m perfect at it, but I am conscious of it. That’s the thing. If you’re intentional with what you’re doing, you’re going to make the right decision. If you let the world run over and everything goes too fast, that’s when you get it to go under the bus.

If you start running on the old tapes, for instance, one of your blogs was about the echo of your father’s voice. Talk about that.

OYM June | Mental Illness
Decide To Hope

My father died and his voice was, “You’re always a disappointment. You’re never going to be successful. The biggest thing was you’re always a disappointment.” I hear that a lot and if you were to use the word disappointment in any context, you could be talking about my dog and I would feel it. His voice comes a lot and so does my mother’s. This is what my mother said about my first book, “You got too many words on the page.” Their voices constantly eat. The last thing he said to me was he slapped my hand and said, “I want your brother even though I had been taking care of him for eight years.” He’s a constant source of, “You’re a disappointment. I don’t know where you came from. Every time I’m proud of you, you turn around and let me down. If I brag, I know you’re going to fail.” I’ve got them all. I have to think when I hear it, I have to stop and remind myself that’s him.

In that specific blog post, you were talking about how it’s a pattern that you have to monitor otherwise you let that drive your behaviors at the moment.

It becomes the truth. For me, if I listen to him for too long, I act out of that as if it’s truth. I have to be sensitive. There’s a time my husband will come into play. He’ll hear me say some things and he’ll go, “Who is talking right there? That’s not you. Who is that?” He helps me hear myself which is nice. That’s one of the ways the blog helps me is I write it all down, type and then I’m able to see, “That’s my dad’s voice,” and then the blog changes.

What we promote through the work that the Optimal Being Program, Rookha Group does and Journey’s Dream promotes is the awareness and this constant work to be aware of what’s my emotional state? If my emotions go to a negative state then the pictures that show up in my mind and the behaviors that I do from that are going to be less gratifying to have more negative consequences than if I stop and catch, “I got sad or angry or because I heard my dad tell me that I’m a disappointment and in that particular blog post, don’t send this email out to people telling them he got another contract or whatever.” When I act while there’s a negative emotional state in my mind, I dramatically increase the probability that I will not like the consequences of that action. If I catch it and learn some tools to breathe through or shift the narrative or write it out as you are in your blog to see clearly that’s not my voice, that’s somebody else’s, then shift over to the truth of me and act from there. I end up liking the results better.

If I’m writing for example and I hear the voice, I know I need to be willing to go, “I’m going to come back to writing later because it’s going to spin. I’m going to start judging every word.” For me, it’s like, “He’s here. I need to stop what I’m doing. Deal with that so I can go back to it.” Once something becomes not fun for me, that’s when I know the voice is there. I have things in my life that are fun and rewarding. When they stop feeling fun and rewarding, I know I’ve gone negative. It’s time to take a break. One of the things I do for my mental health is to allow myself to take that break. I know some people can’t. They have these full-time jobs with these horrible bosses. I am lucky in that way.

Yet even in those situations, there are internal mental tools I can use that will assist me.

Also, external, if I’m in a situation like in a group, taking a couple of sips of water will help me. I always have water with me for that. It’s almost like a physical, “Let me calm. Let me cool down.” It’s taking a couple of sips of cold water and that’s a trigger for me to calm.

Some people learn breathing techniques that help them do the same thing. Some people learn how to give themselves an acupressure treatment on the slide that no one knows is happening and some people learn the thought shifting and goal canceling. There’re all kinds of good things. Even if I’m in one of those situations, you were talking about a work situation that is unpleasant or abusive and is go, go, go. If I’m able to introduce the use of those tools and build some strength in it, I will either tolerate it much better and not even experience it as abusive or as difficult and/or I’ll have the inner strength to decide, “I need to get out.”

That’s where I’ve gotten much better and I need to get out. One of the biggest things I notice when things are beginning to become a negative spiral, which is what I call it, my shoulders go up and I can begin to feel mainly in my shoulders. I noticed my head is there instead of it being a head and that’s when I am able to go, “I need to take a drink. I need to breathe a little bit. I need to remind myself why I’m here. Why did I choose to be here?” The other thing I always remind myself of and this is a positive thing I hear from my parents was your opinion of me is your business, not mine.

If you don’t like me right now, that’s you, not me. I’m presenting the best me that I’ve got. That helps too. I let that run in my mind. One of the things that I have a bad habit of doing is looking at someone’s face and interpreting it negatively on myself. When my husband and I argue, I will interpret his look in a way that escalates the argument. I’ve gotten to where he turns away. I say what I need to say without looking at him so that I can listen to him instead of taking his facial expressions and interpreting them in some negative way. That’s been helpful. It’s a weird technique, but it works for us.

What we advocate in my work is to be results-oriented. Do what works for you.

The other thing that works for us is sometimes my blogs are written to him and he edits all my blogs. He will write me back in the comment section. We have a conversation that way. It’s sometimes safer. One of my issues with my bipolar is when I get high emotion, the sentences come out in a disjointed order and my head is bouncing. The sentence has come out and my husband can’t grasp what I’m trying to say. He looks at me like I’m crazy and then I feel crazy because I know it’s not coming out in this wonderfully rational way. I’m coming out shouting. I know he senses it which makes me feel crazy too, which is piling it on. It does help to write it all down. It allows me to spew it out. Look at it and go, “What was I trying to say?” and then I’ll send it to him.

One of your strengths and one of your gifts is your writing. What I would say here is that for those who are not gifted at writing or hate writing, they’ll have another strength. They’ll have another way to communicate or act that they can use to interrupt a pattern and gets a cycle of spiraling up in intensity going between themselves, their family or friends, or coworkers. It’s an excellent example not because everybody should have a blog and write to their partner that way. It’s an example because you’re using your strengths to address this area that can become a problem or some would label it as a weakness. You shore up your weaknesses by learning to apply your strengths appropriately.

One of the things you need to do for your mental health is to allow yourself to take that break. Click To Tweet

I have a friend before she’ll get in a conversation with her husband that she knows is going to be tense, they will walk around the park. They will walk around their neighborhood together not having the conversation like, “How was your day?” It’s the superficial stuff. It gives them that little bit of exercise and then they’ll sit down and have the conversation. That was an interesting technique too. It’s like, “Let us breathe.”

It gets them to not only exercise, but it also gives them a chance to connect. If I’m connecting with somebody and then having a conversation, I get a different response than if I have irritation coming up at me letting that give me a feeling of being disconnected from my partner and then I think, “I need to have this conversation with them and I blurted it out. Now I’m coming from a disconnected space.”

I do the same thing with my children. One of the things that came out of going to rehab because we weren’t keeping that a secret. At the time, she was fifteen and he was 25, we weren’t hiding it. I was able to tell my fifteen-year-old, “If you feel like mommy is revving up, feel free to say so.” You do not have to take a mean mother. You have the boundary honey to go, “Mom, this is not productive. You’re hurting my feelings and I know you don’t mean to.” She never said that but what she would say is, “Mom, you’re turning a little blue. Can we talk about this in an hour?” I gave them permission to go, “Hold up. I have a boundary and you’re crossing it.” I didn’t learn that until rehab. I didn’t allow that from my children until that experience.

It’s a wonderful tool because when I’m willing to use it because it gives me feedback from some of the most important sources in my life.

Those people that I do care what they think about me have the ability or they have been encouraged to say, “This is what we’re seeing. Can we hold up here?” That was helpful. I did not have that as a child. I had to take whatever parent I got. My mother had multiple personalities, not in a clinical sense but in a parenting sense. You had to deal with what you got. Since that rehab experience in 2012, I’ve been intentional in giving the opposite. You don’t have to put up with whatever I am that day. At one point, my daughter said to me, “Mommy, get a grip.” I used to say to her, “Your bedrooms right upstairs.” I honor that. Sometimes it makes me mad, but if I’ll honor it, then I realize that she’s correct sound.

What other aspects of treatment or healing would you highlight? Was medication a big part of your journey?

It was and then it wasn’t. Now, it is again. If I’m doing everything in my power like exercise, eat right, monitor how I spend my time, put in stress management techniques, doing all of that and I’m still not then to me the medicines are the right way to go. I don’t think everybody should do it. I don’t think it’s either bad or good. It’s whether you need it or not. I added some things to my plate that I didn’t want to get rid of and made the plate shaky so I went back. I do take one medicine and it does help so be it. Pharmacological stuff has its place. I eat right. I exercise. I have work that I enjoy. I have a supportive family to my husband and children. All of those things help a lot. I also do take medicine.

You mentioned that you have work that you enjoy. One of the things that they talk about as a necessary ingredient for a healthy life is a sense of purpose. Reading your blog and looking at the book titles, it would seem to me that you’ve found more than one purpose in your life. How would you talk about that?

You need to know that my father is screaming in my head. I have the gift of teaching. Whatever spiritual world you have, God has given me the gift of teaching and that energy feeds my mental health in a beautiful way. My blog is a teaching tool for me and even the books. Both books, if you look at them from one perspective that I was trying to teach something, show something and now I’ve picked up teaching again for adults which have been lovely. I have a clear purpose. I had a career I had to have, a career I wanted to have, and now I’m in the career that I need to have. I need to be putting myself out there and showing people that you can be better, but you’re never going to get it all the way right. You’re still going to have the times when your dad’s voice is in your head.

OYM June | Mental Illness
Journey To Hope

You are a teacher and it comes across in several of the different blog posts. One of them, you wrote about how you were going to fix a friend who was telling you about something that had happened with her teenager. You told her, “That was wrong. You shouldn’t do it.” You went through how you caught yourself. In your description, you gave a wonderful template that other people can use for analyzing their own interactions with people and finding the trouble spots. You clearly do have that gift of teaching.

That blog I printed and the person I was speaking to, I don’t know if they read my blog or not, but I handed it to him with an apology. I said, “I need you to read this because it’s the best way I know how to apologize.” I hope that I do that. It’s not intentional necessarily I don’t go in going, “I want to give a template.” I go in saying, “I want to tell people that this is what happened because it’s probably happening to them too.” Either they’re the ones giving advice that they shouldn’t do or they’re hearing advice that they get to decide if it’s good advice or not based on who’s giving it to them and look at advice motives. I’m glad to hear that. I try to be, “This is what I’m experiencing and this is how I work through it.” If that’s helpful, I hope that’s great. If not, that’s okay too.

You have a nice analytical style that doesn’t ramble on it, but break it down into chewable little parts. Lots of people will find that valuable.

Thank you. Somebody said, “Why do you spend so much time doing it if you’re not getting a lot of feedback?” I’m like, “I’m not expecting a lot of feedback. These are tough things to put out there and people need to process how they want to process it.” It’s interesting which post hits the mark. I’ve had a marketing person say, “If you know that those hit the mark then you need to do more like that.” I’m like, “That’s not how it works. It works in what’s bugging me now. What is keeping me from being who I want to be?” That’s what I write about. There’s no structure to it. It’s like now I got some yucky news from my son that the rest of the world would say that that’s joyful and I’m like, “No, it’s not.” I’m going to be honest about that. I know it’s supposed to and the world says it should be great, but I’m not going to run around telling him it’s great. That’s the next post. That’s what it is because that’s what’s happening now. It’s not a marketing tool.

It’s a teaching and sharing tool.

I tried to honor that process that, “This is where I’m at now and this is what’s keeping me from moving forward. Let me process it.” That’s the goal.

What is it about you or your work or your passion or your teaching or your family that you’d like to share that I haven’t even asked you about yet?

I sent out an email to my class saying, “Please let me know if I’m not giving you what you need. Let me know so I can see if I can do that.” I think if you run around with that motive, you’re going to feel good about the day’s close, whether it went well or not, it won’t matter. If your motive was, “I’m going to give of myself in a way that I hope benefits you, then I get to sleep well at night.” I’ll give you a funny story about my children.

When my children want pats on the back and, “You’re perfect. You’re a beautiful thing. Everything’s perfect.” They call my husband. When they want authenticity, they call me. That’s an interesting statement. My daughter calls and says, “Does this look good?” If it doesn’t, I don’t tell her it does. I try to be that way with everybody. If you’re going to ask me something, know that I’m going to give my honest opinion, which makes me a hardcore writing critique partner.

It makes good sense and if it’s what you’re comfortable with, it’s important that that’s what you keep coming from.

If it’s something I don’t know, I have no problem going, “I don’t know anything about that, let me find somebody that does.” That’s the other thing I think is important. Don’t pretend. If somebody asks me something about how what’s the best way to finish this writing project or whatever, if I don’t know, I’m not embarrassed that I don’t know. I just don’t know and that’s okay. I know what I know and I know what I don’t know.

The other thing that comes to mind when you say that is that whether it was in the blog or in our conversation, you were talking about how the thought patterns in your head have been the source of a lot of shame and negative self-talk. It’s been beneficial for you to overcome that resistance and start putting it out there.

I think too is to admit it’s happening instead of pretending it’s not. I’m admitting out loud that when I get in a high emotional situation, I know my thoughts are not coming out in a clear, cohesive way. They’re bouncing all around. I know that. If I’m willing to admit it, then I can work on it. If I get defensive about that, I’m not going to help myself. I go, “These are the struggles I have. These are the things I know are problems for me or areas of tenderness.” Admit it and then I can work with it. It’s when you deny it that you’re not going to get anywhere.

You end up using a lot of your mental and emotional energy denying and suppressing it. You create that internal pressure cooker you were talking about where it often leads to at least disruption in people’s lives if not actual breakdown.

For me, it was breakdown and explosion. You mentioned a pressure cooker, if you don’t open the pressure cooker and release the valve, it will explode open and that happened to me in 2012. It exploded open. When I came out of it, everything was gone. No faith, no friends, and no career. The only thing left standing was my immediate family.

Congratulations on using what was left, picking up the pieces and building something hopefully far more substantial than what you had before because it’s built on honesty rather than denial.

It’s been helpful. My son struggles with some of the same issues and he talks to us about it now. He’ll call my husband and say, “Let me walk through a struggle I’m having.” They’ve let me tell these stories on this blog. They’ve let me allow me to do that because I don’t put anything out there about them that they have not to approve. I don’t think that’s fair.

It’s a delight to be introduced to your work. I look forward to reading the two books on hope. Can you give those titles again?

Decide to Hope and Journey to Hope and they go together.

By June A. Converse and it’s JuneConverse.com. Do you have a place other than your website where they can access your blog or do they get it directly from your website?

You get to sleep well at night if your motive is to give of yourself in a way that benefits others. Click To Tweet

The website is the blog. There are a few other things but if you go to it, the blog pops up first. You don’t have to route around looking for it.

I appreciate you taking the time to share with us. I look forward to reading your books.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. It was great.

June Converse is an author and blogger, JuneConverse.com, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart and husband of 28 years. She openly shares her story of living with bipolar disorder and having had a mental breakdown in 2012. This resulted in the loss of her career, her faith, and many of her friends. After nine weeks in inpatient rehab, June emerged, ready to reclaim her life and share her journey. She shares honestly and authentically and invites her readers to do the same. She invites them to join her in choosing the life they live in. June has two children, ages 33 and 23, two grandchildren, and has written two novels thus far titled Decide to Hope and Journey to Hope. She uses fictional stories to show the chaos of mental illness. She loves to read. She reads 4 to 5 books a week. She loves cooking, traveling, exercising, and hiking.

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About June Converse

OYM June | Mental IllnessJune Converse is an author and blogger (juneconverse.com) who lives in Atlanta, GA with her high school sweetheart and husband of 28 years.

She openly shares her story of living with bi-polar and having had a mental breakdown in 2012, which resulted in the loss over of her career, her faith, many of friends.

After nine weeks in inpatient rehab, she emerged ready to reclaim her life and share her journey. June shares honesty and authentically and invites her readers to do the same, to join her in choosing the life you live.

June has two children ages 33 and 23, two grandchildren, and has written two novels thus far.

In both Decide to Hope and Journey to Hope she uses fictional stories to show the chaos of mental illness.

She loves to read (and reads 4-5 books a week!), loves cooking, traveling, exercising, and hiking. She also enjoys snuggling with her dog, Ripley, and keeping him from tormenting their poor cat, Nala.

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