Since she was nine years old, Emma has felt the weight of anxiety, even without having a name to call what she was feeling. Her parents set expectations for her to succeed academically and personally. She became a high-achiever in an attempt to fulfill these expectations and hide the growing symptoms of her anxiety. The recognition she received for her achievements made her a prime target for bullying, both in school and on her track team.
Trying to remain “the girl who can do it all” added depression to her anxiety, leading to panic attacks. She didn’t have a name for what she was feeling so she didn’t know she could ask for help. She saw many doctors for the physical manifestations of her mental health issues, all of who told her, “No, there’s nothing wrong.” She knew that wasn’t the case and kept searching for answers. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder that Emma felt freed from the weight of not knowing what was going on inside her head. Emma’s story is one of self-advocacy: when the world is telling you you’re wrong, you have to fight to find someone who will give you the right answers.
After transferring universities and moving back in with her family for additional support, Emma has developed healthy coping mechanisms to prevent her bipolar disorder from ever having total control over her life again. She has found writing to be a healthy and supportive outlet to express her feelings. Through her writing, she can monitor any new developments and consider what actions will have a positive impact in processing what it is that she’s experiencing. Emma has found essential oils help keep her balanced and a favorite weighted blanket can provide extra comfort when she feels in need. She shares her story of recovery to inspire other people to advocate for themselves and find their own path through recovery.
Through all of her struggles, Emma has learned that the most important thing to remember is that “crazy,” a word so many people throw around when talking about mental health, is just a concept. She believes that no mental health issue can have power over you if you take the right steps to develop coping mechanisms that work for your individual needs.
Emma is based in Philadelphia, PA. Speaking engagements beyond 120 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.
Read what organizations have to say about Emma:
“Emma’s presentation was engaging and relevant to the topic. She was professional and fielded all questions with ease.” Collegium Charter High School (PA)
“Emma was a pleasure to have. We have received significantly positive feedback from students and administration. Student’s quoted Emma as being ‘real and able to relate to us’.” South Western High School (PA)