Kelly B.


Throughout her childhood, Kelly grew up in a chaotic household where she felt she couldn’t share her internal struggles. Her parents had high expectations of her, which led to an unattainable idea of perfectionism. This left her feeling like she had to wear an emotional mask to hide her pain, which ultimately led to her feeling shameful, afraid, and silenced.

To avoid the abuse she was experiencing at home, Kelly escaped into sports and extracurricular activities at her high school. When those safe spaces were taken away by bullying, she spiraled into a place of hopelessness. She struggled even more with anxiety, depression, and mania. Eventually, she attempted to take her own life.

After the death of her grandmother and her struggles with facing her trauma and bipolar disorder, Kelly reached a point where she was able to seek help for her mental health struggles. Through cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), mindfulness exercises, and finding the right balance of medication, Kelly grew to feel like she had control over her life and choices for the first time.

Kelly’s story is a vulnerable snapshot of her journey through the negative effects of perfectionism and living with bipolar disorder. She hopes it can inspire youth across her community to seek help for their mental health by finding their voices, establishing boundaries, and fostering positive self-worth.

Kelly has been featured in numerous national publications such as Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, where she’s shared her experiences with mental illness, seeking treatment, and advocating for expanding young people’s mental health struggles.

Kelly is based in the Southern Tier region of New York. In-person speaking engagements beyond 90 miles may require a fee for travel expenses.

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