ABOUT “LetsConnectProject”, “Broken Together” & “Work With The Brain You Have” projects

My Story – My Reason “Why”

“Talk to someone. Talking helps. Sometimes you just  need to get things out in the open to feel better about them”

My name is Sophia Athena. I was born and raised in Malang, Indonesia. I struggled with learning disability as a child, but with the help of my grandmother, not only I was able to overcome it, I continued to excel at school. In 2002 I won a full scholarship to get a graduate degree in Canada, so I moved there . After I finished school, I decided to stay in Canada to work and become a Canadian permanent resident. 

In 2008 I gave birth to a son; but unexpectedly I ended up with severe post partum depression. It was really bad; I even refused to see the baby for the first three days. After 9 months struggling with the sickness I decided to move back home to Indonesia where I could get support from my family.

Baby Aidan

It was a good decision. My condition quickly improved; I was able to go back working within a year. I taught business management and entrepreneurship in university.

Unfortunately just a few years after, I experienced several traumatic events that brought me back into another long, major depression with severe emotional pain. The pain was unbearable and I was in such despair that I almost attempted suicide. It was not that I wanted to die; I just wanted to stop the pain. 

Luckily, I was aware that I was sick and needed help. I reached out and got help. At that time, it was hard to find mental health support in my town, so I reached out to the internet. Through a website, I found online Peer Supporters who listened to me and supported me through some of the darkest moments in my life. These people are God sent. Without them, I don’t think I would still be alive now.     

Later on, I found a good psychiatrist and support from a lay counselor. I also educated myself about my condition – I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 with mixed states and later was also diagnosed with Inattentive ADHD and Social Anxiety – and I practiced the coping skills from the resources I found. 

I am now in recovery, and I am thanking God every day for it.

‘LETSCONNECTPROJECT’

Based on my experience, I realized how important it is to talk to others and feeling heard and validated to our mental health. Unfortunately, sometimes we can’t find those people in our immediate circle. That is when I came up  with the idea to build an online platform where people can meet and give and/or receive mental support. Our mission with LetsConnectProject is to make it easy for people to connect and help each other no matter where they are located; even in remote places.

I was helped by others. Now that I am in recovery, I want to pay it forward. 

https://letsconnectproject.com now is built and ready to use. 

MY MESSAGE 

My dear friends, there is hope.

Reach out. Build your support network. Don’t go through this alone.  Keep the faith.

No matter how dark it may seem right now, please believe me:

there IS light at the end of the tunnel.

Hugs, Sophie 🙂

Sophia Athena

Facebook

LinkedIn

WWTBYH Community Page

WWTBYH YouTube Channel

AIDAN & his LEGO robotic dog Ray

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or a medical professional. I am someone who have brain disorders (Bipolar 2, Inattentive ADHD and Social Anxiety) who has reached recovery. I am a trained scientist and researcher by trade. This website is a collection of resources I have found during my journey towards recovery. I decided to share my findings in hope that they will help others as they did for me.

About the Broken Together & WorkWithTheBrainYouHave Projects 

Broken Together

“WorkWithTheBrainYouHave” and ”BrokenTogether“ are Non-Profit, Personal, Passion Projects of Sophia Athena.

Picture credits: Instagram @farahmsiddiq and @stevenlira 

I first saw the picture of this statue “Broken but Together” by Michael Benisty  on Tim Ferriss ’s Instagram, and it instantly caught my attention. 

According to WHO,

one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.

Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. 

Treatments are available, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional. Stigma, discrimination and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders.

This is ironic. If a person suffer from diabetes, he won’t feel ashamed of taking insulin shots, even in public. But if he suffers from a form of mental illness/brain disorder, he might feel the need to hide his condition because of shame and stigma. 

Fortunately, things are changing. More and more people, including public figures, are coming forward with their brain disorders, sharing their struggles and vulnerable moments.

Together, as a global society, we are working towards eradicating the stigma surrounding mental illness. 

This website was built to take part in that movement. It is a collection of stories and resources of various mental illnesses/brain disorders to educate, motivate, and give hope to those who suffer from a  brain disorder and/or for family and friends with a loved one who suffer from mental health issues. 

Tim Ferriss is an entrepreneur, a podcaster and a best selling author who has influenced millions of people worldwide.

He is also a person who suffers from Bipolar Disorder and Depression. 

Having mental illness is NOT a sign of failure, weakness, or laziness. Having said that, having a mental illness is also not an excuse for destructive behaviors and actions.

Having mental illness is not our fault, but it is our responsibility to get better and to reach recovery. 

Having a mental illness can be very debilitating. It can make us feel broken and that we cannot ’stand up’.

But if we decide to own our condition, to stop hiding and to reach out to others, we will find other people who are also willing to be vulnerable, to own their brain disorders and work towards recovery.

Things will not magically change. Recovery takes a lot of effort and patience. But by doing it together, holding hands, we can help each other to ’stand up’.

We are one community. We can get better together. 

Broken but Together 

PS: Join the Facebook Page WorkWithTheBrainYouHave to get updates, post comments or ask questions.

Living with brain disorder (mental illness) is hard, but it is manageable.

There is hope. Keep the faith 🙂

Kintsurugi: the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquerdusted or mixed with powdered goldsilver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique.As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

 

WHY DID I START THESE PROJECTS

I really enjoyed teaching, but my concern about the lack of understanding and the stigma surrounding mental disorders kept on growing. 

In 2017 a good friend confessed to me that he has suffered with severe depression for months and that he almost died of suicide. The news shocked me because I didn’t expect that coming from him, a man who always looked tough and ‘had it all together’.

I finally decided to take sabbatical from my teaching work and started to devote my time to build a project with missions to:

• educate the public about various brain disorders (mental illness)

• encourage those who struggle with any brain disorder to reach out, seek help and to work towards recovery. 

• start conversations and build a safe community for people to share their stories. 

My hope is to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Such shame does nothing but destroy people’s lives and families.  

 

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