Attending NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer course changed my life…

…I learned how to advocate for myself and eventually for others.

My name is Merry as in “happy.” Which I am! I am a homesteader who raises bunnies, goats, and multiple types of birds; I make the best sourdough bread that you’ve ever tasted; I love working for NAMI-Santa Clara County—a place that gives me so much support and acceptance.

At the age of 16, I was “diagnosed” with multiple conditions: Bipolar Disorder with Psychotic Features, Borderline Personality Disorder, ADHD, Major Depressive Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. A therapist helped me discover something that was not addressed before: trauma! I was raised in an absent and emotionally neglectful household.

My moods fluctuated. I always felt tired and I did not feel like myself. My capacity for handling change worsened. But emotionally, nothing was addressed in my family, and life continued as before. By the time I was 32, I weighed a mere 76 pounds and was admitted into an eating disorders residential treatment center. It was at this facility, away from home, where I decided to become clean after almost 15 years of using substances.

I finished my treatment at the facility and moved back home. Then the unexpected happened. I lost my best friend and brother, Danny. His loss in my life caused me to spiral into a depression and it was recommended that I try Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). One of the requirements of the TMS clinic I attended was to see a therapist prior to treatment. In the first session I attended, I learned about NAMI-SCC. The therapist suggested I take NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer course so I might gain understanding and find both acceptance and community with people who would understand me.

Attending NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer course changed my life. I gained education and friendships, I learned basic coping strategies, and, most importantly, for the first time in my life, I learned how to advocate for myself and eventually for others.

Two years later, I worked for NAMI-SCC as a mentor, a presenter in their outreach programs, as well as in other capacities. I started to tell my wellness story to the community. At this time, my partner encouraged me to get reassessed for my diagnosis. My reassessment results were shocking. I did not have Bipolar Disorder with Psychotic Features, Borderline Personality Disorder, ADHD, or Major Depressive Disorder. I have high functioning Autism with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. With therapy, healthy coping skills, and a medication regimen of one SNRI and NAMI-SCC by my side, I started to feel like myself for the first time since I was 16. It was a relief to reduce unnecessary medications and take only what I needed.

Because of the revelations I have had in the last few years, I have become passionate about educating others at NAMI on childhood trauma. I want to create a healthy family and a stable, involved, and loving environment that I was denied growing up.

But still with lots of goats and chickens and bunnies on a farm!

“MY AHA moment was realizing I was not alone in my diagnosis.”

“I have a deciding role in my recovery. I am going to join the NAMI support groups to help me learn better coping skills.”

“I learned that there is more support out there than I thought.”

-NAMI-SCC Program Participant

You are not alone!

1150 S Bascom Ave #24, San Jose, CA 95128, 408-453-0400

Federal Tax ID: # 94-2430956

You’ve helped NAMI-Santa Clara County serve 11,000 people (and counting)!


Your contributions have helped provide:

  • 17 Family-to-Family 8-week courses
  • 9 Peer-to-Peer 10-week courses
  • 70 matches in our Community Peer Program
  • 192 support group meetings
  • 12 FaithNet presentations
  • In Our Own Voice presentations for 990 attendees
  • Ending the Silence presentations for 1162 high school students
  • …And SO much more!


With help from friends like you, NAMI-SCC has been dedicated to serving the community through education, support, and advocacy for 47 years. In 2022, NAMISCC served over 11,000 people through educational courses, community presentations, Helpline assistance, peer support, and support groups—all with zero fees.


Research shows that 1 in 5 people are currently living with a serious mental health condition and it is likely that you have a friend, family member, or colleague who is experiencing this. Show them you care by donating to NAMI-SCC.