August 23


“I thought I was invincible.” 

That’s what Martin thought about himself into his early adulthood, before he received a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Until then, mental illness wasn’t something he thought about.

“I felt like it didn’t concern me,” he notes, “because I was young and strong. I thought it only happened to elderly people or people who took really hard drugs. I didn’t think it could happen to me.” 

Major life changes or transitions are often catalysts for symptoms of a mental illness to develop. After moving to Montreal, Martin was on his own and felt like he had lost his bearings. During one night in particular, he recalls, “I was texting all my friends and I seemed like I wanted to disappear or even commit suicide.”  

Luckily, Martin’s friends recognized that he wasn’t being his usual, carefree self. One of those friends checked up on Martin and decided he needed more help than a friend alone could provide. “He thought it best to call the police and let them handle it. The police picked me up and brought me here to the intensive care at the Douglas.” 

The ending of Martin’s moment of crisis also marked the start of his healing journey. After receiving his bipolar disorder diagnosis, Martin gained the tools to manage his illness and the humility to accept help. 

“I now know I have to live with a certain fragility that is going to follow me for the rest of my life,” Martin notes. “I know I’m not the same as I was before, and I don’t feel as invincible as I did before…I’m constantly reminded that I’m just a human being and that life is fragile.” 

Martin’s story is unique, but his experience is not unlike that of many other patients at the Douglas. Each patient’s story highlights the courage it takes to accept help, and builds hope for others who may feel alone or isolated by a mental illness. At the Douglas, we are developing new and effective early intervention treatments and constantly working to break down the stigmas that surround mental illness. No one is invincible; yet through our efforts, no one with a mental illness has to remain invisible.

To watch Martin’s video testimonial, click here.