|Let me tell you a little bit about myself
and why I am committed to this website and it's members.
My name is Carla Dyck.
I live in Neepawa, Manitoba, Canada.
I am 48 yrs old and married.
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1986 when I was 16.
Over the years I have faced much stigma and experienced the frustration of
navigating the 'system' when all I needed was to talk to someone who would
understand what I live with, to learn about my illness and to feel less alone in
the challenge of living with mental illness.
When I discovered chat rooms for people with mental illness,
I found others who knew the challenges of living with
mental illness for the first time in my life.
They didn't treat me differently, for they too knew how it was
to live with the stigma.
I began to feel confident and proud to be me.
I flourished as a person since then.
I have become happy and content for the first time in my life.
Over the years I have developed some cherished friendships and
I really can't imagine my life without that resource in it.
Through the people I have interacted with in chat rooms,
I learned much about my illness and myself.
I developed coping skills
and I grew stronger and stronger.
From this I realized the extreme value an online community of peers
offered to me and my stability and happiness.
Through the people I have met in chat rooms I came to realize the widespread
isolation felt by many living with mental illness.
While some people experience the geographical isolation of rural areas or
mobility obstacles of physical disabilities and/or poverty,
others experience isolation due to fear of stigma and discrimination.
Some actual and some perceived but all of it felt.
That's why I created the Roller Coaster Room
and the reason I am dedicated to maintaining and building this community.
9 years ago I took a Website Design course which has been
instrumental in my operating of the Roller Coaster Room and
3 yrs ago I took a Bookkeeping course which has been
very helpful with the financial aspect of the website operations.
We enjoy a quiet life taking walks along the river with our dog and spending time
in our yard with family and friends.
I continue to pursue more knowledge about mental illness and try to keep abreast
of the latest breakthroughs in the mental health world.
I use the knowledge I gain to implement different activities within the website and
to initiate discussions that lead to development of coping skill and promote a
mentally healthy lifestyle for myself and others.
I spend much of my time trying to improve the website and keep the content fresh
and in tune with the chatters.