julie's story

Julie Kraft is a Canadian author, artist, and mental health advocate devoted to spreading awareness and shattering stigma. Her personal story is one that includes decades of living with anxiety, depression, and the extreme highs and lows of an undiagnosed mental health condition.

 

 

In the spring of 2010, as an overwhelmed wife and mother, Julie hit rock bottom and sought professional help. Soon after, she received an official diagnosis of bipolar II disorder. Her initial feelings of shame and brokenness led to desperate searches for positive images of bipolar. Julie's efforts were in vain; only disturbing cartoons, mocking memes, and sensationalized headlines were found.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the eight years since her diagnosis, Julie has come to a place of fully embracing her bipolar mind. She credits it with allowing her to live a vibrant, creative, and fulfilling life. She wholeheartedly believes that she has been 'fearfully and wonderfully made' by a God whose faithful promises will sustain her through any challenges that life, or her disorder, might bring.  Julie is now passionate about sharing her journey wherever she can - whether on paper, social media, stages or street corners. Her first book, The Other Side of Me - memoir of a bipolar mind, was published in 2017. Julie's other interests include travelling, painting, photography, interior design, and scouring secondhand stores. She currently resides in her hometown of Vancouver with her husband and three children. As she continues to pour herself into her advocacy work, it is Julie's greatest hope that her 'voice' will continue to open minds, change perceptions, and help others walking a similar path.

"Wearing a mask and projecting a false image was quickly taking its toll. I was imploding, exploding, and spewing all of my pent up frustration onto those closest to me. The ones I loved the very most always got my worst."    

"Deep down, I knew I had the ability to put another face of bipolar into the world. If I was willing to lay aside my pride and be vulnerable, there was a chance that my authenticity could offer insight, challenge stereotypes or even evoke the words, "I'm not the only one." It soon became clear- it was no longer a question of if I would tell my story, it was only a matter of when."  

"I was convinced my bipolar disorder

was a burden and a secret,

I would have to carry and keep,

for the rest of my life."

- THE OTHER SIDE OF ME