Andrea Berryman Childreth has first-hand experience with mental illness. As the mother of a daughter diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ADHD, a non-verbal learning disorder, and auditory processing disorder, she has also struggled with anxiety, depression and bulimia as a young woman, which eventually led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder when she was 34.
Andrea, her husband, Jeff, and their two daughters, Chloe and Sophia, live in Medford, Oregon. Andrea is owner of Spotlight Marketing, a marketing firm based in Medford, and Jeff is a dentist in private practice in Medford.
“My goal with this website and blog is to help families who are struggling with mental illness,” says Andrea. “First, I want them to feel as if they are not alone, and also I want them to know how they can get the support and information they need.”
In addition, Andrea seeks to dispel the myth that mental illness happens only to those who struggle with abuse or dependency issues. “It happens to ‘normal’ people,” she says. “Most people (with mental illness) are just in the throes of life like everybody else,” she says. “It can be miserable and lonely – it certainly was for us for a long time.”
“We are such a reactive society. If we just took care of the mentally ill in the first place, it would solve a lot of issues,” Andrea stresses. “I keep pushing for answers and for resources. I just want to keep moving in that direction.
“My husband’s and my goal is to be nurturing parents to both our daughters and to help them find and achieve their goals and their passions – whatever they might be.”