Michael Bingham

Michael Bingham
JASA Member

He found comfort and purpose – and learned he isn’t alone

From the time he was in school, Michael Bingham has fought a long, lonely battle with bipolar disorder. But since going to one of JASA’s Friendship Houses, he has discovered that he isn’t so alone. “We get together and talk about things that are bothering us, what happens to us when we are home, when we have symptoms,” he says. “It helps us, those who have the same feelings that I have. Everything is a little easier for me now because I’m focused on getting here Mondays through Thursdays. I’d rather come here than stay at home.”

When he first started coming to the support groups, he remembers he tried to keep to himself, but JASA’s counselors encouraged him to interact with people.

Michael appreciates the group programs and participates in the meditations group, the singles group, and the men’s group. “The meditation group is very relaxing, it’s a good way to start the day. It’s given me a sense of myself, just every day, saying I’m worth coming here and I’m worth being in this group.” He explains that the support group has been instrumental in helping him feel less isolated. “Sometimes when I share, another person will say, ‘I had that same experience.’ And so I say to myself, well I’m not doing anything alone.”

Mostly Michael likes the positive, nurturing atmosphere he’s found at JASA. “These people really care for us while we’re here, and we need that – to feel comfortable with our own situations. I feel good here.”