We all fear the first step
Despite attempts to love and care for his mother, Alan never felt valued growing up. As a youth, he tried to take his own life. He wound up in a series of foster homes.
It’s been a battle since I was 11 just to be here.
Generations of Alan’s family had battled mental illness. His grandfather, noted Red Sox centerfielder Jimmy Piersall, became the first sports figure to publicly declare his fight with bipolar disorder. Alan shared that diagnosis by the time he was 27.
There were manic episodes in my life where I could jump off a building as high as the sky and land on my feet, followed by depressive states where I was sadder than sad.
Alan would go on to try various medications to control his illness, but without success. In 2010, determined to break the cycle and take control of his life, he bought a gym membership and a pair of running shoes. He dropped 75 pounds. He began using a camera to capture the raw, beautiful emotion of the world as he sees it.
You’ve got to find a way to like yourself. That’s a beginning. I’ve learned an active body builds a calmer mind.
Now Alan leads a community fitness group and has taken to social media to inspire others with positive thoughts, nutrition and fitness tips, and his zest for life.
The Lord is going to have to take me kicking and screaming now. I want to be a beacon of light and hope for others.
Alan was recently featured in Sentinel & Enterprise – check out this and other recent press coverage of Deconstructing Stigma!