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Life Lessons:
Linda Naomi Baron Katz

*Are you happy at the moment?

That depends on your definition of happiness. I would say that I am content with my life. I am happily married, an author of my own book, Surviving Mental Illness, My Story, a Peer Advocate for people with mental illness. Although I have no parents and don’t have children, I concentrate on the best things that are in my life. Although suffering from mental illness does not make me happy, it gives me the strength to move on and help educate others that you are more than just an illness.

*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

I would say that life is more than not having many friends and doing well in school, it is about having fun and discovering who you are and what you want to accomplish in life.

*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

I have learned through the promotion of my book that there are many people in need of help with their loved ones who have mental illnesses, especially in my culture. It was not enough just to get people to buy the book, but I learned how to listen and give advice to people on what resources are out there for those that are suffering.

*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

I would like to publish my first children’s book on mental illness and maybe become a life coach or a peer wellness coach and continue to give people support within their community.

*What’s your secret to happiness?

It is to live life to the fullest and realize your limitations on what you can control and not what you can’t and be happy at accepting for who and what you are now, and not worry about the future or what mistakes you have done in the past.

*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

Believing that there is some driving force within ourselves that keeps you alive. For me it is my religion as a Jew and knowing that G-d has a purpose for everyone.

*What’s your biggest regret?

My biggest regret is that even working as a Peer Advocate for the mentally ill, I realize that I cannot help everyone in need, especially if you have a relative whom you are close with and does not want it.

*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

Although I do not have children I would teach them to deal with their mistakes and learn to grow from it.

*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

Not to take everything in life too personally and to have more patience.

*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

How my recovery from mental illness and believing in G-d made me want to help others get well and pursue new goals for them.

*When were you happiest?

Before mental illness struck my family.

*What ten words best describe you?

Inspiring, helpful, determined, kind-hearted, conscientious, courageous, motivated, strength, compassionate, empathetic

Linda Naomi Baron Katz, raised with Jewish upbringing from her parents, experienced mental illness as a child with the start of her mother. Since then, Linda was always known as a depressed person growing up and had difficulty when it came to relationships and employment. After graduating college, when at 24 years old, she too developed a mental illness, known as bipolar disorder. Linda found her way back to happiness by staying with treatment and building a support network within the mental health community. She found resources and agencies that helped her find a relationship and employment within the mental health field.

As a result, she is happily married, a Peer Advocate, and the author of Surviving Mental Illness, My Story, that has won two awards. To know more about her book, go to www.surviving-mental-illness.com and also look at her facebook page- www.facebook.com/survivingmentalillness