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Once a week, The Swell Collective features a tribe member living the tribe values out loud. BE GOOD. DO GOOD. SEE GOOD. SHARE GOOD.

Name: Jennifer Tazzi
Occupation: Writer / Lawyer / Coping with Depression Blogger
Organization Name: HealthyPlace.com

Contact Info:
Website: www.healthyplace.com
Twitter: @JenniferTazzi
Google Plus: Jennifer Tazzi


What change in the world would you like to see through the work youʻre doing?

I would love to see a decrease in stigma and judgment and an increase in understanding and compassion, both for those dealing with mental health issues and for people in general.


Briefly describe the journey that brought you to the work you are doing today.

After dealing with anxiety and moderate depression for most of my life, I was diagnosed with bipolar type I at the age of 27. For a long time, I fought against my diagnosis, but over time I came to accept it as I learned more about it. For me, and a lot of other people diagnosed as bipolar, the majority of symptoms are depressive. I became interested in learning more about depression and about sharing my experience, but for a long time I didn’t know how to do that. It took a journey of twists and turns but now I have the opportunity to write and blog about my experiences in mental health and I’m so grateful for the chance.


What or who inspires you? Why?

There are some constants in who inspires me, like close friends and family who are a part of my support system, without whom I would not be where I am today. I also find that who or what inspires me changes almost daily. Life is an interesting journey, to say the least, and sometimes it’s the seemingly little things that inspire me, like hearing a particular song on the radio or seeing a smile on the face of a stranger.


What is your greatest personal or professional challenge at the moment? How are you working to overcome it?

My personal and professional journeys are a little unorthodox by mainstream society’s standards. I’m trying to follow my heart in terms of what I should be doing and though this makes me happy, it also has steered me away from some of the more traditional material and professional accolades that society seems to reward. My challenge it seems is to continue to stay true to who I am and to not be swayed by fear and anxiety about what everyone else is doing. We’re all on an individual journey.


What advice would you give your 18 year old self?

Oh my, at 18 I thought I had the rest of my life figured out. Little did I know the twists and turns that were ahead. I think I would advise my 18 year old self to continue to trust and to not be afraid to let go of illusory control. I would advise that she not be afraid when things turn dark and stormy in life, and that believe it or not, goodness and growth can come out of the darkest experiences.


What is most rewarding about the work that you do?

In writing a blog, I have the privilege of interacting with people who are going through similar experiences. I believe it helps when we share our humanity with one another and learn from one another. We’re all pieces of the whole, or individual tiles in one mosaic, so to speak.


Anything else youʻd like us to know or share with our fellow Swell mates?

Thank you for this chance to be a part of the dialogue at Swell.