Finding Hope

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FINDING HOPE: Mom shares story, creates nonprofit to end mental health stigma

Posted: 7:28 PM, May 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-21 16:34:13Z

BOISE — A local mother is on a mission to stop the stigma for people who are struggling with mental illness. She says conversation is key and that's why she's bravely opening up about her own journey.

Kylee Wiscombe describes herself as a happy-go-lucky person, but shortly after the birth of her second son, her mood changed.

"One day (I’m) on top of the world and the next day (I) can't get out of bed,” Wiscombe said. “I don't want to face the world today."

The highs and lows only got worse over the next year and Kylee's husband Miles was desperate for an answer.

"He was looking for solutions and starts Googling, and he comes to me at one point and says, ‘Maybe you have bipolar disorder.’ I was like, ‘Huh? What? That is so rude.’"

Yet, suicidal thoughts scared the Boise mom enough to see a psychiatrist.

“(The psychiatrist) diagnosed me that day with bipolar disorder," said Wiscombe. “That was a huge hit for me--of shame. This person who is high on life, it was just really hard to hear I have bipolar disorder, and I'm not who I was and maybe I wouldn't be there again."

Kylee started taking medications, but trying to find the right concoction threw her into a tailspin.

“I would go back and forth between coherent and lucid to not," she said.

In full-blown mania, she ended up in the emergency room, hallucinating about having a miscarriage. A court order sent her to a mental health hospital.

“If bipolar diagnosis was shame before, a mental health facility--that's revving up the shame right there. How did this happen? How did I possibly end up in a psychiatric hospital,” said Wiscombe.

Kylee was released two days later and praises her husband for being her rock.

"He held the hope for me, and that's what my organization “Gr8ter” does now. He held that hope and I want to do that for anyone who is struggling," she said.

From the depths of despair, Gr8ter was born. The nonprofit's goal is to stop the stigma surrounding mental health by sharing resources and authentic stories.

If we didn't have shame, if we could just get past the shame that we have, we could help people," Wiscombe said.

She sees herself as a work in progress. In the five years since her diagnosis, she's been hospitalized twice with what her children call “fire brain.”

“It's kinda like she goes crazy and there is fire in her brain," said Kylee’s son Bryson.

But this mom will not allow herself to be defined by a disorder. Kylee Wiscombe knows she's greater than that, greater than the shame. And she's on a journey to help others find greatness too.