Carolina entrepreneur, author, therapist breaking the stigma of bipolar

March 30 is World Bipolar Day

A man who was diagnosed with a mental health disorder said it’s his mission to spread awareness, especially to the minority community.

Rwenshaun Miller is a licensed clinical mental health counselor.

Miller is a successful business owner and therapist.

He’s earned a master’s degree in counseling, working towards his doctorate, founded a nonprofit, Eustress Inc., and has authored a book.

“I was diagnosed Bipolar about 15 years ago,” Miller said. “But, bipolar doesn’t define me. I am Rwenshaun, first.”

Bipolar affective disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

Now he is spreading awareness to others.

Today is World Bipolar Day, raising awareness about bipolar disorders in order to eliminate social stigma.

Using an opportunity to speak with BEAM (Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective), Miller said that the journey of self care takes intentional work.

BEAM is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to remove the barriers that Black people experience getting access to or staying connected with emotional health care and healing.

“Learning how to manage my symptoms associated with Bipolar Disorder took patience and discipline. As I tried different treatments, one thing that stood out to me was that I needed to learn who I was in all facets of life,” Miller said. “I needed to learn my triggers, my protective factors, and my patterns.”

It is estimated that the global prevalence of bipolar disorder is between 1 and 2% and has been said to be as high as 5%.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe and different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time.

“During this time of two pandemics, Covid-19 and systemic racism, do not forget to make yourself a priority,” Miller said. “Limit your screen time when possible, restrict your news intake and find new ways to manage your symptoms.”

As the chief executive officer of The Good Stress Company, Miller and his team of counselors begin the process of therapy by addressing the challenges of clients.

“Our goal is to provide compassionate, supportive and non-judgmental support in a safe and nurturing environment,” Miller said. “With the right mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual skill-set, you can go from living to thriving, experiencing life in a much healthier way.”

He pointed out that often people get so ingrained in their journey that much of it becomes automatic and they forget how things contribute or hinder their mental wellness.

“I come from the small county of Bertie in North Carolina,” he said. “We didn’t have one counselor. After my diagnosis, I looked back at the way I learned to cope. A lot of times as a Black man most of the emotions I was taught to express was either anger or happy.”

For people with limited access to mental health care, Miller said that traditional therapy doesn’t always work and isn’t always available, so other coping mechanisms are helpful.

He created The Why Eustressin’? Journal. The journal is designed to take you on a journey of internally tuning in to yourself and allowing yourself to recognize factors in your life that require your attention to change.

“The journal helps you will learn to be mindful of what you consume with things such as food, people, TV and social media and how your consumption levels affect your mood and feelings,” Miller said.

With funding from Blue Cross NC’s annual employee giving campaign, GivingWork, Eustress Inc. was able to provide participants from the BEAM program with a complimentary journal.

“The journal is designed for self-improvement. Don’t hold back,” Miller said. “There is beauty in learning more about yourself and making your mental wellbeing a priority. Search within, reflect and discover you.”

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.