Aimee was all of the following things: a daughter, a sister, a musician, an athlete, and a best friend. She was just like everyone else--she had goals and lived a very fulfilling life. But she also weathered bouts of deep depression.

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Aimee's family noticed changes in her normal behavior only one year before she took her life. Returning home after graduating from college, Aimee showed signs of depression--sleeping more and getting out to exercise or visit friends less. She began buying online and opening up credit cards with limited funds.

 

Aimee was also in a relationship that she kept private for a year and a half before it was exposed. This specific event was a traumatic experience which deeply affected her. during the summer of 2012, she became rebellious, opinionated, hyper-energetic, and determined. It became difficult for Aimee to sleep. A conversation with her was a one-way street, with no prospect of her hearing others' thoughts or input. She was escalating into someone that was unrecognizable to her family, so different from the young woman who was loving, considerate and sensitive to others' feelings.

 

On July 4, 2012 a family friend, who also suffers from bipolar illness, shared with the family what she observed in Aimee's behavior throughout that evening. they knew very little about bipolar illness until that conversation. On July 17, Aimee was taken to the hospital.

 

She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and major depression, and put on a treatment plan. While under the care of a psychologist, a psychiatrist managed her medication. Her manic behavior was subdued. Although there were signs of improvement, it was extremely difficult for her to accept the medication regimen into her life.

 

There were additional challenges that she faced outside of her mental illness. She struggled with finding a job, and had difficulty remembering information. This sank her deeper into depression and skewed her view of what was actually happening around her.

 

Her family and friends encouraged her to get into a routine--whether it was exercising or attending a social event--to lift her spirits. However, it was challenging to know exactly what Aimee needed if she was not able to communicate her entire feelings.

 

Aimee could not see that everyone was there to love and support her through her illness. She was too consumed with hopelessness, loneliness, and despair. On January 5, 2013, the pain was too unbearable for Aimee to carry on. She took her life early that morning.

 

In her memory, this foundation strives to help those living with mental illnesses. May they know that there is hope, they are important, and that help is an option.

 

The Aimee Oki Foundation is not a hotline nor do we provide counseling services. If you are in a crisis, please call 1-800-TALK (8255) or text 741741 to reach a trained Crisis Counselor.