I’d love to get to know you a little and introduce you to my readers at BipolarBrave.com!
Tell us a little about yourself and why you’re so passionate about mental health and wellness.
I’m 30 and have dealt with depression and anxiety all my life. It really got worse when I was in the Army in 2009 and I had a mental breakdown and got discharged. Life was kind of a wreck for several years so I got involved with Active Minds with my local community college, which is a mental health organization for community college campuses. That helped me build my confidence and leadership skills. Somewhere along that time I ended up having a manic episode that occurred over a couple months, and when I had that crash I had a really bad depression. I didn’t want to hide anymore so I just kept sharing and sharing and sharing, and slowly this kept building up to what it is today.
So you’ve started your own advocacy and name for yourself. When did you realize you needed to take steps to share and create awareness?
It wasn’t too long after I got involved with Active Minds with my college and started putting myself out there for public groups, nursing colleges and schools, anywhere I could speak. This was fall of 2014, so it started from there and then I got involved with NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) and started speaking with them sometimes 4, 5, 6 times a month. That helped me build my advocacy skill. Mostly I’m active on social media.
Yeah, I see that! What is your vision for the social media and what’re your plans for the future?
Creating a community and fostering dialogue and not necessarily dialogue that everyone’s comfortable with but is important. I like hearing from other people’s perspectives that are outside the mental health community.
What would you say to someone who has just been diagnosed with a mental health condition?
Definitely that it’s not the end of the world, and its possible to turn that into a positive. It doesn’t have to be this horrible illness. It can be something that can be used to your advantage.
What makes you so driven to share your message of mental health awareness and advocate for those with mental illness?
I’m still on disability from my time in the army, so I don’t have a full time job, so I have all this time and so before I got involved with this I didn’t have anything going on in my life so basically it gives me something to do day to day, week to week.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m both. I’m mostly introverted. I can be extroverted at get-togethers and stuff, but I prefer to be introverted.
What is a day in the life of Rudy Caseres like?
There is no common day. Today I haven’t even left the apartment, but I did stuff on social media, I had a meeting with someone installing a camera. But then I went to This Is My Brave last night in Hollywood, at the Comedy Store. I go to a lot of different events like that. Friday I’m going to do a Facebook Live for The Mighty, but I only do that once a month, so there’s no average day in my life.
What audience has been the most memorable out of all the shows you’ve done and presentations you’ve given?
Probably the one at a healthcare conference at the Disneyland Hotel… because it was a very professionally put together conference.It was so nice, modern screens, sound was great, it was full of an audience – doctors, nurses, healthcare administrators — and they were just so receptive and were hanging on to my every word. That was huge for me.
Rudy Caseres is an award-winning public speaker, writer, and vlogger who shares his story of living with bipolar. He has traveled the country to work with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, Project Semicolon, and the American Association of Suicidology. His content has been featured on The Mighty, This is My Brave, Wear Your Label, Project UROK, Schizophrenic NYC, The S Word, and HealthyPlace. Rudy has proudly lived in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA his entire life.
You can reach Rudy at Facebook.com/RudyCaseres and on Instagram and Twitter @RudyCaseres.