“I will always feel gratitude for what you did for me, Samantha. You helped me at a time when I could not help myself. Where I could see only darkness and chaos, you helped me create structure and meaning, in the most gentle and compassionate way. May you and your work be blessed.” Clare
“It was amazing to meet Sam, to have some one that I could relate to in this struggle of mine. Sam helped me to accept that I HAVE bipolar but to realize that bipolar is not what makes ME as a person. In each session I learnt more about my illness, skills on how to cope, how to over come challenges and set achievable goals I feel like together we have achieved so much. Sam has been an amazing mentor and coach. I will definitely continue my sessions as I feel it’s what I really need.” Andy
“Sam’s open and authentic writing allowed my family to finally have insight into what it is to live on a daily basis with the diagnosis of Bipolar. She opened up channels of communication that had always been terribly difficult to charter. She effectively gave me a voice, when mine was faltering.
The stigma that surrounds the diagnosis is one that more than often sends the diagnosed into a downward spiral of self loathing and shame. Sam’s public disclosure of her experiences has largely given me the confidence to overcome this – she has become a great role model and spokesperson for many who would otherwise have hidden in the shadows of shame.
Through her deeply personal writing style and frank accounts of her highs and lows, Sam has thrown out a lifeline to the many who have hidden in the shadows of this often misunderstood disorder. Sam does not portray herself as a damsel in distress, nor the heroine of her memoir and most importantly – she doesn’t see herself as a victim, but a human being, – flawed as we all are – who has survived, and flourished, against all odds.” Allison
“I have witnessed Sam Smirin engage, in various capacities, with those immersed in emotional and cognitive challenges. She does so with unwavering insight and compassion born of study, reflection and her own experience. She has placed herself – through her book and public action – at the centre of South African discussions about living with bipolarity.” Professor Michael Titlestad, University of the Witwatersrand
“Samantha Smirin started her journey with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) nearly four years ago. She started as a volunteer counsellor in our call centre, prior to following her passion and starting a SADAG Support Group. She hosts regular meetings for members of the community who have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
Samantha is a passionate and dedicated Support Group Leader, who often goes above and beyond. Her group is exceptionally well attended and provides a vital resource for members of the community. She covers a variety of relevant and pertinent topics. Samantha has also assisted in mentoring several of our other Support Group Leaders.
In addition to her Support Group, Samantha has assisted SADAG on numerous occasions including talks, press and media interviews as well as awareness campaign videos.
We are exceptionally grateful to have Samantha as a member of our family, and for her unwavering support and dedication to SADAG”. Krystle Kemp SADAG Support Group Co-ordinator
“Sam has used her experiences and knowledge of mental illness to enhance the lives of others suffering similar afflictions. She provides a safe space for people with Bipolar to attain and maintain stability as well as providing support for their families. Her brilliance stems from this stunning ability to draw on and share the strength and resilience that guided her own journey. She has brought so much hope and light into the lives of others.” Allison
“I have attended one on one consulting sessions with Sam and also attend the bipolar support group that Sam runs. I have found Sam to be very knowledgeable and supportive and to offer a wide range of practical advice. Sam is very structured and this helps with bipolar in terms of daily routine and discipline.” Craig
“Samantha is a wonderful coach/mentor. She provides valuable advice and guidance with a kind, caring and compassionate approach. I have learnt so much from her. Samantha provides support when you need it most and she knows how to navigate the ups and downs of bipolar. Having someone who knows what you are going through and understands you is so comforting and makes all the difference. Samantha always goes the extra mile to help and support you. I feel blessed to have found such an amazing coach and know that even in the darkest of times, Samantha can help me to turn things around.” – Stephanie
My son, now 42 years of age, suffers from Bipolar Disorder with psychosis. I have over the years invested in numerous books written by various doctors on Bipolar, giving parents, siblings and family all sorts of advice. As a parent I have suffered with my son every time he has had a relapse and of course been to numerous psychologists and psychiatrists looking for answers and help.
I was walking through a shopping mall when I happened to cast my eye into Exclusive Books and there amongst the new Best Sellers was a book “Life Interrupted – A Bipoar Memoir” written by Samantha Smirin. Well, the photo of Sam on the cover of her book told the story itself and I knew I just had to buy it. I rushed home and started reading her book, I was totally smitten and finished the entire book at 2.30am in the morning.
It was just like reading about my son’s and my life. I sent Sam a message telling her about my son and was so astonished when she answered my message or call for help within minutes.
Sam then phoned me and oh my word it was so lovely to speak to someone who has lived her life with Bipolar Disorder and knew exactly what we were living with everyday.
I have always said to my husband that we can go to as many psychologists as we like but they have not lived the life only studied it and trust me I have lost count of the many we have seen. Yes, obviously we have to have a psychiatrist in his life forever because of the life long medication but Sam was an answer to a prayer. My son connected with her immediately as she communicated with him in a soft, caring and understanding manner.
Unfortunately we live in the Cape so my son has telephonic sessions with Sam but he has never connected with any psychologist the way he has with Sam.
Sam you have been a lifesaver and a crutch to both my son and me and I am forever grateful that you came into our lives. Jennifer
Sam came into my life in October 2019 and I love talking to her. She never judges me and is also kind and gentle in offering me advise, helping me with daily schedules and simply listening to me. Sam has got to know me so well and understands my sometimes manic and erratic behaviour. She is my crutch and whenever she is concerned about me she contacts my mom immediately. My mom says this gives her such peace of mind when she is away from me, because Sam is always there for me. I know too that I can freely discuss all my inner most secrets and concerns with Sam. There are things you don’t always want to discuss with your parents.
I have told mom that I never want to see another psychologist as long as I have Sam in my life. She is such a caring and gentle person and always so kind to me.
Thank you Sam for always being there. Lester