Meet Kealani Yamamoto. The first storyteller of the I Know Lonely Project, a set of stories produced by Only7Seconds designed to cultivate empathy & understanding, inspire meaningful connection, and help people feel less lonely in their life experiences. Kea’s story shares about her experience being diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a young teenager and learning to thrive on the other side of her diagnosis. She was a superstar athlete and runner in high school and college. Now she runs a small business, where she shares her love for the outdoors and art through custom jewelry pieces.
And this is her story.
Although a lot of Kea’s story isn’t centered around what’s happening currently in her life, she wanted to add a quick note. “I want to thank my husband, Cai. He takes little credit, but he makes me a better person and loves me unconditionally. On August 5th, 2022, we welcomed our son, Boulder Cal Yamamoto, into the world. We are excited to be on this wild adventure with him! I hope you enjoy hearing my story and I’m so grateful for Only7Seconds. – Kealani (Kea)”
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST:
READ KEA’S STORY
“Kealani Yamamoto grew up in Cashmere, Washington, a little town nestled in the Cascades between Wenatchee and Leavenworth. She describes herself as a tough kid. As a three year old, she used to quote the movie Tommy Boy, saying “Dope, that’s gonna leave a mark!” when she fell and scraped her knee.
Growing up, Kea was really into sports and loved hanging out with her friends and being social. She was a straight A student and a very successful athlete. As a freshman in high school, she qualified in track for the Junior National Olympics in Reno, Nevada. She described her childhood as smooth sailing, until her freshman year of highschool, when she felt a shift in her mood. She said she just felt “off.” Toward the end of her freshman year, she saw the school counselor and remembers being given a feelings wheel. “I threw it away. I was like ‘this is garbage.’ I was the tough kid; why would I talk about my feelings?””
SHOWNOTES & RESOURCES
Connect with Kea: Kealani Designs
3 NEXT STEPS
1. Intentionally connect with someone you care about! Who is the first person that comes to your mind right now? Send them a text, give them a phone call, set a time to grab lunch. Connection is vital and sometimes, we have to make time for it.
2. Utilize one of the resources. If you or someone you love has experienced bipolar disorder, we hope that Kea’s story reminds you that you are not alone in the journey. If bipolar disorder is something you have not experienced in your own story or the story of someone you love, we hope Kea’s story has expanded your empathy. You can access our full page of resources here.
3. Consider supporting the project! We know there are so many more stories like Kea’s that need to be told. Stories that share their own experiences through topics like anxiety and depression, addiction, mental health struggles, incarceration, loosing loved one to suicide… everybody has a story worth telling. And you can help us share them with the world by supporting the I Know Lonely Project with a monthly gift. Even the smallest gifts can make an impact. Give here!