Pete Feigal has been battling bipolar disorder for 40 years and MS for 20 years, but he has learned to view his struggles as a blessing and loves to tell his story to others and provide hope. He will speak from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, in the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium.

Pete Feigal

Pete Feigal

Feigal’s talk is hosted by Active Minds, a club that strives to reduce the stigma against mental illness on campus.

At the age of 12, Feigal was first diagnosed with major depression but was able to turn his hardships into “a gift to be opened – not a problem to be solved.” He has spoken more than 1,600 times in the past eight years in front of a wide range of populations.

He has worked with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, served as the president of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill for the past six years, is a member of the Minnesota Mental Health Resources Board of Directors, and is an artist and inspirational speaker for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, among other endeavors.

Pete Feigal and his motorcycle

In addition to bipolar disorder and MS, Pete Feigal also has endured motorcycle crashes.

According to the speaker’s website, Feigal was “locked away in a closed mental hospital for a year at 15. After returning home, the perceived pity and shame of his school and community drove him to leave at 17 and he did not return home for almost 20 years. He suffered through the wild highs and devastating lows of bipolar disorder (manic depression).

“His body has endured motorcycle crashes, burdens of serious mental illness and now the ravages of multiple sclerosis (MS) for the last 17 years. Now after decades of struggle Pete has come to see his life in a whole new way. … He sees his hardships as teachers and meditations in his life ‘wanted or not!’ He is now able to share the insight and wisdom ‘of people much greater and stronger than me’ to give the gift of hope through humor and heartbreak to all who are willing to listen.”

A full list of credentials and a more detailed biography can be viewed at petefeigal.com. This event is sponsored by the University Lectures Committee.