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I think you are so brave for doing this. You are right, the stima was the worst part. My mom was paranoid schizophrenic. She died, in part, because of her mental illness. She stopped eating because she thought she was being poisoned. She wouldn't go back to the doctor after surgery because she thought, "he was trying to kill her." These two things played a part in an accident and after a year of surgeries, dementia, hospitalization, and nursing homes, her death. I am left with anger at her death at a young age. I am tired of the stigma these people bear. People who suffer ungodly hell while alive with no affirmation or validation of themselves as even human; much less as people who are ill. People rally around people with cancer and also support their family members. The stigma, the isolation, the shame my mom felt really are a tradgedy. I applaud you for bringing awareness. Thanks.

I believe that the stigma of mental illness is part of a much larger stigma that exists in the human experience that thrives in an atmosphere of ignorance which generates both fear and hatred for anything that I perceive as different from my own self-image. I use the pronoun “I” because I believe that to say otherwise removes the problem from myself and puts it in the world “out there” and further fosters the belief that I am more or less of a person because of circumstance, like being a billionaire or a homeless person or having a condition beyond my control, which can include mental or physical illness, a different sexual orientation or gender identity from the majority, or any other condition that can set me apart from anyone or everyone else. I call it the “stigma of being different” or more simply, the “stigma of being human”.
I share in the belief that to allieve the stigma of mental illness or even to go as far as to alleviate the stigma of setting myself apart from others because of my own ignorance requires that I educate myself on those things with which I am unfamiliar and is one of the most vital pursuits that I believe that I as a human being must pursue. And while I must continue to educate myself, I must also diligently and repeatedly re-examine my own thoughts, judgments, feelings and so forth to uncover those shadows in myself, those parts of myself that I disown or otherwise hide from not only others but from myself as well. I believe that it takes a strong commitment and dedication to the pursuit of my own truth and to share that truth with others along the way, and in the discovery and sharing of my own truth, being able to open my heart to the truth of others. I believe that in sharing those discoveries about myself, both those that I admire as well as abhor in myself, I am offering my gift to the world and healing my own stigmas and hopefully the stigmas of others in the process.


: )

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