For many years, my husband and I attended a support group for parents who had children suffering from a mental illness. After some time, I started one in our town together with a friend and 22 people came regularly. My husband and I were the only two people from our town who attended – due to the stigma. The residents did not want to be seen entering a building carrying the sign of the Mental Health Association.
By talking about mental illness, many people out there email me or call to talk. Why? They all say that they need to speak to someone who has been there and who talks freely about the subject.
I tell my story in the hope that others might be more understanding of mental illness, which I prefer to call a brain illness.
I tell my story to make it more difficult for others to close their eyes and their hearts to the mental illness around them.
I tell my story to gain empathy for the people out there who are suffering so much.
I tell my story in order to convince anyone suffering from a mental illness that with the correct treatment, they can improve their quality of life.
I tell my story to gain support for them. If they have the backing of the community, they have the chance of a life with purpose and love, something that we all strive for.
If we speak out freely and tell our stories, maybe some of the people out there will listen, believe in and even act on our behalf.