I recently sent my final draft of the manuscript of my memoir to my publisher. The book is broad – everything from my childhood to adult history of overcoming bipolar disorder. One of my objectives is that this book helps to remove the stigma of mental illness from both the patient and everyone else. When you come down with cancer, others now exhibit sympathy and empathy. Why should mental illness be any different?
And mental illness has its cures, from medication to talk therapy to the support of family, friends and employers/fellow employees—IF the patient is willing to participate and try.
Human justice requires us to treat mental illness no differently than physical illness. Many cultures already are ahead of America in that vital area.
Now let’s not forget that suicide – many times with very talented, brilliant, kind people – occurs due to what I call “internalized stigma.” This stigma comes from others and the patient’s own identity with the diagnosis and its effects.
I’ve thought from time to time that persons with mental illness perceive the ills and feel inadequate to act. Think of Winston Churchill who did act and Abraham Lincoln who did act. Let’s help others attain their own greatness!