Marja Bergen

author, mental health activist, follower of Christ

Tag: discrimination (page 1 of 2)

4. Our rights – not for myself alone

Due to poor upbringing, I was still like a child in ways. What was happening bewildered me. I had developed strong bonds with those who had showed me love when I first came to the church. Like a child clinging to her parents, I could not let go, even when these friends were trying to […]


3. Our rights – not for myself alone

The friends who had given me so much love years earlier had betrayed me. In fact, the whole church betrayed me. I found myself ostracized. My feelings of self-worth plummeted. Gradually I forgot that I had done anything good at all. One of the worst forms of discrimination is when there is a conflict between […]


2. Our rights – not for myself alone

People with mental illness are too often treated in ways that make them feel inferior—ways that make them feel they’re not as much of a person as others are. If that could only change! The church of Jesus Christ should be the first place where better attitudes should be nurtured. Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah […]


1. Our rights – not for myself alone

I’ve gone far enough with my story. There’s lots more, but much is already covered in I Will Not Hide. ( I now want to tell you what motivated me to write this series. I feel my rights as a human being, and the rights of others with mental illness, are too often not considered […]


Not for myself alone – part 7

I had been told I’d been too demanding. Relying too much on friends. Constantly needing to email and talk. I’ve told before about how I felt guilty about this behavior and how I tried to change. A few times I asked for boundaries, thinking I needed firm guidelines, but was told I was always welcome […]


Not for myself alone – part 6

In the days following, I looked for support, calling a few friends to ask for prayer. But no one returned my call. Are they thinking there’s something wrong with me because I was excluded from the group? I called the person who would be taking over leadership of my support group, hoping she might offer […]


Not for myself alone – part 5

I used to get terribly angry when I was wronged or when I witnessed an injustice like stigma. I still do. With passion I fought, one of my favourite scriptures close at hand. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6) But does being hungry for justice […]


Not for myself alone – part 4

In an effort to find peace within myself and build understanding about living with mental illness for others, I’m trying not to judge, but to realize there are two sides to every story. I want to show how some otherwise good people hurt me, but I also want to show what caused that to happen. […]


Not for myself alone – part 3

I recently plowed my way through what must have been a few hundred emails I had sent to my friends during that unfortunate year. As I read, I was filled with shame. “Oh, Lord! How I must have sickened them! Such an imposition! Why couldn’t I have left them alone? What was I thinking to […]


To be treated as human

Since 1993, when the Vancouver Sun published my article, Sick but No One Brought me Flowers, I have fought to reduce the stigma of mental illness. I’ve never stopped. And now, when I’m suffering the effects of having been severely discriminated against a few years ago, I realize I mustn’t stop fighting. I’ve learned what […]

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