Many people would call me stupid. Why would a person diagnosed with a shameful condition like borderline personality disorder (BPD) want to let everyone know about it? She must be crazy.

But you see, I don’t believe there’s a good reason to be ashamed of BPD. I’m a person like any other. My illness is not my fault. I have a need to be accepted and cared for, same as everyone else with a health condition. It’s unjust that people with an illness are being stigmatized, even if the illness is a difficult one.

And so, I stubbornly hold my ground, hopeful and determined that public opinion of those with BPD will change. Hopeful that we will one day be regarded as Jesus does–as people like any other. As people who deserve love and acceptance. People who need to be understood.

It’s never stupid to fight for what’s right.

Being stigmatized is as painful as the mental disorder itself, in some cases more so. The rejection by people who once called me a friend has caused excruciating pain. Bad memories lived on, long after I left the community, repeatedly bringing back the pain. I considered suicide.

Years ago I told a friend about how I had joined with CMHA in raising awareness about mental health issues. He had been a friend I valued. A person who had always been kind to me. I used to have good times talking with him. But after I told him about my mental health work he never talked to me again, or even said hi.

I refuse to hide. Nor should any of us if we don’t have to. We haven’t done anything wrong.