Copying from previous post written in 2008 when all was good for me: 

I haven’t thought for a while about stigma within the church. My life has been pretty insulated. I don’t feel the effects of such stigma. But every once in a while I hear a story that gets my blood boiling. It’s not simple anger I feel, though. It’s more like pain.


I wrote the above ten years ago at a time when my church’s love and support were wonderful. Church members were a big help in building my ministry. I had many friends encouraging me. But after nine years things changed drastically. It started happening around the time my health began to fail and I retired from my Living Room group. What had been love and support became the reverse.

At this very church home where I had raised awareness and reduced stigma in the church, I myself ended up being stigmatized in a very painful way.

The reason for this is a complex puzzle that I haven’t been able to totally solve. I know I was too demanding and was trying to rectify that. But wouldn’t a person without mental illness have been talked to about this and limits put in place?

Throughout my life, from childhood on, I had been considered a good person – kind and generous. I always did my best. But now I was treated as though I was a wicked person. I saw no good reason for this. Others in the church followed suit, ignoring me when I said hello. The worst and most painful treatment was exclusion from a home group I had needed for a long time. I had no friends in the church with whom I could spend time and had hoped I could make such friends in this group, at the same time studying the Bible. But despite nine years of giving myself to others, I wasn’t given the opportunity to join. One of the reasons given: I had a mental illness and there were already two in the group. One person suggested I go to a different church.

Hurtful treatment went on for at least a year, causing unimaginable pain. I lost the person I had been and became emotionally damaged, needing weekly psychotherapy.

I can’t say enough about the evils of stigma. It’s inhumane. It dehumanizes the victim. And now I’ve discovered first hand how that feels.