If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.

Mark 8:35 NLT


In 1993 I wrote an article for the Vancouver Sun about being a patient at Riverview Hospital. My name and my picture accompanied it. It sat, very noticeably at the top of page three. I hoped that readers seeing it would realize that if I wasn’t ashamed to talk about my mental illness, maybe they wouldn’t need to be either. Suddenly, my whole world knew that I had mental illness.

The Bible tells us that we shouldn’t live for ourselves alone. That makes a lot of sense. I believe that living for ourselves alone is a dead end journey. When we work for others, we’re serving God and it becomes possible to make a difference in the world.

Having my article published wasn’t for myself. It was a dangerous step and could have meant social suicide. But I knew this was what needed to be done. God was with me and he was good. He had given me a church home that accepted me and loved me, despite their new understanding of me. Changes did gradually start happening.

People who know me will tell you I’m a bit of a child—too much so. I have the honesty of a child—a transparency about how I communicate. I don’t remember knowingly telling untruths. This honesty has helped me be open about my struggles. In recent years, however, that honesty has caused me trouble too. I’ve been deeply hurt. But I hope I’m learning.

Since the Vancouver Sun article, I haven’t stopped raising awareness about the evils of stigma, especially in the church. I understood what many were going through and felt their pain. But, I thought, there should be no shame in having an illness one can’t help. And I believed that the church, where God’s love is expected to be found, should be the last place for stigma to exist.