In 1999, I published a book encouraging those who, like me, had mental health issues. In an effort to encourage them, I wrote, “It’s not the end of the world.”

I worked hard, trying to make the world a better place for them—in 2006, founding support groups, where they could safely discuss their faith and their mental illness, without shame. Much sought after to speak and write about the issues. Led a large group of my own and worked with people in crisis.

But at the beginning of 2015, my health failed and I retired. The rest is history. I found out what it really means to have a mental illness.

Emotional abuse, stigma, and discrimination entered my life—big time.

  • I found out what it’s like to be treated with anger and hurtful words for no good reason,
  • I found out that people with mental health issues are not considered to have credibility and are generally disbelieved,
  • I found out what it is to be looked down on, not considered of much worth,
  • I found out what it is to be a victim, but given the blame in a conflict,
  • I found out what it is to be a Job—to lose all that’s important to you and blamed for it when you had done nothing wrong,
  • I found out what is was to be ostracized by a church and to lose friends because lies were being told about me,
  • I know what it is to be mistreated by a person who was once a good friend, but whose love turned to hatred,
  • I found out how few were willing to support me (not even friends)
  • I found out how excruciating the pain was to be considered “godly” for my many years of serving, and then suddenly to be treated as “evil”.
  • I found out how hopeless it is to report a wrongdoing about a person in authority. You’re not believed. You’re ignored. (You are, after all, only a person with mental illness.)
  • I found out what it is to lie awake at night trying to figure out how best to die.

How very quickly the reputation that I had built as a person who pioneered mental health awareness and cared for the sick, was forgotten!

How could this have happened?

Could it have something to do with having a mental illness?