This morning Church for Vancouver published my article, “Breaking Down Walls.” I was asked to write and submit this after telling the publisher that I had experienced the effects of stigma. I had felt many times that this had been the reason for the emotional pain I had suffered as the result of insensitive and disrespectful treatment. I wrote because I had come to know what it feels like to be treated as “different” and “not normal”. In writing I hoped that Christians would come to better understand how to be there for people with mental illness. How they could learn to love them rather than fear them.

Since talking to Flyn Ritchie reasons other than stigma have suggested themselves. But it’s a puzzle. I constantly live with questions why I had been treated as though I was not human and that my feelings were not considered important. The result: repeated painful flashbacks of hurtful things said to me and done to me, causing immense emotional pain that lasted for hours at a time. It affected my ability to function.

But truthfully, I’m now wondering: was it really stigma, as the introduction to my article states? As I have so often felt it must be? Was it truly the person not able to stand me because of my illness? Or could it have been something else? Was there another reason I was treated this way? I might never know, though the questions appear often, the minute I open my eyes in the morning. Every time this happens, the pain hits all over again.

I know that the effects of my illness – what my illness caused me to do – was a problem. How it made me act was a problem. The kind of person it made me to be – too often clingy. (I hate having to say that about myself.) Often I’m just not an easy a person to be around.

I’m coming to see how I most likely became too much for the person to take. That might have been the whole problem. And it’s an understandable problem, one I must forgive.

…And yet, I still don’t know for sure.

…And yet, why did I have to suffer all that pain?