What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

Luke 12:3

 I’ve been called a child, because I say everything that comes to mind. Transparent, not hiding anything.

I suppose that’s what has in the past helped me reduce the stigma of mental illness. I wasn’t afraid to tell the truth about myself. I didn’t feel ashamed to tell an audience that I lived with bipolar disorder. Why should I be ashamed? I’m God’s child and he made me the way I am. He loves me, no matter what, even if some aren’t too sure about me.

I’m still not afraid to tell the truth about myself, not even the BPD (borderline personality disorder) that has been with me for six years. BPD has been referred to as “the leprosy of mental illnesses” and the disorder with “surplus stigma.” It’s probably the most misunderstood psychiatric disorder of our age.

That stigma hurt me terribly, in a way few would understand. One thing led to another until everyone in my world knew I had it. Although everything was kept secret from me, I believe that many thought I had suddenly become evil, even though I had only just retired from caring for many individuals with mental illnesses not unlike my own. And yet my world forgot about all the good I had done. All they now knew was that they were afraid of me and didn’t want anything to do with me. I was hurt repeatedly and suffered for six years with the traumatic memories.

But God has been good to me. He gave me a therapist who, though not a Christian, encouraged me to share what I had written about Jesus and other things that meant a lot to me. I’m now closer to being the person I used to be. A person who’s not as overly sensitive.

Today I feel strong enough and bold enough to continue what I started doing twenty years ago—reducing the stigma of mental illness. Only this time, my goal will be to reduce the stigma of BPD, “the disorder with surplus stigma.” Yes, I have been hurt by past friends. I have been ostracized. But I’m not ashamed and I’m not afraid to share my truth openly, as I always have.

It’s time to build understanding so that others won’t have to suffer in the way I have.