Excerpt from my book, A Battle Against Stigma

Soon after retiring from my group, things went bad. A big part of the hurting seemed to come from more than a single person. Attitudes towards me developed in tandem. I had at one time received loving support from them and helped them in various ways. What made them change? What made them behave the way they did?

I was treated like a nuisance. It showed in their unkindness and unwillingness to include me or talk to me. Frowns and unfriendly words replaced the smiles I had at one time received.

As I look back I can see that they considered me as one might consider a child. A child for whom they had no patience. A child they wanted to send outside to play. A child they no longer wanted around.

I had left my group because of unwellness. My husband had suspected dementia, though not diagnosed as such. This seemed to have been forgotten. Why did they treat me, a person who had contributed so much, with such harshness? Where was the compassion?

Only a short time ago I had been a leader, successfully facilitating a group, supporting troubled individuals. I had been respected for my ground-breaking work, referred to as a pioneer by one who knows the history. Who I was and what I’d done was forgotten. After at least a year of being treated with disrespect, I too almost forgot who I had been and what I had done.

For years to come I would ask, “Why”?