That’s the way it is when you have a mental illness. No matter how good a person you are or how much good you’ve done, you’re not considered to have credibility.

Many like me have things to say: to protect ourselves, defend ourselves, explain ourselves. But we’re not listened to, not heard. Not like “regular” people are heard and responded to. We’re made to feel we have no worth—made to feel there’s no value in our words…. No value in us.

When I was mistreated by the leader of a church, I complained to other leaders. Although they heard me, nothing was done. The mistreatment continued.

I complained twice to the denomination. When they found out I had a mental illness, they—in effect—patted me on the head, saying something about protecting the “bride of Christ.” They sent me on my way, refusing to listen to what I wanted to tell them. Ignoring me.

And now, a psychiatrist refuses to treat me because he doesn’t want to hear a valid, well-researched opinion of the diagnosis he gave me. This borderline personality disorder diagnosis (BPD) carries more stigma than any other mental illness. It’s one of the least understood mental illnesses. And yet, that’s the diagnosis that was considered to be unquestionably mine.

The majority of my struggles at the time I received the diagnosis involved flashbacks and traumatic memories from a year-long period of emotional abuse I went through. Each time such memories came, I descended into deep suicidal depression. But these problems were not paid attention to by the psychiatrist. Nor were these problems listed as a possible symptom of BPD. But they were a major part of complex PTSD, the diagnosis I should have had, though—unfortunately—it is not yet listed in the DSM diagnostic manual.

And today, dear friends, how will I be heard? With the ugly face and garbled speech of a person with bell’s palsy?

Who’s going to want to hear me now?