One quarter of the U.S. population struggles with mental illness. You may be ill yourself, or you know someone diagnosed with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or some other mental health challenge.
I’m passionate about shining a light of compassion on those who suffer with mental illness because my dad had bipolar disorder.
My dad died more than five years ago, and I think about him every day. A huge sports fan, he would have LOVED the Astros winning the World Series. When I was a kid, he took us to a few games at the old Astrodome. Some of my memories involve happy times we shared like singing along with Elvis to “Blue Christmas” or him displaying his encyclopedic knowledge to win Trivial Pursuit and others involve dark days of soul-sucking depression or manic psychosis.
‘Be open and help somebody’
This week, I thought about my dad and other loved ones struggling with mental illness and felt the weight of discouragement. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in a loving God. So the next day when a friend sent me a link to a podcast interview with Demi Lovato, I took it as encouragement. She talked about her diagnosis with bipolar disorder.
Demi said her manager told her, “You can either hide this or be open about it and help somebody.”
She also mentioned a documentary she produced, “Beyond Silence.” I watched it this morning, and it renewed my sense of hope. The 30-minute program follows three people who are dealing with serious mental illnesses and how they lead productive, meaningful lives.
If you or someone you love has a mental illness, take half an hour and watch it. You’ll be glad you did. If you find it helpful, please share this post.
Everyone has a story. Part of my story involves mental illness, and I want to help take away the sting of stigma.
Want more information and resources? Go here to my mental illness manifesto.