We were so pleased that the focus of the recent Didi Hirsch "Erasing the Stigma" event was on mental health in families. This is a topic that is usually on the top of family "secrets" list which made it all the more powerful to hear inspiring stories from celebrities and families who had benefitted from treatment.
I'm embarrassed to share the depth of the ugly, dark thoughts that my disease triggered. In the midst of contemplating death, I wasn't aware of a reality different from my own. I could not realize that I was well loved by many people. That I had worth. That my mere existence made a contribution in meaningful ways. I mattered. We all do.
Anna Pearce (aka Patty Duke) was a warrior and a champion for the fight against mental illness. To know that Anna is no longer on this planet is horrifying on so many levels, but it is the reality that we were all forced to sadly accept yesterday when at 69, she passed away due to sepsis from a ruptured intestine.
Having a psychiatric condition means that you have an illness that requires treatment, nothing more. It doesn't mean that you are incapable or that you ought to lower your expectations for your life. Rather, it means you are uniquely capable and that you ought to raise the world's expectations of you.