“But it would have helped if my family and friends had spent time with me.”
What kind of stigma did you experience/observe?
I was a good softball player and played on the B-class state team. After being released from a hospitalization, my buddies didn’t know how to deal with me anymore. I didn’t have the strength to play and my friends turned their backs on me.
In English and Math classes I received C’s, D’s and F’s for grades, but in Social Studies and Gym I received all A’s. After high school I earned straight A’s, and also an internship.
Then all of a sudden my world crashed. I locked myself in my bedroom. I thought that the devil was after me from all the wild parties I went to. I tried to commit suicide five times. Twice it should have been fatal. In my late twenties and early thirties I was locked up in the psych ward in almost every major hospital in the Twin Cities.
My social worker moved me to a group home. It turned out to be a lifesaver. I’ve been a client, a volunteer worker, and a peer group leader ever since that time.
I have had a few setbacks over the past 15 years, but it’s been almost three years that my mental health has been crisp and clear. Access to care and different kinds of support have made a huge difference for me. With strong support from my family and friends life is good!
What could someone have said/done to make it ok?
There wasn’t a lot anyone could have said to make me feel any better. I was just too depressed. But it would have helped if my family and friends had spent time with me. I tell people not to give up on friends after they get their diagnosis – keep trying!