Twenty years ago, I had a conversation with a sweet, well-meaning relative who explained to me that people who took medication for mental illness didn’t have enough faith. There was no point debating with her. She didn’t even know that I was a pill-popper. Those conversations were so exhausting. Trying to justify your existence and your pain to someone who doesn’t understand—it doesn’t help.
No, it hurts.
We’ve come a long way since the early 90’s when I began a 17-year journey with clinical depression. Thankfully, the stigma surrounding mental illness has subsided as awareness has increased. Today over 43 million Americans battle an illness of the mind. Johns Hopkins Medicine estimates that 26% of adults in the U.S. suffer from a diagnosable mental illness annually. These statistics show that every American is affected by mental illness, either personally or from someone they know and love.
As someone who has ministered to countless women who battle some form of mental illness, and as someone who has walked this well-trodden path myself…
This is what I wish people knew about mental illness:
Catherine Segars is an award-winning actress and playwright — turned stay-at-home-mother—turned author, speaker and blogger. She is dedicated to helping other women see their worth in a season when they often feel less-than.
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