When it comes to Mental Illness and Depression, Stigma Kills

The Bipolar Burble welcomes guest author Joshua R Beharry, a Vancouver, B.C., Canada-based mental health advocate.

I developed depression in silence.

I remember the months before I became severely depressed; it was the summer of 2009. Deadlines at work had me more stressed than usual and I was increasingly unhappy with my lack of social life. I noticed my thoughts becoming more erratic and desperate but I didn’t know what this meant or where it could lead. I was 22 years old.

When anyone asked how I was doing, I lied and said I was fine. I didn’t tell anyone I wasn’t sleeping well, that my appetite was down or that I felt weaker and more tired than normal.

I saw mental illness only as a label and I didn’t want to admit I may be having issues with my own mental health. I didn’t know enough about depression to see all the warning signs. I kept silent as my thoughts grew darker and I began to fantasize about ending my life.

Depression Overwhelmed Me

I remember the night I realized I could no longer hide my depressed thoughts. I lay in bed unable to fall asleep, my stomach cramped. I felt hot, sweaty and nauseous. It was one of the longest nights of my life.

I couldn’t go on hiding my unrelenting negative thoughts and emotions without sleep. When I got up, I tried to explain how stressed I was to my parents.

The stigma and misunderstanding of mental illness had led me to believe that depression was a black hole from which I could never return. When I went to see my family doctor, she handed me a form to fill out. Not having to speak the words, I ticked the boxes that said I felt like dying.

The Results of Delayed Depression Treatment

After being diagnosed with depression, I started to see a psychiatric resident at an outpatient clinic at Vancouver General Hospital. I also started on antidepressants. Still, I was reticent to admit the thoughts and emotions I was having. I had only begun to understand how depression twisted my thoughts towards self-hate and hopelessness.

Stigma made my recovery more difficult as I kept my illness a secret from friends. Instead of eliciting their support, I cancelled plans, repeatedly citing a stomach virus as an excuse. 

Bipolar Burble BlogMy progress over the next couple months was slow. I got better. I got worse. I got better. I got worse. Then, in January 2010, depression caused me to lose all hope and I attempted to take my life by jumping off a bridge in Vancouver, British Columbia.

It was only luck and a string of fortunate coincidences that saved me. Though I sustained several broken bones and fractures, these injuries have since healed and for the most part, besides issues with back pain, I have no permanent physical damage.

Today, it has been almost four years since my attempt and my recovery has progressed greatly. I have worked hard to learn about and overcome depression as well as its accompanying stigma.

I was lucky to have a second chance at recovery, but for many others stigma remains a barrier from seeking help.

Though I’ve worked hard to overcome my own fears of mental illness, stigma still exists at a societal level. It’s up to us, and those we know, to help further reduce the stigma attached to mental illness.

6 Steps to Reduce Stigma

  1. Watch your talk.
    • Don’t write people off by calling them crazy.
  2. Be an example.
    • Don’t be afraid to discuss your thoughts and emotions.
  3. Educate yourself.
  4. Be proud and strong.
    • Don’t let stigma stop you from helping others.
  5. Become a support.
    • Listen non-judgmentally and don’t shy away from the subject of mental illness.
  6. Share my story and others.
    • Help reduce stigma by starting the conversation.

Author’s Bio

Joshua R Beharry is a Vancouver, B.C., Canada-based mental health advocate. From facilitating a peer-run support group, to public speaking, interviews and published articles, he shares his story with others to help them learn about mental illness. His newest project is Mental Health Point of View (MHPOV), a website that shares his experiences with anxiety, depression and attempted suicide in order to provide a comprehensive view of mental health from a first person perspective. Learn more about Josh’s story here.

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About Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Media inquiries can be emailed here.

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  1. The worst stigma by FAR in mental health is against people who suffer from “BPD.” In this case the worst offenders are those that actually are supposed to help- clinicians. I would rather be called crazy any day than some of the things I have heard and read about BPD. All mental illnesses are brain disorders, NOT choices. Anyone who stands up and gets help is to be commended.

    • Liza.
      I am 60 years old now. In so many ways you are correct about the stigma even among the people who are supposed to help us. I have gone through many PDoc and therapists over the last 12 years. The Pdocs in my opinion asked how do you feel and within 20 minutes I was out the door 200 dollars lighter with a script . My last pdoc blurted to me a year ago that famous line ” Lust get over it”. I felt betrayed and was within seconds of snapping and I thank my wife for being in the room with me becuase I knew what I wanted to do to that man. Years of built up stigma from the mental hell community had me on edge. I now only go once every 3 months for maintenance and I say almost nothing. My wife does the talking. My last 2 therapists, I have no words for. I left one after she said that when I was severely depressed I should go every day to the train station 45 miles away and talk to people. My wife freaked out on her. I have not gone to any more therapists since my last one who basically was a control freak and even told me that she could 302b me if she thought necessary. That means she could have me committed to a hospital . . How is one supposed to talk to a doctor or therapist candidly about issues that in their opinion are so terrible that they will commit you. Extended family and supposed best friends are gone. I cant even rely on the mental hell community for help. I wish I could find a therapist that actually does suffer from BP becuase I know I would get someone who knows exactly what people like us are going through> I keep on forgetting this is a business and I am their customer.. Would we take the same crap from a car mechanic or appliance salesman? I have become an extremely educated consumer and Interview a therapist extensively before I commit to spending my time, money and whats left of my dignity to them. Still looking and suffering tremendously in silence. I am an ultradian cycler which makes it in my opinion even worse. I wish us all peace. We were all born innocent and should be treated as such and not with disdain. But I guess, Stigma is part of the human condition as empathy becomes a word lost in time.

  2. I am Bipolar and I was abused by my ex and they blamed that abuse on me. I lost custody of my daughter because of it. I hate the stigma of it. I just started a blog about my life. http://www.andshesoars.com I add humor to mine. I am not afraid anymore to say that I am Bipolar and to admit it. P.S. even though Seroquel saved my life it made me fat. Topamax, however, made me lose some of it but made me stupid…lol.

    • Many similar things in the abuse that was done to me. Problem with me was the abuse was done by local police and backed up by state and federal due to the blue wall. Right near me recently there was a state police officer who was abusing a mans sister and out of frustration he killed him. There’s now a manhunt for him even though he did it out of frustration in repeatedly seeing his sister physically and sexually abused and did the only thing he knew how. Saw a friend of mine die from Seroqual. Stroke killed him. He gained almost a hundred lbs. from it. Horror show.
      I tried the Topomax deal. Didn’t work for me. Bad time on the toilet. Good luck with all Colleen. WN

  3. Never let anyone make your own decisions,tell you what to do.
    As they’ve never walked in your shoes spent even 1 day living your life….
    You must look after yourself first & foremost…

    Block out the other so called family practitioners,shamans etc….

    They don’t possess the objectivity of a professional,though they mean well.
    I’ve been thru this,it’s Russian roulette,generally…
    Naturally we all desire strong family relationships,but,at times,depending on who is involved…

    The best thing is to give it a break,if possible…
    Amazing what some time away,to yourself to reflect,speak to psychiatrist or a professional of some sort….
    Give the other family member what they need,a rest….
    I’ve been told,it’s an exhausting illness to cope with by family…..

    Although it hurt,part of my brain understood,as it’s equally exhausting to live with everyday.
    We don’t get holidays……
    From our illness….

    I found out,that certainly didn’t mean my family no longer loved me….not at all…….
    They just….needed a vacation from the illness…….. …..

    Thought that was crucial point to make,as I think,as I did,perhaps others relate…
    Thus,if your already mega depressed & hypomanic or….very depressed..

    Please,your family is blood…they do love ( I’d highly imagine majority of us..) they are just..like us too..frustrated.

    Thnx.

  4. That is one example of someone obviously,through at the time…
    I’ve been there myself more times that I’ve remembered now..who was meant to …survive
    It’s a shame that to this day,I feel w rapid cycling bipolar disorder ..to be outside I’ve to still
    put on a mask…

    I’m not sure which is more exhausting,the illness or the acting job for the exterior world…
    I’ve always thought,people fear things in which they do not understand…
    I’ve lost a lot of ppl in my life…
    But now I’m starting to question,it’s their own ignorance,not a personal character flaw…

    There are things I enjoy that no one would show any difference from any other woman ….
    Of my age group,except perhaps limited social comparability.
    So,question is,why not focus on the things that make us ..what some ( even me,some days)

    Feel more comfortable around others,such as common interests,that sort of thing.

    I’m likely one of the more private/ into my own space kind of person….
    Never did I want others to know but soon,my neighbours heard the mania,the sobbing.

    Come on.
    I know they know.
    But,maybe,for all I know they’ve a mental issue or whatever…..

    You can only hide under the covers so long….

    Now,the staring ( only some now) doesn’t bother me to the degree it once did
    I felt more than my fair share of shame,as well.

    I look at a neighbour once,crippled,ironically not one person gives a second look,& helps her
    Of course,as appropriate.

    Now I ask,how is that different?
    That it is physical suffering we suffer mentally ( or emotionally if you’d prefer)
    We still deserve to be treated with the same empathy & compassion….

  5. Thank you for your post.. Being diagnosed with bipolar in 2007 because of my second manic episode, I understand about keeping it quiet.. I have lost many friends because of the stigma of mental illness.. I first started to see symptoms after my first baby in 1992 postpartum and I just could not wait to get off medication to back to normal living.. Many years pushing it under the carpet knowing there was something wrong..

    It was last year while studying Christian studies that I did a 2000 word assignment on how the Church should change their way of looking at mental illness in the Church and in the community and there is a requirement to start how we look at the Stigma that associates with mental illness..

    Once again thank you for your post..

  6. Dear Natasha,

    Thank you for allowing my previous post.

    I apologize but I’ve been unable as of late to follow your blogging as I’ve personally been very busy trying to advocate and change public policy relating to medical health insurance coverage for a unique group of depression patients here in the U.S. I have been successful in changing government policy for some of that group but apparently my efforts have fallen short and it has not carried over to the remainder of the group.

    I do hope you’re doing better as I know you continue to struggle with “the beast”. I recently sat in on a webinar given by Dr. Helen Mayberg of DBS fame which you may find of interest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MkVk0HnG5A

    The problem still remains that there is no definitive means of determining who will or will not be a responder to any given treatment although in her lecture she does address this topic regarding research into specific locations and circuitry within the brain and newer scanning methods.

    So for the moment we still remain with the “Trial and Error Approach to Wellness”. I encourage you and your readers who are unresponsive and/or refractory to various treatments to continue their own research and persistence in the hope a treatment will be found to which one will respond and obtain long-term efficacy as did my spouse Joyce some 14 years ago.

    As always, I wish you and yours wellness and all the good you’d wish for yourself.

    Sincerely,
    Herb

    Joyce and Herbert Stein
    1008 Trailmore Lane
    Weston, FL 33326-2816
    (954) 349-8733
    http://www.vnstherapy-herb.blogspot.com
    http://www.vnstherapy.wordpress.com

  7. Dear Natasha,

    I would appreciate if you would allow me share this information in this blog. Although somewhat off topic it does apply to one approach to serious issues of depression and a major ongoing battle here in the U.S. to obtain medical coverage for a group of serious ill depression patients.

    The battle for health care coverage continues…
    http://www.vnstherapy-herb.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-battle-continues.html

    Sincerely,
    Herb

    Joyce and Herbert Stein
    1008 Trailmore Lane
    Weston, FL 33326-2816
    (954) 349-8733
    http://www.vnstherapy-herb.blogspot.com
    http://www.vnstherapy.wordpress.com

  8. Hi Michael. I completely understand how you are feeling in a way, I know what it´s like to have to make a huge effort just to get out of the house, losing friends, used to be the life of the party too. I empathize with most of what you´re saying. This is all to say I felt similarly about going to the Caribbean, away from it all. It hardly worked. I was a bit elated the first day or two, but then the depression kicked back in and I just felt hopeless because there was nothing I could do to “get away from it all”. I´m actually from a country with easy access to the Caribbean (although my city is way up in the Andes), so it wasn´t a huge move. Then I tried Australia, I though maybe moving to a first world country would do the trick. Strike two, I was back home just a few months into it, the term “down under” took on a whole new meaning for me. I could either go back, or stay there until I eventually had a second and fatal suicide attempt or downright lose it. I don´t intend to know it all but, if at all possible, take a few days off and try it for a bit without committing to it. —-

    I say I understand most of what you´re saying because I have been blessed to have a family that understands. They didn´t at first, they pretty much dismissed me as having turned into an a**hole after a couple of pretty bad manic episodes. But eventually they came to, and today I feel I have streamlined my life by having friends walk away from me. It feels like I have the right to start over, to forgive myself and move on. Now you´ve probably heard this before, and I KNOW you have to take this with a grain of salt when depression is overwhelming: Meds work. They do Man. When I was at the other end of the rope I hated reading people who said meds work, because they didn´t for me. —So, “I don´t trust myself with ignorant doctors” either, agreed. Don´t. All my previous psychiatrist had done nothing for me, they did a lot of talking, I did a lot of talking. But after having been hospitalized for the fifth time at the roughest psych ward in one of the most dangerous cities in the WORLD (my family just couldn´t afford private anymore), my family did a huge effort to find a psychiatrist who specialized in the pharmacological aspects of the disorder. This guy had me take a bunch of tests and it turns out, besides being bipolar, I had ridiculously high levels of Cortisol (the “stress” hormone), and crazy thyroid activity. So when doctors seem ignorant, they are in a way, I think they just become insensitive to how much we actually suffer. Try a new Doc, make sure he does more than tell you its all in your head “snap out of it” and give you Lithium. Now, “this is the way its going to be at best” is not necessarily true, you can get better. In my experience it has a lot to do with the right meds.

    I really feel for you, what your family did is downright inhumane, that makes it more of an uphill battle for you and I commend you for having been strong for all this time. Having a support system is clearly of great help. Yet, when you are clinically depressed, even that doesen´t help. Before having the right meds part of my family, hard as they tried, actually expected me to kill myself just to end the pain (mine and theirs), it seemed as logical as getting better seemed hopeless. But after taking the right meds for the right neurological imbalances (from an actual, scientifically verifiable standpoint and not on the whim of incompetent, insensitive psychiatrists) I actually appreciate my family, and the very few friends I have. I feel like I have every right to start over. You probably have a million thoughts racing through your head, like its just the way it will always be, like ever getting better is beyond you. Its not YOU, its the disorder. It will take a huge effort and a lot of patience, but really try getting at this from a medical standpoint. I couldn´t have done without some help, if you can, try to get the people close to you to help you, just to give you a push to get started. You will succeed, and when you do, get down to the Caribbean, enjoy it all! You´ll love getting away from it all, not because you HAVE to but because you want to. When the right meds help you see things clearly again you can make a good decision on where you want to be. Your own city WILL seem tolerable, but you don´t have to settle for tolerable! If you love the Caribbean, great! You have every right to start over as you do every right to be happy. If you remove people from your list, then maybe you won´t have as many ties holding you back. So screw respect from peole who don´t understand. I respect you, you´ve been battling this and standing your ground, as difficult as it is.

    Make a HUGE effort to get the righ psychiatric care. After that, a Caribbean susnset seen from a hammock awaits you. Bring your dog!

    • Juanx
      That was a very kind reply to me. I sincerely appreciate it.. The Caribbean was more like a metaphor for me. We used to have a home there in the early eighties but had to sell it. My financial situation today is horrible. SO , the Caribbean is what I think of when I try to go to sleep at night. 3 white chairs for myself , my wife and son overlooking the beach at Long Bay. I will never see it again. I am becoming resistant to meds and have found a big difference from taking generics to taking the real thing. But, the cost is outrageous. I am down to 2 pills. Keeps me stable a bit however there is co-morbidity with very serious depression and anxiety. Basically, I am fried.

      • There is a huge difference between generics and the real thing, true. Last time I was in the psych ward I didn´t even see it coming, I thought I was taking meds so nothing could go wrong. Turns out generics are pretty worthless, at least for me. Psych meds are outrageous, but thyroid medications are really cheap, as is Lithium. I got Lamyctal prescribed for Cortisol (and that had a lot to do with anxiety) and it´s not too expensive, at least here. I just have to deal with one expensive psych med (Seroquel), I have taken it forever but it didn´t quite do the job until I had my thyroid and Cortisol levels looked at. It´s worth a shot. Maybe you´re not fried!

        • Juanx
          I am on the generic version of Lamictal called Lamotrogine. I am seeing differences in my behavior and after reading blogs on the differences in strenght and that generics arent regulated I told my PDoc to write a script for The real deal, Lamictal. We called the pharmacy to see what it would cost and the charge was 475 dollars for a 1 month supply of 300 mg per day. I simply cannot afford it. You say its not expensive where you live. Is it in AMerica? I live in PA.

          Apparently one has to be rich to be crazy or be lucky to have an insurance policy that covers meds. Just more insult added to injury. May I add if you have been on Lithium for a long time next time you have blood work have them them do a PTH, calcium and vitamin d3 test. Doctors rarely order a PTH test because there is no pill for an over active PARAthyroid hormone which can wreak havoc on your body over time.. The PTH test is not a thyroid test.

          • Thanks for the tip! I´ll tell my psychiatrist about it. I do worry a bit about the long-term effects of Lithium.

            I´m shocked to know how expensive Lamyctal is in the U.S. I live in South America and it´s just about 70 dollars a month for Lamyctal, and I can get it over the counter too. I don´t have private insurance anymore, I just have an amount deducted from my earnings each month for a mandatory public insurance scheme, if you don´t pay for it monthly you can´t even get hired, or get paid for freelance work. I actually get about half of my Seroquel from that scheme, they deduct about 35 dollars a month from my paycheck. WOW, I had heard about the debate that´s going on about healthcare in the U.S., that´s harsh, it´s ridiculous. I can´t believe meds are cheaper here, they are all imported. Sorry to hear politics are getting in your way.

  9. Natasha thank you for posting Josh’s story.
    I’ve been,in the black hole of depression many times.
    Attempted suicide more times than I could count.

    The most serious,leaving me with a brain virus that nearly killed me….hospitalized a month.
    Regular ward,as had numerous physical issues as well to address.
    Actually,don’t recall a lot as I tend to experience blackouts from suicide attempts….
    Just my sister coming most everyday on her lunch hour w goodies to eat …I was grotesquesly
    thin at the time…and plenty of bad telly and reading a bit…sleeping a lot.
    On complete bed rest,not able to even shower alone ( catheter inside etc)
    That was the worst and the Drs thought I would die,I prayed I would.

    I don’t think it’s pollyannaish thinking we are all here for a reason,a purpose…
    I’m not sure what that is TODAY,as it’s NOT a GOOD day….

    I liked 5 steps to reduce prejudice and stigma.
    Personally,I believe all the steps.

    I’m truly empathetic towards Josh and anyone in our Bipolar community that has gone that far and felt that
    gaping hole of scorching pain,with their head saying NO more BS JUST do IT.
    My eyes well with teardrops for as I’ve said I’ve been in in hell….
    Climbing my way back isn’t the most difficult,it’s staying strong in adversity….
    It’s a rollercoaster..it’s exhausting..but if I was truly meant to not be on this earth I wouldn’t have been
    After that experience I wrote of.
    Everyday is a fight,not only w the disease itself,but society,even family….
    Sometimes I see black white and grey,other days,not so much…
    I don’t think anyone has the right to say pro suicide or anti.
    Ppl can’t be babysat 24/7… They’ll do what they are going to do.
    Though that analogy may sound harsh it’s true….if someone calls a crisis line,the worker has no idea
    If after the call is finished the individual will attempt suicide…
    I do not believe only the ones that give out signs,no matter how subtle,act upon there desires.
    It may be a severe attempt that kills,or,hopefully,something treatable.
    I hate the saying suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem….ok…..fine.
    OBIOUSLY you haven’t walked in my shoes or many other ppl posting here,either…
    I’m sure ppl before they attempt recite that BS in their heads before the final curtain call.
    Whateves.last I heard this was a free society( well,as in we aren’t controlled)
    Adults……not children.
    Were gifted,perhaps too much so…that’s why we feel so deeply & are so sensitive.
    Too sensitive for this world at times….I don’t put all my faith in anything.
    There’s a great song entitled God by John Lennon…listen to the lyrics…amazing.
    Happy day to my fellow bipolars,may the sun shine down on you,bring you some peace in your day
    Today….and some happiness ( not mania!) look for the natural,simple things…will bring pleasure.

  10. My family still insists that I am not Bipolar. That I don’t need medication: ” you used to be the strongest one, so grounded” they will say to me. It is so painful to hear things like this. ” Mental illness? that is for really crazy people. Not for you” my sister told me. It breaks my heart to hear these comments. It’s humiliating at times.
    I have been told before that all I need to do is to ” snap out of it” to ” get over it” and be strong.
    And sometimes, when I am really low or flying high, I think these comments resonate with me. It is during these moments that I find myself in denial about my disorder and I wish that I was not taking any medications. It is during these times that I wish I ” could be strong”. To think this way its dangerous. It is harmful but mostly it’s just dangerous.
    Hopefully one day I won’t be so affected by the uninformed comments of a few. Until then I am trying to stay strong and I try to remind myself that being Bipolar doesn’t make me any weaker, or any crazier than anyone else around me. It’s just another illness and I can’t let it define me.

    • CMZ, one of the most diff. parts is. Explaining why you are not always why you are when you are. Personally after years of this it makes me hide when I am well, because when I an not I am asked to do things I can’t when I am well. This of course reduces my life to noting. It is all or nothing. If You feel well for a month you are expected to take on responsibilities as if you are totally normal. Then you go into the depressive phase and you are expected to hold the same responsibilities you did when feeling normal. Does any of this sound familiar. Do you hide when feeling normal for fear of having to act when you are not. I do. These work program training deal assume you are of low intelligence. They don’t understand it is emotional and not intellectual. I’ve been offered work programs that are appropriate to only the intellectually challenged. That is great but that is not me. They try to put you in a box you do not fit. Sadly I think this is just about money and nothing else. These programs are about low level profits and really contribute to the stereo types and discrimination. Sorry if I deviated from the pt. Would love a reply from Natasha on this.

  11. My parents and I didnt talk for many years.. My extended family and my sister basically disowned me and and never told me when my parents were ill and died.. To this day they will not tell me where they are buried and I believe it has been over 4 years. I do know they are buried in another country. I must have heard the term get over it 100 times. Of course I was removed from the will and I need money badly to raise my family. That is what you call STIGMA… People dont want clarity. Friends? I always though that a good friend was there when you needed them. Boy was I wrong. I no longer have any. If it weren’t for my wife and son I dare think what I would do. This disease is savage, cruel and evil. I find that some doctors even have stigma towards me. I used to be outgoing, charismatic and the life of the party. Now I am basically a shut in, lonely and take it literally hour by hour because I cycle maybe three times a day. We were all born innocent. I am in my late fifties and am so tired.. Never knew how people could be so mean.

    • Michael, good to hear from you again. Hope same M. If your sister and other members of extended family didn’t talk to you or tell you about your parents illness and then death then deserve all things bad that come to them. All or their pleas to their non-existent God will do them no good. They are scum as well as all they believe in. As for being removed from the will I had a friend who went through something similar. It appears those who need this money the worst get it the least. I have a younger brother who showed up just after my fathers death two years ago. After never being there to help my father dying of cancer, he is now my mothers best friend and moved in. The whole family knows why and it is no secret. He likes money and doesn’t need it. The rest of use actually love our mother and ignore this to not upset our mother who would suffer if she knew the greed of her youngest child. Seems maybe your living family may just love money and not people. It may have nothing to do with your disease. Just a way to enrich themselves. I think it is not some Drs. who have stigma toward you but most likely all. I am just lucky to have one who is kind, maybe because one of his ten children suffers from the same. In this game you do really find out who your friends are.

      • Will,
        Nice getting a response from you. Always good to read your posts. AS you very well know , one of the hardest parts of dealing with this disease is the STIGMA. I know people with cancer who feel the stigma also. The human species is a very strange breed indeed.. My relatives were very nice when they wanted something. Before I got taken down by the BP monster I was the go to guy for financial help. I paid for my sisters schooling and gave her money always when needed. She doesnt even know what disease I have and the extent of my disease and how bad I am. Last time I called her I wanted to tell her that her daughter who was cutting herself may have the beginnings of BP. The minute I said hello the first thing that came out of her mouth was I hope you commit suicide and hung up. I sure didnt need to hear that. I cried. Never did anything to ever hurt her. Sometimes I really do feel that I am so alone even when my wife is in the house with me. She still doesn’t fully understand whats going on in my brain. She married a successful executive and now I can hardly shower or take a walk out of the house. We have to use so much energy just to make it through the day with as little stress as possible but I dont know if that is possible unless you go to some island in the Caribbean away from it all. Seems like we experience more stress and the stigma just adds to it. I am besides myself. I was one of those people who didnt know how serious conditions like we have are. Almost impossible to explain it to someone. Heck, I dont even know what the next day or hour will bring. Yet, we keep holding on, Stigma, loss of respect and love and friendship and self. I never believed in the word HOPE. Now its a part of my ruminations. I fear that I may go bonkers on someone who dismisses me as a result of my disease. Thats why I keep to myself. I never ever physically hurt anyone, but now I dont know what I am capable of doing to the next person who will tell me to snap out of it or get over it. My primary care physician was the last to say that to me. I told my wife we need to change docs because I don’t trust myself anymore with ignorant doctors. Its a real hard road to go down Will, isnt it.? I have come to terms with the fact that this is the way it is going to be at best . What scares me is will this disease morph into something far worse. I am so tired Will. I am so scared and I am so mad. My best friends wont even take my calls let alone call me. Might as well remove them from my list. I am thinking of buying a small dog. Now they practice unconditional love. My best to you Will.