Amanda was curious and creative. Her voice was bold and strong. She was thoughtful and intentional. She taught my daughter to sew. She brought spiders to the dinner table to gross out my kids. She gave gifts always and every time. She was auntie, sister and friend. We miss her.
The truth is I knew so little and sadly my experiences growing up did not equip me to understand mental illness. I do know this - the stigma is real and wrong. Like so many pervasive misconceptions, it takes time to turn the Titanic but that is exactly what NAMI and its supporters are committed to doing.
When an internal organ is broken we attack the symptoms with treatment plans, specialists and very public experiences with our "battles". The ensuing stories of hope and miraculous healings are told over and again - really amazing, life giving, God sized experiences.
When the brain is diagnosed as 'ill' we may have a tendency to label and sadly over generalize "the issues" and dismiss out of lack of understanding. When something is not understood, its easier to label, file away and move on because mental illness issues are tough and impact those we love in ways many of us have a hard time comprehending.
With 1 in 5 adults being impacted in US - its safe to say that if you are reading this you have direct experience with mental illness. I'll even go further and ask that you now take an active role in increasing the awareness & come alongside NAMI to encourage, equip and engage our culture to talk freely about mental health issues and strip the stigma. Lets have real, healthy impact.
Will you join my family and hundreds of thousands of others as we learn more and share more about the truth of mental illness. We will love hard those who struggle and lean into exposing the stigma so that we can create a healthy and enriching dialogue with real life experiences that are grounded in truth and drenched in love.