We are privileged to share blog postings from our Ambassador Jessie Close, Adrienne Gurman, Henry Boy Jenkins, and other guest bloggers.  Please visit regularly as our content will be updated often.

On Stage Panic Attacks by Amanda Stern

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Having a panic attack onstage in front of everyone changed my life forever because it taught me that fear doesn’t kill you. But it altered me in another way too. I’d been hiding behind a persona for so long, I’d resigned myself to keeping my panic attacks a lifelong secret, but being exposed in that way broke a pattern, and it set me free. The exposure of my fears brought people closer to me, it didn’t keep them away, that’s what a persona does.

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On Being Thankful For Support

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Coming out as mentally ill is hard, or it can be. It’s one thing to discuss symptoms and solutions with a doctor; it’s something altogether different to disclose a diagnosis to a friend, family member, or coworker. Making the decision to be open about one’s mental illness can help strengthen already solid bonds of friendship and familiarity. Conversely, it can create distance between people, depending on their levels of comfort, education, and acceptance.

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Understanding The Shame

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I feel guilty for having a mental illness. I understand that it’s likely a genetic disorder, but rational thought is hard to come by. The internalized guilt I feel is the very definition of self-stigma. That’s how I choose to see it. If I’m going to advocate against stigmatizing mentally ill people, then I guess I’d better start with me.

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Define Normal

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In grade school, I was treated like an outsider. As an art student it was hip to be vague, so no one seemed to notice my inability to interface. I was simply considered aloof. In truth, I was dying inside for the wish of connection. It wasn’t meant to be. The voices in my head dictated my actions, often compelling me to behave irrationally.

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Accepting My Mental Illness

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Wellness is not a singular phenomenon; there’s a whole world out there that needs healing. If I take care of myself first and learn as much as I can about my illness, then I’m able to share my information with others. I can present my experience with hospitalization and medication to caring and curious people.

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