I was first diagnosed 1976 with bi-polar disorder, which ran rampant in my family.
In recent years I've been much more well. I kept the rejecting the idea that it was an illness. I thought, “Oh, it’s just a difficult situation I had to deal with.” So I really think an important way to eradicate stigma is for anyone to feel comfortable to say it out loud. I would advise people to do that. You would have to come to the point of acceptance yourself. It took me from 1976 to 1996, till I met Bob, before I came to a point of acceptance myself.
I had always hidden my illness up to then. I had never told anybody. But living with mental illness that's a day-to-day struggle—a struggle against stigma, a struggle against people who don't want to hear about your mental illness. It's so important for the brain to be well because the ramifications and the problems that arise from a sick brain are really very difficult to cope with—more difficult than many other illnesses. I have met nothing but very fine people through the course of action when I have actually decided to speak out loud about my illness.