My mom, Susan Buckley, has Bipolar Disorder. She was a second grade teacher. (She’s still alive. She’s just not a teacher anymore.) The stigma surrounding mental illness was so strong that, despite having excellent health insurance, she paid for her medication out-of-pocket because she was afraid that people wouldn’t want their kids to learn their multiplication tables from a “crazy lady.”
One day during the middle of a school year, she called out sick.
“I’m not coming in today... or ever.”
It didn’t have to be that way. She was a good teacher. And she loved it. It didn’t have to go down like that.
The following is a speech she gave at a 2014 Town Meeting on Behalf of the Stigma Free Zone Initiative, in Paramus, NJ.
"The saddest thing I am going to tell you tonight is not that I have a mental illness that unexpectedly turned my life upside down, not that it became increasingly stressful to hide my symptoms from administrators, coworkers and parents at the school where I taught which resulted in my leaving a job I loved, but the saddest thing I will tell you tonight is that I only found the courage to stand up and say I have Bipolar Disorder when I had nothing left to lose.”
1 in 5 Americans battle mental health issues. Let’s lose the stigma.
Learn more about The Paramus Stigma-free Zone Initiative : http://paramusstigmafree.org/
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