“One in six adults has a mental illness”—Glenn Close
“And we face a stigma that can be as painful as the disease itself”—Jessie Close, sister
“Change a mind about mental illness and you can change a life”—Glenn Close
The new BringChange2Mind.org commercial directed by Ron Howard promoting people to stop keeping their secret and lend a voice and helping hand to other people with a mental disorder touched a lot of lives Wednesday as the new campaign was launched nationwide. The site and commercial were amazing. Testimonials of real people talking about their experience with their disorder were very heartfelt. I couldn’t help but feel a large and deep amount of pride and empathy for those in the commercial and on the site. Very touching. Very powerful. Very inspirational. The site also allows people to tell their own story and links everyone to important sites that will get people the help they need.
To promote people to go to BringChange2Mind.org, founder Glenn Close and Jessie Close appeared on Good Morning America, The View, and Dr. Nancy on October 21, 2009. They both did a wonderful job of speaking out against the powerful stigma of mental illness.
The Close sisters’ major message to all of us is that “you are not your illness. You can get help. You should get help. You don’t need to be embarrassed”….”Get treated. Your symptoms are treatable and you can have a full and productive life. You have to get the right meds, the right balance, and it is possible”….”And be willing to live with some side effects.”
Jessie added the side effect comment at the end of the View segment, but explained in Good Morning America that she was thin most of her life, but the medication she has been on for the last ten years to treat her bipolar disorder has caused her to gain weight. I know I have that very same problem.
Learning more about Jessie’s life with bipolar disorder proved to me how easy it is for people to go through life tortured by the duality of bipolar disorder without ever knowing that they have it. In Good Morning America, Jessie and Glenn explained that Jessie might have started showing signs since infancy, but it really became apparent as they look back when she was a teenager. However, their family never recognized the signs because that wasn’t part of their vocabulary while growing up.
“You hardly went to a psychiatrist; it’s just not done,” Glenn Close explained about the time period she was growing up in and how mental illness was treated.
How many families out there have the same problem? I know mine sure do.
It took Jessie until the age of forty-seven to be diagnosed properly. She learned about her problems with bipolar disorder when her own son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder (roughly schizophrenia with bipolar disorder).
I know from many people I’ve met that thirty years without a proper diagnosis is not uncommon in the “Baby Boomer” Generation and even the mid to late ages of Generation “X.” Why? Because people didn’t and wouldn’t talk about it, so some people really didn’t know! It was shameful to get help, see a “shrink,” and be treated and labeled as “crazy” or “freakish.” That is what we have to change now.
Bring Chang2Mind.org will help change the power of Stigma world wide as long as we give them the power and the voices to do so. Show your support now!