by Linda in Pennsylvania
Due to my mental disorders (plural) I've been unemployed since 2001, except for a brief period last year when I attempted but was unable to work full-time. Right now I'm looking for volunteer work so that I can build up my stamina for working so that eventually I will be employable again.
These illnesses have also interfered with my education. Every time I've attempted to return to college to complete my degree, my panic disorder and bipolar disorder would cause me to drop out. This has happened several times since 1990. Also, when people find out about my illnesses, they start to treat me differently. They treat me like I'm less valuable, less intelligent, and potentially violent. None of these is true. I would like people to know that mental illnesses are medical disorders and affect the neurotransmitters that help send messages to the nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Please help stop the stigma by volunteering for your local mental health association and writing to your congressman about funding for research and treatment into these debilitating illnesses. Those with mental illness are just as capable as anyone else when the right medications and treatments have been discovered for them. Please don't treat them like lepers, befriend them and you'll soon discover that they have a lot to offer.