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To the Doctor Who Encouraged Me to Open Up About My Mental Illness

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Dear Doctor,

You were my psychiatrist and advocate for four years. I told you my symptoms, I told you my struggles and you monitored my liver, my sugar levels, my heart and medication.

The last time I saw you, before I called your office and they said you were gone, you told me to tell someone, anyone, about my mental illness.

I had been living in the closet for over 20 years. My husband and I were isolated from friends, family, peers and acquaintances. We lived in our own bubble and you knew we were suffering.

I want you to know I told someone. At first it was a friend — one friend — and then I went home and wrote an essay. My husband and I posted it on our Facebook accounts. Some people left. Some people came closer. Some people were curious. Some people opened up and welcomed us in.

Every time we told our story, our world got bigger. I want you to know you were right.

There are people who open their hearts and minds to people with mental illness, even those of us who suffer from one of the most feared and misunderstood illnesses, paranoid schizophrenia.

I’ve continued to tell my story. I’ve written it again and again. One article I wrote was shared over 1300 times on social media. I’ve started a blog. I write every day about surviving schizophrenia.

People have thanked me. People have told me about their mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and themselves.

You asked me to tell one person, and my heart, mouth and pen started working. Now, I have told thousands and I plan on telling many more.

I wish your office could tell me where you went, why you left or get a letter to you from me. But I know that’s impossible. I have this fantasy, this hope, you are one of the people who have read my words.

You may never know the results of your request, but if by chance you’re reading this I want to say you’ve changed my life. My husband and I are no longer isolated and alone. There is a whole world out there ready to receive us. Thank you for leading the way to that door. We’ve stepped inside, we’re comfortable and people are so much better than we ever imagined.

I miss you so much, and only hope my words someday reach you.


Your Former Client

Follow this journey on A Journey With You.

Originally published: August 5, 2015
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