"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." Maya Angelou
I want to tell my story, and in doing so, help others and educate those who see a stigma in mental illness, sexual abuse. The most powerful force in fighting stigma and discrimination is telling your story.
The purpose of raising these funds is to set up a foundation in the name of a good friend of mine, Zee Shannon, who took his own life. Senseless, a real loss, so unnecessary. I thought we were soul mates, talked constantly, but we didn't talk in the end, the days before. It scared me, it could have been me. We had similar backgrounds, both attorney's, both bipolar, both there for each other, until I wasn't.
My story is not one I would wish on anyone, but one I need to tell. I was raped by a priest in high school. Suppressed that. Got on to college and then law school. After practicing for several years at large law firms, a down economy led me to opening my own solo practice. After a number of years, I began to struggle with the work. Mishandled things, neglect, unable to practice. I was undiagnosed and unmedicated at the time. Later, I was diagnosed with manic depression, bipolar after several suicide attempts and the inability to deal with the priest sexual abuse. Have been seeing psychiatrists and therapists, and on meds since. Been compliant. Started my own recruiting business. Has had it's ups and downs.
Have volunteered at soup kitchens, a suicide awareness group, and with other organizations. I am now beginning the process to get reinstated to the bar.
I don't think of myself as a victim. I was dealt a bad hand, but I believe in turning lemons into lemonade. I want to have my experience and story to be one to help others, and not define me. I am close to finishing a book about my story, that I want to share with others.
I want to focus on the foundation. The foundation will educate those unfamiliar with mental illness, sexual abuse. The foundation will provide resources to educate on where help is available. The foundation with work with jails and prisons, probation departments, inner city youth so that another generation is not lost in a system that does not understand or treat mental illness. We need to put down the mask, end the stigma and tell the story about mental illness and sexual abuse.
I often think of Robin Williams, and how in telling his story, we have opened a conversation on suicide and mental health.
At the time I wrote something, which I will share here.
In the end Robin Williams' eyes reflected the emptiness he was feeling. The disconnect with the world. I have been there, unsuccessful, and you do what you need to do to carry on, find purpose, a reason to be here, perhaps a new path to embrace.
My daughter said to me, maybe it was a mistake, maybe he didn't really want to do it. I thought to myself, yes he did.
Out of madness comes creativity. Robin Williams had a greatness in his craft. An ability to make us all laugh, when he was crying inside.
While this is a difficult time for everyone, especially those of us suffering from depression who are scared by this. we must remember the gift he gave us. The laughter, the fun, the ability to put our own day to day troubles aside, and laugh.
He was selfless in his giving, when at times he probably had nothing left to give. Let's remember him at his best.
Laugh today, love today, hug today, because God knows, there is someone near to you, or a total stranger who needs it.
This need is urgent. Let's no loose anyone else to suicide, or ignore someone who has been raped or sexually abused. Let's not let someone agonize in their untold story.