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How Quakers Drove Me To Madness

Before I came into Quakerism I was a career mental patient. I had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, left my job as a Chicago Public School teacher and went on disability. I researched my condition and read that I had a chemical imbalance that would get worse with time; I read that I needed to take medications or I would become violent. In addition to the drugs, I was taught to track my moods on a chart each evening. The chart rated my feelings such as “irritability” “excitability” “distractibility”. I was to monitor my moods and make appropriate life style changes. For instance, one night watching an episode of The West Wing got me excited about some political idea. My then therapist told me that I should stop watching The West Wing.

My life turned into a series of intensive outpatient therapy programs, self-care activities, group and individual therapies, medical appointments and the occasional self-help book. Because CBT therapy taught me that I had distorted thoughts, I stopped trusting my instincts and perceptions and as a result became dependent on other people to define me and dictate their expectations of me. I became a good patient, a good daughter, a good aunt. I was docile, well-behaved, subdued. Family members had a manual that explained who I was and what was to be expected of me. How I was to respond to the world became prescribed. When side effects of the medicine manifested, like gaining 100 pounds, having swollen joints that made it difficult to walk, not being able to add, and being unable follow small talk – I was taught to accept these side effects because the alternative would be a lack of stability and safety.

In this state of despair, confusion, and low self-confidence – while not being able to problem solve or communicate – a stranger felt that I owed him my body. Having lost all sense of self-esteem and agency I complied with his expectation. A few weeks later I went to my first Quaker Meeting.

At the time, I did not recognize the connection between these events. I don’t remember googling the Meeting, driving there or walking in the door for the first time. But, I do remember my first Meeting for Worship. I remember the serenity of the space, the feeling of communion with God that reminded me of the Eucharist of my youth, and the idea that I was connected to the people in the room even though I had never met them before. And I remember how the bench I sat on creaked when I shifted my weight.

Over the next few months of weekly Silent worship something started to happen for me. Slowly, I became angry. I know that isn’t the typical effect of Quaker worship. I imagine that people especially don’t want to hear about a growing sense of anger from a mentally ill person, but that was my experience. I think I sensed that anger wasn’t a socially acceptable response to Quaker worship. I wanted to be a good Quaker, so I wasn’t honest with myself or the people around me about what I was experiencing. Instead, I deflected it and got irritated with other people.

Being that I identified as mentally ill, I identified these thoughts and feelings as delusions. But looking back, I don’t think that’s essentially accurate. I absolutely was experiencing severe emotional distress and extreme anxiety, but when I think about my unrest at that time, I think I was coming to a Truth about myself. I later recognized myself in these words from Margret Fell: “Now, Friends, deal plainly with yourselves, and let the eternal Light search you, and try you, for the good of your souls. For this will deal plainly with you. It will rip you up, and lay you open, and make all manifest which lodges in you; the secret subtlety of the enemy of your souls, this eternal searcher and trier will make manifest.” I later looked back at this time and realized that the Light was dealing plain with me, ripping me up and laying me open. This was my early experience with Quaker worship. I was being torn apart. At the time I suspected “illness” but in the Light the truth of my life could not escape. I had given up my identity, cognitive function, physical health, economic independence and dignity. In the Silence, I was coming to the unsettling Truth that my life was completely derailed. In the Light and the silence of Quaker worship I believe that God pulled me to the only sane response to my situation – anger and unrest.

I didn’t have an awareness of this at the time; all I had was my anger and unrest. These feelings and lack of awareness led me to have a breakdown/breakthrough. The fact that I ended up in the hospital points to the idea of a breakdown, but what happened to me there was a turning point in my life and thus I recall it as a breakthrough. I was still on high dosages of Depakote. So high in fact that the doctors said they could not raise my dosage any higher. So, they took me off all my medications (I was taking 13 pills/day at that point) and started me on a new regimen. When I came off the Depakote, it felt like my brain opened up for the first time in years.   This had such a profound impact on me that I changed my name. When I left the hospital I had the sense that my insides did not match my outsides so I decided to spend that summer traveling to sort myself out.

It will not surprise Friends that my summer of traveling and sorting myself out landed me at Pendle Hill. I first came to Pendle Hill as a sojourner, and then realized that I wanted to apply for the student program. In my application letter I wrote about my recent experiences and how I wanted to live somewhere where I could learn to manage my illness, not have my illness manage me.

When I started the term, I fell into community life and largely forgot the stated intention on my application. It’s not that I had given up on the idea of not letting my illness manage me, it’s just that I was too busy doing my daily job, learning how to throw pots in the studio, going to classes, and making new friends to think much about mental health. I was healthy. I even graduated from therapy. At that time, I would never have thought that I was recovering. I didn’t understand recovery as a concept that could be applied to my situation. I just thought that my environment was working for me and I guess I thought that as long as I was in a nice environment, my health would stay stable.

I was unaware at the time that Pendle Hill also provided me with opportunities that would transform how I functioned in any environment. One aspect of the change came from a deepened spiritual practice and Meeting for Confession. (Yes, we invented that.) During that first term I went to worship, took a prayer class and learned from my spiritual nurturer how to be present with God while doing mundane tasks. We talked about Brother Lawrence and the spiritual practice of peeling a potato. I brought this idea of work being prayer into my housekeeping job and as I scrubbed baseboards in the wee hours of the night held in the Light the troubling events that led up to my summer of travel. I brought to the Light the negative memories I had from my Meeting and forgave the people who hurt me. And then I came to a deeper understanding. I had to forgive myself for the sexual experience I had committed previous to joining Quakers.

I wanted to confess this, so a group of Friends gathered for a Meeting for Confession. I read my confession and my friends spiritually and physically held me. It was the most gathered experience of my life. I felt sacred accompaniment as I laid this burden down. The experience of Meeting for Confession didn’t end with this gathering, though I/we didn’t know that the experience of confession and laying down of my old self was continuing over the next months.

I started to realize that I wasn’t only confessing to my compliance in the unfortunate sexual experience. What I needed to make amends for was what I started to call “a life-less lived”. I needed to move away from the life in which I limited what I believed about my self-worth, my character, and my life expectations that led me to make such a poor decision. I had a series of clearness committees to sort this out. First, I had a clearness committee to be clear that I would never go back to my old life. The next clearness committee was about writing about my experiences. Looking back, I can see in that clearness committee I gained an understanding that I was being led into a writing/creative vocation. I look back now and see these clearness committees as a part of the Meeting for Confession because I was laying down an old self, making resolutions and finding a new path.

The second lasting influence of the year was my spiritual nurturer. She taught me how to interact with myself in a completely new way. When I was irritated by something we didn’t talk about how to avoid or reduce the feeling of irritation. Instead, she would ask me, “What is God inviting you to?” Instead of responding to life with therapeutic tools, I learned how to be faithful. The questions she taught me to ask, “What is the invitation?” “Where do you feel that in your body?” “What image comes to mind?” “What feels like home?” “Where is God in that?” all slowly led me forward on my spiritual path. She kept me from problem solving, reduced my anxiety, turned me from self-analysis to a more sacred self-reflection and taught me how to recognize Grace. This was the greatest gift of my life. I was starting to explore a real relationship with my God and was slowly forming into who He knows me as, not what can be represented by a diagnostic manual. Before learning these skills I never once considered making a life decision based on what made me feel connected. And in the years leading up to Pendle Hill, my choices always reflected the question, “what will keep me stable?” Asking myself, “what is God inviting me to?” was a tremendous shift.

Another learning that would have a lasting impact was from my permaculture class. The teacher, Joel taught us about design principles and how to use everything in the garden. When we called something a weed, he would correct us and rattle off 2 or 3 things that plant could be used for. There was no reason to pull out or poison plants in the garden, it was better to find a purpose for them that aided to the overall garden design.

The biggest impact came from the arts and spirituality program, which helped me reestablish my sense of creativity. During my sojourn, I felt like God was calling me to write. I spent that week sitting on the back porch of Firbank penning a novella. When the semester started, I found myself forging a close friendship with a sculptor. We spent countless hours in the studio her working on various feminine figures, me working on an endless mosaic project. During my time there, (with the kicking art studio, other creative types all around me, and an extremely supportive and patient teacher) I fell into doing some kind of creative work everyday. Over time I started to identify as a writer and an artist, but that took awhile. At first, I was just playing in the art studio. By the end of my second year at Pendle Hill I had written a memoir about how my spiritual journey had entangled with mental illness and was developing it into an art book series that I would use in ministry. Without trying, but by paying attention to invitations and listening to what felt right for me, I had developed the beginnings of a ministry centered on both creativity and mental health.

Spirit led me into this vocation and ministry so slowly and silently that I didn’t realize that it was happening. Others didn’t seem to realize or recognize it either. So, when it came time for me to leave Pendle Hill to start a ministry I encountered a number of external and internal blocks and what turned into a fight for my identity. During this time I was identifying both as “mentally ill” and as a writer/artist. But this was shifting. I remember being irritated, for the very first time, when someone said, “Bipolar is just a small part of who you are”. I think in my heart I stopped recognizing “bipolar” as ANY part of who I was. But cognitively I still believed the medical model that said that I had a chemical imbalance that would only get worse as time went on.

While I was ready to move forward with this ministry, there was an assumption that I had had my “healing experience” and that I would lay down my creative work and return to my life as a mental patient in the care of my family. Pendle Hill as a transformative experience wasn’t completely realized. For my part, I still believed that I had a “chemical imbalance”, so I was unable to say why I felt these changes were permanent or articulate well why I felt the advice was misplaced. I was reminded to think about my stability, but I knew I felt called to share my writing. I left divided between two conflicting ideas about myself. In the year after I left Pendle Hill my mental health became both worse and ultimately better.

During that year a splintering occurred. The part of me that believes myself to be a mental patient broke off from the part of me that knows myself to be a creative person and whole member of the community. Sometimes I acted and thought of myself as an artist/writer/Quaker and during those times I surrounded myself with people who responded to me as an artist/writer/Quaker. But, I also literally had a voice in my head that was telling me that I was deluding myself if I believed myself to be a valuable part of community. “Voice” insisted that my perception of myself as writer/artist/Quaker proved that I was a delusional. And when I shifted my perspective to that framework, I sought out people who confirmed my status as a mental patient. This shifting became so intense that I almost killed myself.

I know that none of this sounds like good news, but it was a process that I needed to go through. I didn’t have a breakdown; I had a breakthrough. And what made that possible, in addition to excellent medical/mental health care, was what my spiritual nurturer taught me. While I was splitting, I was still asking myself the questions she taught to me. When I responded to emotional distress and extreme states with questions like, “What is God inviting me to?” “Where am I feeling this in my body?” “What feels like home?” my response to these conditions shifted and helped me not find relief from them, but to live into them and find out what I needed to know from them.

Eventually, that path of looking for Grace and continuing to sit in the silent truth of the Light led me to healing and recovery. I realized how a childhood trauma had impacted my life and my overall self-concept. I came to this understanding standing next to Lake Michigan after a painful Meeting for Worship while visiting 57th Street Meeting in Chicago. Voice harassed me through Meeting, followed me to a coffee shop where he screamed over my journaling, and then menaced me as I walked to the lake. Standing next to the lake, hearing a flood of insults, I tried to center and see what God was inviting me to. I slowly became aware that Voice was an echo of my history. Because I could respond faithfully, I could hear what Voice was saying about me, know where in my past he came from and walk away from his opinions entirely. I stopped believing him.

It was around that time that I decided to leave my Meeting. I listed good reasons at the time, but looking back I think I just needed space to adjust to this new concept of myself. And to be clear, I still had residual emotional distress, I had to piece my life back together and I had to work through anger. I didn’t trust people, particularly Friends. I realized later that the anger I directed towards other people who I thought were stigmatizing me was really anger at myself for having spent all those years as a mental patient. I also continued to have transliminal experiences such as hearing voices and seeing visions. But I kept responding to them by trying to see what God was inviting me to and as a result started to see that these experiences could be used for good.

Through googling about the benefits of mental illness, I stumbled upon The Icarus Project and the Mad Pride Movement. Finally, I found the framework for everything I had experienced in the past years. I found that many people see the “chemical imbalance” explanation of mental illness as a myth and understand that mental trauma is the result of a number of social and psychological factors. Most importantly, I found the concept that people with severe mental illness can and DO recover. I read about the concepts of mad gifts and started to think back to what I learned in permaculture class. I wasn’t a weed that needed to be pulled out or poisoned. I am, just as I am, part of the overall design and if there are things about my mind that make me different, this does not mean that I am useless or dangerous. Extreme states can be cultivated and used for the good of community.

I took this idea and decided to focus on writing a novel about a biblical figure that is outcast because of a socially constructed condition. In the past, I had a series of imaginings about homelessness so real that part of my psyche seems to believe that I actually slept on the streets. If I can imagine extreme and abstract situations with such vivid detail that the act of imaging becomes experiential, why not put my sensory experiences into a fiction piece that can help show people what the experience of living without shelter looks and feels like? That’s what God is inviting me to. He doesn’t want me to make the extreme states go away. He wants me to use them for good.

I also started to workout. When I came to terms with the childhood trauma, I felt for the first time since my youth that I wanted to live to be an old lady. Previously, I think I always believed that I would die in some kind of self-violent way. I know I am recovered from that experience because soon after coming to terms with that trauma, I looked at my 300-pound body and thought, if I want to continue to live I need to fix this. I started a faithful fitness and diet program.   I’ve already lost 40 pounds.

As I shed the idea that I was a mental patient with a “chemical imbalance”, I started to take more responsibility for behavior, which led to better relationships. Specifically, the “chemical imbalance” theory had been particularly destructive for my family. My mother recently told me that she never believed the things the therapist said about me, but that she didn’t know how to be supportive, so they tried to help me “manage” which put me in an unnatural perpetual child role. Once my family and I could see that recovery was possible, the difficulties that developed from my parents having to care for an adult chronically ill mental patient started to heal. The mental health system put us in a dysfunctional arrangement in which they felt responsible for my “care”. With my liberation, I am able to take part in a healthy family dynamic as just another adult who can care for all members of my family. When free from self-involved symptom management, we found that I am a person capable of loving others and contributing to my family in meaningful ways.

Eventually, I returned to my Meeting. When I found the language to understand my process of recovery and liberation, I wanted to share it with others. When I realized how important Quaker spiritual practices had been to my transformation, I knew I needed to reconnect with people who share my faith. I also became more involved with the consumer/survivor movement. In December, I was able to attend the Alternatives Conference – a peer advocacy conference where I learned leadership skills, communication strategies, sharing resources for healthy community building, and maintaining healthy relationships during crisis. I was able to help found The Philadelphia Radical Mental Health Collective.   I am involved in The Icarus Project – a radical mental health community and have found many allies in the consumer/survivor movement. I am an active and contributing member of many communities – a feat unimaginable when I was living as a mental patient who was warned against emotions evoked from solitary TV viewing.

These days writing, researching, creating artwork, community involvement, exercising, and prayer fill my days. I continue to cultivate and share my mad gifts while I recover from mental trauma and liberate from management-focused treatment protocols. I believe that Quakers could do much to promote self-determination, recovery, liberation and human rights of people of with a psychiatric diagnosis. Looking ahead, I want to help people caught in chronic disability to use spiritual discernment to find their way to a more fulfilling life. I want to help Friends understand that Quakerism can be a part of the path towards recovery and transformation.

Through Quakerism I found my God and myself. I started to see myself as God sees me. And in knowing myself as God knows me I was able to find a community of people like myself who see me as a person and peer, not a diagnosis. In this journey and in these Quaker and Mad Pride Communities, I found something that I had not experienced in all my years as a person managing an illness. I found hope.




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31 thoughts on “How Quakers Drove Me To Madness

  1. What willingness is it that you are asked to give? It can come in many manners and be given many forms. It can be called a willingness to change your mind, or to allow yourself to be open to new possibilities. . . . But what this willingness really does is allow your call to be sounded, your call to love and to be loved. It is a willingness to receive love from your Source and to be loved for who you are. Is that so much to ask? – A Course of Love. Kitt, thank you for sharing so profoundly with me. I hear you saying, “Yes, I’m willing to receive God’s love.”

  2. Kitt, thank you for this powerful essay. I admire and respect your openness in sharing such personal life experiences.

  3. ” I started to see myself as God sees me. And in knowing myself as God knows me I was able to find a community of people like myself who see me as a person and peer, not a diagnosis.”

    Amen and Alleluia! Yes! Yes! Thank you for sharing so brilliantly and personally. I feel my journey in your journey. So honestly and insightfully spoken.

  4. I am researching Quakers in the modern workplace. Your experience is echoed in the study. Work powerfully impresses it’s own worldview. And forces choices upon individuals. It also marginalises ‘religious’ choices as irrational. But some ideas of ‘madness as meaningful’ can liberate. @theworkfluss Hic Rhodus, hic salsa.

  5. Hi Kitt,
    This is beautiful….what you’ve shared is wonderful and I love that you took your journey seriously enough to document this full a portion of it for us. One is left feeling that you have made an iron-clad case and I love that, because our society needs this rare message.

    As an intuitive, I have (for some reason) found myself working alongside several people who at some point tell me that they have a bi-polar diagnosis. I have to laugh when that happens because I think “oh boy! they are going to assume that i think they are messed up and i’m only going to encourage them to hear God speaking to them, etc.” In a way I think it messes people up more to not believe that they are messed up. They fight that a long time!

    One thing I sensed with these several people that just happened my way (I guess there may have been 3 so far in this category who felt they were bi-polar)…It seemed to be true in each case that they basically had some sort of spiritual hole in the center of their gut where they themselves should be. Maybe this is what in therapy speak has sometimes been called “external referenting” — means that one’s reference point for everything is external to themselves, instead of within themselves.

    Your experience of coming into yourself reminded me a lot of this. It seemed to me in each of those cases that — true! — the person could experience greater wholeness by allowing themselves / their own spirit to come back into their center. I have not yet learned what to recommend to them on the whole — and your post advances that knowledge. I just found myself telling them the good side of a number of traits that they could only see as their dysfunction. One woman was very clear that she was mentally ill because she got impressions of things and felt God speaking to her, etc. but when I placed several sheets of paper with news articles on them on the floor in front of her, face down…. from across the room she could sense accurately the spiritual or emotional content of each news story. I told she’d better watch out just holding a newspaper on the bus in the morning as she could be getting overloaded right away! But asked: “have you realized that you are 100% correct in everything you just picked up on intuitively?” Something that I think she’d never thought out to consider before.

    Perhaps it would be better for all of society if we could realize our gifts with nonjudgment and even mercy. Then, for example, maybe the pattern with “bi-polar” and “ex-bi-polar” folks would be to simply understand about themselves that they are a very sensitive, finely-tuned instrument with powerful intuitive abilities and that their hard work is just to work at being grounded and at peace in themselves while being so easily able to sense these things. I want to say to so many people “have you ever realized that you are not wrong in any of this?” I bet they haven’t.

    Thank you for showing me that it’s possible to know this and to trust yourself. You are wonderful.

    in peace

    • Thank you for working with people who want to work on developing their intuitive gifts. The hard balance of course is that madness, while a gift, is also extremely difficult – and can be dangerous too. It helped me tremendously to stop trying to figure out if an extreme state experience was “mental illness” or God. I just now label all these experiences as “transliminal experiences”. I can then just ask myself if it is a experience that I can learn from or is it an experience that I really need to stop in order to move forward with my life or even my day. Depending on how I am led, I might reach out to different kinds of support systems.

      I would be interested in learning more about your work. If you would like to leave a link, feel free.

  6. Kitt, I’ve come back to this post several times now since finding it through the QuakerQuaker Facebook page. Thank you so much for sharing your journey so openly — wow. What a transformation!

    I’d originally been drawn to this by the tag line on QQ: “I want to help people caught in chronic disability to use spiritual discernment to find their way to a more fulfilling life.” I have a chronic illness and am not disabled but lately have been feeling…called, maybe? I’m not sure — to write about “chronic anything and hope.” I think we’re a fight-or-flight people and maybe don’t always know what to do with chronic situations, except manage them to stay stable as you say. I think Life is better than that at finding a way when it’s given a chance, though. All to say, I felt like I found kin here somehow. Thank you for that, too. I’m so excited and happy for you, that you have found hope and are seeing a beautiful, giving way forward.


    • Thank you for your kind encouragement Stacy. I hope you will write about “chronic anything and hope”. Though I do feel liberated in many ways, navigating disability will be a life long challenge for me.

      I did have the thought once that God doesn’t believe in disability. When I tried to share that with others, people expressed offense. But if one understands disability not as an individuals failing, but as a social construct, the idea can make sense. God will never lead me to do something that I can’t do. All things are possible with God. That doesn’t mean that I will likely experience a complete abatement of symptoms, but that rather, I’ll be finding alternative paths which incorporate my condition into faithfulness. When we understand the disability justice is about liberating from a societal construct, we can know that “way will open” one way or another. Experiencing access intimacy with God is a very important part of my spiritual discernment process.

      Please send me a link when you write your piece. I do like finding kin and am very interested in health and disability justice too.

  7. Half a lifetime ago, I had a therapist who once suggested that I get on some type of psychiatric meds for depression. I thought there was something in my mind, a way of thinking perhaps, that could be important later on, and that the meds might damage that part of me. The therapist was really pushing, and so I compared taking meds and thereby injuring some part of my mind to my cutting off an offending limb. I humbly said ok, maybe I’d consider cutting off a limb for her to save the rest of me. She was duly alarmed and didn’t mention the meds again. For my part I took up running to work on my depression, and that worked. I got better. Worship also helps. Diet can help certain specific people.

    • Thanks for sharing Paul! I’m glad that you found what works for you. Some people find medicines to be very helpful. I find it interesting that you understood that something in your mind or a way of thinking could be important later on. Were you able to draw on your experiences with depression and gain that insight later on?

  8. Kitt, Thank you for your courage and openness! I read it because of the tag line about being called to help people “caught in chronic disability”; I retired in August 2012 to become my severely physically handicapped husband’;s full-time caregiver, and I know that he has had to deal with some of the same issues, particularly with his family and the role they expected him to play. His mother did not relish losing her little boy to independence, and there was a lot of resentment from his older sister of all the attention he was given. We are all handicapped in some way, but not all handicaps are visible. It’s hard and scary to seek a different path, and I hope that you continue on yours and do help others.

    • Thank you Barra. It sounds like you are in a challenging role right now. Disability has so many emotional and relational aspects. Have you read what Mia Mingus has written about access intimacy? You might appreciate her work.

  9. I agree that “Quakers could do much to promote self-determination, recovery, liberation and human rights of people of with a psychiatric diagnosis,” and I look forward to that happening. Please be cautious, however, that in declaring your liberation from the model of mental illness that was imposed on you, you do not deny the reality of other people’s experiences. Not everyone’s experience of bipolar disorder is like yours. Some people benefit from CBT. Some people benefit from medications. Some people recover from mental illness, but some find it to be a life-long issue. Psychiatric treatment can be used to control and subdue and deprive people of agency, but it can also be used to heal, or at least to make things a little bit more bearable. To deny this is to look at all of the people who say they have an illness that has benefited from treatment and say, “I know better than you do about your own life experiences. You think you know your own story, but you don’t. I know it, and I will tell it for you, because you are too weak and deluded to tell it yourself.”

    One of the most difficult things for me, in dealing with bipolar disorder, has been the steady stream of people telling me that just by acknowledging that I have bipolar disorder I’m dooming myself to a lifetime of “patienthood”, and that I should learn to accept these things as part of myself and celebrate them instead of pathologizing them – “these things” including grandiose actions that lead to public humiliation, delusions that my family is trying to kill me, inability to sleep for days at a time, total lack of interest in anything at all, speech so incoherent it frightens people, terrifying hallucinations, and constant, inescapable thoughts of suicide. I can choose personhood over patienthood while still recognizing that I have a sickness and I need to do what I can to fight that sickness to stay alive and do what I need to do, just like I would if I had cancer or diabetes. My journey has been one not of victimhood, but of acceptance.

    • I am pro-choice and pro-self determination. Many people find medicines to be helpful and find using diagnostic language to describe their experiences provides a measure of confidence in knowing how to respond.

      I do relate to some of the experiences you have described. I also have had the experience of having no interest in cultivating mad gifts. There were times in my life when “mental health liberation” meant living for the rest of the day – and that was an amazing feat in and of itself. And I might experience those times again.

      I am not anti-medication. I have found long term use to be less than helpful for myself, but others feel like medications are necessary to stay alive. I also think it’s important to remember that these states are often intrusive, bothersome and frightening. Thank you for lifting that up. I don’t feel that anyone should feel pressured to respond to these experiences in any particular way. I hope people will be connect with their deepest self and learn what they are being called to. If someone is led to follow a medical model path, they should not be discouraged. Thank you for lifting up your experiences and attitudes as another way to respond to mental health concerns.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing this post. Reading it I felt reassured, challenged, encouraged, and led. I particularly appreciate the care with which you write. You indeed are a writer.

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