I grew up in a passionate religious community, and there weren’t many conversations about mental illness. Worse yet, there weren’t ANY conversations about the intersection of faith and mental illness – that hollow space between deep belief and chemical confusion.
But a lack of discussion didn’t diminish the truth: that my faith community was as affected as the rest of society by depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, any number of personality disorders, and a desperate longing for awareness, compassion, and help.
When Monica invited me to make the cover photograph for her book about living with bipolar as a woman of faith – and a faith leader, at that – it made my heart sing a little. Every time we tell our stories, others feel a little less alone. Every time we own our traumas, others feel a little stronger. And every time we refuse to become smaller for the comfort of a narrow-minded few, we set a new standard for what it means to be large, and brave, and worthy.
I’m so grateful to women like Monica who are fighting this fight, and using their voices to make change.
Tell your story, friends. Use your voice.