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#thisistheface: Ending the stigma of mental illness

It started with the death of Robin Williams yesterday. A shock rolled through social media as we learned of his death. In reaction to the many comments misunderstanding depression I posted this on my private Facebook page this morning:

I live with depression.
I ride the waves as they come. I can’t control them anymore than I control the tides.
So I’m learning to surf. I used to fear the swell. Now I’m equipped: Exercise, meds (no shame), and therapy (when needed).
Friends who love. They bring me a raft when the white water takes me down. We float together.
Floating is okay too. Because riding and floating are living.
Know someone learning to surf the waves of depression?
Now you do.

Now with a shock is a spark. A spark of hope setting into motion something really great. My dear friend Cory has anxiety and a son diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She posted a selfie with the phrase “This is the face of anxiety” and asked me to help her start a campaign to end the stigma of mental illness.

I can help because I’m finally ready. Here’s my post in response.

Mental illness can affect anyone.  A life can be full and whole and beautiful and still be entwined with mental illness. Support is key. If you are at a place in life where sharing your story is safe, please consider posting a selfie on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #thisistheface. Together our sparks can ignite a fire.

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8 thoughts on “#thisistheface: Ending the stigma of mental illness”

  1. Hi Jennifer,

    So…I posted a selfie on FB a few days ago and wanted to share with you. However, not exactly sure what ‘hash tag’ really means yet (just recently ‘climbed back out of the abyss’ or ‘been off the grid’ – whichever). Anyway, I want to share the link with you (hashtag, tag) but, not sure how. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated – I’m sure it’s probably something relatively simple, right? Lol

  2. Great website! I just sent the link to someone who is presently suffering in silence. Her husband does not believe in mental illness/mental health. So…please send her lots of love! I just want her to know that She IS being Heard -:)

  3. Jenn, you’re one cool lady. I had post partum depression after the birth of Jack. I know it’s nothing like living with depression your entire life, but just that 3 month descent into the abyss and then climb up out of it thanks to exercise, meds, and support from my family gave me a deeper understanding of mental illness. I’ve told many, many people that I experienced PPD, and they often say, “Not you; you seem so stable.” Never sure how I’m supposed to take that. 🙂 Thank you for being so brave.

    1. That’s just it. Many, many people are living successfully with managed depression. I had mild depression before my kids and horrible post partum depression after my second. From there it just never went away. Better than ever today thanks to the love and support of my husband, friends, family, and colleagues. Thank YOU for sharing.

  4. Thank you so much for posting this. I was having similar responses earlier today when I had friends post on facebook saying that his suicide was a “selfish act.” As someone who battles depression, I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

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