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I have a Dream

By Guest Blogger Audra Anderson

Audra AndersonIt seems as if every time I log on to my computer lately someone is talking about Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspirational speech, quoting those famous words.  I was thinking about mankind’s quest for equality, the pursuit of happiness.

What qualifies for happiness?

As humankind strides for a better life for so many others, our loved ones with mental illnesses are still facing the stigma and stereotyping of so long ago.

With one in four Americans facing an eventual diagnosis of mental illness, why are so many still so ignorant of the epidemic plaguing our society against it?

Mental Illnesses are brain disorders.  In my recent quest to help end the stigma through education and awareness, I have said those words a thousand times to family, neighbors, co-workers, community groups, college students, mental health workers, religious communities.  They may hear the words, but it seems as if they aren’t really listening.  Somehow I am failing to reach their hearts.

 And so I began to wonder, if I had a dream for those afflicted with mental illness, what would that be?

There are so many things to choose from….

After thinking long and hard on the matter, I have decided that my dream would be that each person that works with or interacts with people suffering from mental illness and their families could walk a mile in our shoes.

It would be one small “step” toward helping people develop compassion, understanding and empathy for those that need it most.

I have grown a lot as a person experiencing my husband’s physical illness, the trauma of the surgery and the lack of recovery since.  People have visited us, neighbors have helped mow the lawn, people from my congregation delivered meals, we have received many wonderful cards full of sympathy and love.

But my husband has promised that if he does not recover, he will die by suicide.  It seems a shame to me that through all the years, when my husband couldn’t get out of the dark while laying  in bed due to crippling depression, no one visited.  No one called.  No cards were sent, no meals delivered.

What would your dream be?

More access to psychiatric treatment?  Better psychiatric medications?  More appropriate housing options?  More funding for awareness and education?

Please share your dreams with me, and together we can work towards making them come true.

 Dare to Dream…

My name is Audra and This is Where I Stand.