Please consider reading Knoxville News Sentinel columnist Pam Strickland’s column today in which she bravely opens up about her own mental health diagnosis and challenges. Occasionally, Pam and I disagree on issues of local and national concern, but I consider her a friend, and today, I just want to say that I am awed by the courage it took for her to share her story, knowing how unkind and/or negative some of the resulting comments will be on the online version of her column.
My own father carried the double burden of not only living with major depression and an anxiety disorder (eventually diagnosed very shortly before he died as an atypical bipolar disorder) but also of being forced by our cultural biases to keep his mental health challenges a deep, dark secret, which he mostly managed to do very well, but at great personal cost. I look forward to the day when no one who already deals with the genetic luck of the draw that “gifts” some individuals with a mental illness must also keep their chronic health condition a big secret. Every time someone like Pam “comes out” with his or her own story, that day draws closer.
Thank you Pam Strickland.