When You Start Speaking Out by Ana Friedlander

Ana Friedlander shares about telling her story at the Minds Interrupted performance on May 11th at the KiMo Theatre:

The process was hard but it was cathartic. It really helped to get my words out there. It’s just hard. If I can help a Mom not go through this pain…to reach people so the stigma about people [living with mental illness] would go away, or at least they’d start talking about it.

It was very good to let people know that they can talk about my son without me breaking down. I would rather them ask than nothing. He was bipolar. I am bipolar.

My parents did not want to admit they think I am crazy. To see these people [at Minds Interrupted] looking at me, taking in my words-- validating me as a person. It’s not a craziness. It’s not that we want to be difficult.

He was here.

His name was David. He was here for 20 years.

And how much it feels to be missing him so much. It’s been five years. He made a difference in my life. I want him to make a difference in other people’s lives.

If I can make a difference for one parent, one child… I would be more than happy to speak up.

The experience of sharing was so humbling, so cathartic. Just healing. The healing process begins when you start speaking out.

What is Normal by Josefina Herrera

Thoughts from Josefina Herrera, an attendee of the Minds Interrupted: Stories of Lives Affected by Mental Illness performance on Saturday, May 11th at the KiMo Theatre:

The night was powerful with the sharing of life stories, the understanding of the impact of mental illness on families— and the courage it takes to turn a tragedy into healing and inspiration. 

I felt fortunate and grateful to witness these stories. The powerful sharing inspired a conversation with my family. Afterwards, as we sat around the dinner table, we discussed the courage it takes to not only have to learn to adapt to a loved one struggling, then to share that intimate struggle with a group of people.

Our society, our schools, and our governments need to discuss and learn more about mental health and how it affects everyone single one of us. There is a hidden expectation that we as humans have to be “normal,” when the human mind and body is so complex. What is “normal,” really? 

We must continue to talk about mental illness, to support and encourage education and conversations about it. It begins with education and understanding and empathy.