Sep 08, 2022

I wrote my first book (A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder) to emphasize the fact that bullying can have devastating long term impact on the victim’s life. However, I also wanted to remove stigma about mental illness. I want to make sure people understand that if you have a mental illness it is not your fault. It is simply an illness that you can recover from with the help of mental health professionals. It’s important to open up and let someone know so you can receive treatment.

For the first five years of my mental illness, my single greatest struggle and obstacle became simply telling someone what was going on. Before long, merely managing to function through an average day became the greatest challenge of all. I was finally able to discuss this openly at the age of 21 in 1997, and got started with the therapy and medication that I needed to defeat OCD.  At last, I was able to change my pessimistic perspective, willingly engage in cognitive behavioral therapy and begin to make significant progress with my illness.

Whenever I make presentations on this topic, I make a point to emphasize the fact that mental illness is nothing other than an illness that can be treated. That’s why it made it more gratifying when I received the following comment from a middle school student following one of my presentations:

Sumi, to be honest, you have been a HUGE inspiration to me. You came to my school a couple of times. Every single time, your story hit me. I have struggled with mental health problems for 5 years. OCD, suicide, panic disorder, etc. I’m slowly getting the help that I need. Hearing your story made me feel like I wasn’t alone… Like I’m not the only one who has to go to the door 7 times just to make sure that it’s locked. So thank you. I feel like your story and your life is a part of what has helped keep me alive today. Thank you”.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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