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17 Women are Determined to Break the Stigma of Mental Illness

 

A new project, #IAmStigmaFree, features women, most of which are LDS, sharing their personal stories of living with mental illness.

Featuring women who struggle with addictions, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and more, the campaign is made up of a number of videos where each woman discusses her struggles and how she fights to overcome them. This new project was created by Ashley Sargeant, the founder of Don’t Stop Sargeant, a website dedicated to providing resources and help to early-returned missionaries and those who struggle with mental illness.

New videos will be released each day this week, culminating in a music video with all of the women on October 31. UPDATE: Watch it here.

“About a month ago I heard Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” for the first time and instantly fell in love with it. This was during the month of September and my social media feeds were exploding with posts about mental health awareness and suicide prevention, as is tradition each year. I felt impressed to add my voice to this very important conversation in a creative and memorable way but I wasn’t sure exactly how to do it,” said Sargeant in her blog post discussing the project. “As one who lives with Bipolar II, anxiety, depression, and strong symptoms of ADD, OCD, and PTSD I have a lot to say. And then a close relative had a devastating experience with mental health that really motivated me to follow through on that impression. I had this crazy idea to make a music video to “Fight Song” with as many other women as I could find to spread awareness about mental illness and to break free from the negative stigma. I believed then just as much as I believe now that our message will change the world.”

The women featured are Bree Campbell, Karli Carr, Sarah Christensen, Ashley Frederickson, Seantay Hall, Suzy Jordan, Kate Lundquist, Maryanne Nelson, Jessica Oberg, Megan Rogers, Ashley Sargeant, Rebecca Sato, Ashlee Schroeppel, Kylie Spilker, Meghan Stolp, Saydee Taylor, and Lindsay Titus.

You can watch the individual videos released so far below. We’ll add the additional videos as they’re uploaded.

Meet Bree Campbell — a fearless fighter of ADHD, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Meet Karli Carr — a fearless fighter of anxiety, depression, food addiction, pornography addiction and PTSD.

 

Meet Sarah Christensen — a fearless fighter of depression.

Meet Ashley Frederickson — a fearless fighter of ADHD.

 

Meet Seantay Hall — a fearless fighter of anxiety and depression.

 

Meet Kate Lundquist — a fearless fighter of anxiety and depression.

Meet Lindsay Titus — a fearless fighter of drug addiction, alcoholism, and codependency.

Meet Maryanne Nelson — a fearless fighter of depression.

Meet Jessica Oberg — a fearless fighter of OCD and anxiety.

 

Meet Megan Rogers — a fearless fighter of anxiety and depression.

 

Meet Rebecca Sato — a fearless fighter of postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder (PPOCD).

Meet Ashlee Schroeppel — a fearless fighter of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.



Meet Kylie Spilker
— a fearless fighter of ADD, anxiety, depression, rape, and sexual assault.

Meet Saydee Taylor — a fearless fighter of bipolar II and suicide.

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About Aleah Ingram

Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a social media manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and is addicted to organic milk, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

5 comments

  1. Avatar

    I am a blessed person. I have a beautiful family. I have depression. My husband is a Bishop and thinks it’s something I can “get over” if I am living right and apply the atonement in my life. Needless to say, he makes me feel like it’s all me. I feel hopeless. I feel alone.

    • Avatar

      I am sorry you feel so alone. I remember sitting in the corner of my couch being in the darkest place I’d ever been. The Spirit got through to me and told me to read the section on charity in Moroni chapter 7. Then the understanding came to me that even though we often talk about charity being the quality of loving others the way Christ loves them, it never says that in those scriptures! The Spirit was able to communicate to me that I needed to analyze the different traits of charity as outlined in those verses in light of how I felt about myself, how I treated myself. So I started journaling and through that process began to discover the roots of my depression. That day was the beginning of my journey of healing. There were other things and processes that continued my journey, but praying for the gift of charity for myself made all other things actually work.

      That’s not actually what I intended to write when I decided to reply to your comment. But that’s what came out. I hope it helps you in your quest for healing.

      What I meant to write about was how grateful I am that Pres. Uchtdorf gave a short but, in my opinion, very clear statement about clinical depression in his talk during the general womens session of conference. (A summer with Aunt Rose) He said at one point something like: “I wasn’t clinically depressed. I don’t think you can talk yourself out of that.”

      It is very hard for people who have little or no personal experience with depression, anxiety or any other mental illness to understand what’s going on. And that is true regardless of a person’s level of commitment to Christ. Compassionately educating may be the best way to help others understand. And then, of course, they must choose to understand.

      It is true that sincere, consistent effort to live by our covenants, keep the commandments, repent, and work to apply the Atonement of Christ for both forgiveness of sins (and allowing ourselves to feel and accept that forgiveness) and grace to be and live according to our beautiful divine natures is necessary for coping with and healing from any mental illness. But if we are doing those things and we still can’t seem to get out of the darkness, it is almost certainly clinical and we need professional help of one kind or another.

      I hope you and your husband can have sweet, honest, sincere conversation and prayer about this leading to compassion for each other and understanding the path to healing. The Savior will bless you both with charity if you seek it with all your hearts. Give it faith and hope and patience. Bind yourselves to Him and don’t let the adversary pull you apart from each other.

      Much love going your way
      – Mary

    • Avatar

      Depression is not something you can just get over. It isn’t all you. Talk to your doctor and they can help give you resources that would be appropriate for you whether that is medication or counseling. Sometimes they will even do couple counseling to help the spouse understand what you are going through. I think other healing can come through the atonement but sometimes we need a little lift from others or medication to get going. We have to do all in our power to get the help necessary. God does not want us to suffer unnecessarily. If your husband cannot understand right now what you are going through reach out to a friend or a family member that can offer you support. Depression is real and if left untreated can lead to places nobody should ever have to tread.

    • Avatar

      My husband was a bishop, too, when I went through a major depressive episode. My stake president told us that scripture study and prayer were essential, but inadequate, to treating depression. This is a disease like diabetes, and your husband doesn’t understand that.
      I wrote a book, Reaching for Hope, and there is an ecclesiastical section from both a bishop and stake president. You can get a copy from Deseret Book, but you could also get a cheap used one from Amazon. I’m not trying to sell books, but I think it will really help you and your husband to understand what is happening. You are not alone, and you are not without hope. I was exactly where you are, and with the help of some medication and, more importantly in the long run, cognitive-behavioral therapy, I have come out of darkness into light. The light is there for you–but you need help to make your way to it.

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      I’m so sorry Carol. I have been suffering with depression since my parents divorce in 1981. I didn’t even know it until I was 30 and I had a mental breakdown. Ît was then that I saw a counselor and she gave me tools along with Bishop counsel. They also worked together to help me through it. Now I’m 45 and still deal with it sometimes. It has manifested itself in all 4 of our children. My husband has Been a blessing and continues to support me.if we could educate people and get it out in the open people may really start to understand. I wish you well. Don’t stop fighting! The greatest thing that has worked for me is to serve others regularly and keep busy. When you are serving you have no time to wallow in self pity.blessings to you 🙂

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