Stigma kept me from knowing my aunt

Nov 6, 2014, 15:22 PM
I have an aunt whom I don't actually know, although I've seen her many times. She doesn't know me, either, despite meeting me before. When she was 16 years old, her behavior became erratic. She became paranoid and attacked her mother, almost killing her with a knife. She never got to live whatever life she desired. Our family didn't fully understand her illness. She was kept away for "everyone's safety." I was told different stories as to why she was, how she was, but no one wanted to talk about it. As I got older, I understood what happened. My aunt suffered from schizophrenia. She wasn't an isolated incident (it runs in our family). Most of all, she very badly just wanted to be with her brothers. It wasn't just her illness that isolated her, it was a lack of education and acceptance for mental health. The stigma of decades ago (the same stigma that kept me from ever truly knowing her) is still around today. I want to change that. I want people like her to be able to live a happy life with their loved ones, like my aunt wanted to.

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