Sarah Fader is my friend. We share mental illness. Sarah suffers it and she talks to me. I try to understand and support her. Both of us know there’s nothing crazy about having a mental illness. 

sarah12Hi, my name is Sarah Fader and I have mental illness. I have lived with panic disorder and depression for my entire adult life. I began having panic attacks as a teenager and they continued into adulthood.

I am a mother of two beautiful children. I am a sister, a daughter, a friend, and a human being. I am a survivor, a warrior, a writer, a poet, an actor, and an artist. I am many things, but I am not crazy.

Crazy is a derogatory word.

sarah3Crazy is a curse word in my book, which I have yet to write. Do not call me crazy. Call me brave, call me scared, call me Sarah, but do not call me “crazy,” because I’m not. I’m Sarah, and I’m a multitude of other adjectives that do not include that word.

sarah5I am your neighbor. I am sitting next to you on the train. I am talking to you in the grocery store. I am smiling at you as we pass one another on the street. I am just like everyone else you meet.

Only I’m not, because I am living with a significant mental illness that challenges me every day.

AFP6E1My mental illness is like an annoying neighbor who won’t get the hint when you want her to go home. My mental illness is my nemesis. It fools me. It tells me that I’m worthless. It tells me to give up. It tells me to stop. Go no further. Don’t do that, don’t succeed. You are not enough. You are not worthy.

I fight those thoughts every day.

sarah7But here’s the thing. Someone you are sitting next to in a coffee shop is just like me, but they won’t tell you that. Mentally ill people are living among us. They are just silenced continually by our society. 

So stop.

Look around you.

And know…

that if you have been called crazy… you are not alone…

I am standing beside you waving my freak flag high.

Because I’m taking crazy back.

You can’t have it anymore.

There is no crazy… only human.

*   *   * 

1962693_10152595512680278_1852829723_nSarah Fader is the creator of the popular parent-life blog Old School /New School Mom. Here’s her website:  oldschoolnewschoolmom.com. 

Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Additionally, like about six million other American adults, Sarah lives with panic disorder.

SarahSigma10She writes for Psychology Today on her column Panic Life and has been featured on The Huffington Post, Good Day NY, and HuffPost Live. She is currently leading the Stigma Fighters campaign which gives individuals with mental illness a platform to share their personal stories.

Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to show the world that there is a diverse array of real, everyday people behind mental illness labels.

Check out Stigma Fighters at www.stigmafighters.com .

Here’s Sarah’s personal website oldschoolnewschoolmom.com

Follow Sarah on Twitter @osnsmon

6 thoughts on “I’M TAKING CRAZY BACK!

  1. Heather Marie Adkins

    Thanks for this. It’s hard to remember there are others out there fighting the darkness, too. Our society has such a stigma against mental illnesses. I’ve been battling depression for about five years. I posted about it on my blog once or twice, then stopped when trolls came through and told me to suck it up because I was pretty and successful and had a good life.

    Pretty, successful, and having a good life doesn’t change brain chemistry. I can recognize the beauty in my life and still be unable to shake the overwhelming weight on my shoulders.

    My step dad was depressed as well, but never told anybody, and he took his own life in October. I blame society for making men of his age and position (he was Chief Deputy on our local Sheriff’s dept) hide their feelings. If he had felt more comfortable speaking out and seeking help, maybe he would still be here and my heart wouldn’t be broken. I’ve also been dealing with panic attacks since his death. That’s a new one for me; I’d never had one before.

    I cope the only way I know how: by writing and surrounding myself with things I love (like my fifteen rescue cats). Thank goodness for a husband who loves me even when I’m at my darkest, and all the other creative minds out there who support me with kindness and friendship (like Garry!)

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Heather, I’m so, so sorry that your Step-Dad took his own life. I knew it was sudden, but I assumed it was a heart attack. My sincere condolences to you and your family. I’ve seen over time the ups & downs in your posts and I knew you suffered from depression. Hopefully this piece by Sarah will lead to interaction with other depression and panic sufferers. Stigma Fighters is a tremendous movement.

      I’ve seen so much devastation over my time as a cop & coroner that was directly attributed to mental illness. I hope this post helps to make people aware that there’s no shame and no blame in having any form of mental illness. Thanks so much for commenting. Anything, anytime, that I can do to help you – just call. I consider you a dear friend and thanks for what you’ve done for me 🙂

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Sarah, It’s a real pleasure to meet you and share your story. If this can help only one other person then it’s a huge success. We know that there’s many others that experience your pain. You have a wonderful and noble cause in Stigma Fighters. I’ll do my best to support you 🙂 Thanks for doing this!


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