September is Recovery Month

I just returned from the University of Houston’s “End the Stigma Day.” My neighbor, former President George W. Bush, and his staff helped me break free from my stigma. The University of Houston is working diligently to deal with two recent suicides on campus. 

Although I have accomplished so much throughout my life, I have always carried around the burden of the damage I perceived I did in the 1980s. I almost died by suicide in 1981 and again in 1989, and there are friends and my former boyfriend who truly helped me rebuild my life. My stigma prevented me from contacting them. But this all changed after I read something that President Bush said. He wanted to omit the D from PTSD because he thought that disorder was not the correct word, but, instead, injury was more appropriate. 

For the first time, I transformed myself from someone with bipolar disorder to someone with an illness. 

I then called the Bush Center and spoke with a Bush staffer. We had lunch in 2022 and it changed my life forever. It gave me the strength to reach out to those who helped save my life and rebuild it. I am honored now to be a member of the Bush Center. Let’s end mental health stigma! 

— Debra Wenig Kendrick