The following story features Robert, a participant in our Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life mental health public awareness campaign. Told through the eyes of its participants, this campaign boldly challenges the misconceptions of what those with mental illness look like and is intended to spark conversation. To learn more, visit DeconstructingStigma.org.
Robert is an accomplished scholar, a popular author, and a political heavyweight.
He is also a survivor of child abuse that left unseen scars on his brain. Scars that resulted in mental health struggles, including alcoholism, bulimia, and dissociative identity disorder (DID)—formerly known as multiple personality disorder.
Like the abuse he endured as a child, he was able to hide all these struggles from his friends, family, and colleagues, so no one knew the mental anguish he was enduring.
“I was successful. I graduated high school, college, earned a PhD, and had a thriving career as the president of the Asia Society. I was married and had two beautiful children and to anyone looking at me, I’m sure I appeared to have it all. What was totally hidden from everyone was the inner torment I was experiencing. I was filled with anger and depression, so I began drinking heavily to ease the pain.”