C.R. writes: When I read this piece, Things Fall Apart: My Descent Into Madness, a woman’s experience with mental illness, which began when she was a girl, I paused, and read it again.

The language of the title is a clue: This personal story is set in a place and time where pop culture holds little sway; the family and school life of a religious Jewish girl from a couple of decades ago.

I found Shani Silverstein’s piece moving and wanted to share it with you.*

“I remember repeating a little chant to myself as a teenager and young adult: “Open your eyes, world, and see / Not the illness I despise / But me.

“At the time I was struggling to cope with the confusing and often terrifying reality of mental illness in a world that seemed unready or unable to see the vulnerable, frightened girl beneath the myriad strange and confusing symptoms. How could I explain that despite the fact that I sometimes behaved in a way that most people dismissed as crazy, I was just as perplexed — and probably more frightened — than any observer could be by a mind that seemed to have betrayed me, thoughts that rushed out of control in unpredictable ways, and an increasing conviction that I had lost my mind forever. Above all, how could I let people know that though I appeared to have gone over the edge, to a place where “regular people” never venture, I was still a person whom they could relate to, if only they could understand?”

To read more, click here.

* We asked permission to link.

Sunset in Brazil photo by Jean Carneiro.