There Is Hope

Tami Green 2008 testimony before Members of Congress on what it feels like to live with a mental illness. Her speech helped establish May as National Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness month.

Her diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and subsequent treatment changed her life.

She went on to inspire others that there is hope and treatment and has devoted her life to helping others.

We wish to thank the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD) for sponsoring this conference. Please visit their website for a rich source of resources here.

 

We wish to destigmAtize and offer hope to those suffering from mental illness. Please join us.

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. 
  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.
  • 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.
  • Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.

*According to NIMH research.

For more on Tami's coaching services and courses for those suffering from mental illness, please contact us at team@controlthefuture.tech.

transcript of the Testimony:

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen.

My name is Tami and I have Borderline Personality Disorder.

Some twenty years ago, I walked these very halls, lobbying and educating Congress.  I went on to raise a family and have had a very successful life as a corporate sales person and business consultant.

My IQ is in the 130’s range; I am well-educated and well-spoken and have been very effective in many areas of life. It would be hard to notice that I am SEVERELY impaired in some key areas of brain functioning.

Ironically, while my brain allows me to remain comfortable presenting to Members of Congress, the part of my brain that controls my emotions, and the part that helps with impulse control, do not work.

Imagine if your brain replayed over and over and over again the most horrifying tragedies of your life, the saddest moments, the loneliest times, and they became your reality each and every day. That has been my life.

Tormented, I went to over a dozen therapists trying to find an answer to my difficulties. I read every self-help book, tried every new technique, and went to support groups.

Eventually I lost my job, my health, and saddest of all, my children.  I was so impaired I could not get out of bed, could not provide for myself.

Some of us end up in prison, because we are incapable of controlling their impulsivity.

The anguish became so severe for me that I attempted suicide several times in order to find relief. Many others of us cut themselves or abuse alcohol or drugs just to find a moment’s relief.

This illness almost took my life and I can’t even bare to calculate the damage it has done to my family, just because no one knew—not even the therapists I went to. Not the attendants who pumped the pills out of my stomach. Not the psychiatrists who gave me the “all clear” sign and sent me home.

Many days are still a great struggle for me to get through.  My intense emotions still take over my cognitive ability and I often hurt my husband with inappropriate comments.  I can sit before you fully aware of this fact right now, but am unable to stop myself during the moment. 

To my great fortune, I finally found a therapist who accurately diagnosed me last fall. There is very effective treatment available for my disorder and I AM, finally, getting better. I am gaining control of my own mind, and painful thoughts are losing their grip on my imagination with proper treatment.

My future looks very bright indeed.  My hero, my husband, remains by my side, and my relationships with my children, my family and friends are improving.  I am working again.

Pause.

Why am I here? 

Would you hire me knowing what I have just told you about myself? 

Why would I allow myself to be branded as one who has a mental illness—a brand that potential could exclude me from the status I have enjoyed in my career and my community?

I am here because you don’t know about this illness. And you might know someone who is suffering beyond your comprehension and no one can figure out why. Or you might see yourself in my own story but have been reluctant to get help because of the stigma attached.

This is very personal to me. I would not be here, alive, if I had not been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and received the treatment I have been undergoing. Having myself suffered unimaginably, because of ignorance, I want to do my part to educate others so that they won’t have to suffer any more.

I’m not here to ask you for money. I am asking you to commit to educate yourselves and other Members of Congress.  We have got to spread the word and help others to know that there is a reason for their suffering, it is not their fault, and that there is a treatment that works.  This illness is highly treatable and those of us who have it can have a life worth living.

I’m putting myself before you as a resource.  Please don’t forget us when you are drafting or supporting legislation that can make a difference. That can actually heal us.

I sincerely appreciate your time today and wish you all the best.

Take care,

Tami