Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shameless Self-Promotion

Around six months ago, a book entitled Amazing Gifts: Stories of Faith, Disability, and Inclusion was published by the Alban Institute. Compiled by veteran religion writer Mark Pinsky, the manuscript contains the contributions of people of many faiths and houses of worship. In it, I represent not just the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), but The Friends Meeting of Washington (DC).

This Thursday, Mark will receive an award from the American Association of People with Disabilities here in Washington. I will be in attendance. This will also serve as the first time I've met Mark in person; the process of correspondence and written work between the two of us was all done online.

As I said at the time of publication, I am grateful for the opportunity to tell my story. Disabilities come in all shapes and sizes. My account examines bipolar disorder, but several other chronic illnesses are equally represented within the pages of the book.

My primary motive is to reduce the stigma of mental illness, but I also recognize that my fate is intertwined with all who are disabled, regardless of the form that disability might take. Reading the finished product showed me that my personal experiences were not unique, though nevertheless everyone's account was distinct and meaningful.

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