These words were spoken by Dr. Chand J. Nair who, in receiving NAMI-PA’s annual Exemplary Psychiatrist Award at last night’s third annual Cherry Blossom Ball, emphasized the fact that having a psychiatric disorder does not make anyone the inferior of another, for these illnesses are remarkably democratic, striking the rich and poor, the privileged and the uneducated, old, young and middle-aged alike. Being “well-adjusted” (my words, not his) will not protect you. Avoiding street drugs, addiction to prescription medications, and alcohol will not protect you. In fact, to date, no one knows what will protect you. All we can do is live the healthiest lives we can…and hope that, should we or a loved one develop depression, bipolar, schizophrenia or another such condition, state-of-the art treatment that meets our individual needs will be available and accessible to us, and that we will have such treatment, get good results with it, and be sensible enough, with whatever support systems we need, to make the best possible use of it for the rest of our lives, or until science and medicine can find a cure for whatever ails us. Many fine treatments already exist, but not enough to help everyone; and too few people are able or willing to take advantage of the excellent treatments that are out there. And for those who do so, and who get those wonderful results, there is still no escape from the effects of age-old prejudices on one’s personal, educational, professional and financial life. The mass media don’t do enough to help; neither do others. It can be frustrating and discouraging…and then someone like Dr. Nair gets up and speaks in front of hundreds of people, and a hopeful breath of fresh air fills a room!