Stigma & Mental Illness
Albeit shameful and ignorant that it is almost 2012, and many of us are still confronted with biases. judgements and disparate treatment, I encourage all to hold your head up high. I know what it’s like to be looked at differently because of a label, diagnosis or even someones inability to look deeper than the surface.
I often ask myself why some folks behave the way they behave and perhaps I will never find an honest answer. I hypothesize that perhaps there is something in me that may remind someone of themselves or that perhaps that, until recently, I had always functioned so well that those with certain belief systems or stereo-types feel that they are experts on who I am.
I recently posted on ECT and the benefits for me as an individual. Talk therapy is also important because it allows us to process, in a safe and healthy forum, the things that people have said or done to us. I recall when I first requested FMLA at work and a person made the comment “If you cannot report to work maybe you should not work”. I was requesting intermittent leave because the stigma and disparate treatment was taking it’s toll and this so called healthy individual was so insensitive.
I know we have come a long way but we still have a long way to go. Stigma is one reason some don’t admit that something ails them nor seek help. We all have to use our voices, our stories, our expertise (on who were are) and continue to raise awareness about the importance of treating others the way in which one would like to be treated, not selective respect and equality but across the board.
Being good to one another should not be based on pre-conceived notions that certain populations are more worthy than others. We are valuable individuals with strengths, creativity, feelings and we contribute to society wholeheartedly and should always be viewed and treated as such!
Have you been treated differently lately? How did you deal with it?