Stigma & Mental Illness

Posted by Roxie43 @roxie43, Dec 5, 2011

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?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Mental Health group.

@anon27855854

Hi Roxie 43,
I agree. I appreciate your kind words. Thank you.

Jump to this post

How are you doing …power? Hope all is improving
Rox

REPLY
@marylynette

I have recently been denied a certain privilege at my church because my illness is not understood by others. I have PTSD and treatment resistant depression, a wonderful service dog who does give some help, but I still don’t always have the ability to participate in activities with others. I also have numerous physical problems, among them Fibromyalgia which others just plain don’t understand. I have a great Psychiatrist and therapist who help me deal with the stigma of having a mental illness, but that doesn’t make life that much easier. I also find that doctors will often give me less credibilitiy than I deserve because of the diagnosis of PTSD, etc., and when they read my whole history there have been some who refused to treat me. I speak up whenever I can about the fact that mental illness is no different than other diseases, that there are physical realities which go with it, and have at least been able to help educate a few who were going into counselling when asked to lecture at a local college. MY abuse was in a cult, and if that comes up then the treatment I receive becomes even worse, for people do not believe that cults exist (I was raised in one for the first 20 years of my life). I think that the best thing for those of us with mental illness to do is to keep on getting out when we can and showing to the world that we are not freaks, we have an illness which unfortunately can be classified as an “invisible disability”.

Jump to this post

Are you doing better? Just thinking of you 🙂
Rox

REPLY
@roxie43

Looks as if this issue is not a problem for readers?? That’s great…any ideas as to how to improve acceptance and minimize judgement on the East Coast……
Happy Holidays to All,

Jump to this post

Hi Lisa
how are you and how was ECT on Monday? In my thoughts ..
Rox

REPLY
@marylynette

I have recently been denied a certain privilege at my church because my illness is not understood by others. I have PTSD and treatment resistant depression, a wonderful service dog who does give some help, but I still don’t always have the ability to participate in activities with others. I also have numerous physical problems, among them Fibromyalgia which others just plain don’t understand. I have a great Psychiatrist and therapist who help me deal with the stigma of having a mental illness, but that doesn’t make life that much easier. I also find that doctors will often give me less credibilitiy than I deserve because of the diagnosis of PTSD, etc., and when they read my whole history there have been some who refused to treat me. I speak up whenever I can about the fact that mental illness is no different than other diseases, that there are physical realities which go with it, and have at least been able to help educate a few who were going into counselling when asked to lecture at a local college. MY abuse was in a cult, and if that comes up then the treatment I receive becomes even worse, for people do not believe that cults exist (I was raised in one for the first 20 years of my life). I think that the best thing for those of us with mental illness to do is to keep on getting out when we can and showing to the world that we are not freaks, we have an illness which unfortunately can be classified as an “invisible disability”.

Jump to this post

I cannot image what you experienced but you are not s freak and I care about you and your feelings.

REPLY
@roxie43

Looks as if this issue is not a problem for readers?? That’s great…any ideas as to how to improve acceptance and minimize judgement on the East Coast……
Happy Holidays to All,

Jump to this post

ECT went okay. The headaches are the usual, but the kids are on spring break this week, so I haven’t been able to rest much. All the running and bending is making the headaches worse this time. Oh well, I guess that’s just my luck. Love and hugs-Lisa4

REPLY
@roxie43

Looks as if this issue is not a problem for readers?? That’s great…any ideas as to how to improve acceptance and minimize judgement on the East Coast……
Happy Holidays to All,

Jump to this post

Hi lisa wonderful to hear from you. Try a get alittle rest if you can. Hope the heaches improve. Hug and love back to you too Piglit

REPLY
@marylynette

I have recently been denied a certain privilege at my church because my illness is not understood by others. I have PTSD and treatment resistant depression, a wonderful service dog who does give some help, but I still don’t always have the ability to participate in activities with others. I also have numerous physical problems, among them Fibromyalgia which others just plain don’t understand. I have a great Psychiatrist and therapist who help me deal with the stigma of having a mental illness, but that doesn’t make life that much easier. I also find that doctors will often give me less credibilitiy than I deserve because of the diagnosis of PTSD, etc., and when they read my whole history there have been some who refused to treat me. I speak up whenever I can about the fact that mental illness is no different than other diseases, that there are physical realities which go with it, and have at least been able to help educate a few who were going into counselling when asked to lecture at a local college. MY abuse was in a cult, and if that comes up then the treatment I receive becomes even worse, for people do not believe that cults exist (I was raised in one for the first 20 years of my life). I think that the best thing for those of us with mental illness to do is to keep on getting out when we can and showing to the world that we are not freaks, we have an illness which unfortunately can be classified as an “invisible disability”.

Jump to this post

There are laws against discrimination but unless more people start sharing their experiences those that practice unlawful behavior win!

REPLY
@nativefloridian

I don’t know that this issue will ever improve. I have found that most people are very judgmental and the stigma involved with mental health issues, especially depression, etc. seems to be something that must be accepted. As much as we would all like to see everyone treated respectfully, people simply aren’t going to do that across the board. I have found it is best to keep my own personal problems to myself, in general, I don’t share the fact that I take antidepressant medication or go to see a psychologist for talk therapy. The only people that know this about me are very close to me and only a very few friends that I have know for a long time and that are true friends. Most acquaintances and coworkers, etc. will only pass judgment and use the information against you, if for any reason you are to reveal your personal mental health issues with them. It is best to face reality and realize that this is a very competitive society we live in right now, especially due to the economic conditions and so many out of work. I would not reveal anything of the sort to anyone that had anything to do with my job or a potential job or anything else related to my livelihood. I hope you understand what I’m trying to tell you, it is not out of shame or disrespect that I write this. It is simply out of guarding one’s own mental health and not putting yourself in a position to be treated disrespectfully or judged. Sometimes the less others kinow the better, let them judge you based on your current lifestyle and work ethic. Why give others a list of your weaknesses when it is not necessary. There is no shame in that. On the other hand, if you are trying to help others and you work in a mental health capacity, then by all means share your success stories with your patients. Otherwise, exposing your weaknesses can cost you if people get cut-throat and decide to compete with your over a promotion or some other stepping stone. Life is short, I say live and let live, but keep healthy boundaries with others. Be selective and know that you should only share your negative or weak areas with those that you trust. I’m not paranoid, I’ve just learned the hard way. I once shared very personal information with someone close to me that I really trusted and they used it against me later, winning a court case. That was not fair, but it happened, nonetheless.

Jump to this post

So, so sad to read this. Let me draw from my file box some of the answers Oprah, Dr. Phil may give: Do not allow others to label you; Do not seek permission from others or give others power over you. Do not allow others to transfer their insecurities onto you. We all have “stuff” to deal with. Some people keep healthy by dumping all their issues on others. Then they walk away with renewed energy and you (figuratively speaking) are left with the toxic waste. Read the Four Agreements. Excellent. Do not allow others poison to pollute your life. Some people truly need help but do not acknowledge they have a problem. They are quick to name call others and point fingers. Hold you head high. There are laws to protect people at work. Nobody can discuss your health issues today in the work place. Yes, you do have to be discriminating in your choice of people to tell personal stuff to. Some are not mature enough or lack the wisdom to fully comprehend. Some love gossip….makes them feel better. Wish Oprah had her show in Chicago…. she truly has an understanding of life and problems. She (and many people she brought on the show) know how to find answers to share with people . So, go for a long walk and enjoy your life. You are a child of the universe………
God Bless

REPLY

Please sign my friends petition at change.org! Momentum is trying to bring much needed attention to stigma which is very hurtful and leads to: bullying, discrimination, workplace violence and much more.
Let’s join this very important act of courage against behavior that hurts human kind.
In solidarity
Rox

REPLY
@roxie43

I was told by a friend that I am allowing the enemy to win. She told me that I should not own other peoples issues. I have known this for some time but for some reason when she called me and said it for the 100th time I thought about long and hard and she’s right.
She said some people are good and some could not begin to show another human being any type of empathy because they are cold and in denial of how horrible they feel about themselves.
Another friend who runs a drug abuse program wrote me and said “Girl, don’t you know racism, differential treatment and stigma never went away”? This pill was hard to swallow but I can understand what she means.
I don’t like seeing people as enemies, except for 1 person, but the truth is we all have to continually protect ourselves because we just don’t know others intentions until proven otherwise.
Then, Delia, spoke about forgiveness and letting go and she is so on point with her insight and advice. I need to let go and stay away from people that do not uplift my spirit even if it means that down the road I make some profound changes.
All said, no matter how good you try to be to others there will always be at least one person who will take out their unhappiness on others.
I have had my share of pain and unhappiness, so this is not an excuse for the behavior, but perhaps I need to have more empathy even for those that trespass because there has to be something really going on with a person who intentionally hurts others.
Here’s to learning how to let go, move forth and praying for those with more internal pain than I have.
Rox….

Jump to this post

Oh girl, thankyou for the important insight! I too tend to want to solve everyone’s sadness and make a difference. It’s one reason I wanted my whole life to be a nurse. This past year has been so hard. being thrown out of college because I was having treatments three times a week at that time. My Mom had passed on a couple months earlier, and I was pretty out of it. People looked at me like I was the worst mother and person they’d ever met. I was so angry at that time at those people. My pastor told me that though it was tough, I should try to remember that those people didn’t know me or my story, and that I should try to forgive and keep in mind that God knew my situation and so did my mom. That was hard to take, but he was right, I guess. It’s still hard to take , more sometimes than others. Anyway, I do still try to help others whenever I can. My best wishes to you, and my best prayers to all my friends here. Love Lisa4

REPLY
@roxie43

I was told by a friend that I am allowing the enemy to win. She told me that I should not own other peoples issues. I have known this for some time but for some reason when she called me and said it for the 100th time I thought about long and hard and she’s right.
She said some people are good and some could not begin to show another human being any type of empathy because they are cold and in denial of how horrible they feel about themselves.
Another friend who runs a drug abuse program wrote me and said “Girl, don’t you know racism, differential treatment and stigma never went away”? This pill was hard to swallow but I can understand what she means.
I don’t like seeing people as enemies, except for 1 person, but the truth is we all have to continually protect ourselves because we just don’t know others intentions until proven otherwise.
Then, Delia, spoke about forgiveness and letting go and she is so on point with her insight and advice. I need to let go and stay away from people that do not uplift my spirit even if it means that down the road I make some profound changes.
All said, no matter how good you try to be to others there will always be at least one person who will take out their unhappiness on others.
I have had my share of pain and unhappiness, so this is not an excuse for the behavior, but perhaps I need to have more empathy even for those that trespass because there has to be something really going on with a person who intentionally hurts others.
Here’s to learning how to let go, move forth and praying for those with more internal pain than I have.
Rox….

Jump to this post

Lisa,
You can always go back to school but taking care of yourself first is very important. Schools do have departments with ADA accommodationd but you need to be in a better place
Don’t worry dear you’ll get there. I graduated with a master’s in my 40’s so it’s never to late to accomplish our goals.
It’s ok to put yourself first.
Sincerely your friend,
Rox

REPLY
@roxie43

I was told by a friend that I am allowing the enemy to win. She told me that I should not own other peoples issues. I have known this for some time but for some reason when she called me and said it for the 100th time I thought about long and hard and she’s right.
She said some people are good and some could not begin to show another human being any type of empathy because they are cold and in denial of how horrible they feel about themselves.
Another friend who runs a drug abuse program wrote me and said “Girl, don’t you know racism, differential treatment and stigma never went away”? This pill was hard to swallow but I can understand what she means.
I don’t like seeing people as enemies, except for 1 person, but the truth is we all have to continually protect ourselves because we just don’t know others intentions until proven otherwise.
Then, Delia, spoke about forgiveness and letting go and she is so on point with her insight and advice. I need to let go and stay away from people that do not uplift my spirit even if it means that down the road I make some profound changes.
All said, no matter how good you try to be to others there will always be at least one person who will take out their unhappiness on others.
I have had my share of pain and unhappiness, so this is not an excuse for the behavior, but perhaps I need to have more empathy even for those that trespass because there has to be something really going on with a person who intentionally hurts others.
Here’s to learning how to let go, move forth and praying for those with more internal pain than I have.
Rox….

Jump to this post

It’s hard to go against a lifetime of being taught that I don’t matter in a sea of take care of everyone first. I am trying to learn. I am trying so hard just to get from day to day without giving up. I am so tired of trying. Thank you for just being my friend. That is also something I’ve hardly ever had. Sorry, I’m just so down right now. Lisa4

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment