Saturday, July 20, 2013

Do Your Part to Reduce the Stigma of Mental Illnesses

I find it interesting how little response there is to my posts on mental illness, interesting but not surprising. 

One of the toughest things sufferers of mental illness face is the discomfort - and resulting stigma - that wider society, or even from our own families, feel. It is, as far as my research and thoughts can see, a kind of mass denial; ignore it enough and it'll go away. Further, my thoughts are that this is how people are designed by evolution to deal with illnesses of this kind; as if a kind of shunning will remove these "broken people" from the gene pool. 

I see how my posts on mental illness seldom get plusses (or likes on FB) or any comments (I do get many page hits sometimes but this doesn't say if people actually read them or not). Post a cat picture or a political cartoon and watch the plusses and comments roll in. Post something on mental illness and everyone goes silent.

I've been aware since I started blogging and sharing the blog posts that I could be shooting holes in my own boat, that is that I could be damaging my own reputation. But I refuse to hide this from society. Too many people die because they could not open up about their suffering and kept it hidden where it eats at them as surely as acid. So I write about my own situation and day to day experience to not only declare openly what I am, but to educate.

Hey, folks, I'm not a "wacko" or "loon" or whatever it is you people think about my people, I'm really OK. I'm that person who more or less intelligently posts about all kinds of things just with an added "bug". Most of my brain is really strong and OK! <points to majority of brain> It's just that there's this part <points to small portion of brain> that's really kind of broken. 

But no need to be afraid of reading about mental health issues! Jump in, the water's fine!! You'll learn stuff! Honest!! 

And please, share! Share like crazy! Do YOUR part to diminish the stigma that we mental health issues people suffer from. I can guarantee you that the worst part we suffer from is from societal stigmatization. 

[PS - I have no idea how the format got that way]


  1. You would be wise to realize that there's a chance that you're not broken at all, and that's societal beliefs that are associated with the stigma you rail against that you know aren't really true, but are choosing to believe anyway.

  2. I'd have to disagree on both counts though I'd be interested in how you drew the two conclusions you present. There is no doubt that something "is broken" in my brain (or malfunctioning in some way ... "broken brain loops" is how I sometimes refer to them, a term borrowed from neuropsychiatrist Jefferey Swartz (who takes a non-medicinal approach to fixing OCD)) and I can't fathom how you could presume to know whether I, or any person with mental illness label is being prejudiced against or not.

  3. I love this post. It's quite true that there are things "wrong" with many of us who suffer from bipolar. There's a reason why we struggle, and seek out the information and support of others. And yes, Stigma makes it all the more unbearable at times, but education can change that. That's why I stand with Brad and talk openly about my struggles... with the hope that somewhere off in the distance we will have both made an impact.

    Pretending something doesn't exist as an issue with a person's mental health, is to deny them the chance for recovery.