Stigma in mental health

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mandy8204

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So i have diagnosed cyclothymia, depression and anxiety. My moods differ daily. What i don't understand is why I'm stereotyped. You should be smelly, unkept and not bother with yourself, that's true depression right?. Wrong. I try to keep my life as normal as i can. You can make your kids tea right?, people with depression won't be able to do that. Truth is my kids are my reason to carry on living. I just wonder when the stigma will ever end.
 
daffy

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The first time I went to group therapy (20 years ago) I really didn’t want to go cos like you I thought MH meant dirty unkempt unable to hold a conversation. Yet here I was one of them, with a job a house and a family. I was surprised and the diversity of people there. Most were educated articulate people and well presented. It’s one of the greatest misconceptions about MH and people need educating that anyone can suffer this devastating illness
 
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LouiseMN

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I think the stigma is lessening. There are so many TV commercials now for depression and bipolar meds. This wasn't the case a while back. And celebrities are coming out about their mental illness. There is a long way to go yet though. I hope to see more improvement in my lifetime. All the people in my life know I have depression. I think it is way easier to tell people you have depression than bipolar or schizophrenia. Depression is relatively socially acceptable. It is very tough to conceal it though, for me. I show my feelings to everyone. My niece is so sweet and cheery it is hard to tell when she is hurting inside. Some people are better at hiding it.

Ok. My wish is that all of us living "normal" productive lives with a mental illness would tell all those lucky well people what you have and you have taken meds and/or therapy to control it. This is the ONLY way we can get rid of the stigma.
I wish you all would look at the bipolar forum (I do because my daughter has bipolar disorder) this one thread about stigma there had a post where a person said she felt empowered with the diagnosis as she could teach all the ignorant people.
I will see if I can copy_paste
 
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LouiseMN

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I think the stigma is lessening. There are so many TV commercials now for depression and bipolar meds. This wasn't the case a while back. And celebrities are coming out about their mental illness. There is a long way to go yet though. I hope to see more improvement in my lifetime. All the people in my life know I have depression. I think it is way easier to tell people you have depression than bipolar or schizophrenia. Depression is relatively socially acceptable. It is very tough to conceal it though, for me. I show my feelings to everyone. My niece is so sweet and cheery it is hard to tell when she is hurting inside. Some people are better at hiding it.

Ok. My wish is that all of us living "normal" productive lives with a mental illness would tell all those lucky well people what you have and you have taken meds and/or therapy to control it. This is the ONLY way we can get rid of the stigma.
I wish you all would look at the bipolar forum (I do because my daughter has bipolar disorder) this one thread about stigma there had a post where a person said she felt empowered with the diagnosis as she could teach all the ignorant people.
I will see if I can copy_paste
The thread is "as if the stigma isn't bad enough" and the impressive response was from Hellakat.
 
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LouiseMN

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The thread is "as if the stigma isn't bad enough" and the impressive response was from Hellakat.
Sorry, me agsin. I do tell people about my daughter's illness and how I am so proud of her (see A Success Story on the bp forum) but it is up to her who she tells in her life, like fellow students and teachers. She has BP 1 and is finishing up her third year of a pharmacy program at age 38! It would be wonderful if she had revealed her illness to her classmates, what a stigma-reducer with her 3.7 gpa! She is pretty sure her teachers know though. Her getting into the program is a pretty rough story.
 
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LouiseMN

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From HellaKat on the BP forum: - what a warrior!!
"I totally agree but this is where change also can take shape. I use it as a tool to gain back my power and educate people on mental illness, bipolar especially. It took years for the right diagnosis, years to find the right medication to help stabilize me and the therapy is ongoing. So how I look at it, I’m refuse to let any type of media misrepresent mental illness especially in a negative light. We’ve come a long way. What once use to make me ashamed and embarrassed now makes me a empowered because I use it as a tool to teach the ignorant. Just food for thought".
 
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LouiseMN

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Impossible to "get rid of" the stigma. Not totally, there will always be uninformed people who don't want to understand. But are you working on it? Only the mentally ill can reduce the stigma. When you are well, tell people about when you are not, what it is like. Sometimes no-one has a clue how sick you were feeling. Some will be surprised. There you go- a tiny bit of stigma gone from your world, if those person(s) listened to you!

Sorry. I am "well" ranting. If you are anxious and depressed right now just think about working on the stigma when you are well. Have hope.
 
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Yodagirl

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So
The first time I went to group therapy (20 years ago) I really didn’t want to go cos like you I thought MH meant dirty unkempt unable to hold a conversation. Yet here I was one of them, with a job a house and a family. I was surprised and the diversity of people there. Most were educated articulate people and well presented. It’s one of the greatest misconceptions about MH and people need educating that anyone can suffer this devastating illness
So very true! Mental illness doesn’t discriminate that’s for sure.
 
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Wildfire

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Whilst I think the stigma is lessening to admit to having it, the actual recognition of what it is, is not really accepted. I think that people still see having mental illness as being sterotypical person who is dull, not active or articulate, performing badly at their job, alone and / or has substance abuse etc. etc.

I get a lot of throw away comments of "I mean, look at you, what do you have to be depressed about." and "you wouldn't know what it's like, you do well for yourself."

As I have previously said, my partner is one of these. She was extolling the virtues of the recognition of mental health changes at her company, and increased awareness, but still see it as having a "cause" as opposed to triggers.

My friend suffers a lot, but is outgoing and fun to be about, loud and a very strong personality. When I told her they suffered, she just dismissed it as "wanting attention, and just because they aren't the centre of attention and "they're not the type of person to have mental illness.""

Very similar for me, many find it unbelievable that I suffer, although I make it through each day. But these days I feel I have no choice. Too much relies on me.

I think that real recognition of suffering vs appearance is yet to arrive and I don't think it will happen any time soon.
 
midnightphoenix

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Sadly, even with less of a stigma, there are still people out there who don't even try to understand.
 
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LouiseMN

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Sadly, even with less of a stigma, there are still people out there who don't even try to understand.
I get the same thing from my spouse, "what do you have to be depressed about" and now that I have been ok for a few weeks he thinks I am somehow "cured". And since I get through every day, many friends just don't get it. I feel so awkward around people, how can they not see it? But after a horrible long period of depression they say ," I didn't notice". I think when I worked co-workers did notice I was depressed for periods of time but didnt understand what it feels like, how hard it is when you get up every morning and feeling worthless, better off dead.

I try to explain and some are "getting it". I have to keep trying. I have had it my whole life, some are getting that there is no cause, it is an illness.
 
daffy

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When I mentioned about my social anxiety and fear. I was told you’ll be ok I’m with you , as if that would make it go away
 
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Wildfire

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I get the same thing from my spouse, "what do you have to be depressed about" and now that I have been ok for a few weeks he thinks I am somehow "cured". And since I get through every day, many friends just don't get it.
I try to explain and some are "getting it". I have to keep trying. I have had it my whole life, some are getting that there is no cause, it is an illness.
I totally understand, that's how I feel. You can have days or weeks or even months of good times, then if you feel bad, or start to slip, you are being moody or taking things the wrong way.
 
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LouiseMN

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When I mentioned about my social anxiety and fear. I was told you’ll be ok I’m with you , as if that would make it go away
Yes, when I am really bad husband says he can't leave me alone, cancels things with his buddies but that just makes things worse as I feel guilty. Sometimes I really wish my mother was still alive, another place to go where I will be accepted as I am. I guess she would say "what do you have to be depressed about" too. Oh well. No way to get away from your own brain.
 
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Wildfire

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Yes, when I am really bad husband says he can't leave me alone, cancels things with his buddies but that just makes things worse as I feel guilty. Sometimes I really wish my mother was still alive, another place to go where I will be accepted as I am. I guess she would say "what do you have to be depressed about" too. Oh well. No way to get away from your own brain.
I think this is something we as sufferers have to work on. The people who care about us, will cancel things, I think once it a while it's just good to accept it.

On the good days you can send him out with his buddies.
 
LostSoul89

LostSoul89

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The stigma is still really bad. For instance, the rare time I open up to my mum or her friends I'm told "What have you got to worry about?". My mum says that to me a lot because she can't comprehend how fucked up my mind is. I've been an excessive worrier all my life.

And people don't believe me when I tell them how bad my depression is because I've never been suicidal. Even if I express an opinion I'm often not taken seriously due to my introverted nature. Yet my bastard loudmouth brother seems to influence everyone around him..
 

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