WritersBeat.com
 

Go Back   WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction Journals, biographies, memoirs, etc.


Mental Illness and Stigma

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-28-2013, 08:59 PM
littlemel (Offline)
Intellectually Fertile
Official Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Manchester, NH
Posts: 172
Thanks: 7
Thanks 11
Default Mental Illness and Stigma


I wrote a piece for this http://youarenotyou.tumblr.com/post/...mental-illness and wanted to get opinions (ignore any grammatical/spelling errors as it's unedited and I just want opinions on the content).

Stigma
If I could offer one piece of advice to someone with mental illness it would be this; do not let stigma rule you.
I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder sometime in my twenties. Of course I had been living with the disorder for many years prior; I just didnít know what it was called. Since then I have faced many struggles, not the least of which have been the close minded and ignorant views of others. Stigma comes in all forms, some less subtle than others. Here is what I have come to learn about people who do not understand mental illness and how I handle it.
Do not to talk about it because mental illness makes people feel uncomfortable: Many people are not comfortable talking about what they do not understand. I am very open about my illness and I am not afraid to talk about it. Of course there is nothing wrong if it is your personal choice to be private about your issues, but make sure it is your choice and you are not letting someone else silence you.
Overcoming mental illness as simple as just smiling or toughening up and pulling yourself up by your boot straps: Stigma teaches that mental illness isnít that big of a deal and people can easily overcome it by simply ceasing to be mentally ill. You will hear people tell you things like, ďI was depressed once! I just went out for a few drinks and I was fine!Ē Unfortunately a lot of people donít understand the mental and physical crippling anguish that depression truly is. I have tried explaining BPD to people and I get told itís not that big of a deal and, ďI have that too!Ē Itís very frustrating to explain to someone that just because they may worry or get emotional that does not mean they have BPD, just as itís frustrating when someone downplays depression as something that happens when their favorite sports team loses the big game. I see this as the equivalent of telling a person in a wheel chair you know what itís like because you broke your leg last summer, then telling them to toughen up and just try walking. Long story short, itís okay if you struggle, itís okay if you take two steps forward and one step back, and itís certainly okay if you donít wake up tomorrow and cure yourself of your illness.
Being aware of things caused by your illness means youíre using it as a crutch: Having a personality disorder is difficult to explain to people. They assume avoiding the traits of my disorder is as simple as changing my personality. In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) we are taught that BPD is a combination of a bio/psycho/social model and in fact goes much deeper than what is on the surface, but because they donít look past the surface people assume I am just being a drama queen or I am self-obsessed. It should be a simple matter of cause and effect. If a person says, ďI canít go to work because I have the flu,Ē no one accuses them of using their ailment as an excuse or a crutch. However, if I say something like, ďI went from putting someone on a pedestal to treating them like dirt in the span of an hour because of my BPD,Ē then people accuse me of using my disorder as a crutch (despite the fact extreme idealization and devaluation is one of the first traits listed for BPD). Now, let me be clear, the people who recognize the cause of their issues, but refuse to do anything about it or use at as a reason to get away with anything (think of the flu sufferer who is still using a barely there cough weeks later to get time off of work) are using it as a crutch. However by educating yourself, talking openly , recognizing your triggers, and then figuring out what you can do next time you are actually taking huge steps forward in treatment and recovery (even if you make the same mistake twice).
The sad truth is some people will just never understand.No matter how much you talk to people, send them information, or try to reason with them there are just some who will remain close minded. Ignore them. The only person, who has the right to judge you, is you. No one knows how much of a struggle it is living with mental illness, they only see the surface of the complex set of thoughts, emotions, fear, etc. that goes on inside the brain of someone who deals with a mental disorder. Do not let anyone tell you how you should deal with your disorder (whether it be talking openly about it or keeping it to yourself), you are not wrong. Also remember not to judge the way anyone else deals with their disorder. As long as you are not harming yourself or others then itís not anyoneís right to judge your path or your progress.
Having a mental illness does not make you weak or a lesser person, if anything it allows you to understand emotions that many others canít. Because I am a highly emotional person I am also highly empathetic and because of mental illness I have chosen to pursue a career as a therapist so I am able to give young people the help I never got. Above all else remember, you may have a mental illness but it does not define who you are and neither does the stigma that goes alone with it.


Last edited by littlemel; 06-29-2013 at 02:04 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 07-01-2013, 03:14 PM
Cityboy (Online)
Verbosity Pales
Official Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 4,303
Thanks: 19
Thanks 130
Default

Reluctant to chime in, but there are people in mental institutions who are not suffering from mental illness but instead are victims of spirit attachment or possession.

Discarnate spirits, unaware they have died, do become attached to the earthly plane. And, it is possible for these spirits to penetrate the living to cause a variety of problems to the person they inhabit.

To combat these spirits, a person ought to pray to free himself from negative emotions. Praying strengthens the energy field. Confused, discarnate spirits have no interest in the auric field of a positive, loving, and happy person. Prayer and positive thinking are weapons against possession.

While it is true most people in institutions are suffering from mental illness--not all are! Excessive drinking, drug abuse, and pornography viewing (along with a host of other negatives) have a tendency to weaken a person's defense to make discarnate spirit entry and possession easy.

I agree with much of what you state about people with mental disorders. I also believe any person working with the mentally disabled for just one year will learn more truths about life than another person would learn studying at the world's best universities for 10 years.

Last edited by Cityboy; 07-01-2013 at 03:30 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-08-2013, 12:15 AM
vickinicole's Avatar
vickinicole (Offline)
Scribbler
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Arizona
Posts: 32
Thanks: 0
Thanks 4
Default

As a person who has been diagnosed as manic depressive and bipolar, I want to thank you for writing this piece about Stigma. It is hard when people don't understand mental illness. I've lost a lot of friends.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-12-2013, 04:29 AM
littlemel (Offline)
Intellectually Fertile
Official Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Manchester, NH
Posts: 172
Thanks: 7
Thanks 11
Default

<3 You're welcome. And trust me, I completely understand.

Originally Posted by vickinicole View Post
As a person who has been diagnosed as manic depressive and bipolar, I want to thank you for writing this piece about Stigma. It is hard when people don't understand mental illness. I've lost a lot of friends.
__________________
Little Mel

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-12-2013, 05:26 AM
Cityboy (Online)
Verbosity Pales
Official Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 4,303
Thanks: 19
Thanks 130
Default

They weren't friends. Anybody who abandons you in times of need isn't worthwhile having around in the first place. By walking out on you, they did you a favor. It is as if they revealed their hole cards to you in a poker game. You should be happy and celebrating you are rid of them. Better sooner than later.

Friend and love--oh my golly, how the bar has been lowered on these poor words.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Non-Fiction


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:46 AM.

vBulletin, Copyright © 2000-2006, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.