stigma of mental illness
Mental illness is just that: Illness. We often forget that. There is always suffering with pain, but with the type of anguish that mental illness brings, pain takes on a sometimes more sinister feeling. I might suffer some pain if I break my leg, but it will eventually heal and I will walk again without agony. It’s not the same with those of us with “broken” brains. Our brains frequently try to kill us. Our brains tell us messages that are hurtful and scary; or they tell us things that are ridiculous and fabulous, designed to make us behave outlandishly or insanely. We can’t heal our brains and we can’t replace them with new ones. We’re stuck with them. Our illness doesn’t garner the sympathy that diabetes or cancer or leukemia brings in, yet our illness is as fatal as those listed. Once we are given the diagnosis of a mental illness, we are stigmatized. Even in this enlightened day and age, there are adverse reactions to the words “mentally ill”.
The fear of stigma can have a devastating effect on those living with mental illness. Change happens one person at a time. If you are living with a mental illness, know someone who is, or just want to help, take the pledge to help end stigma.