I am allergic to mental illness stigma.
I get an allergic reaction when I hear stigmatizing words or see stigmatizing behaviors.
My stigma allergy causes me to become hurt, wounded, upset and angry.
I am dumbfounded and aghast that people continue to stigmatize against people with mental illness, by using words, behaviors and actions that stigmatize people with mental illness in a derogatory, demeaning and unjust manner.
My stigma allergy treatment plan will depend on my symptoms and how often they occur and how severe they are.
Since there are no medications or treatment for mental illness stigma or my allergic reaction to mental illness stigma,
we all need to treat and cure the people who stigmatize against mental illness.
The first step in treating mental illness stigma allergies is to prevent or reduce our exposure to stigma.
We need to stay away from negativity and people who stigmatize,
and much more importantly,
we need to greatly reduce and end mental illness stigma.
The only way to stop mental illness stigma is to increase awareness about mental illness by educating others, telling your story and starting dialogs about mental illness.
Mental illness is a great topic and can become a wonderful and very interesting conversation.
When we all start talking more about mental illness, we will learn how prevalent it is.
You will become surprised at who has mental illness and how many people you know are touched by mental illness, either personally or in some other way.
Let us find the common bond we all have with mental illness, and then we can educate and help each other.
Mental illness and any words associated with mental illness do not need to be whispered.
Let’s get people to stop whispering words like mental illness, bipolar, Psychiatric hospital, suicide, therapy, Electroconvulsive therapy treatments (ECTs) and other words associated with mental illness.
Mental illness is a real illness and is not a character flaw.
Start talking, writing and spreading the word about mental illness and stigma.
Spreading the word about mental illness and mental illness stigma
is like spreading peanut butter and jelly on your toast.
Spreading the word about mental illness
is like icing on the cake.
It is good, beautiful, necessary, essential and is the most important part.
~written by Sue Walz
Bipolar & Stigma: A Problematic Paradox
Despite all the advances, a person with a mood disorder still encounters a challenging environment where he is often seen as a second-class citizen.
Many people still spend years in treatment or therapy without a specific plan developed or a desired outcome discussed. Medications are often prescribed without proper education; moreover, inferior, cost-cutting drugs are often tried before a more desired option is prescribed. Pardon me, but that’s cuckoo!
Treatment issues aside, we still have a tremendous problem when it comes to making a proper diagnosis. On average, it takes 8–10 years from onset of symptoms for a person to receive an accurate diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Then, good luck finding a capable, caring psychiatrist who is taking new patients—not to mention who accepts your insurance.
Another problem is more basic in nature. Human beings, like snowflakes, are unique; however, people living with bipolar are often branded as uniquely different, leaving them feeling isolated and alone. They face tremendous stereotyping by the media, stigmatization by the public, and significant internal shame. The resulting self-imprisonment is sometimes worse than institutional incarceration. Many would rather seek refuge in a hospital than face an apathetic, even hostile, outside world.
Indeed, the bipolar condition itself is a paradox; it is biological in origin yet psychological in expression. While people living with a mood disorder can be creative, outgoing, and personable, many times the public perception focuses on outward manifestations, such as unpredictable behavior, erratic thoughts, and impulsive decisions.
And the people who one would think are in the best position to help are sometimes not able to because they are just too close to the situation. Even family members who have been educated on brain-based disorders may continue to struggle with long-standing memories of problems from the past.
Today’s mental health system still needs fixing. People living with bipolar still confront a society that can be cold and uncaring.
It’s high time to start recognizing bipolar as a treatable medical condition; to start providing more accessible, quality care; to stop reducing people to their diagnosis; and to stop stripping people of their humanity. Let’s advocate strongly for positive change. Let’s move beyond the problematic paradox we face today. Let’s promote the realistic possibility for a better tomorrow where wellness and well-being come first—for all of us.
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