Removing The Stigma

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Removing the Stigma


            The stigma that society has associated with mental health disorders is slowly fading. However, even with this progress those who suffer from mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are embarrassed to share this part of themselves with others. I know from experience, as I am one of them. I believe that by talking about mental health issues and showing that we, those who live with mental illnesses, can lead healthy and functional lives regardless of our diseases, the stigma can be removed.

The common image that pops into most people’s heads when they think of a person with depression is someone who cannot function in their day-to-day life; someone who spends nights crying, no longer cares about their appearance, withdraws from their friends and family, and is unable to find pleasure in anything that most people find enjoyable. But in reality, many people with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses blend right into society. They go to work, school, and receive promotions and awards. They hang out with their friends, go to concerts and movies, and can even be spotted laughing and smiling. More often than not, these are the people who have received help regardless of the negative attitudes towards their disorders. This is what the norm needs to be

Going to therapy and being on antidepressants or other medication should not be viewed as negative things. In fact, they should be seen as the exact opposite and celebrated! These are steps to becoming healthier, regaining control, and getting back on track to live a normal and sane life. Asking for, receiving, and accepting help is one of the hardest things we have to do as human beings, especially for those of us who struggle with our mental health. It shows incredible strength when an individual does so and it should be acknowledged and praised! It doesn’t call for judgment or being labeled as weak or losing control.

If you feel as though you’re suffering alone, try to remember that you’re the farthest thing from it. There are support groups both in person and online. Let yourself take steps to recovery and understand that healing and becoming happy again takes time. Depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders are not a death sentences or tunnels with no light at the end. They are diseases that can either take control over your life or not, but that is up to you.

So, my message to those to suffer is to get help in any capacity you can and are confortable with. It will take time and it will be hard but you are strong for making it this far. My message to those who do not suffer is to educate yourself and others about the issue and try to raise awareness. Stop joking about depression, bipolar disorder, and cutting. Make small changes one day at a time. Do your part to remove the stigma.

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16 thoughts on “Removing The Stigma”

  1. I cannot agree more with what you said.
    One thing we must remember when we think of those people with mental illnesses is that they are “victims” of such diseases. They never asked for the diseases for themselves but they happened to have them regardless of their will. Yet they have so much trouble and suffering in getting along with other “normal” people only because they act different from others. Another thing we should notice is that there are lots of people who were diagnosed with mental illnesses have made great contributions to our society because they were extremely talented in such fields as music, science, literature, etc. Yes, they could be (and they are) a great asset with a great potentiality to our society only if they could properly be understood and given an opportunity to discover their talent and materialize it, instead of unnecessarily attaching stigma to them.

  2. Thank you for writing this – I could not agree more! Asking for help is really hard, and even trying to offer help to a friend who I know is hiding an ‘invisible illness’ is just as hard. But based on my experiences, I can say that asking for help and being open is one of the best decisions a person can make. We just need to remove the stigma! 🙂

    1. Of course! I completely agree with both of those statements. In my experience, owning and accepting it as a part of who I am has made a huge difference in my life and has allowed me freedom to be a happier person. Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  3. Very well written and I couldn’t agree more. Those with mental health issues should be able to talk as freely about their struggles as those with cancer. When you remove the stigma, they are nothing more than medical illnesses we were born with. I cannot help that I have a chemical imbalance that is only remedied by anti-depressants in the same way that someone who has diabetes or a brain tumor. Yes, we have to do everything in our power to get help and mend ourselves, but it shouldn’t have to be so awkward when I tell someone that I have suffered from depression and am now on psych meds. Honestly, when I was in the thick of my worst depression, I wished for nothing more than to just be normal. But in reality, after overcoming said depression, I am grateful for it in a way because it has given me such an appreciation for happiness, laughter, and the ability to feel positive emotions in general, as well as an understanding for a desire to help those who are suffering alone. If you haven’t already, you should read “An Unquiet Mind” by Kay Redfield Jamison. It is amazing and it is people like her – and you – who in writing about the things you’ve been through are helping to break down the stigma. I hope that it disappears or at least improves in our lifetime, but if not, I still very much believe it will in time. Keep writing – you rock! ❤

  4. It’s a pleasure to meet you Mary K. This topic resonates with me as my ex-husband was bipolar and suffered. Neither of us knew enough to be honest with ourselves or each other. His illness combined with addiction, led to crime from and now an uncertain future. I pray for him to find his way by finding The Way. Thanks for following me, I will follow you, let us journey together…

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