It is important to recognize mental illness self-stigma. Stigma is a very popular term in mental health advocacy circles. People talk non-stop about the effects of stigma, stigma, stigma. However, the self-stigma subsides somewhat. I don’t know if this is because it’s people with mental illness who are talking to other people with mental illness about self-stigma (as opposed to advocates who may or may not have the illness) or because People don’t like confronting the police because of their perceived weakness, but self-stigma is real, harmful, and something we should be talking about.
mental illness stigma
According to Dictionary.com, stigma is defined as:
“a mark of dishonor or slander; A stain or reproach, as on one’s reputation.
So, when people talk about the stigma of mental illness, what they mean is that having a mental illness is something to be ashamed of. This, of course, is just an idea; This is never more true than the idea that people with bipolar disorder are geniuses.
That said, the stigma of mental illness is very high in Western society. Much of this left behind is history when people with mental illnesses were hidden away and put in lunatic asylums.
This is also another example of “other”. It’s an “us-versus-them” mentality. By nature, humans tend to categorize stimuli in their environment, so it is natural to place abnormal people (eg, those with mental illnesses) in their own category – “the other”. And then, since we tend to fear things we don’t understand, we perceive that category as a threat and “them.” (It also leads to the “othering” of people with other differences.)
Finally, mental illnesses are, well, illnesses. So, naturally, people want to separate from those who are ill, lest they become ill themselves. Yes, of course, mental illness is not contagious by any means, but we are talking about reptilian brains here. It is working to protect us, even against logic.
The relationship of mental illness stigma to self-stigma
People with mental illness live in the same society as everyone else, and just like everyone else, they are exposed to messages of mental illness stigma. So, while you average person is scared of a person with schizophrenia because of a frightening media message, for example, a person with schizophrenia receives similar messages and is subject to similar feelings. True, a person with schizophrenia must know that the messages are false, but when you hear a lie over and over again, it certainly starts to feel like the truth. When a person begins to believe that they are scary because of an illness, it is self-stigma.
Take another example. People with bipolar disorder are often portrayed as dangerous with uncontrollable behavior. We are considered toxic in relationships. And while people without bipolar disorder are often given that message and believe it because they don’t know better, it’s actually very common for some people with bipolar disorder to internalize that message as well. Again, if you hear over and over again that the cause of an illness is toxic, you may start to believe it. Again, this is self-stigma.
This is how the development of mental illness self-stigma is so common and common. You are fighting the idea of an entire society. Of course, this affects your own view of yourself.
Self-stigma from other factors
While I think most self-stigma comes from above, I think mental illness self-stigma can also be created internally. Just because we are sick, we can also feel broken and like an “other,” no matter how well people treat us. This is absolutely normal. The reality of a sick brain is hard to integrate into any sort of quasi-normal life. Accepting mental illness is a process, and self-stigma can be quite prevalent before acceptance is achieved.
And let us not forget that many people experience depression and Wants you to hate yourself. it Wants You have to buy into the self-stigma.
Mental illness self-stigma is prevalent and harmful
I have experienced mental illness self-stigma. It wasn’t as obvious as the examples above, but bipolar disorder has definitely made me feel lower. I have felt the “insult” of having a mental illness – no matter how real the insult. and he is Memental-health-advocate-Memental-illness-researcher-Me, If anyone in the world could tell you about mental illness – that it is a mental illness and in no way the fault of the person suffering from it, that mental illness is not, in fact, that dangerous, that people with mental illness are happier Can be in relationships – this is me. I can read chapter and verse about mental illness, and yet I still fall prey to the self-stigma.
And I’ve found that seeing stigma in itself doesn’t mean I can root it out easily. Self-stigma takes hold, and is difficult to get rid of even with a more honest and enlightened outlook.
Fighting Mental Illness Self-Stigma
As I said, self-stigma is real, common, and common. It can also be difficult to deal with all its manifestations. That said, it is worth fighting to get your self-worth back.
To fight mental illness self-stigma, try this:
- Look inward for evidence of self-stigma. Look for beliefs around mental illness that are negative. look for beliefs you know are false but Accept Real. Look for ways to make you feel bad about yourself because of your mental illness. Examples include, “I am not loveable because of my mental illness,” “I cannot make friends because of my mental illness,” “I cannot hold a job because of my mental illness,” and so on.
- Write down evidence of your mental illness self-stigma. Writing down these thoughts and seeing them in black and white often makes it clear how false they are.
- Write a counter-view for each. For each statement of self-stigma, write down something you can tell yourself to fight that narrative. For example, “I’m a sweet person. Mental illness doesn’t change my inherent love,” “Making friends is difficult for me, but it is possible. My mental illness doesn’t make me a bad friend,” “I have a hard time keeping a job because I’m sick, but I know that with the right job and the right housing, I can be a good worker,” and so on. It’s not about being fake or totally affirming, it’s about acknowledging how mental illness affects you while being clear that it doesn’t define you in your totality.
- Practice saying your counter-thoughts to yourself when things are good. At first you may find it difficult to believe your opposite views. Practice saying them to yourself when you’re in a good place to start believing them.
- Every time you have a thought of self-stigma, repeat your counter-thought. This is the tricky part. When your self-stigma arises you need your counter-thoughts. However, this is the most difficult time to remember your counterparties. That’s why practice matters. You may want to bring a written list of your thoughts with you to help.
- Talk back to stigma wherever you see it. If you feel you can, speak up with people who make discriminatory comments in front of you. Think of it as your way of educating others. They probably don’t know any better.
And finally, give yourself a break when you get a little low. Fighting mental illness self-stigma can be difficult, and you won’t be able to do it all the time. He is alright. You will get another chance in future.
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