I’m sure the majority of us, who suffer from mental health conditions, have come across a person who simply doesn’t understand what it means.
They may have been confused, weirded out or downright mean when they found out. Some may have even excused it for a phase or blamed the person for having a mental illness in the first place.
Most of the time, when people find out I suffer from depression, they don’t know how to react or they begin to treat me differently, like I’m some fragile little creature. They feel awkward and look at me like I’m about ready to burst into tears at any moment.
The stigma behind mental health is not something that has disappeared. It’s still present in society. Unfortunately, this stigma stands in the way of many people receiving the help that they need. Because people view mental illness negatively, they become embarrassed and, therefore, reluctant to receive help.
Whenever I come on WordPress, I’m always blown away by how open everyone is. We all talk about our conditions and find ways to support one another because, maybe, we are unable to find that support in our personal life.
The first step to removing the stigma is to talk about it. Talk about mental health openly and freely, so that word spreads that we shouldn’t hide from that part of ourselves. Our stories and experiences can instill courage in those who are suffering from similar conditions, yet are afraid to come forward. To me, once you stop talking about it, it’s almost like we’ve given up educating the public about these illnesses. We let ourselves down and we let those around us down.
Remember that the judgements of others only show a lack of understanding. Help to educate others and don’t harbor self-stigma.