I am Amy and I was diagnosed about 7 years ago with Bipolar Disorder. I haven’t shared it with many people. Recently it seems that I am hearing about mental health and mental illness everywhere. I have been afraid for employers, friends and family to find out. I imagined their impression of me would change immediately. I am doing well at the moment. It really is an intense illness, and many people suffer horribly. Then there is the shame because of the stigma associated with people diagnosed with severe mental illnesses. I am blogging as an outlet to clear my mind, as well as to be another voice speaking openly about my illness. I will provide information and support for those with mental health issues as well. (Not there yet). I am hoping to learn valuable tools and tips that I won’t get fumbling along alone, as well as to connect with the community.
Stigma Fighters is a blog series about real people living with mental illness.
The site aims to raise awareness about mental illness. It addresses stigma by creating a platform for people to share their personal stories and experiences battling mental illness. Sharing personal stories from everyday people, doctors, students, teachers, those who haven’t dared share this part of their lives because of the misconceptions, creates a more realistic representation of the face of mental illness. For those of us battling our illness, reading the struggles of others and sharing our own can be healing, and a way to feel less isolated and alone.
Plus, they have T-Shirts!
[…]I wanted to show the world that there are people living with mental illness who are not just homeless or institutionalized. There are those of us who are living within the confines of society.
There are teachers, doctors, lawyers, psychologists, actors, writers all living with mental illness. These are the stories that need to be told; the people who seem to be “regular” or “normal” people but are actually hiding a big secret. They are living with an invisible illness. They are struggling to function like the rest of society.
I’m using my forum to raise awareness for people (like me) who are seemingly “normal” but actually fighting hard to survive.
~ Sarah Fader
There are two chapters, US and Canada, created by Sarah Fader (of Old School New School Mom)
This sassy, to-the-point video exposes the reality of not just stigma surrounding mental health, but blatant neglect and unsympathetic treatment of those suffering from mental illness. It’s almost as though when someone is open enough to share their illness, there is still that lack of certainty about the validity of the claim. Like, does she really have depression, or does she just want attention, or is she just dwelling on something for too long. Is she having a pity party? Is she even trying to not be depressed? I still feel as though I will be perceived this way if I share. I am choosing to be open though. I will not allow anyone to make me feel as though I am allowing this to happen, that it is completely in my control. It 100% is not.
Here is the video. Enjoy!
This is an example of blatant and condescending stigmatization of mental illness.
It is the most ignorant, uneducated, condescending I’ve actually heard. This guy’s arguments are so flawed that I can’t even…ahhh! Please, you have to listen to this!
This is a great post by Dori Owen from “The Lithium Chronicles” about how stigma silences and isolates those with mental illness. It has some great descriptions of what people know, or think they know about the illness; and thinking they know means dialogue shuts down. It’s worth a read!
“Why is it that every organ in your body can get sick and you get sympathy except the brain?”―Ruby Wax
Subtitle: It would be so much easier to disclose I have a blood disorder. Which I actually do. But unlike a bipolar disorder it’s not so much of a conversation stopper. Most people have never heard of it so a lengthy explanation on the blood disorder follows. They then become well-educated on what the it is and how it affects me.
There are approximately 5.7 million people in the United States with bipolar disorder. In an attempt to eliminate the mystery and misinformation surrounding the illness, many throughout the country diagnosed with this condition were interviewed extensively. They diligently explain the struggle to balance themselves between floating to a state of euphoria and sinking to a devastating depression.[…] In short, “Up/Down” is a personal analysis of bipolar disorder from those living with it.