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About Andrea Paquette, Author, Surviving Mental Health Stigma Blog

Greetings From The Bipolar Babe – Your Fellow Stigma Stomper

Hello, my name is Andrea Paquette and I am known as the Bipolar Babe in the mental health community. My website is www.bipolarbabe.com and my mandate is to stomp out stigma. Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of twenty-six, I know what it means to face stigma internally and externally. It is my desire to share my personal experiences of living with bipolar and explore how I have dealt with stigma throughout my life for the past 11 years. I am genuine and honest, as if you were a close friend of mine. I promise to share all stories candidly, and I hope you will be my friend soon in this wonderful online community.

A Glimpse of a Stigmatized History

Meet Andrea Paquette, the Bipolar Babe, author of the Surviving Mental Health Stigma blog. Watch Andrea describe her experience with mental health stigma.You are probably wondering what I mean by stating that I have faced internal and external stigma. Upon diagnosis, I was not initially stigmatized and I did not know what to expect from others in regards to my situation. However, as time passed, I was faced with people kicking me out of my own home and confiscating my key to having ‘friends’ abandon me upon discovering that I had a mental illness. I have been ridiculed by new roommates and an ex-boyfriend who exploited my illness threatening to have me committed to the psych ward on a weekly basis.(Stigma and Discrimination: The Effect of Stigma)

I have also been internally stigmatized (self-stigma), which was a direct result from my external experiences with the people in my life over the years. I was barely able to look at myself in the mirror without shame and guilt emitting from my horrid image. Over the years, I have learned to grow fonder of that image, but weight gain from medication has toppled my BMI recently and the dread of seeing myself seems to have lingered in some disappointing way. However, I continue to fight against this negative and stigmatized perception of myself.

Why Write About Stigma?

I am both privileged and honored to be chosen to write this blog about my experiences with stigma because I feel it is a vitally important topic. Having a mental illness often means that you have been stigmatized at some point in your life or that you certainly will be. I hope to provide encouragement in my blogs to help you overcome the negative effects that self-stigma and stigma can have on you, and perhaps remind myself along the way that I, too, am worthy, loved, and appreciated by many. We often need to be told such things and I am here to do just that.

I thank you for taking the time to read my first blog today and look forward to connecting with you all in the future. Remember a mental illness is not who you are, it is simply what you have. It was only when I had this realization that I was able to deal with the stigma that was bestowed upon me. I am not completely free of its clutches, but I certainly am tackling it head on.

You can also connect with Andrea on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and at BipolarBabe.com.

8 thoughts on “About Andrea Paquette, Author, Surviving Mental Health Stigma Blog”

  1. Perhaps you should take a look at some of the recent comments on the Breaking Bipolar blog. Your comments would be appreciated…

    In particular the “Why I refuse to read Anatomy of an Epidemic” thread

  2. Hello Andrea

    Just wanted to congratulate you on your Courage To Come Back Award

    Keep up the good work!

  3. anyone who could help me deal with body dismorphic didorder and social anxiety..I am an Engineering student aged 21yr

  4. glad to see someone speaking out,I was told that I have unspecified bipolar nos,well im wondering if you could explain what that means exactly.

  5. I am bipolar too. Was diagnosed nearly 45 years ago when there was absolutely no information about it nor groups. For most of my life I believed I was just crazy unti8l I read The Natural Medicine Guide to Bipolar disorder by Stephanie Marohn and learned it was an illness. I had always blamed myself and my family had always blamed me. IU lived with so much shame. But now I tell everyone and speak and write about the journey as often as I can. the more of us who do, the more we educate people. Thanks for speaking out and writing. We shall all overcome the stigma. It is just ignorance. Blessings

  6. You are so brave! I too have bipolar and am also a burn survivor and model. Talk about adversity! E-mail me or find me on Facebook… I have a blog too that I’m just starting so maybe we could help each other out!

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