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Stigma and Disclosure: Living Openly With Mental Illness

October 16, 2011 Becky Oberg

The stigma attached to mental illness is powerful because of ignorance. But is living openly with mental illness in an effort to change the stigma a good idea? More Than Borderline's Becky Oberg considers this.

APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2011, October 16). Stigma and Disclosure: Living Openly With Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2011/10/stigma-and-disclosure-living-openly-with-mental-illness



Author: Becky Oberg

Bill
February, 3 2021 at 10:40 am

We have been fighting racism and sexism for something like 50-100 years. Given recent events where openly racist people paraded around our nation’s capital with support of elected leaders, am I being pessimistic to feel like stigma is going to be around a long time? Nothing short of revolutionary progress is going to alter things like this. And maybe it is time for that.

February, 4 2021 at 8:12 am

Hi Bill,
I'm not the original author of the post but I am the new blogger for the More than Borderline blog. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.
I agree that stigma and discrimination have been issues for many years and may continue to be in the future. I hope that future generations will not face the same issues that we do, but that will involve a lot of work on our part.

Caroline
March, 15 2012 at 1:45 pm

I've had many experiences with this topic lately, as I have only been diagnosed about 5 years. I really blew it when I first "came out," because I freaked out and got way too intense. This alienated a lot of people, so I'm trying a new method. When I actually do something that is not your everyday behavior, I just say, for instance," I can't remember my items when leaving if I'm focused on something else, like you talking. So give me a minute to get things together. " Of course, my diagnosis is just ADD, and it might be more difficult with other diagnoses. Thanks! This topic is sooo important.

J. T. Turner
October, 19 2011 at 7:38 pm

Whether to disclose one's psychiatric status is an important decision to make since disclosure can really alienate people. But it can also bring people closer to you, those who have the strength to handle the truth. I made a film, "Crazy Art", recently about three people here in California diagnosed with schizophrenia and part of it is a frank discussion among two of the individuals about the alienation and loneliness that can come from being totally "out" about being mentally ill. The film's website is www.crazyartonline.com Being "out" creates a whole new community.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky Oberg
October, 20 2011 at 1:17 pm

Thanks for your comment. I"m on my way to check the film's site out now.

Keith Vaughn
October, 17 2011 at 7:22 am

Hello Becky...Thank You for opening up a discussion on this very important topic. Yes you're correct when you say "Disclosure may not be for everyone, and it's an individual decision." Also, how are things going to change if we just except the stigma label. I've given alot of thought to my choice NOT to disclose and I have many reasons why I made that choice. However, I believe most people don't require my disclosing, because many "see" and "hear" verbal clues that I have an illness. My illness doesn't define me; I don't say: Hello I'm Keith and I have an emotional illness, my illness is something I choose to proactively manage in many different ways. I no longer have a "need" for intimacy in the workplace, or for external validation, so disclosure for me isn't neccesary. At any rate I admire you're willingness to open this up for discussion, and your making this video. I also admire your willingness to challenge workplace stigma. Kepp fighting the good fight...have a peaceful week dear friend ~

Erin
October, 17 2011 at 7:01 am

This post is full of emotion that is carefully woven through indisputable facts. I LOVE IT. I couldn't agree more with your thoughts at the end of the video, saying that if we're ashamed of who we are and what we've been through, how can we expect others to be any different? My disclosure brought hoards of supportive people into my life and helped me far more than me just curling up alone with my fear of what others would think. I definitely recommend it, as hard as it is. <3

CaraElena
October, 17 2011 at 5:46 am

I am a very high functioning schizophreniac. Part of my life is open, and part of my life closed off. I live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. I don't want to embarrass my family with this information. I tend to think the few people that know about it don't really believe I hear voices all of the time. Maybe someday I can tell everyone, but until then I guess I'll be torn between the two.

Terry Martin
October, 16 2011 at 11:02 am

I flight with my own spirit at times and it sometimes seems I loose the connection I have received through my concept of grace. I love to create things, and now find writing to be my best way of connecting with students, family and friends. In turn, this is my way of disclosing my beliefs, my faith and my hope. My newest poem is titled The Bridge. It is on my facebook wall and I would love for some one with your writing ability and spirit to comment on it. I think this message is a powerful reminder to others of the spirit of courage. Thank you Becky!

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