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Mental Illness Stigma

Stigma can cause shame and guilt in people with mental illness. Have you ever felt guilty for having a mental illness? I definitely have. When I reveal to someone that I have depression, my heart starts to beat fast and my hands get clammy. What are they going to think? Are they going to scoff at what they consider a weakness? Are they going to cut ties with me altogether? This is one of the scariest situations someone with mental illness has to face and it's because shame and guilt can be caused by stigma.
It's so hard living with chronic pain--something that people can't see from the outside--and constantly feeling the need to justify how you feel or act towards others. Being someone with both mental and physical health problems have left me on a rollercoaster of never feeling like I'm good enough.
The difference between being depressed and having depression is the difference between sadness and a mental illness and may be the most common misconception about mental illnesses. You could have just went through financial troubles, went through a break-up, had a death in the family, or maybe lost some friends; there are plenty of reasons you could relate to things on HealthyPlace--this does not necessarily mean you have a mental illness. Let me explain about being depressed and having depression.
You can't turn off your mental illness in the workplace. I am a server. Although this pays the bills, it triggers a lot of an emotional and physical stress. Unfortunately, almost all of us will have to find some sort of income to survive in today's society, but what happens when you're faced with the constant pressure and stress of having a mental illness in the workplace?
Last week, Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington died by suicide, just a little over a month after depression killed Chris Cornell. In the wake of a celebrity’s suicide, people often say things like, “It just goes to show that money and fame will never make you happy,” and, “I wonder what drove them to it.” The answer is simple: depression killed Chester Bennington.
I wish my loved ones knew certain things about my mental health. But explaining mental illness to someone who doesn’t have it can feel impossible, especially when it comes to family members and close friends. We want our loved ones to support us without judgement, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Here's what I wish my loved ones knew about my mental health.
The new year is approaching quickly and it is a perfect time to discuss working to reduce mental health stigma in the media. Mental health is one of the most relevant topics in present-day society. As a mental health advocate and a young adult with bipolar 2 disorder, the main change I hope to see in mental health in 2017 pertains to the stigma of mental illness. A good place to start reducing mental health stigma is in the news media, addressing its negative portrayal of mental illness.
In a society that demands a perfect body and a perfect mind, it is no surprise to understand why it's hard to accept a diagnosis of a mental disorder. The lack of knowledge people have about mental health leads to minimal support for those struggling with a mental health condition. This is a challenge for many young adults who receive a diagnosis in which they know little to nothing about. The stigma of mental illness and the treatment for mental health conditions are two main reasons why it's hard to accept a diagnosis of a mental disorder.
When I came forward about my diagnosis of bipolar II, I saw that, in spite of stigma, young adults talk about mental health. This is not an easy task for people of any age (Coming Out of the Mental Illness Closet). I was told revealing my diagnosis and opening up about mental health would diminish a lot of opportunities for potential careers and relationships in the future. As young adults, we are striving to be independent, find stability and happiness. It is a vulnerable period in life. The pressure of completing our education, finding jobs, and maintaining relationships is stressful and impacts our mental health. Talking about mental health is difficult in spite of stigma. However, many young adults are utilizing social media platforms to open the conversation about mental health and stigma.
The impact of social media on mental health is a topic that the digital generation needs to start discussing. Lets be honest. The images we portray on social media do not consistently represent our authentic selves. Images allow young adults to conceal feelings of despair and depression (The Darker Side of Social Media Affecting Young People). In these moments, or when dealing with a mental disorder, people portray the person that is most appealing to those around them. It is an opportunity to hide from negative emotions behind a screen. The impact of social media on mental health is more relevant than people realize. In many situations, and for some users, social media is used as a barrier in concealing our insecurities and negative emotions.
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