The Stigmatization of Your Emotions
When you have a mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder, your moods can alter rapidly, gradually or barely at all during periods of your life. It all depends on the individualized experience of the person who has the illness. Quite often, we self-stigmatize our emotions and ask, “Am I actually feeling a certain way because of my own pure emotions, or am I experiencing these emotions because of my mental illness?”
Stigmatization of Your Emotions
I often become frustrated wondering where do I begin, and where does my mental illness end? I am Andrea, a complete and living human being who has emotions, but at times, I wonder, why am I always assessing my feelings and discerning whether they are stemming from the roots of mental illness? I tend to stigmatize myself endlessly by not validating my emotions.
I have always touted the slogan, “I am not my illness and I simply have an illness.” This rings true for me, but when I start to feel happy, I worry that I feel too happy. I have learned over the years that self-reflection is the key to knowing where my emotions lie, and simply taking a few steps back once in a while to assess my emotions has been a valuable strategy. When I am down, or feeling especially exhausted or tired, I am left to ponder whether I am feeling that way because I am depressed, or simply because I have had a difficult day/week. (5 Reasons Why Living with a Mental Illness Makes Us Exhausted) All too often we do not want to appear too happy, too sullen, or too anything, in fear of being judged by others.
The Societal Stigma of Emotions and Mental Health
I am, generally, a happy person, I have a lot of good days, but there have been numerous occasions when I have been accused of being in mania because of my good mood. My whole life, I have been goal-oriented, energetic, a go-getter, social and happy, and it infuriates me when people question my mood. However, I understand when people do so because they genuinely care about my well-being, but it is not just anybody’s right to offer their opinion, especially when they do not know me personally. Quite often, stereotypes crawl on to the scene, and I have even heard people utter the words that I can do anything because I am bipolar. In the next heartbeat, there is another whisper that I will crash at any minute because I have a mental illness. (Judging Others with Bipolar as Successful or Unsuccessful) People often assume you will not be able to travel, work full-time, or will attest that you just need to keep up, especially in an employment setting.
You will not ever satisfy everyone and appease society's stigmatizing judgements, and be assured that you do not even have to take them into consideration. If I am judged and frowned upon because of my emotions and the way that they translate into my everyday life, then so be it. As stated above, I have learned to accept that I am not my mental illness, but in fact, I have realized that I may feel things more deeply, be very intuitive, particularly sensitive, and I may even be more empathetic, understanding and accepting because of my situation. A society that stigmatizes our emotions may consider our mental illnesses a curse, but in actuality they may just secretly be our cursed gifts.
Paquette, A. (2014, December 4). The Stigmatization of Your Emotions, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivingmentalhealthstigma/2014/12/the-stigmatization-of-your-emotions