Self-Stigma Complicates Mental Illness Treatment and Recovery
Stigma, as defined at dictionary.com is a mark of disgrace or infamy. Not all stigma is from others; sometimes stigma comes from within. When a person is ashamed because they have a mental illness of just about any kind, often because of negative opinions of others, they may try to hide their problem and not seek proper treatment. This effect is known as self-stigma and can be a barrier to relationships, employment, and especially proper mental health treatment.
Self-Stigma Made My Mental Health Much Worse
I can recall in my younger days having issues such as long unexplained depressions, very poor sleep and even auditory hallucinations. This condition went on untreated for a long time because I was so afraid of being labelled as crazy I didn't seek any help. As a result, my condition kept getting worse and I ended up having to be committed to a mental hospital for an extended period.
The way I finally started to accept treatment and was able to feel good about myself was when I moved to the group home I live in now. There are 20 other adult males here and all of them deal with a mental illness in one form or another. There is no longer any shame, no longer any need to hide.
Getting Past Self-Stigma Helped Me to Help Others
When I became comfortable with my diagnosis and my condition stabilized, I found that I was not nearly so alone as I thought I was. Soon, with the support of people in my home and my family, I went back to work and when I met people I told them with all honesty that I suffered from a mental illness. So many times people shared that they themselves had one too, or that they had family members who also suffered.
As a result, I decided to work towards reducing mental illness stigma by writing two books about my illness and giving public talks to students and other groups. This work is extremely rewarding and has brought me out of the netherworld of living with a serious mental illness.
Gregersen, L. (2016, July 17). Self-Stigma Complicates Mental Illness Treatment and Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, June 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivingmentalhealthstigma/2016/07/stigma-hurts-with-self-stigma-treatment-can-be-difficult-at-best
Author: Leif Gregersen
funnily enough we have the same first name... just wanted to air out a few things. dude idk if you can call not sleeping any other time besides 4 or 5 in the morning as poor sleep but this is literally me. idk where im going with my life and whats making it worse right now is my toothache and tonsilitis. anyways i easily get stressed and anxious, and i feel like im alone and stupid and shit. i just feel so down i cant explain it, im trying to appear that way to others i guess as a signal for help but at the same time theres this guilt of also feeling this way because i was never diagnosed as such and i havent gone full way ape shit (unless you count dropping out; in the same sense sharing shit makes me feel guilty like im making reasons for myself and it comes across as "less authentic) and i just have to ask if im even depressed in the first place or do i even have the right. idk what to do and im just caged in this endless cycle of sleep and doing nothing. when i pick up the guitar i can write a few parts and record a few hums or ideas but i can never settle down to just write lyrics. its like my brain goes on full shutdown, like it hates myself and i can never escape the repeating day. i try to ride waves of random things but they dont go nowhere. i honestly feel like killing myself and i tell myself that everyday but idk, i just hate everything man. idk what the hell is wrong with me but sad things make me laugh, my face is getting drier quite literally with this stupid skin excema thing idk and ive lost all my confidence. just wanted to vent on this random space of the internet, so thanks i guess.
Hello Leif. Thanks for taking your time to share these thoughts. I know it's not always easy to bare our souls like this. I'm not the author that wrote this blog (he was my partner blogger for this section of HealthyPlace), but I just wanted to reach out and let you know that I hear you and your thoughts and feelings are valid.
It can get overwhelming when things can't seem to sort themselves out in our heads and we feel like we just can't quite do anything. I think the fact that you're recognizing these signs of struggle in yourself is important and I encourage you to reach out to your local resources to explore the help options available. I know what it's like to have thoughts of ending your life running through your head—I get that way, too. If you're ever at a point where you feel like you can't escape it, please know there are resources available. We have a great list of the available suicide hotline numbers here on our website. I've grabbed you the link: https://www.healthyplace.com/suicide/suicide-hotline-phone-numbers. We also have a page of other resources you can consider to help you with your struggles: http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referr….
Just know that you aren't alone in this struggle and that you're worthy of help. Don't be afraid to reach out.
Yes.... For so long i have a insomia... I was work at a different shift... 2months day shift and 2months nightshift as of now im sufferring a poor sleep... I dont know if what a cure.. I ask myself that im a mental illness anxiery stress depression..
Im afraid when im goin to sleep because of overthinking....