When you let stigma be a barrier to a full life, it means you are letting stigma win. By resisting stigma and fighting it, not letting it be a barrier, you are taking control of your life and will be on your way to mental illness recovery. Relationships and employment are not privileges, they are a right. As a human being you not only don’t have to put up with stigma, you also have a right to find work, make a living or supplement your income, and have healthy relationships. In other words, it is important not to let stigma be a barrier to a full, happy and productive life.
Some of the ways you can resist stigma is by talking to your doctor about medications that help with social anxiety (take the Social Anxiety, Social Phobia Test). I was put on a medication that helped me to “come out of my shell” and get out of the house so I could meet people, exercise, feel better about myself and have those necessary relationships. And I also soon had employment.
The Mental Health Stigma Barrier to a Full Life Is Based on False Ideas
There are people out there who are ignorant of what mental illness is about. Some people feel that mental illness is catching, that people with major disorders are violent and that having an illness defines who you are. The truth is that people who have mental illnesses are able to break down the barriers that stigma puts in their way just by being who they really are as human beings.
It used to be that illnesses like schizophrenia were permanent and there was nothing that could be done to bring the sufferers back. Now people with schizophrenia have been shown to be able to have jobs and many kinds and relationships, and as many as 70% of people with schizophrenia recover almost completely from their illness.
Stigma can be a barrier to recovery, to employment and relationships, but only if you let the opinions of others decide what your life should include. As mentioned, medications can help, but also simple things such as going for walks, taking a class in something that interests you or going for a swim at the local pool. As you start to deprogram yourself from the stigma that puts up barriers to a full life and see that you can lead a life just like anyone, you will soon experience recovery from your illness.
One of the most important things is to have friends that don’t judge you, don’t believe the myths that stigma creates and care for you. From there, with a little effort and a lot of hard work, you can one day again feel useful and needed, finding someone to care about in a relationship and rewarding employment.