During my mental health journey, I have experienced the harmful effects of stigma with regard to learning disabilities and mental illness. In school, students bullied me for being the last person to finish tests. Therefore, I thought I was stupid. The stigma placed upon me by my classmates led me to shame (or stigmatize) myself. Thankfully, I have gained many strategies to stop self-stigma from controlling my life. Here are five techniques I use to stop self-stigma.
"Wow, you look so pretty in that dress." -- Compliments like these are hard to accept when you have anxiety.
Around this time last year, I decided to cancel my gym membership and practice yoga at home to support my binge eating disorder (BED) recovery. I wanted to try a new way of exercising that would help me lean into my recovery. I'd been experiencing a deep shift of motivation in my recovery, and I was encouraged by my counselor and my partner to try something new. I had a feeling I'd outgrown my gym routine, and I wanted to experience a new way to interact with my body.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that I’m someone who can become overwhelmed fairly easily. Sometimes, I think it developed in my adulthood, but maybe it’s just something I never noticed or had the words to identify as a child. Whatever the case, being overwhelmed negatively impacts my mental health, and I want to talk about it to address the stigma around it.
The phrase "clean eating" is often used in wellness circles to denote a preference for natural, organic foods over artificial, processed ingredients. At face value, this is undeniably beneficial. After all, the human body requires essential nutrients to function, many of which come from vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods. It's important to be mindful of this. However, I feel using the word "clean" to talk about eating habits is problematic. In extreme cases, I worry it could even influence eating disorder behaviors. In my humble opinion, clean eating is not healthy—it's a harmful trend with potentially serious consequences.
For those who know me best, I have a strong desire to take responsibility for many things. From making sure everything with a friendly gathering goes exactly as I planned to the time the kids need picking up from their activities. My spouse is no stranger to my anxiety-driven internal scheduler, whom he refers to as my need to control everything. As a victim of verbal abuse, has my anxiety turned into attempts to control everything?
While drinking has been a part of the majority of my life, so have anxiety and depression. I went from sneaking alcohol on the weekends to week-long binge drinking benders. It was a cycle that progressively got worse, and the more I drank, the worse I felt. I would have pity parties and drown in my sorrows and regrets without realizing how damaging this cycle had become. Eventually, the crippling anxiety and symptoms of depression felt so unbearable that I was desperate to try something new. When I decided to start working on healing myself through journaling, therapy, meditation, reading self-help books, etc., I began feeling so grateful for my path and my life. I want to share this to help others in addiction recovery shift their perspective from self-hatred and sadness to gratitude and abundance.
Until a year ago, I did not equate May with Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM). Flowers, sunshine, summer break, and my birthday most definitely, but not mental health. My battle with depression completely opened my eyes to mental illness and mental health as a whole, and I can confidently say that one month, even one year, dedicated to the topic does not do it justice. But to be fair, it is a hopeful and actionable start.
I’ve been feeling hopeless a lot lately. I have arthritis in my knees, and my schizoaffective disorder is making me feel hopeless about it.
Weddings can be stressful under the best of circumstances. How do you cope when you don't know what to do about self-harm scars on your wedding day?