To find out, read the following symptoms:
1. “I am just going to keep my daughter at home until she is better. The hospital is a terrible place and I don’t want her to get labeled as bipolar.”
2. “I don’t want a psychiatric hospitalization to ruin his career chances.”
3. “I’m too strong to go to the hospital during an episode. Hospitals are for weaker people.”
4. “He is just having a tough time. His girlfriend left and wanting to die is simply a reaction to the breakup. He will be fine.”
5. “If you had been a better mother, our daughter would not be mentally ill.”
6. “I can’t let my daughter be locked up in some ward far away from home where they will pump her with mind numbing mediations and label her with some nasty illness that will be on her medical charts forever!”
7. “No son of mine has a mental illness. That doesn’t happen in our family. He will just have to deal with his problems and get on with life.”
8. “This is a drug problem. It’s not mental illness. Once he stops the drugs it will be ok.”
SELF STIGMA happens when our deepest, darkest fears and beliefs come to the surface during a crisis.
My former idea that going to the hospital is a weakness that would ruin my career is self stigma. I had to change. I looked at the strength it takes to check yourself into a psychiatric facility and I decided I want to be strong. Taking care of yourself is strong.
If I get too sick to take care of myself or if someone in my life tells me I need the hospital, I will go.
We talk so much about society and how it shames those of us with mental illness. I don’t buy into this idea. Our shame is internal in my opinion. Not having our picture on a social media page. Not liking or friending posts because people will know we went to a bipolar disorder site.
I want to change. I want to open my mind and tell the world that my mania, depression, psychosis, obsessions, anxiety, focus problems and general ‘odd thinking,’ are a part of my brain and not a reflection of my SELF.
I can change.
The picture is me at age 16. The year my psychosis started.