Bring Change 2 Mind is an organization that works “to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.” I believe in their mission and message, and I follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@bc2m).
I keep seeing their message about a Stigma Free Summer, which they explain on their website: “BC2M wishes its community a #StigmaFreeSummer. Let's start conversations, reserve judgment, extend empathy and end stigma.”
The definition of stigma, according to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, is “a mark of shame or discredit.”
There are people who feel like having a mental illness is like having a mark of shame or discredit. A stigma.
Stigma about mental illness sometimes is directed by people who are misinformed or careless toward people living with mental illness.
Sometimes it’s people living with mental illness who direct stigma at themselves.
Over a year ago, I wrote a post about “Depression and lingering stigma.” In that post, I wrote about my struggle to reach the point of asking for help:
“Because no matter how many times I’ve gone through these bouts of depression, I still doubt myself. I still tell myself that I should be able to deal with this depression on my own, without a doctor’s help. After all, I’m already on an antidepressant. After all, I should be able to rise above it, snap out of it.
Yes, I sometimes buy into the stigma about depression.”
I’m not feeling the same now as I did when I wrote that post. My depression is under control.
But I am experiencing a lot of anxiety and intrusive thoughts, connected to my damaged relationship with my mother.
I don’t doubt the decision I made. But I’m having trouble adjusting to it. I think I’m grieving, in a way.
And I haven’t wanted to write about it on this blog or tell others about it. I have feared that I should be able to deal with it better since I reached a decision after all the years of therapy and soul searching.
Maybe I was dwelling on it too much. Maybe I wanted to feel bad. Maybe I should just snap out of it. That’s what I’ve been thinking.
I’d like to be a part of a stigma free summer. So you may see more posts here about how I’m healing, what I’m experiencing, what I’d doing about the guilt that still plagues me emotionally, though rationally I feel OK.
Maybe I will start some conversations. Maybe I will remind someone else that he or she is not alone in having confusing feelings.
Let’s get rid of the stigma.