Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stigma about yourself

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.


  1. Tina you write whatever helps you and get rid of that stigma. HUGS HUGS B

  2. i am actually surprised, about my interest in your entries. i don't skim, i read....i really read and i can feel the overwhelming honesty in the thoughts you share. raw emotion!!! i have learned so much from you.......

    perhaps it is a need to be sad because you have done something (separating from mom) that "should" make you sad!!! snapping out of it, not an option.....talking to us, talking to larry, best option!! why does life have to be so hard??? surround yourself with love!!!!!!!

  3. Tina, the blog community is one that is supportive and caring. We'll walk through this journey with you. I don't think anyone can truly heal us from self-stigma. But we can be there are you heal yourself, to help pick you up if you fall or encourage you. Or just to be silent but present. I admire your honesty and openness.

  4. You raise a great point about the stigma around mental illness. The stigma goes further than the person but to parents and friends. I had epilepsy. It was hushed and my parents did not understand the situation.

  5. i know that i would be feeling guilt for cutting ties with my parent and that would make me feel ashamed. i'd have to work my way out of that hole, if possible, and it wouldn't be easy. no matter how justified or needed for self-preservation, i'd feel the crush of guilt as that's just who i am. your feelings are your own and are warranted. you will deal with them, manage them, corral them as needed because you are strong.

  6. It is a great idea to have a stigma free summer. You could probably find some good books on being a child of a parent with mental illness that offer good tips about self-care.

  7. Self-stigma can be a very debilitating thing. I know people who constantly criticize themselves and it makes me so sad. I wonder if they've just never had anyone believe in them so they have a hard time believing in themselves. Kudos to you for being self-aware and introspective as always Tina. We believe in you :)

  8. I would agree with you that you're in a grief process about your mother -- it makes perfect sense. It's a brave and courageous stand you're taking, but it's not easy.

    I also agree that many of us tend to stigmatize ourselves. I have noticed some negative inner chatter lately, and I'm working on it. I like the idea of a "stigma free summer."

  9. i agree with the others, i have had many issues in my life, that i found very hard to discuss. keep them close to my heart. i really feel that the way you feel is your own personal opinion about this & that. & that should be ok, you have a right to feel how you feel. & when you step out & tell others they should not say anything. just listen. hear it. take it in & if they don't get it ... maybe think of someone who is going through a similar or time & give you their name to maybe help. i find myself - i am very perfectionistic about a lot of things. i put a lot of pressure on myself. but also i find that getting into a group ... within the bloggy world is tough. folks don't want to listen or see your point of view. myself - i feel i try to listen & not judge. but other judge me all the time. - not sure why? but they do. i hope you can find your way. that you will see the peace & love from so many bloggy friends. big big hugs. ( :

  10. Tina, I think you should write whatever you need to write, and we will all be here to support you.....NO STIGMA!

  11. Oh yes, I still struggle with stigma against myself. It's better than it used to be, but I'm a work in progress!

  12. Tina, you take all the time and blogspace needed to process what is going on with your mother. We'll all be here to help you have a stigma-free summer (and beyond!).

  13. This is a touching post Tina, I may have said before that I am one of the lucky ones, I feel lucky, I've lived among depressive souls and have seen their struggle, the sharing of your insights and your struggle are enlightening, I feel I can empathize more honestly with some of your inside information on board. Thank you, I think you are very brave.

  14. Hi Tina, I don't pretend to understand your situation with your mom, but I believe that as you move forward you will go through a grief like struggle with your decision. I know I would. Writing down how you feel is a great way to work through those feelings- if not here, then maybe a journal.

  15. my husband cut ties with his mother...he then let her back in only to remember why he cut the ties in the first place. she's very manipulating...hugs to you, do what you need to do.


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