Top 5 of 2019: Stigma of Mental Illness (#3)

This originally went live on March 17, 2019.  I’m happy to see it here too.  Not a bad thing for this to make a reappearance.

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So, I might be short and to the point here.  Mostly because I know I’m going to get a pretty big workout in the comments.  My opinion has also been stated here a few times, but I felt like bringing up the topic once more.

One of the most interesting things that I’ve noticed over the last year is that there is a lot of shame attached to mental illness.  Some by the sufferer and others by those who think they are helping.  I’ve always wondered why this is, but it feels more or more like the stigmas are built into society.  Don’t let them know you see a therapist.  Why?  Because you’ll never get a job, get married, have kids, or be able to do anything.  Never reveal that you’re on medications.  Why?  Because you’ll never get a job, get married, have kids, or be able to anything.  It’s like people with mental illness are being asked to ‘not be who they are’, which makes the problem infinitely worse.  Imagine struggling with anxiety and then being told that your anxiety will cause all these problems, so you need to hide it.  Now, you’re anxious about revealing that you’re anxious.  It’s just emotionally and mentally destructive.

Now, I mentioned therapy and medication in there too.  The strangest thing is that these are actions that show an intent to get a handle on one’s illness.  Yet, we use them as marks of shame.  People who go in for chemo or have to use an inhaler for asthma aren’t treated like this.  The reason might be because those are physical diseases, which are easier to wrap our heads around than mental.  I wonder if there’s a fear when it comes to mental illness too.  A person might push for someone to get better quickly because then it means it isn’t that big a deal if they themselves have one.  There’s no infection when it comes to these things, but helping a person with severe mental illness can trigger ones in the helper if they are stressed too much.  If you can convince a person to get over their depression then maybe you can do it too in the future.  This is ridiculous, of course.

Honestly, I’m just throwing ideas out there because I really can’t see the point in stigmatizing mental illness.  Especially these days when you have the Internet and more connections than ever.  It’s easier to trigger a breakdown because of some jackass online or to indulge in certain harmful activities.  If anything, society should be pushing for these issues to be brought to the light and teach more people about them.  Maybe have a time in high school where students learn about things like depression, anxiety, etc. and get to share their thoughts.  Make it a discussion class and try to eliminate the stigma with the younger generations.  Just a thought, which has some downsides because you don’t want to upset anyone who is currently suffering.

Anyway, what do you think about the mental illness stigma?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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21 Responses to Top 5 of 2019: Stigma of Mental Illness (#3)

  1. L. Marie says:

    I have noticed the stigma. Many people mention depression or anxiety in such a shame-faced way. And I can understand why–because of the almost immediate voice of judgment. “You need to get over it.” “Pick yourself up.” Because of that, we’re taught to pretend that everything is okay even when it isn’t. We have to put our best face forward on social media to avoid being labeled as “weak” and thereby avoid the stigma.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I said last time that there should be more education of the general public on mental illness. I think stigma comes from ignorance more than anything. If I didn’t I am saying it now.


  3. I vaguely remember this one. I’m glad it made the list, because it’s an important topic. I tweeted it out to get you some more exposure with it.


  4. missimontana says:

    I think many people want to label mentally ill people as weak, whiny, lazy, or fakers because they want to believe it can never happen to them. As long as it is considered only a character flaw, they can feel free to judge and brag about how well they can handle life. More education might help, but deep seated beliefs and prejudged attitudes are difficult to change. And sadly, many don’t want to change.


    • I see people mistaking mental illness for people being over dramatic a lot. Part of it is because you see people use depressed or anxious for milder emotions. So, people think the mental illness is a synonym for something like being a little sad.


  5. Adele Marie says:

    As a sufferer, I’ve come across this stigma many times and it should stop. People should be made more aware, starting in schools.


  6. My daughter has anxiety. I worry for her and want her to be well. She’s an adult, so I can’t drag her to a therapist, but I can encourage her to make her own appointments, help pay for meds, and so on. I’m also the only one of four siblings who hasn’t been hospitalized with major depression. Even if I myself, haven’t been there yet, who knows what the future brings?

    What do I think about mental illness? I think I don’t really know anything because it isn’t my journey. My role is to listen and support where I can, but realize that my loved ones are on their own journey that I can’t stage-manage it.


  7. tberry1818 says:

    I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. There is a whole new level of stigma attached to that diagnose. I am doing real well now but my policy is to keep quiet. Moreover I dislike talking about my symptoms which are minimal now. I applaud individuals who are fighting against mental health stigma but I must do so from the sidelines.


    • There’s still a big push for people to remain silent about their mental health. I was working on being more open and honest about it, but then was told by many to go silent or I’d damage my life. Feels like it’s bad advice.

      I know very little about schizophrenia. It’s one of the mental illnesses that has a lot of myths about it too.


  8. Thank you for sharing! I just started my blog about bipolar disorder and my purpose is to end the stigma associated. Bipolar and other mental health issues are brain illnesses. Just like someone gets cancer, someone can get a brain illness. I get so frustrated with people who are ignorant about mental illness, but then I realized that they are probably not educated. So, therein lies my purpose – to spread awareness and information to educate! Have a wonderful day and be well.
    Tanya D.
    Divinely Bipolar


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