stigmas of mental health are road blocks that trap us

once in awhile, some one whom i naively trust, finds out that i’ve been suffering from anxiety and depression. they are surprised i am in therapy and have been struggling with both these foes of mine for years.

that’s okay. i don’t blame them. i am a master of masking my pain in front of others. it’s part of that egocentric, grandiose perception i have of myself that defines my irrational guilt. you see, if i burden others, two things then comes into light. 1) i’m weak – and i don’t want people to see that; and 2) i then spiral into this awful guilt of burdening them and then this causes anxiety of whether or not i will chase them away with my extravagant, possibly too-much-to-handle personality which then causes depression that i’m so fucked up and abnormal and oh damn, why can’t i just be happy? yeah – that’s a small glimpse of what happens in my mind and believe me when i say small. the actual steps and thought process connecting all those main points is pretty scary.

it’s completely my own doing, really. hide behind an image and of course, people will fall for that lie if they know no better.

once in awhile, though, i’ll face some one who is stubborn. or ignorant. or both. while they may or may not know they are being a complete ass, bottom line, they are doing more harm than good.

the worse is when they say something that basically translates out to you’ll be okay. you’re not really depressed. it’s all in your head – you just need to get over it.

i’m sure most people who say this do not understand the full affect of how harmful this stigma is on mental health and some one going through it. so i’m here to try and explain what damage that type of stigma can do to a person who should be getting professional help.

like all mental health stigmas, it’s a road block and prevents a person from getting the help they need. it actually just makes them more ashamed of themselves as they retreat further in their mental illness.

to put it bluntly – if mental illness is a gun which harms/kills a person. a mental health stigma is what puts that gun directly in a person’s hand, tempting the person to pull the trigger.

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2 thoughts on “stigmas of mental health are road blocks that trap us

  1. I’m similar. People never believe that I’ve struggled with depression. And because I’ve struggled on it with my own, they like to tell me that there’s a difference between “real depression” and “feeling depressed.” It’s very difficult for me to appear vulnerable, so I often discuss with a smile on my face, and can’t comment on the “convincing evidence” like thoughts of suicide or self-injury, so that doesn’t help either.

    As a society, we have this preconceived notion of what being depressed “really” looks like. All too often, people forget that we suffer in silence.

    • well said. i like how you put it – how people try to convince those suffering that they are just feeling depressed. like it is a passing phase. it’s starting to bother me less – i just don’t bother with people like that. but it hurts when family members do it to me. like my parents. and my parents-in-law, i suspect even more so, think i’m just being a drama-queen.

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