End The Stigma

Approximately 2 weeks ago I joined the online world that is Twitter and started this blog.  I’m just about getting the hang of hashtags and one I’m recognising regularly in the Mental Health world is #EndTheStigma.  This rings so true to me as I’m sure it does with anyone who has encountered living with a mental illness.  The phrase “invisible illness” gets bounded around regularly yet I still feel this relates more to physical illnesses such as Fibromyalgia, ME, Lupus and so on.  There is absolutely a stigma surrounding mental health.  Some people still believe it is a choice, mind over matter or could be cured by exercise, becoming vegan or drinking herbal tea.  There are many quotes, pictures and memes online showing some of the  ridiculous examples that sadly do happen 

Yes we can see pictures like these, smile and laugh yet the stigma is real.  Why else do we hide our feelings. 

 I can guarantee in the workplace an employee would happily call in sick blaming a bug or flu.  Would they feel as confident making a call to say they couldn’t come in due to a panic attack that was crippling them, that the depression was so severe they couldn’t get out of bed or that as their thoughts were racing so bad in a mania episode they were concerned what damage they could do if they went to work? I’ll happily bet the answer is no.  It’s on par with the morning after the night before. Does anyone ever call in sick to work citing a killer hangover? No! And why? Because a hangover is self induced, you chose to get drunk and the hangover is the consequence.  You cannot admit that you cannot come to work because of your own actions.  I believe that that is why we do not admit it’s a mental illness that’s affecting us, due to people believing it’s our fault or choice. 

 It is also perceived as a sign of weakness.  Weakness? What a joke!! Do they have even the slightest idea the strength it takes to wear a mask every day?  To act like we’re OK? To hide our inner thoughts, to even function when your anxious, depressed etc. 

The point in trying to get to, please bare with me, is the more stories I read the more I want to End The Stigma.  It is no longer a personal battle for me, this is about every single person that lives with mental illness.  I feel like it’s us versus the world.  I want change.  I want acceptance. 

I’ll admit my thoughts are racing right now and I have itchy feet.  I need a project.  This is probably the first project I’ve started though that truly means something.  I am determined to help make changes.  I will volunteer where needed, I will tell my story, I will face judgement and hate.  I will give talks and presentations to anyone that would benefit. I will find a way to go into schools, colleges, I am going to spread the word as much as I can that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.  

#EndThe Stigma #Iamnotashamed


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