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Thread: Do We Stigmatize Ourselves?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Do We Stigmatize Ourselves?

    Do We Stigmatize Ourselves?
    By Joe Kraynak, Bipolar Beat
    September 22, 2011

    Mental illness carries a stigma, no doubt about it. Recently, however, I began to wonder just how deep this stigma really is and how much of it is self-imposed. In other words, do we feel stigmatized mostly because people stigmatize us or because we fear that they would if they knew we were living with mental illness? (And when I say “we” I mean members of the bipolar community, including people who have loved ones with mental illness.)

    Two events triggered my thoughts on this. One occurred two years ago when my wife and I were guests at a bipolar support group meeting in Slovenia. I was talking about how our society stigmatizes mental illness and how that makes us afraid to talk to people about it. A businessman pointed out that he had experienced the contrary. He related his story of talking about bipolar disorder at a business meeting. When the topic came up at the meeting, he immediately told the group that he has bipolar disorder. As soon as he opened up about it, the others began to discuss their experiences with mental illness.

    The second incident occurred recently at a Bible study. I began talking about my family’s experience of living with bipolar disorder. (My wife is pretty open about having bipolar disorder, so it wasn’t like I was “outing” her. She believes, as I do, that we need to be able to talk about mental illness as openly as we discuss any illness.) As soon as I introduced the topic, others in the group opened up about their experience with mental illness – living with major depression.
    Sometimes I think our own fear of stigma and the resulting silence are the main source of our feeling stigmatized. What do you think?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Do We Stigmatize Ourselves?

    Some people take it or leave it, Its not the best thing to start a conversation with but those who are your friends or are understanding will talk about it.

    I have a neighbour who turned into to most evil person imaginable when he learned I had a mental condition. My brother has Klinefelters.
    We both lived with out parents, my brother still does.

    The neighbour has smashed everything in our garden at night, smashed the house windows, he parks a generator next to the house at night and runs it for hours, all through christmas he has an industrial light pointing through our windows, he desecrates the border and fills it with eye sores and rubbish, he attacks anyone he can grab, and constantly shouts insulting things over the hedge. He has tried poisoning our dogs, he's poisoned the hedges.

    He rings the police and social services all the time telling lies about how we supposedly attack each other and take cocaine.

    Its never ending but you get the gist.

    I have spoke to people about it and they have all of a sudden treated me like im 4.

    I have had people show unlimited kindness, and understanding, and I have had people be just interested.

    I tend to talk about it, but I dont force it on people, as it can get annoying quick.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Toronto, Ontario
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    Default Re: Do We Stigmatize Ourselves?

    Hi Morpheuz,

    Sounds like your neighbour has some issues of his own to deal with.
    It is wonderful to hear that you have had
    people show unlimited kindness, and understanding, and I have had people be just interested.
    Your strategy of
    I tend to talk about it, but I dont force it on people, as it can get annoying quick.
    is a good one.

    I know this won't win your neighbour over, but Tourette Syndrome is not really a "mental condition."
    It's a neurological disorder - so it is based in the brain but we don't consider TS to be part of the "mental health" realm.
    There's a lot of nuances in language between these categories.
    I won't bore you with the nuances, as it can get annoying quick.
    Tina, Forum Moderator, TSFC Staff Liaison

    TSFC Homepage
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Do We Stigmatize Ourselves?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tina@Tourette View Post
    I know this won't win your neighbour over, but Tourette Syndrome is not really a "mental condition."
    It's a neurological disorder - so it is based in the brain but we don't consider TS to be part of the "mental health" realm.
    There's a lot of nuances in language between these categories.
    I won't bore you with the nuances, as it can get annoying quick.
    I thought mental refered to the brain, Neurological is obviously meaning in the brain, I always took the word mental as being the same.
    If someone is depressed, and under the "mental health act" or someone has Schitzophrenia and in under it, its all similar stuff, imbalances of chemicals and such.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Do We Stigmatize Ourselves?

    The term "mental" is not precisely defined. The term "mental disorder" refers to any condition in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) but that term does not differentiate between disorders of psychological origin versus those of physical origin. A "neurological disorder" is one that is or can be attributed to some brain or nervous system malfunction or specific physical disease process of the brain or nervous system.

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