We have come a long way in treatment methods for people with mental illness.
Even though we have made great strides in treatment, stigma still surfaces and rears it ugly head.
How can it not? Everything in society supports it: tv shows, movies and even the news makes sure we know when an incident involved someone with a mental illness. How can we fight stigma when it stares us in the face almost everyday and why would we fight it?
First, I must fight it because I am SOMEBODY. My name is Patricia and I am POSITIVELY POWERFUL AND PRECIOUS. My name is not mental illness, nor is my name bipolar. Bipolar is a medical condition of the brain called mental illness. It is not something I control, although I can control responses to my symptoms (in my case, it is with medication, psychotherapy and taking care of me). If I do not fight stigma, it becomes acceptable and it should NEVER be acceptable. Once it becomes acceptable I am saying it is okay to call me out of my name, to treat me less than you and to devalue my life. This will never be acceptable. I am equal to all I come in contact with regardless of who they think they are. We are all human beings.
Fighting stigma requires persistence. It is not a one day battle and go home. It is ongoing. People need to be educated to what mental illness really is and that it has no boundaries. Mental illness can and does happen in every family, whether it is in the immediate line or not. Everyone needs to know stigma hurts, it degrades, it takes away hope of a better life from people struggling just to make it through the day one moment at a time. We need to be vigilant in educating people, standing up for ourselves when called out of our name or treated as less than. We can go to the rallies and stand with our peers as a united force for change. Our politicians need to know we deserve better health care and more services to support us. We are just as productive as everyone else. We must advocate for ourselves and for those cannot. We must band together.
Mental illness can be isolating but we don’t have to be alone. We need to help each, support each other, encourage each other and advocate for each other. We are brothers and sisters. We are an connected: we just have not met yet.
There is so much we can do, but everyone with a mental illness has to get involved. It is up to us because it is our life.
love to all
pb aka peanut butter