Interesting Guide to Mental Illness Awareness Week: Day One Stigma
It is Mental Illness Awareness Week from October 2, 2022 – October 8, 2022. I am posting a series going along with NAMI ( National Alliance on Mental Illness ), One of my favorite sites for all information on mental illness.
Please remember, as I state in every post about mental health, I am not a Therapist, Doctor, or Psychiatrist. I am a person who lives daily with mental illness, so I feel confident in passing on what works for me and what I have learned myself about mental illness. I ALWAYS suggest that you seek medical attention.
The rundown for this week’s posts is going to follow their scheduled day topics which are
Mental Illness Awareness Week Agenda
- Monday, October 3: Stigma
- Tuesday, October 4: Medication [National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding]
- Wednesday, October 5: Therapy
- Thursday, October 6: Disclosing [National Depression Screening Day]
- Friday, October 7: Caregiving
Each day of this week, I will share information from NAMI and my personal real-life experiences with Mental illness. I have found some excellent information on their site and some videos that touch on these subjects.
I want to Promote the NAMI HelpLine
The NAMI HelpLine is a free, nationwide peer-support service providing information, resource referrals, and support to people living with a mental health condition, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers, and the public.
Anyone can reach the NAMI HelpLine Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET.
Let's get started on Monday, October 3: Stigma of Mental Illness
What exactly is stigma?
This is the definition of stigma
A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.
“the stigma of having gone to prison will always be with me.”
Similar: shame, disgrace, dishonor, stain, taint, blot, blemish, brand,
mark, slur, and smirch
My definition of stigma is discrimination or judgment against someone different.
NAMI Pledge to Be StigmaFree The NAMI website has a page dedicated to ending the Stigma around Mental Illness. There are three steps to follow
- Step 1 Educate Yourself and Others
- Step 2 See the Person, Not the Condition
- Step 3 Take Action
There is a quiz on that page and a place where you can take a pledge.
My Personal Feelings About Stigma of Mental Illness
I am sometimes embarrassed to say I have a mental illness because of how people view it. I think they assume that I am not smart or capable of really anything.
I am now a business owner and the creator of this blog. When I went to get my license with the state of Michigan, I had an interview with the company that did that service.
They asked all about what was the nature of the business. After I said Mental Health Blog, The person said, “Oh, you are a doctor or therapist?” I replied, “No, I am a person with mental illness that will be sharing my story, and I will be an advocate for others with mental illness.
The conversation shifted for a minute from someone talking to a professional to someone talking to a mentally ill person. I was nervous for a split second and then mad. I wore my “work” hat, wowed them with my knowledge and business plan, and passed the interview. I still get angry thinking about that conversation!
Meeting New People
It is just common when you meet new people to ask general questions
- Are you married?
- Do you have kids?
- Where do you work?
- Do you have pets? (I added that one because I am in love with Jonah, and it’s an opening to talk about him)
When they get to, where do you work? I get a catch in my throat and tighten up inside with my reply, “I am disabled.” It is always met with either a look like “why?” or sympathy.
If I feel brave, I offer that I have a mental illness. Sometimes the person will open up and say they suffer from depression or anxiety. It is a bonding moment there for a minute: other times, they look like they don’t know what to say. I understand. It doesn’t make me feel better about it, though.
Just like the video, let's share some truth or false
It is just like any other situation. PLEASE be kind! Don’t discriminate against people who are different than you. Don’t look down on people who have a mental illnesses.
Please come back daily to share in Mental Illness Awareness week, October 2, 2022 – October 8, 2022. Tomorrow is Tuesday, and we will look at October 4: Medication [National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding]