It’s one thing to get diagnosed with an illness it’s another to have the fear of the diagnosis itself prevent you from seeking treatment. The stereotypes and prejudice that exists with mental illness are deeply ingrained in our society. I remember when I was grappling with accepting my bipolar diagnosis how I prayed to God to give me any disease but a mental illness. My own self-stigma kept me from getting the treatment I needed and caused me to suffer far more than was necessary.
Stigma has had negative impacts in other diseases too. Not too long ago even women who were diagnosed with breast cancer faced enormous Stigma. Now the support for breast cancer awareness is enormous and that’s a good thing. Maybe one day we’ll have the same kind of support and awareness for mental illness.
Illness of any kind is difficult but when you are trying to muddle your way through understanding a complex stigmatized disease it makes the road to recovery even tougher. It’s as if someone puts enormous barricades on a road and tells you to drive right through them to reach your destination. And heaven knows there are enough obstacles in the pathway without adding Stigma to the mix.
Lot’s of people suffer with mental illness without getting treatment because of Stigma. Creating awareness is one of the keys to busting the chains of Stigma. Is there one thing you can do today to help break those chains?