There’s an elephant in the room. This enormous, grey creature is stomping his feet and swinging his trunk, but still, we all pretend not to notice. This elephant in the room is the stigma of mental illness. Similar to every other illness, every mental illness requires treatment. But, the stigma that surrounds the topic prevents many people from seeking it.
Beating the Stigma
Quit stigmatizing your mental illness. We live in a new age. An age of understanding and open-mindedness. Our generation embraces our differences more than any other generation to date. We accept each other for who they are and fight the urge to label those who differ from ourselves.
Even though it may be difficult, try to embrace the person that you are. Your mental illness does not define you as a person and your struggle only makes you a stronger human being. Own your life and your story. It is what makes you, you. When the days seem dark and you find yourself lying in a pool of self-doubt and guilt, try to remind yourself that there is nothing wrong with you and it is not your fault.
Educate Yourself- and Others
Take the time to research mental illness and share the information you’ve learned with the ones you care about. Educating yourself on the topic can help you feel empowered and provide you with the ability to help your loved ones understand what you are going through. Utilize the information to break the stigma of mental illness.
When you hear that someone is suffering from a disease, do you feel superior? Do you ask them what they did? Do you blame them for their condition? Of course you don’t. Mental illness is a disease. It is a condition that is often hereditary, just like the majority of diseases. Whether physical or mental, we should never stigmatize a condition.
The Effects of Stigma on Mental Illness
There are many negative effects due to the stigma of mental illness. Those suffering from these conditions struggle with managing their illness. It can become much easier to manage these conditions when you seek treatment from a therapist.
The first negative effect that stigma has on those suffering from a mental illness is denial. Sometimes the stigma that surrounds mental illness prevents those suffering from seeking treatment. Instead, they try to avoid the situation altogether and pretend that it does not exist. Unfortunately, these conditions tend to worsen when left untreated.
Mental illness is typically a hereditary condition. You can not cause your mental illness and you did not do anything to deserve it. This stigma causes unnecessary guilt. Why add another negative emotion to a full plate of them? Treatment plans include techniques that can be used to assist you in accepting your condition and working through it.