Stigma? What Stigma?

another fascinating question came up recently,
and with it some fascinating responses...

How do you deal with the stigma you face with your illness? You are looked at from friends, family and society like your illness is either fathomed up in your brain somewhere
or you're less of a person because you have bi-polar.

some of the responses...

Stigma is a huge issue... sadly. I would like to think it's getting a bit better since I was first diagnosed in 2001...
I think it has a little- at least people talk about it now.

When I was first diagnosed and told my eventual husband... he literally said to me "bipolar people shoot people"...

sometimes the media will still shine a negative light on bipolar disorder- but I always remember I am a person
living with bipolar disorder... not bipolar- it doesn't
define me that way anymore.


I try not to think about how people perceive me.
Of course I can't help it and it starts racing through
my mind and get obsessed about it. Some people ask questions, some don't. That's how I look at it.


In my opinion, the stigma is hit or miss depending
on how receptive the person we are discussing it with is.
I think our perception of the stigma depends on whether
WE have accepted our illness or not also.


I have told people of my illness and they stare oddly
at me and that hurts especially when my ex husband divorced me when i was newly diagnosed ... I deal
with it by knowing i am ok with me me now
and that's
all that matters.


most people do not want to be around out of sorts
people, they do strange things and talk about things
that are not normal...

Well i wouldn't tell my boss (when i had one) ...
i'd say i've got the flu.

mental illnesses i feel the need to hide from people
who may judge me although it doesn't take long in my company to realize i'm fucked up


People think that those with bp are crazy.
That's why you just cant tell anybody. They treat us
like we are second class citizens or something.


bp may have a stigma, but when i think of my illness,
i think about the chemical imbalance not the stigma.
i worked as a health care professional before my illness changed my life and and was a stay at home dad
as well as care giver for my in-laws till their deaths.

i saw how mental illness worked when I was nursing
and so many did not embrace their illness. that i believe
is the first step in moving forward.


yes, there is absolutely a least once a week
i feel i overhear "oh he/she is nuts, he/she must be bipolar". once i heard at a sub shop "they are playing different kinds
of music back to back, i guess it's bipolar day
". wtf ?

altho i am really glad i finally got a diagnosis, i am sad
to have an illness that so many people are still afraid of.
i could not even get individual insurance when i was
living in california because i was bipolar.
that is just wrong.

my response...

I never really asked myself this question,
so I'm glad you have raised it!

One way is I get angry, and then I write about what
life is like with BP, I make art and create comics
about it. It seems to help...

I study - to learn more about BP, and about mental
health in general. I've learned about the huge contributions
that people with BP have made to the world in the arts
and other fields, and how many people I admire
have carried on with it.

There are times when I also go into denial about
the existence of that stigma. I know denial is usually
seen as a bad thing to do, but I think it can have its uses.
I put it in people's faces. I don't usually bring it up,
but if someone else does, I'll go there and try to
educate them - informed by that learning mentioned
above and my own experience.

I also don't define myself by it. I am who I am, I have
my good points and bad points but I am no more defined
by my health issue than my brother was
when he had lymphoma.

- to be continued -

learn more at Stop Stigma


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