Living with emotional/mental disease can be isolating and lonely business. But stigma is a take no prisoners brute. And the only way it goes down is if we challenge it together. Are you in?
As long as we’re together, let’s move beyond stigma and chat about identity and hope. How are you feeling these days?
The truth about stigma
Perhaps like you, I live with disease that affects how I receive, interpret, and react to my world – myself. Instead of using the stigma-perpetuating term “mental illness,” I’ve come up with emotional/mental disease (EMD). And that’s no different than having, say, heart or kidney disease. After all, we have but one body, without above or below the neck distinction.
Time was, going public with EMD would just about end whatever hope we had of living a judgment-free and peaceful life. Others knowing our circumstances would only exacerbate the problems we were already trying to manage.
Fortunately, things are a little better here in the early 21st century; however, society still has a long way to go regarding its perception and treatment of those living with EMD.
As prevalent as EMD is, many enduring it don’t seek treatment. And that’s because of roadblocks such as lack of education and personal insight, inadequate or non-existent health insurance, and, of course, stigma.
Something is very wrong with this picture.
If you’re struggling with EMD, I encourage you to hold your head high. You have nothing about which to be ashamed or embarrassed. Indeed, your self-candor and courage are admirable.
Please join me in declaring it’s okay to have EMD. Because the only way society is going to completely embrace us is if we step forward together and demand to be counted – and respected.
As far as we’ve come, a shiny badge of disgrace continues to be pinned upon many living with EMD. As a result, we’re too often improperly scrutinized and unfairly treated at the workplace and school, regarding insurance, and in other essential arenas of life functioning. Yes, stigma is still alive and well.
This has to change.
I have emotional/mental disease. And my circumstances deserve the same respect, freedom from judgment, and treatment opportunities afforded other health situations.
Let’s challenge stigma together.
Identity and hope
As long as we’re together, let’s move beyond stigma and chat about identity and hope.
How are you feeling these days? Not so hot? Or maybe things are so overwhelming you just don’t know.
Do any of these hit home? Desperate, hopeless, helpless, frustrated, lonely, out-of-control, crazy, stuck, lost, angry, numb, scared, worthless, disgusted, dead.
Life with EMD can be brutal, right?
Ya’ gotta’ know I didn’t come by any of the above from a textbook or by listening to war stories. I’ve experienced all of them…
Thought ’em…felt ‘em…got blue over ‘em…got manic over ‘em…cried over ‘em…laughed over ‘em…drank over ‘em…fretted over ‘em…raged over ‘em…guilted over ‘em…obsessed over ‘em…got compulsive over ‘em…panicked over ‘em…you name it over ‘em.
That’s right, having EMD most all of my life, I’ve been exactly where you are. Yep, I’ve been in the trenches and know what, and how, you’re feeling.
And I’m here to tell you a peaceful and fulfilling life is yours for the taking.
That may be tough to believe in the moment. But that’s okay, just keep an open mind.
Actually, all I want you to do right now is pause. Now, take a couple of relaxing breaths and bask in the warmth of hope, knowing that someone who’s suffered at least as much as you is living a productive and calm life. And he’s been doing it for many moons.
The same is waiting for you.
See, when you come to know others are experiencing the same pain, suffering, distorted thoughts, and distressing feelings as you, relief begins. I mean, it removes the mystery from what you’re experiencing and helps you realize you’re not some sort of hopeless, worthless psycho-freak.
Do you feel that way about yourself?
I did at one time. But always remember that when you come to know others have experienced your misery, hope begins to become a part of your life. And when it sinks in that others have conquered their misery, hope transitions to “So can I” thinking.
Identity and hope: a worthwhile chat, don’t you think?
We’re not alone
Stigma is a take no prisoners brute. It’s directly impacted me numerous times over the years. And I’ll bet it’s slapped you as well. Together, let’s challenge it and put it down.
As for our identity and hope chat, well, it means everything to anyone enduring emotional/mental disease.
And that’s because it tells us we’re not alone, and we can get better.
If you’re looking for some inspiring reading, consider my eBook: Feelings & Rhymes Through Treacherous Times.
Plenty more Chipur articles where this baby came from. Peruse the hundreds of titles.