Is stigma all bad?

Is stigma all bad?

As time ticks by me and my battle with mental illness rages on, so too does the fight for better care. It’s no secret that the mental-health system is in dire need of funding and resources. Sadly, I only see it worsening as we move forward through this pandemic.

Alas, this is but one of these issues surrounding mental health. We also have the constant stigma that seems to go hand-in-hand with the daily struggles of those who suffer. Finally, there is the deep-seated struggle that resides within those who are ill.

Read Two Tiered System

Overall, I can only conclude one thing: the well-minded just don’t get it. Even worse than that, they don’t want to understand. While this is certainly not true of everyone, it nonetheless leaves us struggling to see why when our mental illness comes up in conversation, why many people fall silent. Perhaps worse than that, they turn and walk away.

How to talk to someone with a mental illness

But is stigma all bad? Is it possible that this awful approach to illness can have a silver lining? I argue that yes, indeed there could be. Hold on – let me explain.

IS stigma all bad
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Regardless of whether one is mentally ill or not, we all must set boundaries and surround ourselves with positive energy; am I right? What does this mean? Well, as far as I can tell, it means we must welcome the kind and compassionate into our lives and purge the negative and hurtful people who only make life’s challenges worse.

Check out Sick Not Weak, a non-profit organization dedicated to all things mental health.

So again I ask, is stigma all bad? Maybe it’s more helpful for us in those moments when someone turns their back on us or outright avoids us like the plague, not to sweat it?

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Now, am I saying we should stop fighting stigma? Of course not. What I am saying however, is that on an individual level we can use incidents when we are stigmatized by others as a way to set boundaries or as a method to filter negativity out of our lives. I mean, do we really want someone like that in our lives?

Nah, I’m busy trying to heal – and while I’m on my journey, the last thing I want to do is devote energy into a person who doesn’t get it. I don’t know about you, but personally, I have waaay too much going on to waste my already-limited resources on that. Man, I don’t even have the reserves to waste on myself.

In conclusion, I don’t think stigma is all bad. It’s been helpful for setting boundaries with people as I encounter them (individually). At least I know where people like this stand. With that being said, we should remain diligent against stigma as a collective, and continue to educate and advocate for better funding and compassion for the inflicted with a mental health condition.

Check out the book I helped to write:

Lemonade Stand: Vol. III 

Created by Josh Rivedal and Kathleen Myre, Lemonade Stand: Vol. III is a compilation of 20 stories from those who have served in the emergency services and the military.  In it, the authors talk about their battles with PTSD, a debilitating and for many, a life-long mental illness.  So, if you are from the military or emergency services, perhaps this book can help you combat the feelings of isolation and fear that frequently come with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, just knowing that there are others out there, just like you, can provide you with the strength and courage to speak up and or get the help you need. The intention of this book is to help with that…. You’re not alone.

Also, Lemonade Stand: Vol III was written to help combat the stigma that often accompanies mental illness – and best of all, it attempts to give all who served their countries and communities a voice… Which is amazing!

Pre order today

If you are struggling please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada

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Checkout our Mental Health Resources Page

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Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Arenburg is a mental health blogger, S speaker, writer, and published author; He is also the host of the mental wellness podcast, #thewellnesstalksHe has also appeared in the i'Mpossible's Lemonade Stand III. He has also been a contributing writer for Mental health talk, a column in his local paper. In addition, he has also written for the mental health advocacy organization; Sick Not Weak.Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health-related podcasts Including: A New Dawn, The Depression Files, Books and Authors, and Men Are Nuts. Since being put off work because of PTSD, Jonathan has dedicated his time to his mental wellness journey while helping others along the way.Educated as an addictions' counsellor, he has dedicated most of his professional life of eighteen years, working with those who have intellectual disabilities, behavioural challenges, and mental illness.He has also spent fifteen years in the volunteer fire service helping his community.His new book (2021), “The Road To Mental Wellness,” goes into detail about his life-long battle with depression, anxiety and more recently, PTSD. In it, he hopes to provide insight on how mental illness cultivates over a lifetime and, if not recognized and treated, how it impacts the entirety of one's life; right from childhood into the adult years. Jonathan lives with his two children in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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