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.
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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.
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.
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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, 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 thing’s 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?
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?
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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.
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If you are struggling, please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada