“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”
My experience with the mental health system of the United States began in December 1994. I remained a client, off and on, for the better part of 20 years, accepting psychiatric medication for 13 of those years. My Story is long (a total of 13 parts). I spent most of last year writing about my life in an attempt to gain some insight and understanding about how I relate to this world, how I experience and process emotions, and to simply share my experiences with the hope that someone going through similar circumstances might not feel so alone in their struggles. My plan is to continue writing with that same goal in mind.
Alas, at this time I’m short on faith in our mental health system here in Tennessee, USA. I fear I will slip through the cracks in the system yet again. That’s another story for another day.
I believe that compassion and understanding are paramount in erasing the stigma of mental illness. I believe that compassion and understanding are paramount in improving the systems of mental healthcare around the world. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go before we get there. The goal should be that of “caring” for the whole person and actually “helping” individuals through life’s challenges rather than attempting to medicate symptoms away or offering unhelpful platitudes that lack a shred of sensitivity. Put simply, the mental healthcare system needs to step up and treat their clients with the respect they deserve as human beings. There must be a better way of connecting people with services that provide more help than simply “coping” or “surviving” another day.
Stigma is the negativity that surrounds a diagnosis of a mental illness. Stigma is the dismissive attitude of friends, family members, society as a whole, and even professionals in the medical field when confronted with an individual in crisis. Stigma is a belief that a person with a mental illness is weak or not trying hard enough. Stigma is shaming, blaming, bullying, or discriminating an individual who constantly has to guard his/her vulnerabilities. Stigma is invalidating another person’s experiences. Stigma is invalidating another person. Period.
I’m committed to raising awareness about mental health and fighting stigma because too many people are suffering at the expense of ignorance. I write because too many lives, including my own, depend on it. Our mental health is as important as our physical health and our spiritual growth. Treating mind, body, and spirit as ONE is the first step in recreating a connection to others that will heal us all.
If you would like to participate in the “Blog For Mental Health 2015” project or for more information about this project, please, visit: The Official Blog For Mental Health Project.