How has stigma around mental health affected you?

For me, the first thing that comes to mind is how stigma affected my mum. This affected me because of the awareness mainly from my childhood, but still parts as an adult.
My mum has paranoid schizophrenia and having the title schizophrenia is enough, because of the stigma I remember around it. The stigma may not be as bad now as in my childhood, but I believe it’s still there, like any mental illness.
I remember as a teenager that schizophrenia would get bad press in the newspapers. It gave those with this condition a bad name, making it look like they were all dangerous, or violent if you had this condition, when it isn’t true. This condition would always be mentioned in the bold part of the newspaper when someone with this condition killed someone. I remember seeing this making the front page at times. This was newspapers in that time trying to give a sensational story line that sold their papers, not realising just what damage you were causing. I remember feeling really angry how the newspapers did this.
Thankfully now, newspapers have to watch how they word things, but I feel the damage from those days is still there. Do you?

People with schizophrenia are not violent people, but they can be a danger to themselves. But there are some people who will be quiet by withdrawing into themselves, as in my mum’s case.

I don’t like the word schizophrenia. But when I came to not liking this word, I don’t know. I don’t know if I hated this word when understanding my mum’s condition at a young age, or if it was the bad press if the newspapers.

But as I say, I think there is still stigma around mental health and because of this, it’s not something I will bring mum’s mental health particular condition into a face-to-face conversation with someone and mum is wary to do the same.

As you know I suffer with depression and anxiety. Depression has been good but anxiety shown itself since last year, as I blogged about. The past month or two, anxiety has not been too bad.
I have experienced stigma with my own mental health, things like people saying “chin up,” is not exactly helpful. Also, when you start talking about how you feel to some people, you realise from their responses they don’t get it after all as you first thought and that I am expected to snap out of it. Snapping out of it is not easy as you think.

It’s bad enough when people have to deal with their own mental health day in and day out, but when you receive unhelpful comments, cruel remarks, or just plain ignorance, that can create as much damage as the illness itself.

We have come a long way since when I was a child, but there is still more to be done. The royals are doing good with their Heads Together campaign I think.

How has stigma around mental health affected you?

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Wellbeing and Learning Journey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. (But Guest Posts that feature on my blog are not allowed at all to be duplicated, as that is their copyright.)

Blog post share: “Shhh… That is stigma,” by Susan Walz.

A blog post share, called “Shhh… That is stigma,” by Susan Walz, at The Bipolar Writer. Susan Walz writes to share how damaging telling someone to Shhh can be, when talking about your own mental illness and not feeling supported.

You will find her post here: https://jamesedgarskye.com/2018/05/27/shhh-that-is-stigma/

Learning to cope with depression

Before I suffered with depression, I always understood that it would never go away, it was just about how each day is managed to make it the best day you possibly can. That you found a way to learn to live with it.

So what I am about to say next will probably surprise you, because it has me.

As you know, I have depression on and off over the years. Being on medication this time round has been longer than before. But I always thought that I could get rid of my depression once and for all. It wasn’t until this year at some point, that I accepted I had to learn to live with it and cope each day what it may or not bring. To make each day the best I can, (and I am still learning.)

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Wellbeing and Learning Journey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. (But Guest Posts that feature on my blog are not allowed at all to be duplicated, as that is their copyright.)

Depression sucks

My first post back after my blogging break I talked about going on a weekend holiday to Warwick and Stratford.

At the end of my first day after walking around Warwick, when at the hotel, my mood dipped. I felt low, even though that morning I felt great, the coach ride to Warwick being lovely and recognising the coach driver from another holiday I went on, so already a familiar face. I enjoyed the site-seeing earlier in Warwick and the hotel was lovely and my room relaxing, as I set about unpacking my suitcase and taking time out in my hotel room till it was time for dinner. But yet I felt down while in my room.

That is depression for you, it comes around without an invite and even though you appreciate and enjoy what you are currently doing, it can, or it will try to put a dampener on the holiday, or whatever else you are doing. But I have got to say, that when I felt as I did, I was not expecting it. Not after a good day I had.
I was then dreading a little going down and joining my coach group for my dinner, as I did not want to dampen anyone else’s day if they spotted the difference in me. But no one spotted and I felt I managed to mingle with the others either side of me better than I thought. I enjoyed my starter and dinner, but left the sweet alone as I was full and I made my way up to my room, wishing everyone a good night.
Back at my hotel room I was a little better, but there was still that depression cloud looming overhead. I watched Casualty, before deciding to have an early night, as I was tired.

The next morning, I felt great and my low-mood feeling I had the day before was gone. My uninvited low mood had quickly disappeared, as it arrived.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Wellbeing and Learning Journey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. (But Guest Posts that feature on my blog are not allowed at all to be duplicated, as that is their copyright.)

#If depression were a choice

#If depression were a choice, I would not have witnessed as a child of the ups and very bad downs of my mum’s mental health. I would not have worried whether she would disappear again, like before.

If depression were a choice, after seeing how it affected me personally as a child and, also how it affects other people and their families, then I would not choose depression myself. Because after all, it is no fun.

If depression were a choice, I would not struggle to get out of bed some mornings, or sometimes worry about the day ahead.

If depression were a choice, I would not have wished at one time that I was dead and that I was of no use to this world.

If depression were a choice, then I would choose to not have depression. But unfortunately it is not that easy.

If depression were a choice, then I would not have needed the doctor, counsellor or my medication.

If depression were a choice, then my mind would choose to stop dwelling on things.

If the bad experiences of childhood (including bullying, if I did not have enough already,) and early adulthood had not happened, then I would be able to stop my brain having the memories of those days and re-living them.

Until you have been in my shoes, or other people’s shoes of people suffering mental health, then you do not know. So please do not judge.

What I experience to another person it is different. I know how my experiences affect me, but it does not mean I know fully how it affects the next person. I can only be there to support, or to just listen.

Receiving comments of the following I write below, that I have heard personally myself over the years, are not helpful at all.

  • You can choose not to dwell on things
  • It happened to you a long time ago and so you should put it behind you
  • There’s no point living in the past
  • Isn’t it time you moved on?

So until you have been in our shoes, suffered what we have suffered, you will not know how exactly how our past affects our mental health. So do not judge, but listen to our stories and try to understand how it affects us.

If depression were a choice, then I would choose not to have depression.

 

© Elizabeth Fisher and My Wellbeing and Learning Journey.

Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Wellbeing and Learning Journey with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. (But Guest Posts that feature on my blog are not allowed at all to be duplicated, as that is their copyright.)