Crazy, mental, out of it, slacker, sensitive, I’ve been called all of them either to my face or behind my back. I’m not allowed to have emotions. If I’m having a down day I’m getting depressed again; if I’m anxious about finances, he’s having a panic attack. Even on my good days people talk and worry about whether this is the day I’ll have to go back in the hospital or whether my medications have stopped working. Believe it or not mentally ill people have the full range of appropriate emotions that everybody possesses. There are times when my communication with other people is not the best. Social anxiety prevents me from interacting well with others. It’s not because I don’t like you, it’s because I’m trying to not have a anxiety attack. Being forced to go on disability because my illness had gotten worse, I was a government mooch. Never mind that I had worked for over twenty years and paid into the social security system. The fact that I have gotten ECT or more commonly called “shock therapy” means that I must be really nuts. . Children, middle aged, old, nobody is immune. We’re not scary. Most of us are not axe murders or sex fiends. We’re normal people who have the unfortunate luck to have a brain disease. The brain, like any body part, can be broken. Stigmatizing mental illness is unfortunately one of the last ailments that society deems ok to remain uneducated about and to treat with ignorance. We who suffer from these diseases just want some understanding and compassion. As an individual you can educate yourself on what these disorders are and how you can best support someone who has one. If you know someone who suffers from a psychiatric disorder, the most important thing you can do is be there for them no matter what kind of day they’re having. Staying away due to being afraid you’ll say the wrong thing will only further isolate them. Don’t fear, become an advocate. Enlighten yourself. Go to the internet for reliable resources and educate yourself. The only way to fight the ignorance of being stigmatized is through getting good information to these people. Spread the word “You can’t catch crazy”
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I’m a 51 year old male who lives daily with Bipolar Disorder II, Adult ADHD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and PTSD. My history is one of being physically, emotionally, verbally and sexually abused from the time I was a toddler. Being a passionate advocate for mental health and against child abuse, I am a blogger, writer and social media activist. Fighting the stigma associated with mental illness is my life’s purpose.
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