Random Thoughts About Stigma

This is a daunting task for me as I edit profusely. But  as part of the Writing101 challenge here is my first unedited free writing assignment:

 

Stigma related to mental illness runs ramped. It is no wonder that people feel unsafe to seek out treatment. Treatment places a label on those that have psychological concerns. Though unconditional treatment is available it is still stigmatized through the label of the disorder.

How mental health affects the individual is truly unique and can only be explained by that person. Though similar traits place them in a category to be diagnosed and simultaneously judged. Judgment usually follows ignorance.

Everyone chases this untrue dream of normalcy when no one can really define the word. Normal too is individual and based upon perception. So then how does one with mental health concerns continually fall outside of the range of normal. Who distinguishes “normal?” What does that all mean and represent?

Though without changing the lingo connected to mental health disorders the culture related to the stigma will remain alive and well. So as a way to seek change one must challenge their own thoughts and perceptions when it pertains to mental health conditions. Do we consider them a diagnosis, a disease or disorder? Is the person their diagnosis or is the diagnosis an attribute to the person? How does the world contend with the culture that has guided us as people to disregard those that do not tightly and perfectly fit a mold of societal norm. do any of us truly fit that mold or do we fib a little on the edges and create a box that we can fit in and call it normal? What is the purpose of the labels, why are they so important. Where did our people decide that putting people in categories were appropriate?

Beyond all the questions that remain unanswered or ignored the salient issue that remains is the mentally ill are either receiving substandard treatment, no treatment or afraid of treatment. One must understand that the fear is real. In past times the mentally ill were institutionalized and some of that culture has not died off with the cement walls of the asylums. So again we are led back to culture and ignorance that continues fueling stigmatization and marginalization of this population. Please don’t add any other equation such as gender or ethnicity as those individuals are far more marginalizaed than most.

In a time where mental health disorders are becoming commonplace it is certainly time to begin encouraging and empowering those that struggle the most in society. As those with mental health disorders are supported their overall outcome and way of life becomes a bit better. So there is value in empathy, compassion, treatment and reduced stigma. Carrying on the stigma just gives the social bullyies fuel to continue tormenting those that did nothing to them. Be that change that you would like in your own life.

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