End the Stigma 10


Today is World Mental Health Day. This is a brilliant chance to talk about mental health, to end the stigma and make sure that no one feels isolated or on their own.

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Time to change – the campaign to end mental health discrimination wants no one to feel ashamed to talk about mental health. Well I do. I am lucky to enough to to have never experienced any stigma from anyone else – the stigma is just from myself.

  • I’m ashamed of myself and my mental health problems.
  • They make me weak.
  • I keep them a secret.
  • People ask me how I am and I say fine or okay.
  • What do I have to be sad or anxious about?
  • I *should* be able to live without being tired, without being anxious. I should be able to go to work, to go to some exercise classes and have nice evenings. I should be able to have fun, social weekends rather than naps and tears.

I’ve been working on this recently. The stigma that I hold against myself. My counsellor that I was seeing made me realise that this tension between my public facing, happy, focused, confident Lauren vs the sometimes tired, sad, anxious, low self esteem Lauren exasperates the problem. That hiding the way I feel makes it worse, not better. That I need to be kinder to myself. To recognise my feelings and share them with others. So far, this blog has been my way of doing that. But it’s been sort of anonymously online. Now I’m trying to let more people in, be more honest with my friends about how I feel and tell people why I raised money for Mind.

So what am I saying? Regardless of where the stigma comes from, we need to talk. This will help yourself and it will also help other people. Let’s end the stigma.

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Let me know what you think

10 thoughts on “End the Stigma

  • Niki

    I just wanted to honor you for this post Lauren. Good for you for hitting the publish button, speaking up, and stepping past your personal stigma. You’ve come such a long way in the short time since we met. May you continue this journey of self-exploration that will no doubt lead to self-acceptance on many levels <3

  • Lulu

    Lauren, I am sending you hugs from across the ocean! I, too, suffer from my own mental health stigma. I am fairly open about my eating disorder, anxiety, and depression with most of the people in my life, including most of my family, friends, and even many people at work. We can even make jokes about what my anxiety-mind, depression-mind, and ED-mind are saying/telling me to do and how those tendencies influence me. When it’s out in the open, it is not so scary and doesn’t feel so bottled-up and insurmountable. But, every once in awhile, I try to make a light comment about it to someone new, and suddenly, I’m right back in the pit of shame! I was talking with a group of friends recently about how we each have trouble sleeping sometimes, and we were sort of laughing about the thoughts that keep us awake at night. I said, “Oh, well, you know, I do have anxiety, so I know it’s related. When I can practice some centering techniques it really helps me fall back to sleep,” and suddenly I could hear crickets in the room. What your post reminds me is that experiences like that one are not a reason to keep silent. Instead, it is even MORE of a reason to be brave to and to share my real self with the world! The world needs to know how common these problems are and how the most ordinary people can struggle with mental health issues. I bet many people we both know are still suffering silently, waiting for someone to speak up so that they can have the courage to ask for help.

    I know that I don’t know you personally, but you impress me as a very genuine, loving, and incredibly brave person. It’s not your fault that you struggle with anxiety and depression, and you are entirely deserving of self-compassion when you feel out of sorts! I’ve nominated you for the Leibster Award. There’s no pressure to participate, but if you’d like to, the details are here: https://realadventuresofbecomingme.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/a-pause-for-recognition/

    Have a wonderful, self-compassionate, World Mental Health Day!