Will the Mental Illness Stigma Ever end?

A Conversation About the Mental Illness Stigma

I wanted to open this blog post with this, the stigma surrounding mental illness is real. I see it everyday. It is all over the daily news. “This person did this horrible act because he/she was mentally ill.” While this is true in some of the cases, mental illness is not an answer to a question. It is uncontrollable imbalance in our minds. Those of us who live each day, often hiding behind our disease, it can be hard to have peace because we fear what people would say.

When people say, “Why don’t you get over it. Everyone deals with anxiety and depression every day.” It hurts more than you know.

To some this dialogue is true. Millions in this world suffer from temporary depression or anxiety. The problem, millions more deal with depression and anxiety everyday. When people say “get over it” it stems from a dialogue that becomes every day speak. It trivializes the entire mental health community when people say in a glorification manor, “Oh, I am feeling Bipolar today.”

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I don’t know about you, but I have never told people I am feeling Bipolar when I am in the worst parts of my illness. When someone says, “I am Bipolar” but uses it in a general sense it continues to trivialize. It takes away from the people who struggle with the extreme nature of Bipolar Disorder. It changes the narrative in a wrong way. Then when someone is Bipolar and fighting, they become fearful of saying they are Bipolar. The fear and backlash from people who have normalized the disease.

Not in a million years would I chose to be Bipolar. It sucks. I live every day of my life with a truth no one should live this life. I am one lousy depression cycle away from going down the darkest of paths— suicide. No matter how well I am doing at this moment, until the day I leave this world, it will always be a possibility. I live with crippling severe anxiety and insomnia that makes life not worth living.

That is why I am writing my memoir. To share my experience is one part of the equation. The other half— is to inspire more people to share their own story. I connect with so many people on a daily basis that tell me they are happy to have at least one person who understands. That it is “so much easier to hide behind the stigma than to face people saying get over it.”

Trust me. If I could get over it in an instant, then I would.

I write under a pseudonym because it is easier for me to share my story. Even as good and open as I am, I never thought I could write under my real name. I am part of the problem. So I thought why not tell the truth.

My name is David. I am Bipolar. I write under my pen name because it’s easier, but I will no longer hide behind it. I am David. I am James Edgar Skye. I am The Bipolar Writer.

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I envision a world where the mental illness community is this open place where we talk about real life. Mental illness and the stigma can only end with dialogue, empathy in the community, and understanding. We as a community are the most significant voices. I understand, so many of us have a hard time sharing our real lives with those closest to us. It’s easier to be here and talking, but I have found that the most significant thing I give people that love me, is education.

If at this moment all you can do is write under a pseudonym than I understand. If you can do more, that is good. I am no longer going to hide behind J.E. Skye because that name is a part of me. It is me, but my real name is just as important.

I believe the stigma can end. The mental illness community has a real shot at making real noise.

Always Keep Fighting.

James Edgar Skye

Please Help me Publish my Memoir

I have finished the first draft of my memoir “The Bipolar Writer” and I have decided to go down the self-publishing route. If you can donate anything towards my goal, it would mean the world to me. Those that donate will get a special mention in my memoir on a page dedicated to those that made my memoir possible. Thank you in advance!

$5.00

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoRamy Kabalan

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unsplash-logoGuillaume de Germain

27 Replies to “Will the Mental Illness Stigma Ever end?”

  1. Based on the number of years I’ve existed, probably not in my lifetime. We’ve taken some steps forward to take some steps back. While people may not associate it with being ‘crazy’ as much, they still see it as an excuse, a weakness or something you can just get over because happiness is a fucking choice to them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s tough. I have hope that we can change the stigma. I see so much positive on places like WordPress and websites dedicated to ending the stigma. We have to voice our experiences so that people no longer associate having a mental illness as crazy. It could happen in our lifetime.

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  2. The stigma is horrible. I always tell people who imply anything like this that I’m strong and I don’t whine or lie or make excuses about anything else, and I certainly don’t use my bipolar as a crutch! At least half the people would crumble and fall and maybe even die under the weight of my bipolar episodes. I wish I could just share a tiny fragment of it with some people, so they could see how nasty it can be.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This was so great for me to read. I have bipolar depression and sometimes I feel like the only solution is the end. It’s incredible how insensitive people can be towards mental illness. I too have had people tell me to “get over it” and my response is always “wow, I never thought about that, maybe I should stop paying my therapist, stop taking my meds and just walk it off like a broken leg”. I just started my blog, and I have many plans for it. One in particular is to share my story as well, my struggles and what I’ve learned about myself, as well as others. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you. Please read it if you get a chance, I’d appreciate it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for writing this. I’m reminded of a children’s musical I attended last year that my 11 yr old (at the time) had a role in, and I COULD NOT believe when in one of the songs that was sung, it said “ or maybe I’m bipolar.” I was so blown away that I didn’t even know how to feel or what to do but it really upset me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello David. It is very nice to meet and welcome. I am very happy you are feeling more comfortable and strong and brave enough to share your first name with us. I know it is a difficult step, but I believe soon you will feel how freeing it is. You should be very proud of yourself, hold your head up high and be yourself. We have absolutely nothing to feel ashamed of that is for sure. The only people that should be ashamed are the people who shame others with mental illness. I also believe I have nothing to be ashamed of telling my story because I did not write it. God wrote my story and I cannot be ashamed of the story God wrote from my life. My job is to share it with others to help others if and when I can. “There is not greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou Thank you for a beautiful post. It was nicely written as always. Hugs, Sue

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve started just being honest about the issues I deal with. I don’t know if it will backlash on me or not, but I am going to keep doing it so that people can realize – that some of us are human and doing the best we can with what we have.

    I triggered and panic attacked with a new job last month. Had to walk away and walk away fast from it. Now know that I may want to avoid that kind of particular work. I was honest and told the woman that hired me exactly why I turned tail and ran. It was all I could do at that point. And I’m glad I did it.

    I think people need to realize that the person right next to you that looks so “normal” – can be battling horrific things from their pasts and have tremendous PTSD (or bipolar, etc) issues that can knock their feet out from under them sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s great to meet you. I am glad that you are more open. I know as well as anyone how hard it is. I can understand triggering a panic attack while starting a new job. I used to drive for Uber until I started having issues with my anxiety. There are so many silent sufferers that seem normal. People have no idea how bad it can be for someone right next to you.

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    1. It is very unfortunate. But I think we can change their minds. There is nothing wrong with taking medicine. Most people in America take some form of medication. But because it has to do with a mental illness it changes? You wouldn’t look down on a cancer patient taking medicine.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Nice to meet you David! I definitely understand the feelings you express in this post. Sadly, I don’t believe the stigma will ever end. I do believe, over time, it will be more understood than it is now, but there will always be those with closed minds whose opinions about mental illness will never change. There are so many things that can contribute to someone being driven to commit horrible acts against humanity; it’s not just that they “have a mental illness.” Millions of people who struggle just like you and me do not actively and purposefully hurt others on the basis of struggling with depression or bipolar, etc. The media depiction definitely does not help, though.

    Good luck on your memoir!
    xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing. Your point is valid. People are very close minded. We see that in the political realm where people often vote against their best interests simple because you don’t like another. I agree. The media is part of the problem. They only go for mental illness is when people get hurt. I would say those people are a very small minority.

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  8. Thank you for being so open and honest. I use my real name in my blog about anxiety, but I’m still afraid of making the decision to link it to my social media. I’ll be honest, you give me the courage to do so once I’ve got my blog fully functional. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think what annoys me most is that people claim they have no stigma towards mental health, I give off the spiel that it’s “just as bad as a physical illness”. But then they’re thrown face to face with it they run, panic and lie. Because they’re scared. As you said the media fuels this flame. That those with mental health issues are ‘dangerous’ ‘murderous’ ‘uncontrolled’. I personally feel it will take at least another 100 years to even make one step forward. I love your honesty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. You might be right. Mental illness gets such a bad rap and that makes it harder for people. I understand at some level if you have never lived through a day with a mental illness you might not understand but to claim there is no stigma is wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I wrote under my name and suffered greatly. Your experience may be different. I hope it is. Stigma is here to stay…I think. It makes me happier to stop fighting it and spending all my energy on my own life and pursuits.

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      1. I think it’s mpre like I decided that I wanted to spend my time thinking about myself, developing myself, and using that approach to change the way people view me…instead of directly focusing on it with them. I put no more energy into actively changing minds, and I accept that human beings will always have stigma towards mental illness…because we are different and unpredictable in regards to the “normal” operational functions of a human. Definitely not giving up 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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