30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge- Day 14

Day 14: Have you ever experienced stigma?

stig·ma – ˈstigmə
noun – stigma; plural noun: stigmata; plural noun: stigmas
  1. a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.
    the stigma of mental disorder
    synonyms: shame, disgrace, dishonor, ignominy, opprobrium, humiliation, (bad) reputation

 

This is a tough questions. I believe that I did from the time I was diagnosed and trying to come to terms with all that was happening in the hospital. One of the nurses aides in the hospital looked at me, looked down at my arms and then at the bruises on my neck and asked me through squinty eyes and a squished up face, “You really got back at them, didn’t you?!” I was confused because (1) I didn’t really understand what he meant and (2) he seemed to speak with such disdain and my understanding was that these people were here to help me…

 

I was still in shock and not working at full capacity so I had no ammunition with which to defend myself so I’m sure I just looked pale and dumbfounded so he asked me who’s attention I was trying to get. I pulled my arms into my oversized hoodie and just said, “God’s…I’m hoping he’ll come and take me away from this horrible place.” I didn’t know what else to say. And then I started to cry and couldn’t stop. I imagine that very cruel and unprofessional aide still works there today.

 

I know now that I should have explained to him that I didn’t acquire major depression and suicidal ideation to get anyone’s attention OR to make anyone feel badly for me. In fact, no one knew I was there. I would have given anything to just get the blackness to go away and go back to my life and be able to be happy, or at least content. I didn’t want attention (far from it…I didn’t want anyone to know about this); I didn’t really want to be dead; I just needed the pain to go away. I couldn’t take one more moment of that overwhelming hurt that I was forced to hold in and hide day after day, after day, after…

 

I am very public with my condition and I have no doubt people do not understand and may be thnking all sorts of things about me. There are friends I have not heard from since this happened; family as well. People that if I had known they were going through Hell, even if it was something I didn’t understand (and I didn’t understand this at all, either, at first), I would make sure to let them know I loved them at the VERY least. But this is difficult, and I know that. This is scary for them. They don’t know the difference between me and the Jason character from Friday the 13th, who is the only mentally ill person they have ever been exposed to…that they are aware of. Because goodness knows our numbers are actually 1 in 4.

 

I have many friends and family that have reached out, and many more that are there (meaning they haven’t gone away or blocked me, or defriended me) and that is okay, too. I will start with being okay with them not being afraid or disgusted by me. I am still me and I am doing all I can to learn and get better. And when I am again confronted by stigma as I know I will be, I won’t have to hide and cry or hope God will come and take me away. I can take the opportunity to smile and show them that mental illness isn’t scary or selfish. These are just the opportunities I look forward to now.

 

 

via 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge- Master List.

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About Christine O.

A single Mom to two little girls until March 9, 2014 when I married my soul-mate, full time executive in a demanding field, marathon runner, daughter to the perfect parents, oldest sister of a younger brother and sister, coach, boss, girlfriend, best friend, member of the church choir, volunteer in the local Lion's Club and CASA organization, and becoming newly acclimated to the world of mental illness after a life changing event. My goal in blogging and learning as much as I can about this subject is to defeat stigma associated with brain disease and preventing suicide in the future.
This entry was posted in Anxiety, depression, guilt, Health, major depressive disorder, mental illness, OCD, PTSD, stigma, suicide, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge- Day 14

  1. mm172001 says:

    That’s a terrible story about the staff member at the hospital and that happens all TOO MUCH. Sorry it has happened to you.

  2. Pingback: 30MIAC Day 14 Round Up/Results | Marci, Mental Health, & More

  3. Christine O. says:

    Thank you. That comment floored me because I didn’t expect to find judgement there at the hospital. Especially not from the staff. But now that I know better I understand he was way out of line and didn’t understand my illness or the suicidal patient in general at all.

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