The stigma often associated with manic depression and other mental disorders is very real. Many people with bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses are afraid to share their condition with other people for fear of ridicule or judgment.
The stigma is so real in fact many will avoid telling friends or family of their mental condition. Many people with bipolar disorder face stigma and discomfort from well-meaning friends and family members that don’t really understand bipolar disorder.
It is common for patients with bipolar disorder to feel misunderstood. Unfortunately even many health care providers carry with them a biased attitude toward bipolar patients. Many have a difficult time focusing on the real reason a person is in their office. Instead they focus on the mental health issue.
Here are some small steps patients and family members can take to help overcome the stigma associated with mental illness.
- Always accept your condition for what it is.
- Never attempt to hide your condition for fear that others will be un-accepting or misunderstand you.
- Educate friends and family. Direct them to a number of sites that help explain bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. Great reference sites include the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
- Confidently explain that one if five people suffers from some form of mental illness or another.
- Remember that you are more an insider than you realize.
- One out of every five of your friends, acquaintances or associates likely suffers from some form of mental illness. -Use support groups to help bolster your self-confidence and promote your inner peace and well-being.
- Remember to always hold your head high with dignity and respect. Never accept less than the utmost respect when consulting with friends, family or your doctor.