Our partner

Stigma in Mental Illness but not in Physical Diseases

Open Discussions about how Mental Illness affects your life.

Moderator: Otter

*****PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE POSTING HERE*****

When posting on Psychforums.com please try to pick the forum you think best fits your post. If your post would fit in a specialized forum (there are more than 100 forums here) then please post there rather than in the "Living With Mental Illness" forum. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Moderators could move your thread without notice if they feel it is fitting better into another forum.

The Mod Team

Stigma in Mental Illness but not in Physical Diseases

Postby andrew112 » Sat Aug 27, 2022 4:56 am

Why is there so much stigma in mental illness but not in physical diseases? If someone has Cancer, they receive support, sympathy, care, love, etc. But when someone has a mental illness, they get bullied, targeted, shamed, ostracized, deprecated, etc. It makes ZERO sense. Something REALLY does NOT add up in this defacto standard of the way things are.
andrew112
Consumer 3
Consumer 3
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2022 7:01 am
Local time: Fri Oct 07, 2022 12:32 am
Blog: View Blog (0)


ADVERTISEMENT

Re: Stigma in Mental Illness but not in Physical Diseases

Postby Otter » Tue Aug 30, 2022 12:11 am

This is the approach I take when I try to convince others that mental illness is also an ILLNESS like any other. The problem for many (most) people is, that when the liver isn't functioning correctly it doesn't affect the individual's behavior (except for expressing pain or lack of energy, etc). When the brain isn't functioning correctly it can affect how we behave in ways that those around the person with mental illness perceive those changes as premeditated and something the person suffering should be able to turn off like a light switch.

In many ways, things are much better than when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 38 years ago. In those days most people knew next to nothing about my illness, so I had to keep quiet. Since then it has been slowly coming to the forefront of popular consciousness.

But there is still a lot of work to be done.
Image Otter Space Man
Otter
Moderator: Consumer
Moderator: Consumer
 
Posts: 6277
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 9:24 am
Local time: Thu Oct 06, 2022 11:32 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Stigma in Mental Illness but not in Physical Diseases

Postby andrew112 » Tue Sep 06, 2022 5:21 am

I agree, Otter. I am also sorry you had to keep your condition to yourself for such a long time. It must have been difficult living with such a condition back then. But, like you said, things are much better now. I am grateful I am living in a time like this. And with my condition, I am thankful there is effective medication for it. The conundrum, for me, was how do I accept treatment if I do not think I am mentally ill? But now I have finally realized that I need sufficient medication for my condition. And that the medication isn't "evil" or "wrong", etc. It keeps my neurotransmitters in check and is backed by decades of clinical research.
andrew112
Consumer 3
Consumer 3
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2022 7:01 am
Local time: Fri Oct 07, 2022 12:32 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Stigma in Mental Illness but not in Physical Diseases

Postby Otter » Tue Sep 06, 2022 6:56 pm

Thank you for your comment regarding the quiet suffering many of us had to do in the past. We still have a way to go but I am glad people are taking it more seriously.

During the early days of my illness, I also felt that I didn't need the meds because I was "healed". When I came off the medication, my behaviors changed and I became more isolated and paranoid, as well as other things. Like you, I finally realized the medication wasn't evil, etc.

BUT, in the last 15 years or so I have been taking much better care of myself. I don't booze anymore, or do drugs. I eat better and exercise, and sleep well. This has allowed me to reduce the dosage of medication. Also, there are some studies that say the effects of mental illness may lessen as one gets older. This has been the case for me.

Good luck, my friend.
Image Otter Space Man
Otter
Moderator: Consumer
Moderator: Consumer
 
Posts: 6277
Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 9:24 am
Local time: Thu Oct 06, 2022 11:32 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Stigma in Mental Illness but not in Physical Diseases

Postby jsodhoptl5 » Tue Sep 06, 2022 8:03 pm

To give a short answer, it's complicated.

One part of it is certainly cultural and based on scientific progress. For instance, physical diseases certainly were/still are stigmatized, such as leprosy or AIDS.

I think the other aspect is simply that mental illness allowa for unpredictable behavior, which sparks an evolutionary instinctual fear.
jsodhoptl5
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2022 3:52 pm
Local time: Thu Oct 06, 2022 11:32 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Stigma in Mental Illness but not in Physical Diseases

Postby andrew112 » Thu Sep 08, 2022 7:09 am

jsodhoptl5 wrote:To give a short answer, it's complicated.

One part of it is certainly cultural and based on scientific progress. For instance, physical diseases certainly were/still are stigmatized, such as leprosy or AIDS.

I think the other aspect is simply that mental illness allowa for unpredictable behavior, which sparks an evolutionary instinctual fear.


You are right, and I stand corrected. Perhaps I was just perfunctorily posting in a visceral and impulsive sense. I did not even think about what I was typing lol. Hopefully this has enlightened me and I will not post something inaccurate again.
andrew112
Consumer 3
Consumer 3
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2022 7:01 am
Local time: Fri Oct 07, 2022 12:32 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Stigma in Mental Illness but not in Physical Diseases

Postby jsodhoptl5 » Thu Sep 08, 2022 3:53 pm

No problem! I wouldn't say you are inaccurate - there certainly IS a much bigger/widespread stigma with mental illness vs. physical.

I think what it boils down to is "what do people fear because it can potentially harm them?"

I think a big part is media portrayal. For example, everyone knows that a person with cancer is severely impacted physically, nor is cancer contagious. But a person with depression or anxiety is typically portrayed in media as a violent or dangerous person. I think those aspects play a huge part into the stigma.
jsodhoptl5
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2022 3:52 pm
Local time: Thu Oct 06, 2022 11:32 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Stigma in Mental Illness but not in Physical Diseases

Postby jsodhoptl5 » Thu Sep 08, 2022 3:57 pm

To address the original intent of your post, however, I would personally encourage you (as I do with most people struggling in some capacity) to seek out resources as you see fit.

Assuming you can afford it, even if you don't feel yourself to be ill, you still go to the doctor for a physical exam or check-up every so often. I like to apply that same mentality for mental health with my therapist.

Otherwise, don't worry about stigma. It's also partially a generational thing. I find that the younger generation is much more understanding and receptive to mental health as a legitimate and serious part of health.
jsodhoptl5
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2022 3:52 pm
Local time: Thu Oct 06, 2022 11:32 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Stigma in Mental Illness but not in Physical Diseases

Postby Wally58 » Fri Sep 09, 2022 12:43 pm

This is a really good topic. Ancient cultures saw the importance of healing a broken spirit as well as a broken body. Somehow in this competitive, puritanical work-ethic and money-based world, we put less emphasis on this type of wellness. A good worker is rewarded. Leisure is time left-over.

You can see external wounds, but the hidden internal wounds are out-of-sight/out-of-mind. Sloth, bad-moods or melancholy are something that we should be able to 'snap out of'.

The world is under a lot of stress. It probably always has been. The level of violence in the constant news is just the tip of the iceberg and unrelenting.

The first responders, law enforcement & EMTs see this all the time. We all are faced with personal challenges & demons. Some more than others. Asking for help shouldn't be seen as a weakness or failure.
Asking for help saved my life.

We aren't supposed to talk about the shame of suicides and drug/alcohol abuse around us. Suicides are called 'accidents' out of respect to the family. If we choose not to see what is happening around us, the situation won't change.

I care. Best of luck to you. :D
We do NOT delete posts

Read the forum rules before posting here. If you are having any doubts about what you are posting, if you are thinking in the back of your mind, "I am going to want to delete this, or these details, later", remove those details, or step back and don't post until you are sure.
User avatar
Wally58
Moderator: Consumer
Moderator: Consumer
 
Posts: 1394
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:47 am
Local time: Fri Oct 07, 2022 1:32 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Stigma in Mental Illness but not in Physical Diseases

Postby Forest33 » Wed Sep 28, 2022 9:49 pm

I honestly just think most people don't care no matter how much you might try to make them understand so it's not even worth your time. A lot of people say they care about helping those with mental illness but all the doctors offer to do is shove pills down your throat and make you talk to someone who has no idea about your life or the context of anything you are telling them. The mental health system in this country is a JOKE. There is no real compassion or empathy for anyone unless you have enough money that is. Then all of a sudden people start caring about you. I think all we can really do is just try to find one person that cares because that's more than a lot of people have. I have a ton of people in my family but not one of them truly cares about what I am going through. As much as I have tried to make them understand it did none of us any good. You try to make them understand and they can't understand because they have never been through anything like this so there's just a giant chasm that exists between us and those we are trying to make understand. What our society needs is people who actually have compassion and empathy which is sadly lacking in many people. People who are open and understanding and will actually listen to someone. What we don't need is people who want to pass the issue onto someone else because they are uncaring and cold and people who just want to numb us all and turn us into unfeeling zombies with medication. That's one of the major issues I have with how mental illness is addressed. All they want to do is throw pills and therapy at us when there are so many others things available to those suffering from depression and other mental illnesses. Not informing the mentally ill about other potential options is a crime against humanity in my view and makes me question if they just see us all as a problem that has to be dealt with, so we are pacified and weakened.
Forest33
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2022 7:07 pm
Local time: Fri Oct 07, 2022 12:32 am
Blog: View Blog (0)


Return to Living With Mental Illness Forum




  • Related articles
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 14 guests