Stigma and mental health ...
Definition of Stigma:
2. A mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease: Eg the stigmata of leprosy.
I tend to be very open about living with PTSD and the effect it has on my life because I'd rather that a stranger avoid me before a friendship has developed than lose a friend through stigma.
Subjecting someone to 'Stigma' is the equivalent of rubbing salt into an open wound. It leads to further isolation and makes recovery very difficult.
I hope that if you have friends that encounter difficulties of this nature, you'll be aware that they suffer enough on a daily basis and that it would be nice to have people around that can make allowances for their disability without patronising or offending them. Just ask your friend about what they need ... and if it's possible ... make it happen. Eg If I go anywhere with friends, I sit with my back to a wall or I try to avoid sitting somewhere where human traffic is constantly moving around me.
If you have any sort of mental health condition, the chances are that you're hurting deep inside. You may have become isolated. You might be scared about the consequences of a diagnosis confirming that you have a condition. You might not know which way to turn for help. Stigma's the last thing you need to be subjected to.
It took a long time for me to be able to go to a stranger and say 'help, there's something wrong with me'. Having admitted it to myself I got some support initially from the NHS. Their support won't always be there though ... it's limited by a budget. So we have to develop our own ways of dealing with the condition.
Don't let stigma stop you from getting the help you need.
Don't let stigma stop you from being a friend to someone.
Villayat 'Wolf' Sunkmanitu