Invisible Illness and Stigma

5.12.19 blog entry

So, as we know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I’ve been thinking about stigma. How to eradicate it. The answer must be imparting knowledge; teaching.

The area where I’ve seen the most ignorance across the board, and have personally experienced, is to do with medication. I hear that psych meds are poison and unnecessary. I have heard the following.

Just go outside.

Just lighten up.

Meditate.

Get in shape.

Granted, all of that helps, but Bipolar Disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It is a direct result from something wrong in your brain. If you have something wrong with an organ in your body, you treat it.

My own family has called me a pill-popper and told me I’m weak. Please. You do this for 20 years, and then talk to me about what is weakness and what is strength.

Invisible illnesses can sometimes be the most difficult to understand or grasp, I suppose. A person has an appendectomy and people bring them food for a week. A person goes through a depressive cycle and people might say stop moping, and they certainly don’t bring meals.

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So, I will just wrap up by saying people with Bipolar, with mental illnesses, with invisible chronic illnesses, are incredibly strong and brave. We’re also empathetic because we know suffering. I assure you, if I could exercise my way right on out of this, if it was that easy, well…I wouldn’t even have a blog because I would be cured.

We are fighters.

We are creative.

We are dreamers.

We are helpers.

We are intelligent.

The emotional reactions – good and bad – that we have are multiplied by ten.

Through it all, we have careers, raise children, help others, and have the foresight to know to give our husbands our medications during a particularly bad week, so that we don’t swallow them all. That’s not weakness. That kind of strength requires a raw vulnerability. It’s not easy.

If you have someone in your life dealing with MI or any other invisible disease, just reach out and speak to them. Ask how they are, and tell them you want to understand more. I bet when they are able, they will help educate you.✌🙏🎗

 

(📸: kgun9)