Stigma. It's everywhere and it affects everyone. Mental illness
still in the 21st century is clouded by stigma. There are people
suffering in silence because they believe asking for help is a sign of
weakness. Imagine having your head filled to the brim with despair and
disorder and having no where to go. The removal of stigma around mental
illness has come such a long way in the last 20 years but we still have
so much further to go.
Amongst the mentally
ill there is still stigma. I've lost count of how many times I have said
to myself that I need to keep my mouth shut, need to buck up and deal
with it. This is something that I have been dealing with personally for
11 years. Yet I still tell myself the same thing that I hate hearing
from others. Things that I would never say to anyone else.
Self harm has a whole
different level of stigma. It's a stigma within a stigma. Even those
who suffer from a Mental Illness, who engage in activities that many
think are outlandish, ideas that stray from the norm, see people who
self harm as some kind of person to be revered. There have been many
conversations that I have been involved in, in an inpatient facility
where other patients have struggled to see the need and desire behind
the action of harming oneself.
sees people drinking to excess, and almost turn a blind eye. It's seen
as people blowing off steam, almost a societal norm. They are seen as
coping mechanisms, nothing more. People who drink to excess every
weekend are 'ok'. However they are doing the same thing that people who
self harm are doing. Hiding the pain, replacing it with something
else. Yet people who physically harm their flesh are seen as monsters,
attention seeking and sometimes just plain stupid.
harming is a coping mechanism. It's a dysfunctional one, I will admit,
but it is one nonetheless. However with so much stigma around it,
people are covering it up, pretending it doesn't exist. Why NEED to
talk about this. We NEED to say it's ok to tell someone that you aren't
coping. We NEED to treat the symptom not the behaviour. A person who
self harms is not a monster, they are simply reaching for help when
their words don't work.
Labels: don't judge a book by it's cover, mental illness, self harm, stigma