The Camouflage of Self-Stigma
I wish it weren’t true, but I’m extremely familiar with self-stigma. I’ve written well-nigh it before; in fact, I tried to unravel it lanugo in a blog post last year. But as much as I’ve learned well-nigh how self-stigma exists in the world, I’m a whole variegated story. I have so much increasingly to learn well-nigh how self-stigma exists within myself. How it moves, what it looks like for me and how to spot it when it happens.
Self-stigmatization well-nigh my own mental wellness disguises itself well. If it goes unchecked, this uniting of events leads to negative thoughts and yellow-eyed spirals. It’s a lesson I’ve had to learn increasingly than once, but it’s a valuable one. The hush-up of self-stigma has unchangingly been, and will likely unchangingly be, a rencontre for me.
One misconception I’ve had to learn well-nigh self-stigma is the judgement that it entails. When I first thought well-nigh self-stigma (what it was, what it means), I compared it to negative thoughts, self-hate or self-loathing. I thought it was flipside version of not liking yourself, flipside tricky mental health term that just ways we think we’re awful.
But actually, it goes much deeper than that. To infringe from my post last year well-nigh self-stigma, the American Psychological Association defines it as:
“Self-stigma refers to the negative attitudes, including internalized shame, that people with mental illness have well-nigh their own condition.”American Psychological Association
Stigma is a mark of disgrace, of shame. A social stigma (straight from the Wikipedia itself) is “the disapproval of, or favoritism against, an individual or group based on perceived characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of a society.” If we’re exercising a stigma well-nigh our own mental health condition, in some way, we disapprove of it. And plane though it’s a tiny speciality of stigma, that can be a lot to unpack for a person.
I’d like to think that I grow increasingly well-appointed with my mental health challenges every day, but that’s not true. I’ve definitely grown increasingly well-appointed over a long period of time, but every day isn’t a step forward. And when I make a misstep or finger like I’ve failed, I don’t unchangingly recognize it for what it is. A harsh word or midpoint self-critique comes in quickly and surpassing I know it, I think I’m too good for my depression.
I’m quicker than anyone to judge what I perceive as “failures” when it comes to handling depression. I shouldn’t be doing that anymore, I think to myself. I’m past this; I’m largest than this. I take a linear tideway to a non-linear problem and not only do I not find a solution, but I dig myself in plane deeper. It’s a misunderstanding of my own mental illness, and a misunderstanding of mental health challenges in general.
One of the cadre aspects of self-stigma, at least for me, is rooted in shame. Shame well-nigh my mental illness, shame well-nigh the challenges it creates. But also, shame considering there’s still a small part of me that thinks I should be largest than this. That I’ve learned unbearable well-nigh mental health that “these things” shouldn’t be happening. But that’s not true; it never was. Self-stigma hides itself, it shapes itself and it molds itself to squint like something else. Acknowledging this shame doesn’t midpoint it’ll go away. But hopefully, ways I’m largest suited to handle it when it inevitably rears its ugly throne once again.
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