Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Word on Wednesday: Stigma

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, 
"No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." 

When we think about Mental Health Awareness, we often hear pleas to stop the stigma. Stop the stain, the blot, the tarnish that is mental illness. 

By definition: The noun, stigma, refers to a mark of disgrace; a stain or reproach as on one's reputation. Medically, this is a mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease. 

Mental health care advocates work tirelessly to rid societal-level conditions, cultural norms, and institutional practices that breed stigma

It is my experience the most damaging stigma is the internalized stigma. It is our own voice beating us down. We do this, because we believe the lie that having a mental illness is disgraceful. By living that lie, health is denied, and we damage ourselves farther. 

The internalized stigma is often far worse than the actual discrimination or consequences of accepting a mental illness as part of one's overall health condition. 

We don't have to feel this way. We don't have to feel less than. 


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Giveaway! Good Reads Giveaway! Giveaway!

Today through Wednesday, May 24 
GoodReads Giveaway is underway. 

Because it is Mental Health Month. 
Because I love readers.
Because stories matter. 

THREE! will WIN a signed copy of 
"Stress Fracture: A Memoir of Psychosis." 

Enter here!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Word on Wednesday: Patient

A Patient

Bounced by forces not within;
Left bobbing atop the surface,
Or, dragged mercilessly, gurgling for air.

Patient's first synonym is INVALID. 
This can be interpreted to mean not valid or a person who is not capable. 
Patient's primary synonym is derived from the Latin "invalidus" meaning weak. 

Indeed, the weakness of requiring medical intervention is tangible, frightening. 
Yet, at the same time, becoming a patient is a source of HOPE.  
This is true for mental illness, physical illness, and injury. 
Resting and requesting assistance is a path to recovery.

People with symptoms of mental illness are often reluctant to seek treatment, to accept a diagnosis, and to commit to ongoing therapy. 

However, a patient can just mean a person who is under medical care. In fact, the association of patient as a sufferer or victim is archaic. A patient is just a person undergoing some action. For change to occur, action is needed. Improving health is no exception. A patient can be active while being respectful. A patient can be cooperative to improve outcomes. 

When patient is used as an adjective it is the characterization of a desirable quality. A patient person bears hardship with fortitude and calm and without complaint. With patience one can quietly and steadily persevere.

As one becomes a patient with mental illness and faces the problems associated with unmanageable illness, a dose of patience will go a long way. Often, health improvements are achieved through a series of trial and error. Healing requires time.

As Mental Health Month continues, I bring attention to the concept of becoming a patient patient. Healing does not occur quickly. There are not short cuts. Making a step toward change is a start. Stay the course, patiently.