Be who you are and break down stigma. Read More
Thank you for this post! I myself have three mental health diagnoses and then also a hand full of physical diagnoses. Although I do not like to stigmatize myself, I often will fail to mention the mental health diagnoses just because I don't want to go through the experiences you cite encountering. It's not worth it. It's not because I don't want to share them or I want to hide them, it's because that particular day I don't feel like dealing with the blank stare. The C word also gets very old. I will usually play along saying, "Yep! I'm very crazy, but at least I'm medicated. You aren't." The reality is, I've noticed, that often times the people who are nervously calling you crazy probably need medication themselves and are not accepting that fact yet. Mental illnesses are very, very real. They physically impact your body and your brain. If my behavior causes you to call me "crazy" that is fine with me as long as you don't forget to call me "creative" and all of the other awesome things that go along with being who I am.
The "c" world is pejorative and frankly unhelpful. Everyone has idiosyncrasies. We all need to be more aware of how unique we are as human beings. Thank you for being brave and sharing the fact that you deal with these issues as well.
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Sarah Fader is a mental illness advocate and mother of two living with panic disorder in New York City.
When and how should we open up to loved ones?