The word, “Crazy” is thrown around quite a bit in our American society.
Hollywood movies depict depraved serial killers with a perceived mental illness, murdering scores of innocent (Typically neurotypical protagonists)
The entertainment industry seems to have quite a hold on many different labels of people, and people living with mental illness are not disqualified from that.
For instance, I was diagnosed with mental illness back in 2004 and it changed my life for the worst. I lack energy, I get depressed, I have trouble finding and keeping work, and the majority of my time goes into writing and keeping up with mental health appointments. But back to the point, I have never even hit anyone in my life, and I know scores of others living with mental illness who are the most compassionate people I’ve ever met. Hollywood has a way of playing on ignorance, and judging by comments left about films like these, our culture is very ignorant about mental health/mental illness.
The stigma associated with mental illness, in my view, can be as damaging as the illness itself.
“Depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected.” – World Health Organization (1)
Stigma is like a witch hunt aimed at the less vulnerable person(s) of our society. Stigma, as been has reported, is one of the major reasons that people who are having mental health problems do not reach out.
“A substantial body of research has shown that there is a negative relationship between stigma and help-seeking”. – The National Center for Biotechnology Information (2)
People are afraid they will be looked at differently, oddly, less than, a monster. And where do they get these ideas? They get them from Hollywood and the entertainment industry of course.
Now back to my personal story.
I was arrested and hospitalized four different times before I was diagnosed and put on medication.
This, of course, was all very traumatic. I also lost my home during this time. It was one of the worst times in my life and I’m still learning how to cope with what happened.
I was resistant at first to medications and mental health treatment, simply because both of my parents have a documented mental illness. I saw, what I didn’t know was stigma, during living with them. I, like so many others, was afraid of reaching out due to backlash and stigma.
I eventually went through many pieces of training and groups and found my place back into society and reality itself. The stigma associated with mental illness, from personal, interpersonal, and research-based study, confirms for me, that stigma needs to be combated at every turn, lest we forget who we truly are in place of a label or a Hollywood cardboard cut-out of something that is more than demeaning, but dehumanizing.
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