The stigma of having a mental disorder

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Do you have or know of someone who has a mental disorder? If yes to either one or both, what are the challenges do you or that person face?

When a person is said to have a mental disorder or is diagnosed with it, it means that their mind is not functioning properly. There are a lot of mental disorders, a few examples are obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder.

A sufferer of a mental disorder will have many delusions; below is an example.
A sufferer of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) may believe that something bad is going to happen to someone they love and that the only way to prevent this from happening is to open and close their front door three (3) times.
To a not mentally sick person, this may sound crazy and they might also think that that person is a wacko.

What else can you deduce from that example? It is also obvious that that mentally ill person shows love towards their loved one. What exactly do I mean? They obviously love their loved one and doesn't want anything bad to happen to that person, so they are trying to save that person! It's like a loved one is drowning and you know that you can save them so you try. The only difference is that the latter is logical whereas the other isn't. So basically, that sick person needs help to see that!

Victims of mental disorders can suffer a lot. It can be very challenging to live with, it's hard talking about it and going through treatment and, it's difficult to deal with stigma from others. Some persons who are mental disorder free doesn't know what it's like and so they tend:
- to judge them,
- be mean to them,
- call them names,
- make jokes about them, and the list can go on.
They are also excluded from social situations and their parents are sometimes called names, just for having a mentally ill child.
Some would tell them to snap out of it but, they can't.

Some questions that a mentally ill person might have are:

Question #1: Should I tell someone?
Some avoid telling others because they are afraid of how others would react. For example, they wonder if they would laugh or if they would be accepted in society. They have to choose wisely as to who they should tell. In my opinion, they should at least tell someone and seek help.

Question #2: Many or only a few persons?
Again, in my opinion, this depends on the person that has the mental disorder. If telling many is going to cause stress and this will make them relapse or make their illness worse, then they shouldn't. They have to do what's best for them and on the other hand, if it will help, then they should. If many know then this could help other suffers also.

If I have a mental disorder, then I would choose to tell close family members first. They must know that people might say things. Some might have compassion for them and try to help and some might verbally attack them. So suffers from mental disorder need to take a stand and protect them self.

Question #3: Should I keep in regular contact with family and friends when I'm undergoing treatment?
If family and friends cannot understand and continue to insult and yell at them etc., then this can interfere with their progress and have negative consequences on their health. Their physician can, hopefully explain their condition to the family and friends, and if they still can't understand, then they should make little or no contact with their sick loved one.

Question #4: What if my physician is not kind to me?
Then they should find another one that is kind.

There are lots of consequences that can result from the stigma of having a mental disorder as stated above. An additional one is the mentally ill person can try to commit suicide. They can develop these suicidal thoughts due to stigma, but they should find ways to cope with it. A mentally ill person should find a friend or someone who they can rely on for moral support and comfort. He/she should also reach out to others who were diagnosed with a mental disorder and they can both help each other.

Suffers of mental disorders should know that they are not alone and that there are people out there who would accept, care and love them.


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