The Stigma of Mental Illness
By Maggie Christian
I am new to studying and understanding Bipolar Disorder and I am only beginning to get a grasp on its complexities but I would say having grown up in a household where CRAZY was more the norm you cannot help but be effected by your environment. There have been studies done that show if a history of Bipolar Disorder exists in a families genetics the likelihood of it recurring through family genes shows a high probability. I am a lay person so I would not feel qualified to speak on the record but I regularly see a psychotherapist and a psychiatrist and have learned a great deal through my studies of psychology and my quest for self awareness through psychoanalysis. I posted in two earlier posts about Bipolar Disorder in order to hopefully bring it out of the shadows and to alleviate the stigma around this psychiatric diagnosis and for any other mental illness. Far too many people have no understanding of what having a mental illness means and belittle the persons who are going through the experience of any psychiatric diagnosis. I do not think anyone can really tell you what is “normal” and what is “nuts” and what are just the eccentricities of life. There needs to be more education about mental illness to expose the public in general to its realities and not the fantasies expressed in the creative media of film, television and literature. It should be taught in our schools and the stigma should be lifted for those who are suffering in their lives with any form or diagnosis of a mental illness. Society needs to learn empathy and show some compassion and to not judge what they do not understand. Many would be quite surprised to know who are some of the most famous artists, writers, poets, composers and musicians, and other famous people who have contributed to the development of our cultures and societies who have the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder aka Manic Depression. I’ll save that for another post.