STIGMA – And Mental Illness

What is stigma?

When someone appears to be different than us, we may view him or her in a negative stereotyped manner.  People who have identities that society values negatively are said to be stigmatized.

Stigma is a reality for people with a mental illness, and they report that how others judge them is one of their greatest barriers to a complete and satisfying life.  Society feels uncomfortable about mental illness. It is not seen like other illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.

Due to inaccuracies and misunderstandings, people have been led to believe that an individual with a mental illness has a weak character or is inevitably dangerous.  Mental illness can be called the invisible illness.  Often, the only way to know whether someone has been diagnosed with a mental illness is if they tell you.  The majority of the public is unaware of how many mentally ill people they know and encounter every day.  One in five people will experience a mental illness at some point in his or her lifetime and mental illness affects people of all ages, in all kinds of jobs and at all educational levels.

Why does stigma surround mental illness?

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Welcome – Glad you could join me

This site Living In Stigma is dedicated to those individuals living with mental illness, affecting them most deeply along with their spouses, family and friends.

Many forms of mental illness take their shape in Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia and other disorders including Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia just to name a few.  A major note is that mental illness is neither one’s fault nor a character flaw, however, we unfortunately  live in a society laced with Stigma.

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UNDERSTANDING MENTAL ILLNESS

This may be of assistance as you journey through my blog…

DEPRESSION

Problems and misfortunes are a part of life. Everyone experiences unhappiness, and many people may become depressed temporarily when things don’t go as they would like. Experiences of failure commonly result in temporary feelings of worthlessness and self-blame, while personal losses cause feelings of sadness, disappointment and emptiness. Such feelings are normal, and they usually pass after a short time. This is not the case with depressive illness.

What are the signs of depressive illness?

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ART JOURNALS

An art journal is basically a diary.  Anyone can make an art journal.  The only difference is how you use it. You can use it like a diary every day, like a journey book of your life, things that happened to you, or just do sketches of interesting or memorable moments from your day or week.

I have been journaling most of my life, however never came across Art Journaling before.

Pinterest.com is jam-packed with ideas, and once I went searching for one thing I ended up landing on someone’s board entitled “Art Journals”.   This fascinated me.   I haven’t worked on any kind of crafts for years, lost interest and never picked it up again, yet this seemed intriguing and I loved the affirmations and quotes that were scripted on some of the pages.  So I began, and I am hooked and I love it!

You DON’T have to be an artist, and you DON’T need to be a crafty person, and it ISN’T costly.  Roughly, 90% of my supplies I find at Dollar stores or Walmart.

It really relieves the anxiety and frustrations at times; three or four hours go by and I feel a little better, sort of a soothing tactic instead of medication.

Just keep in mind, this is YOUR JOURNAL, so if you draw, paint, paste, color, write or create whatever ~~ it’s yours.  You may choose to share it or keep it personal.

These are just a few of my art journal pages:

DSC_0072DSC_0071DSC_0070DSC_0069DSC_0068DSC_0067DSC_0066DSC_0064DSC_0063

Supplies that I started off with:

  • Watercolor paint, paint brushes
  • Colored pencils, plain lead pencils, eraser, ruler
  • Felt tip markers and fine tip marker
  • Scissors, glue sticks
  • Cotton balls (I found these to apply the paint to the pages easier than the brushes)
  • Spare paper (to use between pages when painting, or applying glue or just to prevent spills etc etc)
  • Index dividers – used for stencils or cut-outs
  • Stack pads – they come in different colors and pretty prints
  • The actual journal I found was a hard cover, spiral bound at the Dollar store.  Mine was only $3.00 and covered it with sticky paper, otherwise the craft store wanted $15.00.

Hope you enjoy too!

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Deciding to leave the eating disorder programme was the correct decision, and at the time I felt optimistic, however things have gone a tad sour.  I haven’t been on my blog much, for this has been the reason.

Motivated at first, feeling strength that I had made some sort of dent in my recovery of disordered eating, yet it didn’t take long, a setback, the black clouds of depression recurring.  I’m delighted it’s close to summer and the outdoors, though most days I find myself watching from the inside.

I had a session with my therapist a few days ago; I hadn’t seen her since the beginning of the ED programme.  I appeared so positive in that session, perhaps too positive or phoney as I didn’t want to show the failure of the incompletion of the 12 weeks of treatment, and now gradually heading into another depression.

A few things I did take away from treatment were soothing measures for anxiety though, for which I will explain in an upcoming post.

~~ Deb

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EATING DISORDERS: ENDING THE PROGRAMME

I gave it my all, however, I ‘threw in the towel’ so to speak at the 4th week point of the 12 week Day Eating Disorder Treatment Programme.  It was demanding and rough on this old gal, a true commitment and not for the weak.

The programme is extremely structured, and 100% meal completion is compulsory, no if’s, and’s or buts, and that was part of my struggle.  Also, guidelines/rules for inpatients were strict and it was so tough being away from my home, and a personal emergency arose, and well, it just wasn’t to be.

I wouldn’t say the programme was futile, I truly think the time wasn’t right or perhaps I wasn’t ready for the programme.  It entailed oodles of therapy, DBT, CBT, individual and nutrition groups etc.  And, all was not negative, I engaged in crafts, an interest I had tossed aside years ago that now has me engrossed again, and socializing instead of isolation; which is what people with eating disorders do best ~ isolate themselves.

For now, I’m returning to my passion….writing, and posting to my blog again.  I’m back.

~~~ Deb

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Anorexia: Day Treatment

 

As you’ve perhaps noticed, I haven’t posted much on my blog lately.   The Eating Disorder Program is consuming most of my time and the next step is the Day Treatment Program entailing an intense 12 weeks as I really begin my recovery from this ED crap.  I have decided to go the inpatient route and move in next week, so my blog will be on “suspend” for awhile.   They do have computer access, however, posting from somewhere other than home I may find difficult but will still be able to keep in contact.  Till then…

 

~~Deb

 

 

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Liebster Blog Award

 

Wow, this sure put a smile on my face this week; I was nominated by 2 fellow bloggers for the Liebster Award.  The first fellow blogger is “Headlong Running Betty” (http://headlongrunningbetty.wordpress.com/), who has just been a marvelous support with my eating disorder, and “Life and PTSD” (http://lifeandptsd.wordpress.com/), who struggles with PTSD and her articles are close to my heart.  I have decided to combine the two into one post.

The Liebster Award is a fantastic idea to allow bloggers to discover other bloggers that you personally love, and perhaps new bloggers that you were unaware of.  As “Running Betty” says: “it’s a very simple and generous pay-it-forward concept.

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