Welcome – Glad you could join me

This site “Living in Stigma” is dedicated to all of us struggling with mental illness, including our spouses, family and friends who are also affected.

Many forms of mental illness comprise of DepressionBipolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, PTSD, Eating Disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and many more.

Mental illness is neither one’s weakness nor a character flaw, however, we regrettably live in a society laced with Stigma.


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.

Continue reading “STIGMA – And Mental Illness”


Living in Stigma has a Newspaper!!!!

image: http://www.dreamstime.com

My very first edition of “The Living in Stigma Daily“!

I subscribe to many Paper.li newspapers (via Twitter) for topics that interest me on mental health, PTSD, therapy, mental illness, migraines, narcissism etc, and was always interested in how it’s created, perhaps launching one myself.

Please subscribe including your e-mail address for more fantastic news daily!!

Thanks for your support always,


.image: about.com

Panic attacks can occur at any time of the day or night and can even awaken you from sleep.  However, nighttime (nocturnal) panic attacks are less common than daytime panic attacks.

Nocturnal panic attacks are characterized by an abrupt waking from sleep in a state of panic with no obvious trigger.  During a panic attack, you may experience sweating, rapid heart rate, trembling, shortness of breath and hyperventilating, flushing or chills, and a sense of impending doom.  These signs and symptoms often mimic those of a heart attack or other serious medical condition.  Although nocturnal panic attacks usually last less than 10 minutes, it may take much longer to calm down after such an episode.

Researchers aren’t sure what causes panic attacks.  Heredity, stress, and certain biochemical factors may play a role. Your chance of having panic attacks increases if you have a close family member who has had them.

Most people who have panic attacks at night also have them during the day.  Between 44 percent and 71 percent of people with panic disorder have had at least one episode of nocturnal panic.

It is important to have a complete physical examination to determine whether a medical condition other than panic attacks is the cause of your signs and symptoms.  This may include a sleep assessment to rule out an underlying sleep disorder.

Although nocturnal panic attacks can be extremely disconcerting, the good news is that there is effective treatment — including cognitive behavior therapy and anti-anxiety medications — that can alleviate or eliminate these episodes for most people.

Source of information:  MayoClinic.com

Do You Harbor Resentment?

Do you harbor some resentment?  I hate to confess I do; feeling embarrassed with a character flaw such as this, it becomes awkward to discuss.

Resentment, or the strong and painful bitterness you feel when someone does something wrong to you, doesn’t have actual physical weight, but it feels very heavy and can last a long time. Forgiveness is one way to get rid of resentment.  — Source: Vocabulary.com

Resentment can occur under any circumstances although some people’s resentments are deep-rooted, but the best example for me involved a work situation.

I recollect years ago, another woman and I were up for a similar promotion.  We weren’t chummy friends; so that didn’t enter the picture, however, we did work in the same department.  Both of us shared equal qualifications, and employed there longer than her, I assumed I would get the position hands down.  Well guess what – I didn’t.  You know that reaction when they ultimately drop the bomb, you politely smile yet you are seething inside ready to secretly attack the winner! In retrospect, I was so cheesed off at myself for sitting there meekly accepting my loss and must have had the word “resentment” written on my forehead.

Continue reading “Do You Harbor Resentment?”

The Cost of Loving Him

Learning to Soar: Recovering from Domestic Abuse

My body and my mind bear witness to the abuse I suffered, marred as they are by both Never be ashamed of a scar visible and invisible scars.

I used to avoid looking in mirrors because I couldn’t bear to see my disfiguring scars.

I felt ugly, and that people could look at me and know exactly what I’d been through.  Never had I felt so exposed, so vulnerable.

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You know You

Image: What is your spiritual gift? by Josephine Mayfield

 YOU know you are strong inside despite what mental illness has dealt you.

 YOU know you are doing the best that you can, with what life has handed you.

 YOU can pat yourself on the back right now, for a job well done.  Mastering and surviving each day with mental illness, in my eyes, is a full-time job.

 Only YOU will know when it’s time to return to the working world; if that is your goal.  It’s alright to be coached and nudged, but you are really the best judge.

 Only YOU know the blackness felt during depression – how the pitch black mud swallows you up and is unforgiving.

 Maybe YOU don’t know how very precious you are, and that you didn’t ask for this illness, and you didn’t choose to be ill, and that mental illness is not a character flaw.

 YOU are not going to change society’s thinking and attitudes on mental illness.  There will always be stigma, but YOU know YOU, and that is all that is important.

Written by: ME (Deb)

Should I Tell My Boss About My Depression?

For nine years I struggled with depression, resulting in repeated hospitalizations, and scraping by on disability.  Life was bleak and meaningless, but long story short, I recovered enough to return to the workplace.

At work, still battling depression every so often, I managed to hang onto my position for six years without divulging my secret: mental illness.  There is stigma in the workplace and taking a risk to discuss my depression, unquestionably would have cost me my job in the end, and so, I kept my trap shut.

Continue reading “Should I Tell My Boss About My Depression?”

The Warrior Awakens

Be a Voice, Not an Echo

It was another emotionally volatile evening again. He had been out drinking, which gave me a few hours of respite from the verbal and psychological onslaughts. On his return, he continued his verbal atirade, determined to wear me down so I would finally crack into psychosis.

I removed myself from the room and went in the kitchen where he followed me, to continue. He took the long chopping knife and held the blade pointing it, against his heart, pleading with me to push it. Begging me to help him end his misery. Telling me how much he hates himself. Saying he needed a soul transplant. Asking me to tell him how much I hate him. Manipulating me to spark his internal rage. Every question was loaded with venom, baiting me to bite the forbidden fruit.

I stayed in therapist mode. It helped to ground me and maintain my self control. I…

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Do You Hear Me

Black and Write

Do you hear me?

I speak in whispers only to you,

Not out of fear, but out of love.

Do not push away this tender heart.

It longs for nothing but you

And your passionate embrace.

Am I dreaming,

Believing that this can be real

In the face of your rebuke?

I remain eternally hopeful

Offering you my hand and my heart

Until the day that I die.

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

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Ten Tips For People Who Second-Guess Themselves

Oldest psychology joke in the book:

Two psychiatrists pass in the hall. The first says, “Hello.”
The other thinks, “I wonder what he meant by that.”

A variation:

Two people pass in the hall. One says hello and then thinks, “I wonder what I meant by that.”

 If you self-psychologize, you’re not alone. Still, you may have noticed that not everyone does. Here are some tips for us self-psychologizing second-guessers:

Continue reading “Ten Tips For People Who Second-Guess Themselves”

No contact and feeling guilty

my child within

I must admit on here that I feel guilty not speaking to my father, even though he isnt speaking to me for ridiculous reasons.  I feel guilty as I was programmed to feel guilty when I was child. I don’t know how to not feel guilty. It is still so ingrained in me but I am working on it.

He chose his money over his own flesh and blood. It still hurts.What I know now however, is that it doesnt really matter anymore what he does or doesn’t do. I still love him and always will. He is my Dad. I will not let him hurt me anymore though. I have already decided I am sticking to ‘no contact’ even if one day he does try to speak to me. 

I am still grieving my loss after his suicide attempt and it’s a hurt that can’t be put…

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Unloved Daughters and Friendship Problems

image: QuoteForest

While reading this article below, I immediately thought of myself and the difficulties I’ve experienced throughout my life with friends.  For me, I believe it’s been a huge trust issue and becoming over-sensitive during many of my friendships.  At times, due to a phone call or an e-mail not being returned, I interpreted this as my mother disregarding me when I was younger, and now friends not giving a hoot about me either.  Many other traumatic instances during my childhood came into play, thus losing many friendships.

This article on PsychCentral.com written by 

While rarely mentioned, one common legacy of an unloving mother is the daughter’s diminished ability or total inability to form close and sustaining friendships. This is a significant loss since friendship plays an important role in many women’s lives: our girlfriends are often the people we turn to in times of joy and trouble, when we need company or support, or we just need someone to truly listen. Unloved daughters often have trouble forging these bonds or maintaining them; the emotional isolation they felt in childhood is often replicated in adulthood when they find themselves with few or no girlfriends, or women they can actually trust.

Why is that? Our mothers are the first females we know in close proximity and we learn, for better or worse, not just what it means to be female but how females connect and relate. As children, we absorb the lessons our mothers model through their behaviors, accepting them as normal—we have nothing to compare them to, after all—and these become the unconscious templates for how we believe women act and relate in the outside world. Even though we’re unaware of them and their influence, we carry these scripts when we go out into the world as children, adolescents, and adults, and make friends with other girls and, later, women.

As the daughter of a jealous and withholding mother, I was cautious and wary as a girl when it came to friendships, especially in adolescence. Looking back, it’s clear that I viewed all girls as potential competitors who, if I let them, would somehow get the upper hand and hurt me. Another women, now in her fifties, confides that “My own neediness and insecurity trip me up with friends. I always end up, somehow, being the pleaser with other women. I give 100% and they give 10% and I end up feeling used.”
Joan Crawford and adopted daughter, Christina, wearing matching outfits in 1943

The internalized voice of the mother—telling you that you are unlovable, unlikeable, unworthy, inadequate—can become especially shrill when you’re in the company of other women, whether they are neighbors, colleagues, acquaintances or even girlfriends you actually long to be close to.

Gleaned from many conversations, here are four pieces of the maternal legacy that directly affect female friendships.

  1. Lack of trust

A loving and attuned mother models a world in which people are trustworthy and that extending yourself—leaving yourself open and vulnerable to another person—has great benefits. The unloved daughter learns the opposite and, even worse because her mother never acknowledges her behaviors, the daughter not only distrusts other people but her own perceptions and feelings. In friendships, she may be dismissive or wary or in need of constant reassurance and proof that her friend is really on her side. Either way, how she acts—even though she may want and need the friendship desperately—effectively sabotages it.

  1. Unable to heed boundaries

Absent the validation of self a loving mother provides, unloved daughters have difficulty recognizing what constitutes a healthy boundary; they may vacillate between being overly armored and being much too clingy. While this is partly a result of the daughter’s lack of trust, it also reflects her ongoing unfulfilled need for love and validation. “I think I exhausted my friendships when I was in my twenties and thirties,” one daughter, 48, reported. “It took me a long time to recognize that my friends needed space and that, sometimes, my constant demands for their attention were too much. Therapy helped me see that all I was doing was focusing on my needs without understanding the give-and-take friendship requires.”

  1. Over-sensitivity

All unloved daughters have trouble managing negative emotions—they have difficulty self-regulating and are prone to rumination—and, if their mothers have been dismissive, combative, or hypercritical, are always vigilant and self-protective. A friend’s comment or gesture that wouldn’t even appear on a securely-attached daughter’s radar can be totally misunderstood and blown out of proportion by an insecurely-attached one. These can be small things—an unreturned phone call, a late invitation, an offhand remark—that become triggers and flashpoints.

  1. Feelings of rivalry
Unfortunately, the unloved daughter’s lack of trust, difficulty with boundaries, and over-sensitivity may be compounded by feelings of rivalry, especially if her mother has been jealous of her or if there was another favored daughter with whom she competed unsuccessfully for her mother’s approval and attention. While unloved daughters who are only children tend to idealize the relationship of sisters—think Little Women—the reality is much more complicated. As Deborah Tannen writes in her book You Were Always Mom’s Favorite: “These two views [of sisters]—someone who sets you straight and someone who twists your words so they boomerang back and hurt you—represent the potential best and worst of sister conversations.”

It’s often hard for the unloved daughter to acknowledge her feelings of competition because the culture tends to look away from or minimize rivalry between and among women. Thinking about sisterhood is so much more pleasant, even though the word frenemy has been around since the 1950s when it was coined to describe politics, not rival girlfriends.  Susan Barash Shapiro’s book Tripping the Prom Queen paints a more realistic picture of the complexity of female connections.

Alas, the loneliness of childhood may be unwittingly extended into adulthood unless conscious awareness is brought to bear on a daughter’s reactivity

Source: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/knotted/2016/02/unloved-daughters-and-the-problem-of-friendship/

Blister Packs for Medications

As far as medication goes, remembering to take the required doses morning, noon or bedtime was causing chaos.  I would forget to take this med or that med, refilling prescriptions in time, and each med had it’s own pill bottle. Filling that 7-day plastic organizer every week was a pain in the neck.

My doctor suggested a Blister Pack – pure bliss!  My pharmacy fills them bi-weekly without a fee, and he calls the doctor for refills (saving me a trip to the doctor), I pick them up, all sorted, neat and tidy.  I still have to remember to take them!

Image source: google.ca
More on blister pack usage @

Mothers as Sociopaths

Sociopath Dangers

Scared girl Photo by LMAP

What do you do when a parent has no moral compass, is deceitful, lacks remorse for wrongdoing, and lies constantly? What happens to the children? This is the challenge when a parent is also a Sociopath.

As a general rule, Sociopaths are sneaky, dishonest, and manipulative. Their lives and motives center around themselves. The do not have spouses and children, they have victims and objects they use to forward their own goals and desires. Despite the popularization of Sociopaths in entertainment media as criminals, it is important to realize that not all Sociopaths necessarily break the law. Although, they may be guilty of charges of neglect, fraud, and perjury.

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Are you a Narcissist?

I came across this article “How to tell if social media has turned you into a diagnosable narcissist” on Elle.com.

Are you a narcissist?  A quote from the article had me smile:

True narcissists do not spend a lot of time wondering whether they are narcissists.”

See full article @





The heat of Summer, deadly, hot, humidity,

What circumstances brought him here.

He battles the elements, seasos of four,

A meal this morning, fighting for more.

Rain or shine, through the Winter nights,

He seeks shelter, he sits in the park.

His life is lived day by day, no place to stay,

Under the stars is his view of the night.

On his own and what can this man call home,

Wherever he roams and stops is all he can claim.

He sits in the dark, he sits in the park,

At mornings light, beyond what is night.

He’s no less than what you see, who is he,

A man with no plan, living in this land.

Keith Garrett

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Never take an abusive or ‘Narcissistic’ person to counseling with you

image: lovefraud.com

Another noteworthy article from Flying Monkey’s Denied.com , discussing narcissism and therapy. This would have been a farce having my narcissistic mother attend a therapy session with me, I can only imagine how far we would get before she marched out of the room in a huff, accusing me of “picking on her”,  boohooing, and obviously denying everything.

If you suspect that a person you are dealing with has a Cluster B personality disorder like Anti-Social Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, or any form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it is crucial to downplay your interest in working with a counselor, mentor, or spiritual adviser. It’s even more important to keep them out (yes, we said out) of your therapy sessions.


Because toxic people with Cluster B symptomatically will use your candid admissions against you without hesitation or mercy. Trying to make intellectual headway with one or fleeing a persistent stalker is very much so like striving to reason with and show compassion for a robotic Terminator.

Continue reading “Never take an abusive or ‘Narcissistic’ person to counseling with you”

Steps to Emotional Recovery

Silver Girl

Don't cry

“Pain (any pain–emotional, physical, mental) has a message. The information it has about our life can be remarkably specific, but it usually falls into one of two categories: “We would be more alive if we did more of this,” and, “Life would be more lovely if we did less of that.” Once we get the pain’s message, and follow its advice, the pain goes away.” ~ Peter McWilliams

Have you noticed how afraid we all are of feeling any emotional pain? And how we would do anything in our power to avoid it? Nobody wants it. We all try to get rid of it. We all try to hide and run away from it, and the irony is that the more we try to reject and resist it, the more intense it gets and the longer it stays with us.

Its ok to feel

Allowing emotions is healthy~ working through emotions is love of self~ soul~O

We all have our ups and downs. We all experience emotional…

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