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”


Psychopath Resistance


Triangulation is a fun game for the narcopath and an effective “divide and conquer” technique. It rewards with a satisfying sense of being smarter than and superior to others, especially the unwitting targets playing the parts they have been assigned. Stirring up animosity between others is also used to rally supporters and to divert attention away from the devious scheming the narcopath is engaged in.

Triangulation is used in all social contexts, including the workplace and among interest groups and friends. Abusers discover their manipulative abilities in childhood and refine these conniving skills over a lifetime. It is virtually impossible to catch them in the act.

via Red Flag of a Narcissist #25: Triangulation | Narcissist Support.

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Mental illness is surrounded by a glut of half-truths and untruths. If you tell someone that you’ve been diagnosed with, for example, bipolar disorder, they are likely to roll their eyes and say, “I don’t believe it – you don’t look mentally ill…?”

Continue reading “CAN YOU TELL?”

Disassociation and trauma survival

Be a Voice, Not an Echo

Dissociation during violence is a common psychological defence strategy which is activated, for the safety of the victim during distress.

Dissociation can become a primary defence mechanism if you grew up in a dysfunctional, abusive, addictive, or violent home. A child is easily overwhelmed and can check out or dissociate, which helps them to cope with the psychological and emotional overload they are experiencing. This ability to disassociate during conflict as a child, can be a pre-determined conditioning factor, for women and men, who then go on to be abused domestically. Basically, the childhood environment created the foundation for living with, and acceptance of, violence.

Disassociation is similar to amnesia in that is affects the memory. However, unlike amnesia, dissociation is where the person involved is awake but not fully aware. It is similar to daydreaming, where mentally, your not engaged with the environment or what is actually happening. An…

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9 Things only you will understand living with Chronic Pain

Wow, I identify with all nine of these with my chronic migraines

As many as a third of Americans suffer from chronic pain—a full third! If you’re one of those people for whom low back pain, headaches, arthritis, or one of a long list of other conditions make your daily life a struggle, these nine experiences probably ring way too true.

http://www.prevention.com/health/symptoms-chronic-pain  provides details.

Finally, a clearer understanding of Narcissism & how it relates to CPTSD


This gentleman has a series of excellent and informative videos on YouTube explaining various Narcissism and Complex PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) traits. Source: (https://youtu.be/L6l59nEn2ZY)

Trauma Therapy ~ 4 Important Things to Look For

To heal from trauma means finally dealing with the source of the trauma, whether it’s childhood abuse or neglect, combat experiences, or a natural disaster or a violent assault. How can this be done, however, when trauma provokes such negative and overwhelming feelings – feelings that most try hard to keep safely buried?

Therapy can be a vital step, helping the person feel safe enough to revisit their trauma without being retraumatized in the process. Getting the right support is key, however. Not only is it important to connect with a therapist well-versed in effective therapeutic approaches, it’s also vital to seek out a person with whom you feel a personal connection.

Multiple studies confirm that a person who feels good about their relationship with their therapist is more likely to have a positive outcome. A recent study from Bowling Green State University researchers takes the concept a step further, noting that a deep connection between a therapist and patient can lead to “sacred moments” that increase well-being on both sides.

With that in mind, here are four things to look for to make your therapeutic experience most effective:

Knowledge. Your therapist should, of course, be up to date on treatment options – techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches new ways of thinking of old experiences; neurofeedback, which can help rewire the brain to overcome trauma-induced changes; equine therapy, which can be a helpful supplement for those who find it hard to trust human connections; and EMDR, which can help with the process of moving beyond the past.

Continue reading “Trauma Therapy ~ 4 Important Things to Look For”

Today’s Feelings

Silver Girl

Calmer. I don’t need to be so strong anymore.

& im floating in the most peculiar way / art / illustration / oniric:

Feeling tired, vulnerable. Tired of battling. Letting go. Letting go of my need to control. Letting go of my rigidity. Accepting, softening. I don’t have to be so strong anymore.

 I don’t really understand the illustration but it feels like how I feel.

I need to stop fighting, I need to float.

SG x

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Peaceful Healing of Water


wharton lake pretty

Standing close to the shimmering lake

The ripples in the water have a calming effect

I feel the gentle motion of the water 

Sending flowing energies into me

Filling my mind with calmness

Creating a clarity in the midst of the brain fog

wharton lake ripples

*Photo taken at Wharton Lake in New Jersey on my cell phone camera

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Maya Angelou wrote incredible poetry. But here are 9 things you might not know


In a 2009 interview with Maya Angelou, Guardian writer Gary Younge summed up the American poet’s incredible biography in a perfect way:

To know her life story is to simultaneously wonder what on earth you have been doing with your own life and feel glad that you didn’t have to go through half the things she has. Before she hit 40 she had been a professional dancer, prostitute, madam, lecturer, activist, singer, and editor. She had lived in Ghana and Egypt, toured Europe with a dance troupe and settled in pretty much every region of the United States.”

Pretty impressive—but that’s just the Cliff’s Notes version.

The more I learn about Angelou, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 86, the more blown away I am by her intellect, strength, and sense of humor. I also totally get why the media doesn’t always tell her whole story: It took Angelou seven full-length autobiographies to get through the whole yarn.

Here are nine facts about the poet that are often cut from media and teaching materials in the interest of saving time — but that prove what a phenomenal human being she really was:

1. She became the first black female streetcar driver in San Francisco…

…when she was 14 years old.

2. She created a 10-part documentary about the influence of African-American culture on the broader American cultural landscape.

Continue reading “Maya Angelou wrote incredible poetry. But here are 9 things you might not know”

My Interview: Views on Stigma, Depression & PTSD

image: niume.com

Nuime.com is a blogging platform which contains postings I selected from this blog, as well as, personal articles that I have written over the years with a mixture of other topics.

I was delighted when chosen “Niumer of the Week” and the opportunity to be interviewed.  Here’s how it went:

Depression and mental illness affect many people all over the world, but despite its prevalence, it is still met with stigma, silence and even scepticism. There is still a notion many hold, that people who claim to be depressed are ‘making it up’, ‘seeking attention’ or just ‘feel sad’ and will get over it in time.

But the question still remains, why do we shy away from this topic and what do people who suffer from mental illness go through on a day to day basis?

Niumer Of The Week, Deb from Living in Stigma, bravely gives us her thoughts and explains what we can do to understand this issue better.

1) How did you discover Niume and why did you decide to use it over other blogging platforms?

Niume approached me via Twitter, so I checked your site out and was impressed by the layout and features offered. I have ‘signed up’ with other blogging platforms but my posts were not acquiring much exposure and others didn’t have well-defined spheres to post in. It became frustrating and I soon left.

2) Which of the others spheres do you enjoy browsing through?

I browse through most of the spheres, however, my favourites are Literature, Interesting, Humour, Lifestyle, Photography, Music and Art.

3) What are some of the biggest misconceptions about depression and mental health?

One word – Stigma. Mental illness is not a choice; it’s an illness. Who would choose to have an illness, and be so embarrassed and ashamed of it? This leads to isolation, fear, fake smiles, feeling hopeless, and worthless.

Continue reading “My Interview: Views on Stigma, Depression & PTSD”

Guest Post: There’s Nothing Funny About Being Bipolar

This thought provoking article was written by Rebecca Lombardo author of “It’s Not Your Journey” describing both mental illness stigma and bipolar disorder.

When I have to look at a person and say, “I’m bipolar,” they get a bemused expression on their face as if they’re waiting for the punchline. That’s all there is to it, and believe me, this is not a joke my friend.

I can’t think of many more things as infuriating as someone using a mental illness as an insult. You’re going to hear, “Oh my God! Don’t be so bipolar!” much more than you’re going to get, “Wow, do you have to act so diabetic all the time?”

The truth is that there are many people that are bipolar and have done horrible things. Things like theft, murder, even rape. That does not mean that all of us are capable of such unspeakable acts. Hollywood doesn’t help matters at all. Have you ever been using one of the movie streaming services and caught a glimpse of a film that might be interesting? Sure, many people have. How many times have you clicked on the description of that film and discovered that the lead in the story is a horribly insane person, and you guessed it…bipolar.

Continue reading “Guest Post: There’s Nothing Funny About Being Bipolar”

A ‘NERVOUS BREAKDOWN’? what exactly is that?


When I was first diagnosed with depression my mother-in-law termed my illness as a “bad case of the nerves”.  I always shook my head at that one, and questioned, what does depression have to do with bad nerves; an incredibly old belief or judgment perhaps?

The term “nervous breakdown” is used by the public to characterize a wide range of mental illnesses. Nervous breakdown is not a medical term and doesn’t indicate a specific mental illness. Generally, the term describes a person who is severely and persistently emotionally distraught and unable to function at his or her normal level.

Continue reading “A ‘NERVOUS BREAKDOWN’? what exactly is that?”

Stages of trauma recovery

A very informative post explaining the stages of therapy. Many people entering therapy are cautious or afraid of how this process is going to work, and should they even set foot into the world of remembering painful memories.

When I first started therapy, I was unaware of what I was getting into and it’s been a scary, bumpy ride. However, I don’t know how I would have tackled my sexual and emotional abuse issues any other way, but one cautionary note, please seek out therapy for trauma from an Experienced Trauma Therapist. My first therapist was way over her head attempting to tackle my CPTSD, which ended in disaster.

my child within

“Everyone has a right to have a present and future that are not completely dominated and dictated by the past” – Karen Saakvitne

Information sourced from:    http://trauma-recovery.ca/

Trauma is an injury that happens to us, it does not mean that there is something wrong with us or that we are bad it means something bad happened or was done to us. The resulting feelings you have are very normal.

A common after effect of trauma is to feel emotionally overwhelmed so keeping that in mind we suggest you pay attention to if you begin to feel uncomfortable or overcome by emotion. Go slow, go at an easy pace, take breaks – you are in control of this process.

Trauma recovery is best to be looked upon as a process that is worked on over time and in intentional stages. The re-establishing of safety is the first and most central…

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Watch Out for “Old Friends” Who Connect on Facebook


This article appeared in ChicagoNow.com about Facebook friendship.  I’m cautious with my personal account and only have a few friends, however, FB has paid off for me finding a few people I had been searching for with positive results and rekindled friendships.

In high school, I had a friend that was like a sister to me. Two years older, we were inseparable. We lost contact and haven’t seen one another for over 25 years. Then on Facebook recently, I received a request from her to connect. I had thought of her occasionally and wondered what she had been up to. Excited by the potential of reconnecting and chatting about old times, I immediately accepted her Friend request and sent her a note with my contact information. She quickly responded and it seems we were on our way to a past due reunion.

Since we have connected on Facebook we have been corresponding on this site. It appears that my old friend is in need of help that I can not provide. Why now after all of these years did she reach out to me? And what does she want? Is she in real trouble and contacting her old friends for help? Or is she remembering a time in her life when there was a hopeful future and countless opportunities? Time has a way of limiting these opportunities with every decade that passes us by.

So it got me thinking that when should we help out an old friend from the past with whom we have lost contact with? Is this something we should do or take a pass on? I guess it depends on how close we were to them and how busy we are. But, the friend we knew then is not the same person that they are now. We only know them as they were, not as they are today. If we don’t know much about their life during these many years that have passed and the choices they made, should make ourselves available to them?

Continue reading “Watch Out for “Old Friends” Who Connect on Facebook”

Sarah Silverman Reveals a Decades-Long Struggle with Depression

sarah silverman

Every breath is labored. You are dying.

Sarah Silverman is, as a world-famous comedian, no stranger to laughter. But in a new interview with Glamour, she reveals that she’s had her fair share of darkness, too. Her story is honest, raw, and important.

Silverman’s depression started when she was 13 and was followed by full-blown panic attacks soon after. “People use ‘panic attack’ very casually out here in Los Angeles, but I don’t think most of them really know what it is,” she says. “Every breath is labored. You are dying. You are going to die. It’s terrifying. And then when the attack is over, the depression is still there.”

She went to several therapists; one hanged himself, another overmedicated her, and a third took her off medications and helped her feel “like myself again.” She got worse after college, while she was on staff at Saturday Night Live, and was given a prescription for Klonopin, which prevents panic attacks. “I eventually weaned off Klonopin, but to this day, I have a bottle of seven pills in my backpack that I never touch because just knowing that they’re there is all I need.”

Nowadays, she’s on a small dose of Zoloft and seeks out regular therapy. And she never loses her focus. “I’ve learned that keeping busy is a good thing for me,” she writes. “Like my mom always said, you just have to be brave enough to exist through it.”

Silverman stars in the new indie drama I Smile Back, out October 23, in which she plays a woman with a seemingly perfect life who secretly struggles with mental illness. It’s another way for the star to shine a light on depression—and the fact that it can get better. “The tough times, the days when you’re just a ball on the floor—they’ll pass,” she says. “You’re playing the long game, and life is totally worth it.”

See full interview @ MarieClaire.com

Image:  marieclaire.com

Continue reading “Sarah Silverman Reveals a Decades-Long Struggle with Depression”

Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents


Parents with narcissistic personality disorder never think of their adult children as adults. There is no respect for boundaries or your right to make your own decisions.

While other parents guide their children to become independent adults, narcissistic parents attempt to condition their children to serve their agenda.

Whether you are the golden child or the scapegoat is dependent on a variety of factors. Usually one child is chosen to be the golden child. If they comply with the wishes of the narcissistic parent, then they will probably retain that role. Otherwise they are in danger of being knocked off of the pedestal.

The scapegoat child is often the one that insisted on being authentic and questioned or exposed the methods of the narcissistic parent. Other times the scapegoated child just got that role because there was already a golden child in place.

The narcissistic parent projects the qualities of…

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PTSD ~ “We are Invincible” (Kelly Clarkson) ~ This song is for the Survivors of Abuse

This video had me in tears.  Sometimes I forget I’m a warrior, yet I struggled most of my life hiding a secret and believing it was my fault for the sexual abuse.  I know now that it wasn’t and I finally accepted this and can breathe.

Depression may pass from mothers to daughters

Depression appears to be passed down from mothers to daughters, say researchers who have been looking at similarities in brain structures between generations. The research is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Around 8% of Americans aged 12 years and over are affected by depression. It is commonly found in both mothers and daughters, previous human studies have reported.

Animal studies in the past have shown that when mothers are stressed during pregnancy, this is more likely to be reflected in the brain structure of daughters than of sons, specifically in the corticolimbic system.

The corticolimbic system is used to assess danger, and it is also where emotions are processed and regulated. It includes the hippocampus, amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex and ventromedial prefrontal cortex.

Continue reading “Depression may pass from mothers to daughters”