Just a few thoughts on stigma

21 Mar

{From wikipedia} Social stigma: a severe social disapproval of personal characteristics or beliefs that are against cultural norms.

Sometimes I wonder if other moms would think differently of me if they knew I was living with a Bipolar Disorder diagnosis.

I read a brief article online last night about a woman writer who is Bipolar, but she strongly advises people who have the same condition to not reveal their true identity online for fear of being looked down upon by their employers, discriminated against, and ignored – simply because they are living with a mental illness.

As much as it saddens me to do so, I guess I would have to agree with her. Just makes me so frustrated to read those words, and know that so many people probably think and feel just as she describes.

I also get upset when I see so much – I mean so much – support online for woman who have suffered Postpartum Depression, but not nearly any support for people like me whose moods tend to lean more heavily on the complete opposite end of the happy/sad spectrum. (Please, please don’t get me wrong – I think it is incredible that there are so many resources out there for women dealing with PPD and so many amazing women willing to share their stories in order for others to see the light at the end of the tunnel.)

I guess I’m just a bit sad that A) there isn’t nearly as much awareness for PPP than there is for PPD and B) there is such a negative connotation about the diagnosis “bipolar disorder” in general. Makes me really scared to ever reveal myself to anyone other than my family and my closest friends.

One of the biggest things I’ve been turning over and over in my head lately is that I didn’t ask to be diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It’s just like someone being diagnosed with a brain tumor or breast cancer. They didn’t ask for it to happen to them. It just did. And now it’s their life and they have to learn to live with it.

And people who are diagnosed with brain tumors or breast cancer sometimes start campaigns to raise awareness about their conditions and they do fundraisers to donate money to organizations fighting for cures for their diseases.

But if I tried to do that – even just the awareness part – I could be ostracized and looked down upon, and maybe would never be hired to work in my previous profession again.

How is that fair???

That’s all for now. Yawning non-stop here and need to hit the sack. I guess I’ll sleep on it.

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2 Responses to “Just a few thoughts on stigma”

  1. Kimberly M (@momgosomething) March 22, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    I agree. When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder I felt like I didn’t belong with the PPD mamas. I still don’t. Bipolar is a whole different realm. While they are extremely supportive, they don’t understand the intensity of the emotions we experience.
    I really do feel alone.
    Plus me talking about my bipolar issues with them makes me feel like I’m scaring them into thinking that they too will turn bipolar. So most of the time I keep my feelings to myself.
    I never told anyone about my bipolar disorder to anyone at work. Mostly because they are back stabbing so and so’s.

  2. sheriw1223 March 22, 2012 at 6:49 am #

    I’m normally very outspoken about my bipolar disorder, but I set up a separate Facebook account when I made my business page. I often wonder if that’s hypocritical to my belief that I shouldn’t hide my disorder, but then I suppose I’m just simply concerned about stigma. Who want’s to buy jewelry made by a crazy person? My concept is already a little odd to some people – aromatherapy jewelry, and I’m afraid being labeled would take away from my credibility. I allow my “crazy” friends to have access to my business page, but I don’t want my business associates to have access to my crazy account. I’m just guessing that perhaps you’re not offended by my use of crazy. If you are, I apologize.

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