Even though I was diagnosed as bipolar in the year 2000, it was something that I felt too embarrassed to talk about until fairly recently. It’s only in the past few years that I’ve been comfortable telling people besides family about my bipolar diagnosis. In my experience, I’ve heard various terms that are sometimes said about someone with a mental illness. They could include any or all of weak, weird, lazy or simply not able to handle everyday life.
Last week in Canada February 12 was Bell Let’s Talk Day (http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/), an ambitious campaign to get people talking about mental health and in turn reduce the amount of stigma. Canadian multiple Olympic medalist Clara Hughes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Hughes) was one of the spokespersons for this campaign, and the more initiatives like this the better! As people feel more open talking about mental health, people with diagnosed mental illnesses will not feel as isolated and/or embarrassed.
As strange as this might sound, there were times in my past that I wished I would have been diagnosed with cancer or some other disease with much less stigma. I’ve definitely encountered my fair share of stereotypes and stigma related to mental illness, and at times it felt like I had a black eye.
You may or may not have noticed that the Scott Inside Out logo has a black “i” in the middle. This is very deliberate as it is the core of the logo. Read more about the logo (http://www.scottinsideout.com/about/scott-inside-out-logo/)
I do my best to talk about my bipolar experiences openly and honestly in the hopes that it will possibly bring more understanding, maybe even reduce the stigma around it.
What else can be done to reduce the stigma of bipolar disorder?