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Stigma from the Source

"Stigma = a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one's reputation"

I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder in October of 2007, six weeks after the birth of my second daughter.  I was thirty-seven-years-old when I admitted myself into a locked-down mental facility at our local hospital. While there, a psychiatrist met with me and within two minutes he informed me that I had bipolar disorder.

Everything changed.

Awareness through the Eyes of Van Gogh

We all know the importance of mental health awareness, and doing our part of erasing the stigma that still surrounds Disorders like Bipolar. As March 30th approaches which is World Bipolar Day, it’s also Van Gogh’s birthday who is a well known Dutch impressionist artist, how fitting that his birthday falls on the same day we acknowledge Bipolar. It’s known that he too had bipolar.

Who Can Have Mental Illness?

Ever wonder if mental illness affects some groups of people more than others? Why do I have Bipolar Disorder, and my friends do not? Did I do something to cause it to happen? Was there something I could have done to avoid it? Maybe it’s totally the fault of genetics.

Stigma Hurts!


Opening up about my life and what I have been through for well over 20 years, was the scariest thing I have ever done. I had no idea what the reaction was going to be from friends and family. Did I really want them to know, and was I ready for the backlash? Once you come forward with information such as this, I am sure there are plenty of people thinking in the back of their minds, “Well, that explains a lot”.  Those people don’t concern me.  It’s the people that instantly judge based on little or no facts that concern me. 

Mental Health Stigma: My Story (Article 4 in the Stigma Series)

I get stigma on a very regular basis. This in turn severely limits, or even extinguishes, the support that I need. I’ve learned most people are not even aware when they’ve said something hurtful, damaging, or founded solely on falsehoods. People assume there is enough information in their own uneducated logic to form an accurate picture.

Black Eye

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.

Mental Illness Stigma: Myth vs. Fact (Article 1 in Stigma series)

The hardest part of living with a mental illness is the stigma that is in the world today. This unfortunate attitude makes living with these health issues so much worse than it needs to be. It creates feelings of shame, inferiority, failure and brokenness for the sufferers; not to mention discrimination and fear of treatments that can actually help us.