Mental Health Stigma

Author: Nikta Niazi

I have very much faced mental health stigma as a female. Actually I have come to the consclusion that each gender has their own obstacles when it comes to mental health issues. I was reading one of the blog post on the website; a psychiatrist gentlemen telling a story of how men struggle to ask for help because there is certain stereotypes that men should be stoic, invulnerable, strong and not being emotional. Also for female, there are certain stereotypes such as they need to be happy, cheerful, upbeat and dedicated. Well, that’s not alway the case and my personal experience as a female, living in todays era, with all the competitions and also pressures on my way to become an independent female, I have quite a challenge to keep the balance and also avoid all the social stigmas.

I am talking generally in this paragraph, hoping to give some overview of how it’s like to be an independent women or whatever life style women chose in to have, let alone having a mental health. It’s like hiking a rough trail while carrying a super heavy backpack. Well, we can’t always be happy and cheerful. Us women, try so hard to maintain the balance between our inner and outer world. Between meeting the life’s demands and also bring joy and happiness to our relationships or in general our life.

I believe having a mental health as a female will bring out various social issues. Maybe because we are expected to be graceful and vibrant, or always smiling and be joyful. Being sad, depressed or lost will worsen things and not many will stay around us for long. It is actually my own personal experience. When I lost two of my beloved relatives, gradually I became depressed and slowly people left me and I was even more hurt because I felt unwanted, at the time that I needed their support the most. Not to mention this is everybody’s case, but my circle of people acted in such a manner. If I want to be optimistic I would go with the theory that I was passing states of grief and it was probably me who was avoiding people, not to mention they even stopped inviting me to their gatherings or calling to check on me… but, lets just imagine!

But my other experience with my ex; before the incident and my grief, was that if I was to show signs of depression or anxiety, he would avoid me and criticise me. Again, it’s a personal experience and not a fixed fact. But I did developed the scars and got hurt and felt abandoned. I started to hide my feelings and avoid people because I felt something is wrong with me. I have a mild signs of depression from time to time, while I am able to function normally but my mood sometimes drop down. I agree it might not be delightful for people to be around someone with mental issues but, a bit of compassion and understanding would go a long way as we are all struggling with different issues.

I am doing much better now by avoiding toxic people. That is my tip for other women too. While there are people who might judge you and expect you to be happy and peaceful, there are others who are actually understanding and have compassion and won’t hurt you more by their unfair judgments.

So keep your circle tight and neat, with nice and authentic people, set goals for your life and work on your beautiful self.

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