anxiety, depression, mental health, mental illness, mental illness disability, ocd, ptsd

Stigma about Mental Illness causes People to Put Off Seeking Diagnosis and Treatment

“What is Stigma?
· An attempt to label a particular group of people as less worthy of respect than others
· A mark of shame, disgrace or disapproval that results in discrimination
· Not just a matter of using the wrong word or action – its about disrespect”

                                                                                                      NAMI multicultural action center web site

People with mental health issues sometimes choose to put off seeking much needed treatment, due to stigma in our culture. Once they are diagnosed with a mental illness, people have to live with the problems that go along with being officially diagnosed with a mental illness.

There are potential consequences in regards to employment, insurance and education. This is not to mention the discrimination in social contexts as well.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990.  According to the Department of Labor web site, the Disabilities Act protects disabled persons in the following ways…

“prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities. “

Interestingly, when I went to the Disability.gov web site and typed in Mental health, there was no information on the entire web site. It just gave me a list of links to non-government web sites like Mental Health America and National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The same thing happened when I typed in Mental Illness.  Just a list of links to non-profit organizations not affiliated with the government.

The disabilities act may protect people with physical disabilities, but it seems to  provide little  to protect people with mental illnesses like depression, PTSD, severe anxiety disorders,  OCD, and  bipolar disorder.

People that have been diagnosed with mental illnesses are discriminated against on a regular  basis. They are discriminated against in the workplace and when seeking employment.

The employers will get around it by fabricating reasons not to hire someone. They cannot fire someone for having a disability  but they can make up another reason.

The common perception of the public, about people with bipolar disorder is that they are unpredictable and possibly dangerous. Often times when you hear on the news about a person committing a random crime like a robbery, you will hear the news casters attributing the criminals actions to having bipolar disorder.

Of course there are people with bipolar disorder that commit crimes. There are people without bipolar disorder that commit crimes too. But if the news people find out that an offender does happen to have bipolar then they will make a big deal about how the person’s antisocial behavior must have been the fault of their bipolar disorder.

Guess what? Often times when someone commits a violent crime, they have antisocial personality disorder or some other mental illness. Whether or not the person had bipolar disorder probably had nothing to do with their committing a violent crime.

They may have been someone that was misdiagnosed with bipolar. Many sociopaths can convince a mental health professional that they have a different mental illness. They are actors and can manipulate the system.

The person may also have a co-morbid conditions of bipolar and anti-social personality disorder. It would be the anti-social traits that would lead the person to commit a crime, rather than the bipolar.

But it is so often misconstrued by the mental health professional and the news media that the general public has the impression that people with bipolar disorder are prone to crime and outbursts of anger and violence.

Violent crimes and breaking laws are not traits of bipolar disorder, but now you can see why some people put off treatment due to the stigma about bipolar disorder.

People with clinical depression and bipolar disorder are discriminated against for life insurance because they are perceived as a suicide risk. The funny thing is that life insurance does not ever cover suicide anyway!

People with diagnosis for anxiety disorders, bipolar and depression are sometimes discriminated against by colleges. If the college finds out that you have a diagnosis with a mental illness they do not want to risk their precious reputation on you. You might do something to “embarrass them”

They also do not have confidence that you will be able to handle the course load. I know people with mental illnesses that attend college and work harder than many other students. They know what disabilities they have and they work hard to succeed in spite of their condition.

Mental illness is stigmatized in the media and in the movies. When friends find out that someone has mental illness they sometimes assume it is like what they see on tv.

They are afraid of being embarrassed  and are afraid the person may suddenly do something unstable, They may perceive their friend differently even to the point of being afraid of them. This is all due to stigma.

People are all individuals. People with mental illness are also individuals.

No two people with bipolar disorder are the same. They are unique individuals that you have to get to know to find out what they are like.

Nevertheless, a diagnosis of a mental illness can cause discrimination and a loss of opportunities.

It can cause problems socially and with our career. Once people find out you have been diagnosed with a mental disorder, they see you differently, even though you are the same person you were before the diagnosis.

The fear of the stigma keeps many people from seeking the help they need. It is understandable that people feel afraid.

The fact is that 1 in 5 people has a mental illness of some kind.

Thirty-one percent of adults surveyed say they would not seek treatment because they fear what others may think.  NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

According to this Fact Sheet from NAMI

Approximately 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 experience severe mental disorders in a given year. For ages 8 to 15, the estimate is 13 percent.2

 Approximately 1.1 percent of American adults— about 2.4 million people—live with schizophrenia. 3,4

 Approximately 2.6 percent of American adults−6.1 million people−live with bipolar disorder. 4,5

 Approximately 6.7 percent of American adults−about 14.8 million people−live with major depression.4,6

 Approximately 18.1 percent of American adults−about 42 million people−live with anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder and phobias.4,7

THE FAILURE TO SEEK  HELP FOR A MENTAL ILLNESS CAN LEAD TO DETERIORATION OF QUALITY OF LIFE AND IN SOME CASES SUICIDE.

Stigma about mental illness is a huge problem in America. As long as it is not dealt with,  people will continue to suffer.  Many of these people would be an asset to employers, schools and friends, if given the opportunity.

As a result of the continued stigma, people with mental illness often have a lower quality of life and a lower income potential than they should have.

There needs to be more awareness of this important issue. It is unfair discrimination in an age where almost everyone else is protected by discrimination laws.

NAMI is a grassroots organization that helps people and the families of people with mental illness. This is not a government organization. For more information about NAMI you can read this.

anxiety attack, bipolar, bipolar disorder, domestic abuse, domestic violence, mental abuse, mental disorders, mental health, mental illness

Derealization / Depersonalization Disorder Part 2 / Memory Failure

bfmh15-4-copy

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

blogformentalhealth.com 

http://blogformentalhealth.com/take-the-pledge/

This post is has been submitted to the Blog for mental health. The link to the blog is above, and I encourage you to check out this blog which is dedicated to raising awareness about mental health.

This is the second part of my posts on derealization / depersonalization disorder. Part 1 can be viewed here.

One thing that I have experienced is a major lack of disorganization of my thoughts.

The thoughts become disorganized, meaning that they do not flow in a logical order. There are pieces of thoughts here and there, that come and then go, and then come back again.

I try to begin with a train of thought and then quickly do not remember where I was going with it. A little later it comes back to me and I can continue on with it for a minute or two, before it is lost again.

Last night I wrote a post from the state of derealization and I will post it next. I had to pause completely in places, to figure out what I was thinking and in those cases I put a “dot dot dot”  … or …Uhg …or something like that and that is where I was stopping to get my brain back together.

risk

The memory fails to function properly. Once in a while I get into a severe anxiety state, that goes into some level of derealization and then my memory just fails. I cannot even remember a simple direction given to me by a coworker.

They will tell me to do something and when I walk down the hall, the memory of what they told me leaves. I don’t just mean that I forget what they told me. I will will actually forget “that” they told me.

I wonder why I am walking that direction down the hall. I make an educated guess as to what I may have been going in that direction for, but I completely have lost the fact that someone gave me a specific task to do.

The harder I try to keep on track, the more nervous I get over the fact that I am not remembering simple directions, the worse my ability to keep track of things gets.

As I mentioned most people that have episodes of the derealization state have trauma of some kind in their past or present. Sometimes situations occur that are too overwhelming and trigger post traumatic stress.

In the case that you are still living with some kind of mental or other abuse, the actual abuse can cause the derealization and / or the depersonalization mode to kick in. Actually, it is more like parts of the grounded brain function are shutting off, than it is like something is kicking in.

out of mind

This can occur to perfectly intelligent and logical people. It is not a sign of lack of intelligence. In fact, the more intelligent, sensitive and creative a person is, the more severely their brain is sometimes affected by mental types of abuse.

The brain keeps attempting to put the abuse into some category of ration and logic. Since it cannot do that, the brain becomes more and more traumatized , as it tried to organize the information surrounding the abuse.

Derealization and depersonalization often goes with another disorder such as bipolar disorder, PTSD, dissociative disorder or a severe anxiety disorder.

Later this afternoon, I will post the writing from the night I was still in the derealization state. I had begun to come out of it enough to be able to write. I talk about what it had been like for me earlier that day.

The worst part of the day had been in the early afternoon. The post was written late that night, while I was still struggling with the symptoms, but I was better than the time of the day that I describe in the post.

Hopefully this will shed some light on this less understood disorder and be of help to people who feel very alone about having this disorder.

I think that most people that experience this, keep it to themselves, for fear of sounding crazy or not being understood. This is also true for me and this is really the first time I have decided to be truthful and transparent about these experiences.