On Monday, Melanie J. Knapp, B.A.Psych., described her Peer Support Booklet initiative. She told us, among other things, “The hospital might be considered as a good place to rest and work on wellness. After all, that’s what it’s there for.”
I was asked to contribute to this initiative and on Wednesday you had the opportunity to read the first half of my contribution. I left you hanging in the middle of a bit of a rant about normans. There will be a post about my feelings on normans vs. ADHders coming in the near future, an apology of sorts.
But for now, on with the article I’ve written for this important project. We’ll begin in the middle of the rant, if you want to refresh your memory on how it began, read Part II.
“Okay, maybe I’m going a bit overboard here, but I can’t see how. If I had a broken foot, I’d suffer no stigmatization. I have a broken brain, why must I hide that away or suffer the consequences?”
“In truth, my brain is a far more complex system than my leg could ever be. Much of my brain still works, even though I suffer an array of symptoms that, if I wasn’t already a distracted soul, would drive me to distraction and back again and run the gas gauge down past the big red “E.” So while it is broken, it still functions. In fact, it functions better than some norman brains.
“But there’s more to this stigma question. The truth is that we, the people who deal with mental health issues, illnesses and disorders as part of our daily lives, are the people whose strength is tested in ways that others will never know. Brave people are not people who don’t fear, they are people who persevere in spite of their fear. People with mental health issues aren’t weak minded, we are people who have had to fight for our mental well being, sometimes we’ve had to fight just to keep from slipping back, and sometimes we still slip back in spite of that fight. But that battling is what makes us strong.
“I’m proud to be associated with a group of people who endure so much and keep going so long. I’m honoured to be among those who want better mental health for themselves. I’m happy to be one of the people who would improve themselves for their own sake and for the sake of those around them.
“Fear can only hurt me if I let it, stigma is the same. If mental health stigma is a price to be paid for a better future, I’ll pay it if I must. But I’ll tell you a secret, I’m just going to ignore the stigma, it’s a byproduct of the ignorance of others, not of my mental health. I will not assess myself based on the stigma of mental health, instead, I will value myself based on my abilities and strengths.”
Well, that’s it. I hope you’ve appreciated this diversion from the world of the ADHD Man of DistrAction to the world of mental health care. I don’t feel I’ve strayed too far from the landscape I’m supposed to be dealing with here, mental health care is to ADHD what the auto industry is to Doge Ram pickup trucks, the larger picture, as it were.
The stigma we deal with on a daily basis is no different in flavor then that suffered by inpatients in mental health facilities. The article that I’ve presented here was written with the intention of making dealing with stigmatization an easier experience, though I know it won’t be an easy one.
Please feel free to comment on these posts, your feedback on these topics and on this divergence in my blog would be very much appreciated.
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Last reviewed: 24 Aug 2012