I’ve written before about why I don’t like to tell people my diagnoses. I left some stuff off that list, like not wanting to be that person who talks about herself too much, or the fact that such things rarely come up in conversation anyway. But lately I’ve been thinking there’s another factor that I have been ignoring for years.
Heh. I’m ashamed of the fact that deep down, I am ashamed to be mentally ill.
This isn’t something that extends to other people. I’ve never looked down on another person for struggling, or getting help, or receiving a particular diagnosis. It’s usually the opposite; I admire how hard other people work to overcome the obstacles in their heads. I admire their success.
When I think about my own struggles, I feel spoiled. I feel lazy and defective. I feel like I should have been over this shit years ago. And when people talk about mental illness as a social problem – “What should we do with the mentally ill?” – I feel the need to apologize. I’m a drain on the economy. I create problems for other people to deal with.
Other people, better writers, have been talking about de-stigmatizing mental illness. They want programs that promote the image of mentally ill people as human beings, who take care of themselves, who take care of others, who contribute. I would love to get involved – that’s sort of one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place, in fact.
But I can’t do much until I admit to this shame and find a way to get rid of it. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. What should we do?