One of the things about mental illness and stigma is that you don’t have to wear your diagnosis on your sleeve for the world to see. It’s not like someone walking down the street is going to know you have a mental illness unless you choose to let them know. Unless someone gets close to me, becomes romantically involved with me, or I think it might go that way, only then do I disclose my mental health issues. It is up to me who I choose to tell about my illness’.
The real problem with stigma seems to come from family, friends, lovers, spouses, etc. who know of your mental illness. Family and friends may ostracize you more than others, spouses, lovers, boyfriends, etc. may leave you. Friends sometimes withdraw simply because they don’t know what to do to help you, and so on. It’s been my personal experience that the stigma comes from those close to me more than anyone else.
I’d like to say I haven’t had to face stigma, but my previous relationship ended with one of my suicide attempts. We’d been having problems for a while and he didn’t know what to do to help me with my mental health issues.
Oh well, it’s not like I can really hide my mental health issues from those in my life, I do spend 4-hours per day, 5-days week, in therapy or otherwise occupied at the community mental health clinic…