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Re: LIVE GR: The Stigma of Struggling (17th of February 7:30PM AEST)

@hunginc I've only had hypomania and it sucked, full on mania sounds even harder...

 

My treatment team didn't believe me either when I said I was depressed or getting hallucinations Smiley Sad

It took me about a year before I self diagnosed and another six months before I found someone who would believe me, because my behavior didn't fit the steriotypes they had in their heads.

 

My diagnosis was a bit unusual though, which didn't help things...

Re: LIVE GR: The Stigma of Struggling (17th of February 7:30PM AEST)

  1. What is stigma? What kind of struggles are often stigmatised? Are there groups of people who are more likely to face stigma (e.g. based on their identity, what they do, etc.)?
    Stigma is the negative associations and assumptions attached to people with characteristics that people view as abnormal. Struggles of mental health, with academics, medical conditions and drug/alcohol abuse. Vulnerable populations or minorities are more like to be stigmatised.
  2. How can stigma negatively impact on those who are already struggling (e.g. barriers to help seeking)? Who is most vulnerable to the harmful effects of stigma? Are there any protective factors against stigma?Barrier for getting help for sure. Also can make people that are stigmatised to feel isolated and ashamed.

  3. Have you (or someone close to you) ever encountered stigma because you (or they) were struggling? How did it affect you? What did you do?Yes, i have and someone close to me did as well. This made us feel ashamed and embarrassed. It made me isolated myself and share less.

  4. How can people get help or help others who are facing stigma? Has anything ever helped you or someone you know deal with stigma around struggling?
    I think finding people going through similar things to talk to because are more likely to understand. For me finding this and Facebook groups helped me a lot, to find people to connect with that understood and accepting that not everyone will understand.
  5. What brings about stigma? What kind of emotions does it generate both in society and in those that fall into stigmatised groups? How does the cycle of stigma keep going?Lack of education and fear can cause people to listen to stereotypes and stigmatise. It can generate emotions of sadness and anger. The cycle keeps going because society can be stubborn at times and not want to listen to the truth or to be educated even with new information coming out. 

  6. How can we break the cycle of stigma (both at an individual and societal level)? What are we currently doing and is it enough? Have you ever challenged stigma and did it work? What would a society with less stigma around struggling look like?
    Stigma cycle can be broken through continuous education and the break down of stereotypes that support or cause stigma. Currently, we are educating people and increasing awareness of various issues that are stigmatised. If stigma no longer existed this would help people to feel isolated, make it easier to feel less embarrassed to get help and people would feel safer.

Re: LIVE GR: The Stigma of Struggling (17th of February 7:30PM AEST)

Wow! This thread has been an incredible experience to read and I just want to overall say how much I have learnt from this, but also how wise you all are! Heart

@WheresMySquishy in your opening you made a statement that I am going to quote "It's a challenge to raise your voice when it feels as though the rest of the world is saying 'don't make a sound'." You have blown me away with this statement and I feel this on so many different levels. Thank you! 

 

@Hozzles you described the cycle of stigma to be driven from fear. I absolutely agree with you. We are fearful of our future, we are fearful of others and we are fearful of ourselves, so it is seen to be easier to develop a 'mainstream' society. Sparking that scary conversation is important, and the first place to start is your social circles! Using films, songs, quotes and your own stories to educate and spark that conversation! 

 

Speaking up and normalizing all stigmas is slowly evolving which is amazing, as @featuringme mentioned their Instagram feed being filled with positive affirmations, which I think is fantastic when lots of people including myself can be trapped in a feed of expectations on self, life and happiness. Developing a positive message for yourself everyday can be transformative! 

 

@Tiny_leaf you have sparked a new perspective and conversation in me, I don't believe I have ever used that lens when observing crime films, but you stated something so important! We are conditioned to make connections of illness and crimes far too often. Thank you for sparking this conversation!

Re: LIVE GR: The Stigma of Struggling (17th of February 7:30PM AEST)

Image result for group hugs gif

I think we all deserve a HUGE GROUP HUG!! HeartHeart

Re: LIVE GR: The Stigma of Struggling (17th of February 7:30PM AEST)

@Kaylee-RO I didn't notice it either but now it's been mentioned I notice it everywhere..

Re: LIVE GR: The Stigma of Struggling (17th of February 7:30PM AEST)

As always, so many insightful questions and responses. It was really good to read through everyone's responses and I wanted to acknowledge that some of you shared your own experiences of being stigmatised. It's such a hard thing to go through and I wanted point out how much resilience and perspective it takes to process that. We are here to chat through that further if anyone feels the need to Heart 

 

What is stigma? What kind of struggles are often stigmatised? Are there groups of people who are more likely to face stigma (e.g. based on their identity, what they do, etc.)?

I feel like stigma is something most people are at risk of experiencing at least once in their life. Anyone who is culturally diverse, identifies outside of heteronormativity or the gender binary, men, people who have a hard time with drugs and/or alcohol, people living in poverty, those of us who live with a mental health challenge or with a physical disability. 

 

How can stigma negatively impact on those who are already struggling (e.g. barriers to help seeking)? Who is most vulnerable to the harmful effects of stigma? Are there any protective factors against stigma?

There are a bunch of ways this can impact someone negatively. I feel like a big one is that when you need help and that is met with stigma it can really make you feel alone and as if their isn't help out there for you. People who don't have a support system of some description often find themselves more at risk of the harmful effects but it should be said that it doesn't mean it will always be like that. As much as it doesn't feel like it at times, there is always hope 

 

Have you (or someone close to you) ever encountered stigma because you (or they) were struggling? How did it affect you? What did you do?

 

I have definitely experienced stigma throughout my life. Being a queer woman of colour, who was raised in a rainbow family, who has experienced poverty and mental and physical health challenges (woah that was a mouthful lol). I think those experiences have shaped who I am, as much as it has meant that I have been through things that not everyone has to deal with, it also means that I am open minded and sensitive to social issues. 

 

I believe it's the reason why I have ambition to help others and make people feel less alone. It's taught me how to advocate for myself and for others. It's meant that sometimes I have negative experiences but I am proud that I've been able to navigate all those things.

 

The things I did to deal with stigma is to, educate myself, work on myself so that I feel empowered to use my voice to speak out against stigma and support myself. I've made sure that I have a strong support network and seek out communities that get who I am without explanation and that helps a great deal. 

 

How can people get help or help others who are facing stigma? Has anything ever helped you or someone you know deal with stigma around struggling?

 

I guess I kinda answered that question above, but what has helped me is knowing that stigma isn't actually my problem. It's other peoples issue if they don't understand my experiences and it doesn't make them any less valid. Surrounding myself with people who share my values has been the most important thing. That has been the thing that has helped me learn how to advocate for myself.

 

What brings about stigma? What kind of emotions does it generate both in society and in those that fall into stigmatised groups? How does the cycle of stigma keep going?

 

This is a really good question. I think stigma is very complex.. it comes from traditional belief systems, social structures that are in the process of changing, power dynamic, family beliefs...so many things. The cycle continues when people aren't shown a better way, when people/society aren't curious as to why they carry the unconscious (or conscious) bias that perpetuates these views. 

 

How can we break the cycle of stigma (both at an individual and societal level)? What are we currently doing and is it enough? Have you ever challenged stigma and did it work? What would a society with less stigma around struggling look like?

 

We can totally break the cycle. By lifting up the voices of people who have been stigmatised, by challenging systems that are lagging in change, by getting involved in local politics (write letters to your MP!!), by having difficult conversations with people when the opportunity arises, by working in career fields that break down stigma and if you can't do any of that you can always support yourself if you feel stigmatised - I think that is one of the most powerful things you can do. 

Re: LIVE GR: The Stigma of Struggling (17th of February 7:30PM AEST)

This was a great chat! I've loved reading everyone's answers and experiences. Smiley Happy

Has anyone faced stigma about the treatment they're on?
It seems like whenever I tell people about my conditions, there are always some people who try to discourage me from talking about or having the treatment that has been helping me, or something I'd like to try.
Some of the comments I've heard are along the lines of:
'That's a nasty drug'
'Why would you want to mess with your body like that?'

'What you know about your treatment is wrong, so you shouldn't talk about why you're having it' (said when I was trying to explain why my doctors suggested having the treatment).