October 3, 2021 by For Like Minds
This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week. You’ll be hearing a lot about stigma. It is extremely important to know and talk about stigma. However, we need to always remember that what it says about us is lies.
Those of us who have experienced the pain and suffering of stigma and have learned that it is full of lies must help our peers realize the same. Since reaching recovery 3 years ago after an 18-year struggle, I’ve been speaking out about stigma to help my peers. Part of my message is to ignore stigma, but even when in recovery it’s not always possible. We have to work at it. I try as much as I can to focus on what I can change. This includes self-stigma and working hard to rid myself of its influence. But most importantly I do all that I can to thrive in recovery and strongly encourage others to believe recovery is possible.
Recovery is a game-changer for mental illness. Recovery is possible for the majority of us, but too few know it. We are unlikely to eradicate stigma in the foreseeable future. But the real possibility of recovery can fill us with hope now. You and our peers may be suffering right now. We all need hope. Seeing a relatable example of recovery can spark the tiniest flicker of hope that can ignite our recovery journey in an instant. We can’t wait on society to shed its stigmas. Recovery is possible now. And recovery is the best defense against stigma.