During my mental health journey, I have experienced the harmful effects of stigma for learning disabilities and mental illness. In school, students bullied me for being the last person to finish tests. Therefore, I thought I was stupid. The stigma placed upon me by my classmates led me to shame (or stigmatize) myself. Thankfully, I have gained many strategies to stop self-stigma from controlling my life. Here are five techniques I use to reduce self-stigma.
"Wow, you look so pretty in that dress." -- Compliments like these are hard to accept when you have anxiety. 
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that I’m someone who can become overwhelmed fairly easily. Sometimes, I think it developed in my adulthood, but maybe it’s just something I never noticed or had the words to identify as a child. Whatever the case, being overwhelmed negatively impacts my mental health, and I want to talk about it to address stigma around it.
The phrase clean eating is often used in wellness circles to denote a preference for natural, organic foods over artificial, processed ingredients. At face value, this is undeniably beneficial. However, I feel using the word "clean" to talk about eating habits is problematic. In extreme cases, I worry it could even influence eating disorder behaviors. In my humble opinion, clean eating is not healthy—it's a harmful trend with potentially serious consequences.     
For those who know me best, I have a strong desire to take responsibility for many things. From making sure everything with a friendly gathering goes exactly as I planned to the time the kids need picked up from their activities. My spouse is no stranger to my anxiety-driven internal scheduler, whom he refers to as my need to control everything.  As a victim of verbal abuse, has my anxiety turned into attempts to control everything?
While drinking has been a part of my life the majority of my life, so have anxiety and depression. I went from sneaking alcohol on the weekends to week-long binge drinking benders. It was a cycle that progressively got worse, and the more I drank, the worse I felt. I would have pity parties and drown in my sorrows and regret without realizing how damaging this cycle had become.
Until a year ago, I did not equate May with Mental Health awareness. Flowers, sunshine, summer break, and my birthday most definitely, but mental health. My battle with depression completely opened my eyes to mental illness and mental health as a whole, and I can confidently say that one month, even one year, dedicated to the topic does not do it justice. But to be fair, it is a hopeful and actionable start.
I’ve been feeling hopeless a lot lately. I have arthritis in my knees, and my schizoaffective disorder is making me feel hopeless about it.
Weddings can be stressful under the best of circumstances. How do you cope when you don't know what to do about self-harm scars on your wedding day?
When I found out that Yahoo Answers shut down forever on May 4, 2021, I felt like a dear friend had passed away. After all, the platform helped me figure out my purpose when I was depressed, and life made no sense whatsoever.

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Natasha Tracy
Hi William,

I assure you, your feelings matter. Even if your feelings are over-the-top, they still matter. And even if you're overly emotional, you still matter too.

You didn't create your feelings. We can't control our feelings. That's a fact. However, we do need to decide what to do with them. It sounds like you're aware that sometimes they are out-of-scale with the situation -- okay, that's great, that shows insight. Now you just need to be able to communicate that to others in a way that helps them and you.

I recommend getting a hold of my book (not endorsed by HealthyPlace). It really can help:

You could also see a therapist. You should see someone who is very experienced in your particular illness, though, as not all therapists are for all things.

I know what it's like to feel lost and yes, this illness is confusing, but it's like a jungle -- you can work your way through it a little bit at a time, with help.

-- Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy
Hi Charlotte,

I'm sorry you self-harmed. I know the kind of pain that drives a person to do that. I've been there. I used to self-harm (especially as a teen).

You are in a difficult situation and I don't think you're going to like my answer, but you need to tell your parents. Telling your parents on your own terms is much better than them finding out in any other way (like when you're shopping). Sit one or both of them down and just tell them what is happening for you. It may not be easy, but it is worth doing. They care for you. They can help you.

I know there is a big fear around going to a hospital but that's not typically the first step for people. The first step for people who self-harm is usually therapy. There are therapists who can help you with that behavior so you understand why you do it and so you don't do it again.

What I suggest is that right now, you call a helpline and talk to them. They will listen to you and provide support. They may even be able to support you with talking to your parents. A school counselor might also be able to help.

The short story, though, is this: self-harm is not a helpful coping skill in the long run and it's something you need to get help with to stop. Telling your parents can start that process.

You can do this.

- Natasha Tracy
Elizabeth Caudy
Dear John, Thanks for your comment. I never felt really hopeless, it's just that I'm new to experiencing chronic pain and it's scary. But then I found out a lot of people my age live with chronic pain, and while I feel bad for them because this stinks, it makes me feel less alone. I always love hearing your thoughts on my articles! Thanks for reading! Love, Biddit
Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

Thank you for reaching out to share. I am so sorry to hear that you are experiencing constant verbal abuse and that your husband will not intervene to protect you from this treatment. Please know that you are welcome in this community—there is a place for you here where abuse is not tolerated.

Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer
HealthyPlace Comment Moderator
I have fresh wounds on my wrist.
I'm seeing a psychiatrist for my mental health.
But I don't want my parents to find out, because I feel like I've let them down.
I'm already wearing self made bracelets, but sometimes they fall down. And when they do, I'm scared someone will see.
I'm terrible at makeup, and I can't wear long sleeves (I literally always roll them up, even in winter).
Is there anything else I can try?