Even the Stigma Blogger Stigmatizes
It's all fine and good to sit here and preach about the evils of mental health stigma. I'm proud of the work I have done and plan to continue to do. But let me be honest for a second here; even I stigmatize against people with a mental illness. I don't mean to of course, and always try to correct my thinking, but it happens.
Your First Thought Isn't Always the Right Thought
Say I get to work and the front desk tells me of a new client on my caseload and happens to mention that they have borderline personality disorder. My brain instantly negatively stigmatizes and labels that person (whom I have not yet even met) as potentially difficult to treat, time-consuming and prone to crisis. Thankfully, I am able to quickly meet them and stifle any inner dialogue and replace it with a real, live person, but my brain goes there nonetheless. I have gotten much better at bringing it back on track, but it still happens.
Or perhaps I'm perusing Facebook and notice a status along the lines of 'so depressed. taking the day off work today.' My brain might instantly think 'they're probably just hungover, or lazy.' It's a Negative Automatic Thought and these thoughts are the cornerstone of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. And they happen to all of us, all the time.
The Power of Negative Automatic Thoughts
We all have a huge stockpile of stigmatizing information at our disposal, swimming around in the backs of our brains. They stem from things we've seen in movies, articles we've read, people we've talked to. They wander around our mind whispering things such as 'people with a mental illness are lazy' or 'sometimes, they're just faking it.'
Anyone who denies ever having a stigmatizing thought is likely simply lying. We all have them. And these Negative Automatic Thoughts aren't anything to be ashamed of. But once we become aware of them, it is our responsibility to correct them as quickly as possible.
Listen to Your Thoughts: You May Learn Something About Yourself
Pay attention to your thoughts as you go about your daily business. Pretend you are listening in on your private inner world. We all pass silent judgement and we all criticize. We all have negative thoughts about the people and things around us from time to time, including those with a mental illness. It's what it is to be human.
When it comes to mental health stigma, we simply cannot strive for perfection. But what we can each strive for is to do a little better than yesterday, every day.
Curry, C. (2013, June 11). Even the Stigma Blogger Stigmatizes, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 5 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivingmentalhealthstigma/2013/06/even-the-stigma-blogger-stigmatizes
Author: Chris Curry
Your right.i stigmatize everyone I see.though I dont say shit and avoid kinda slick like
Great post today! It is so true that everyone stigmatizes everyone regardless of age, race or even profession (I'm a therapist, too). Being a professional in the field counseling clients, I find that once I learn about a child/teen and hear a diagnosis, that's what I look for - because in counseling school, I learned how to apply labels. (As everyone does in the helping profession.). I do my best (though I'm not always successful) to be where the client is and see what's truly there rather than what I read on the referral form. I try to use the diagnosis as a guide and get to know the individual. In my experience, I have found sometimes that parents say one thing while kids/teens present differently. Again great post and thanks for letting me share! :)