kept the flowers

Allow me to question your diagnosis

on 03/01/2012

There are so many fun things about mental illness. It’s a regular smorgasbord of awesome.mental illness

But one of my most recent faves is the diagnosis questioning. i.e., the complete devaluation of your medical condition.

Yes, medical condition. But that’s the problem—people don’t see mental illnesses as real, biological conditions. It goes something like this:

“Yeah, I know you were told you’re bipolar II…but what if you’re not?”

That’s no different than saying, “I know you were told you have diabetes…but what if you don’t?” But so many people don’t see that.

And the worst part of it all is when the questioning comes from friends and family…the people who are on your side, who support you.

So shouldn’t they understand? Why don’t they get it? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because we never receive a real education about mental health; because of the stigma that continues to surround it; because it’s a really scary concept to wrap your head around about someone you love.

Regardless of the cause, it hurts. I don’t know how frequently this happens to other people, but I have to imagine it’s not just me. And that’s what makes me want to do something, anything, to make a difference on this issue…to raise awareness so that the stigma melts away just a little.

Suffering from a mental illness is bad enough—having it questioned on top of that just twists the knife even further.


One response to “Allow me to question your diagnosis

  1. I am right there with you. Tons of diagnoses over the years, including bipolar II, and everything else, and wanting to fight the stigma. What I am doing to fight it in a little way, is that I just started this photography group/blog specifically for people with mental illness, and their loved ones, to share photos (images can say even more than words) and support each other. The goal would be to get live gallery shows too, just for “us” to stand proud. It also can really help to photograph when times are very dark (or manic) as you probably know. I wish more people would know. I would love for you to participate, if you like it, by joining and/or submitting.
    All the best!

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