#Stigma – not an easy thing to combat with those who love you most

After a wonderful weekend spending time with my amazing family I thought I would share some experiences of mental health stigma that I faced over the weekend.
I also have tonight been able to justify to myself as to why I don’t talk about my mental health condition with certain people – basically they don’t get it, may never get it & that is sad but I can’t spend anymore time worrying about it.
Does this sound defeatist? Maybe it is, maybe I should do everything I can to explain but I also have my mental health to think about and staying well has to be my priority.
Over the weekend I have been informed about someone’s bipolar relative (not me) and they couldn’t find anything much positive to say about them. This always surprises me as in the past I was always open about my bipolar but it was only when I got the impression I was a burden, that people were fed up with me that I stopped telling people when I was in hospital or when I experienced symptoms. I then became very selective about who I told. I imagine that they naively think that because I don’t talk about it I therefore don’t have the condition anymore.
The other conversation that I had was about a friend of a relative who lives next door to someone with a mental health problem, I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing as the generalisations were appalling and whilst I did my best to challenge the stigma it was a fruitless battle.
I did thought talk about my post as a governor of a mostly mental health NHS trust & I was pleased I did this and where possible I challenged the stigma I heard.
This weekend however wonderful made me realise what a long way there is still to go.

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