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Sandra Dean – Registered Member

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Share your story to help stigma and others’ understanding of mental illness

Social networking and personal blogs are a valid addition to the world of mental illness and mental health. Not only do professionals share their knowledge but sufferers and families of sufferers are sharing more and more the stories of their journeys through mental illness. This not only brings the subject out in the open more, it helps people to understand this often misunderstood section of illnesses.

Although there are symptom lists for each mental illness, people are individual and when it comes to the brain, it can depend upon the persons base personality make up to start with as to how a mental illness will affect them. Of course this is not always the case, but quite prevalent with personality disorders, as I know myself.

So, if mental illness can be portrayed in a very varied way by each individual it can make research and understanding by those not affected and viewing the illness from the outside very difficult. This is also true of the sufferer who can be unaware of their symptoms.

However, symptoms are not the subject of this post – stories and stigma are.

The subject of stigma is one which, thankfully, many people are now fighting. Mental health charities, advocates and many individuals are campaigning to stop others’ negative attitudes to mental illness. They do this knowingly. However, unknowingly, some individuals are helping stigma by way of writing on their personal blogs or social networking. Just by sharing our stories of mental illness, we are helping tackle the stigma that surrounds the subject.

I am very passionate about the campaign to fight stigma and so I wrote my memoir showing how my mental illness progressed from childhood, what it felt like to be ill, and my journey to getting better, but I also focussed on explaining stigma on the pages as well. I also share articles and personal experiences on my website/blog here, on social networks Face book and Twitter and by sending stories to magazines, mental health charities and organisations.

Some of these sites have huge audiences and are very powerful in their messages about mental health.

So far, I have had parts of my story published on: – OCD – How I used OCD to my advantage on MIND website – general mental illness/health – link to my blog and link to my story 

Journeysonline – depression – Journeys online my depression story

My editor’s writing site (Debz Hobbs-WyattWordznerd Debz Hobbs-Wyatt my story of writing my book and self publishing

Optimist Worldbeing optimistic and getting over adversities and mental illness on Optimist World

Alison Smith-Squire – journalist author interview about self publishing and writing my book – Dad as carer to my mum with catatonic schizophrenia

Writing magazine feature on writing my book and self publishing – click on the photo below to see the article (it will open in a new window)

my alien self Amanda Green in Writing Magazine August 2012

my alien self Amanda Green in Writing Magazine August 2012

So, I will encourage all of my lovely website visitors who read this, to get sharing – knowledge is power and sharing really does help to reduce stigma – do something today!

Take care,

Amanda Green 🙂


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4 comments to Share your story to help stigma and others’ understanding of mental illness

  • Sharon

    Accepting that you have an illness is such a huge step. It took me 3 years to finally admit to myself that something wasn’t right, that my behaviour wasn’t ‘normal’. Once I made the realisation and went to ask for help, it was like some of the weight was lifted. I wasn’t making it all up. Yesterday I wrote a blog post about my illness to help me accept it and not feel like I have to hide it from friends and family. I battle with depression, but depression doesn’t define me as a person.

  • Mandie

    In wholehearted agreement with the last post, I have prevaricated for years about going public. Even now I tremble a little at the prospect of opening myself up to a world of abuse, offending friends and family, unsettling my employers. I don’t know if it’s wise but it feels right, in a broader sense. The time is right to disseminate the truth. I was inspired by Amanda Green’s post on talking up the issue of mental health. Thanks for giving me the courage to publish, come what may!

  • Nicole

    I’m so glad to see another person with a mental illness looking to break the stigmas surrounding mental illness. I think so often our culture only sees the EXTREMES of mental illness, so they assume (incorrectly) that everyone with a mental illness is unstable. As a relatively functional female a mental illness (and if I’m being honest….how functional would I really be w/o the illness! ), I often fear others finding out about my disease. However, if I don’t share my story and be open about my disease I become part of the problem, not the solution. It took me six months to share the link to my blog with anyone other than my husband, but I realized I wanted to be part of the solution—despite the consequences! I’m trying to accept that my illness is the same as diabetes and nothing to be ashamed of…easier said than done though! So you keep taking care of it in England, and I’ll focus on fighting it on the other side of the “lake”! I’m looking forward to checking out your story on the other blogs mentioned.

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