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Sandra Dean – Registered Member

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Sharing our stories to beat stigma around mental illness and mental health issues

Well, as we know from my two memoirs and my many blog posts on my website, and continuing articles, that I have been sharing my story about my mental illness, life story and recovery and now, if I may, I would like YOU to share yours on my website.

I’d like to know about your experiences of the things I have experienced and talked about which are depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder (BPD), invalidation, eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia), stress, anxiety, self harm, panic attacks, alcohol and drug abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, other abuse, mental health medications, counselling, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), dissociation, psychosis, self help and maybe other things…

BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) awareness month is coming up in May and I would love to be able to share a few snippets as a post on here about your experiences of BPD (as a sufferer or someone who knows someone who has or had BPD) to make others aware (sufferers and non-sufferers) of what it’s really like.

This is not to pry, but to share with others. Stigma can be similar to bullying and is based upon lack of knowledge, ignorance or the media telling a story that can taint ones appreciation of the whole truth, so let’s break that stigma and keep sharing our stories of reality, not media stories.

I am also happy for you to share books that you have read that you find useful in the genre of true life mental illness.

Take care,

Amanda 🙂

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13 comments to Sharing our stories to beat stigma around mental illness and mental health issues

  • Helga

    Hello again Amanda,
    Thank you for your very wise response, however I am very stubborn!! I also face a dilemma, which is I work within the mental health services, so a) I feel like a failure for using the services that I am supposed to be giving, and b) I would be paranoid about seeing people I know on a professional level. I have considered asking my GP to refer me to a counsellor from another area, but not sure if he would do this, and I am not confident in approaching him about it, I just feel unworthy of help for some reason (low self-esteem, long history!) and feel stigmatised even by GP services. Thanks again for your response, I will mull over some options for a while!

  • Helga

    Hi Amanda,
    I’ve just come to accept that I probably have BPD, I haven’t been diagnosed, but I have diagnosed myself, as I know a lot about the condition as a psychiatric nurse – I at least have higher than average traits. I have always known something was wrong, but I guess I’ve just reached that point in life where I am reflecting on all the friends and family I have alienated over the years, and it is scary and sad. It’s bad enough knowing I have BPD, but the worst thing is the stigma – there really isn’t anything endearing about BPD in the eyes of ‘society’ – the message is generally to avoid at all costs. For this reason I am not planning on telling anyone, just like I always kept my depression a secret, which means isolating myself a lot. It does seem though, now I have accepted it, I’ve seen a bit of light, like “ok, how am I going to move on from this then”, rather than spending all my energy fighting acceptance. I didn’t even know it was BPD awareness month in May, I will look out for that, thanks! I’m glad I have found your website and I will be signing up for email. Keep up the good work, stigma is a b*tch.

    • amandagreenauthor

      Hey thanks for your comments Helga. I would recommend getting a diagnosis and treatment because it’s best not to let symptoms associated with BPD and depression go untreated. I mean you know this already, but it can be easier to ignore things when dealing with ourselves. I always think that if there are negatives in our lives that mess our lives up, then we should deal with them, but that’s my opinion of course. Thanks for checking out my site and come back anytime – it’s always great to hear from people who read my blogs. Yes stigma is destructive, and I hope it will reduce in time 🙂

  • Cynthia

    God Bless you, Amanda Green. So, keep up the good work on your side of the pond. A better day for people struggling with their mental health is dawning all over this world. Mostly, because of people like you.

    Here in Paramus NJ we are a Stigma Free Zone, check out our website!

    • amandagreenauthor

      Thank you Cynthia – that is great to hear, I can imagine a stigma free zone; it would be a very peaceful and caring environment. So, here’s to beating stigma on this side of the pond! 🙂

  • brenda

    Thank you for your reply, Amanda.
    I was able to download your book “39” last evening as a free kindle book. I plan to read it when I’m feeling abit stronger.
    Congrats on your novella!
    I enjoy writing as well, and am a reader, so am happy for you.
    Today, after doing some research on google,last evening, I am feeling a bit stronger again.
    Back to normal routines tomorrow with work, etc. My birthday is coming up this week, and I also was feeling sad due to the family I belong to, which doesn’t acknowledge this. My son also seems to not be interested.
    That is when one needs to see perspective – and I compare myself to others who are so much worse off than me, who may not have a job, or home, and may have addiction problems, and then I see how grateful I need to be, and be very happy.
    I am fortunate to work at the job I love most, working with some children, and seeing all their growth and creativity.
    By the way, not sure if you know I live in Canada – we do have a very good health system, all though it varies by province.Our province is known for it’s excellent approach to psych care. I was very lucky. It would be interesting to hear if you might learn of some similar programs in the UK.
    Thanks again,

    • amandagreenauthor

      Brenda, thank you for downloading ’39’. It is not as heavy as ‘My Alien Self’ but yes you read it when you feel emotionally strong enough. There could be triggering depending upon your experiences. Mmm I am now wondering what you write? Happy Birthday for this week Brenda; I hope you have a lovely day! I do comparisons – some days it works, others it just makes me more sad, but yes I do feel lucky too – I have a roof over my head, pets, and freedom. Ah Canada, yes, lovely to hear there is great psych healthcare where you are.
      Take care, Amanda 🙂

  • brenda

    Hello, Amanda,
    I have come upon your blog here, while googling this evening.
    I had been wanting to read about being rejected and excluded by family, and then starting looking for healthy ways to handle this.
    So, here I have found you.
    I like your symbol of the locked box, and this seems like a good way to forget and forgive oneself.
    I blog, and have blogged for a few years. One blog is on early childhood education, and the other sort of a creative writing blog.
    I have lived with depression for most of my life, and think mostly the invalidation I grew up with caused my childhood depression. My son, who I love so much was diagnosed with bipolar depression in 2006. Somehow even though I have tried to apologize for the ways I have hurt him, and not been a good parent, and his saying it is okay – yet when we get together I sense a distance and hurt from him.
    I know I hurt him, because I was a single parent, I had postpartum depression, and then many times when he was growing up I was depressed.He has grown up to be a functioning person, and teaches high school. He has friends, and a girlfriend.But I feel disliked by him.
    So, am trying to read about this, and learn how to cope with my feelings in a healthy way, and not try to hurt him back, or hurt myself.
    Please forgive me if I’ve rambled on.
    I wish you very well, Amanda, and think this blog and your writing, is great.
    Good for you!
    I plan to subscribe to your posts through the e-mail.
    This fall I participated in an outpatient four week program at our hospital, for depression and other kinds of illnesses, and I learned a lot, that helped me, such as the use of journaling, affirmations, meditating, and generally practicing wellness. I have fallen out of some of this, and so think it’s time to get back to it.
    I have enjoyed your post here, and I will look for your book on Amazon.

    • amandagreenauthor

      Hello Brenda and thank you for posting your story. It must be a hard situation for you to be in not knowing for sure what your son thinks. But, you have spoken to him, you have opened up, and that is the main thing here. You have given him the opportunity to tell you how he feels and he has told you it is OK. Maybe you will talk more in the future too.
      I am so glad to hear about your outpatient programme as it sounds like a really great thing to do. I don’t know if we have things like that here in the UK… I will have to find out.
      Also, you are looking after yourself by looking for more ways to cope and that is key as I always say, to look after others better, you should first look after yourself. I know that, when my moods got better and I got my feelings under control, that it reflected in those around me. I am more liked, more relied upon, and feel loved. For myself, I also like myself a lot more too!
      Keep on keeping on Brenda and I am sure everything will keep getting better for you and your son.

      Amanda 🙂 ps thank you for the compliments on my writing and blog 🙂

  • amandagreenauthor

    Thanks Wendy 🙂

  • Sue

    Have been diagnosed with bi-polar and had a particularly bad time through 2013, after taking myself off all medications in the middle of 2012. After trying alternative treatments have gone back to pharma meds. Now on minimal doses of lithium and quietiapine and seeing how it goes. The main thing is coming to terms with it and negotiating what to do with the rest of my life – how far I can trust myself to get involved with a group of people etc. What to do?

    Today I thought of the analogy of its being like a physical disability – as if I had trouble walking, that my gait is irregular, sometimes I cannot walk at all, sometimes I speed along haphazardly, tumbling this way and that, and that sometimes if I don’t move at all, then it is not noticeable! Don’t know why but it made me feel better!

    • amandagreenauthor

      Thanks for sharing Sue. It is difficult to come to terms with using medications as I found out and having reduced mine as my psychiatrist said I should, I realised just how much they help me and had to go back to my previous dose. I was returning to a bad place without them. I imagine that, given time and ongoing psychotherapy that I am having, that I will be able to reduce them and stop them at some point, but for now, I am grateful for their back up help.
      I do hope you are feeling better now Sue, as 2013 sounds like a bad year for you. I hope you feel stable now.
      Making friends can be very stimulating, so see how it goes with that.
      I like that analogy comparing your mind to a physical state. It probably helps you as it is easy to visualise the physical state and difficult to visualise the state of the mind. Visualisation can be a very strong tool to recovery too.
      Wishing you all the best and please comment anywhere you like on my site 🙂

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