Beatrice the Biologist Rocks
So I know this isn’t exactly on topic, but it’s related. My own body image issues were always complicated by my mental health issues, or maybe vice versa; but I can say nearing 30 with my anxiety and depression well mitigated has allowed my body image to blossom. It’s amazing how wonderful it is to wake up and not be disappointed about it, and it’s freed my brain to find beauty in the world, but most importantly, in myself.
This has a few important aspects for me. The fact that we don’t discuss injury to our psyche in the same way we do injury or illness to our body; the stigma of mental health treatment and counselling is such that we often don’t widely admit to mental illness, let alone have common language to discuss it with friends, acquaintances, and strangers.
But also the fact that it’s not socially acceptable to offer emotive care for people struggling with mental health issues. When a person has a physical ailment which hospitalizes them, they receive calls and cards and gifts and flowers; when a person has a need for psychiatric hospitalization it’s seen as shameful, spoken about only in whispers, and no one ever sends flowers. Rarely is it spoken about outside the family or immediate friends, and it’s never discussed without a great deal of stigma.
It’s so taboo to discuss, most lay-people don’t even understand the lexicon and definitions, let alone have any understanding as to how it impacts daily life, what it’s like to live with, or (most importantly) how to support loved ones who are suffering.
I’m gonna continue to do my part to destroy the shame and stigma surrounding mental illness by being vocal about my own struggles, and raising the voices of others who are struggling, through my blog The Lame Dame. If you have a mental illness, talk about it; if you don’t, please still talk about it. End the Stigma.