This is a post about stigma around mental illness.
About ten years ago, my cousin had a breakdown. She spent a few weeks in two mental hospitals before coming home.
I met her in the Mall, and she started to tell me about how she felt about the hospitals.
I remember that I felt uneasy, and I did not think she should be saying those things, as the place was very busy. It was Friday evening.
One of her friends approached her, and my cousin began to tell her how she had had a breakdown. She told her the whole story in the crowded place.
Again, I was astonished by her choice, and I feared the reaction of her friend.
This all happened about ten years ago.
To my certain knowledge, she has never experienced a negative reaction.
This astonished me, as I have lived with stigma for years.
It began when I was 19, and has never abated.
Two other cousins have spent time in hospitals, and again have never received a negative reaction.
I have learned from this that not everyone faces stigma.
I now know that my family and acquaintances have spent time in hospital, and have never been bullied.
I am glad that they have had no negative experiences, but I wish I had been spared stigma.