Wednesday

This is a post about stigma around mental illness.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This all happened about ten years ago.

To my certain knowledge, she has never experienced a negative reaction.

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This astonished me, as I have lived with stigma for years.

It began when I was 19, and has never abated.

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Two other cousins have spent time in hospitals, and again have never received a negative reaction.

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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.

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I am glad that they have had no negative experiences, but I wish I had been spared stigma.

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