Mental Health Treatment: How to Avoid Being Stigmatized
One might have thought that in today’s world, people would be willing to recognize that there’s no shame in getting treatment for mental health issues. Unfortunately, there will always be those who will be disparaging about other people’s health issues, and when it comes to mental health, they can be particularly nasty. Instead of getting the respect you deserve for being proactive, the merest rumor that you have psychiatric appointments seems to be enough to bring out the worst in these real life trolls. Can you avoid being stigmatized? Use these tips to avoid the stress that comes
Use a Telehealth Service
You aren’t required to say what’s the matter with you if you visit a doctor. However, to avoid probing questions from employers and colleagues, you can schedule your appointments in your free time – even if it’s after hours. Telehealth services allow you to consult remotely from the comfort of your own home. From anger management to psychiatry, remote consultations for mental health issues are growing in popularity.
Nobody needs to know that you’re receiving treatment, and you may find that “attending” consultations while you’re in a familiar environment makes you feel more relaxed and forthcoming towards your provider. If you’re worried about whether health insurance will cover your costs, check with your insurer. Many telehealth platforms are recognized by insurance companies.
Don’t Stigmatize Yourself
When it comes to stigmatization, you may be your own worst enemy. Needing a little help to understand your thoughts and emotions is nothing to be ashamed of, but you might find yourself using negative self-talk all the same.
Be aware that you are “different” simply because you’ve recognized the need to take positive action. It’s estimated that about 50 percent of people have diagnosable mental illnesses at some time in their lives. The main difference between you and the majority of people with mental health issues is that you’ve been strong enough to recognize the need for intervention. You’re setting yourself up for a happier life and better relationships. Be proud of that!
Make Sure That Those Closest to You Understand
Although you might prefer to keep colleagues in the dark about your treatment, you shouldn’t hide the facts from your nearest and dearest. It’s important for them to understand what you’re trying to achieve. It’s equally important for you to gain their support during your recovery. If you’re not sure how to go about explaining the situation, ask your therapist for advice – he or she may even be willing to counsel your closest family members during one of your appointments. Their understanding will be extremely important as you undertake your journey towards recovery.
Don’t Shut Yourself Away From the World
Your feelings about your current disorder, and the disorder itself, may make you feel as if you should shut yourself away from the outside world. This can make things even worse for you. Apart from getting support from those closest to you, you should also seek positive interactions in social settings. Even if you feel like you can’t enjoy anything right now, think of things that you used to enjoy doing, or always wanted to do but never got around to.
The self-confidence and positive impact of participation in enjoyable activities will help you to combat both self-stigmatization and stigmatization on the part of others. They may not realize just how difficult it was for you to move outside your “safe bubble,” but you will take pride in your progress and will be better able to shrug off any unkind comments or bad attitudes you encounter.
Boost Your Self-Confidence
Do little things that boost your self-confidence. You’ll find that it not only makes you feel better about yourself, but will also make others feel more positive about you. Even if they don’t know about your condition, they may begin to whisper among themselves if they think your behavior is odd or eccentric or that you don’t take good care of yourself. Some of those whispers won’t be negative – they may be based on love and concern, but even your harshest detractors would have trouble criticizing or spreading rumors about you if you appear self-confident and in control.
If the Truth Gets Out: Education is Key
Because stigma can make your recovery difficult, we began this article by talking about how to cover up the facts about your treatment and your condition. However, despite your best efforts, the grapevine may latch onto your “little secret.” Allowing stigma and outright cruelty to get you down is exactly what you should not do. If your condition gets out into the open, be open about yourself. Stigma comes from a place of ignorance. Educate your detractors and don’t let them upset you. Support groups and your therapist will be able to help you with strategies for combating stigma. Once people have a better understanding, they will be more supportive.
Whatever else you do, don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re doing the right thing, not only for yourself, but also for those who love you. Hang in there! You’ve got this!