aqldan ozgan (Uzbek)

While the stigma surrounding mental health annoys me and while I can see how dangerous this continuing embarrassment can be, I am still guilty of perpetuating it. Only a few people know about my illness and I frequently feel ashamed and guilty that I told them and burdened them. When I think about it logically, replacing the mental illness with a physical one, I can see that this is ridiculous and yet still I do it. I occasionally share a mental health article on Facebook or like a mental health post but I never mention my own struggles.

So I despair of the shame that people with mental health problems continue to feel (and are often made to feel) and yet I still feel that shame and, by not being open and honest about my own difficulties, do nothing personally to dispense with it.

I wish I could be one of the strong ones who could stand up to stigma but I’m a private person and I work so hard to present a positive picture of myself to my family so they will be proud of me. I don’t suppose I would post much if I had cancer either.

I also have to be honest and say that maybe it’s a bit much to expect those of us who are fighting ourselves so much to fight other people too. Perhaps the stronger ones should think about what they say and do more. Perhaps the stronger ones should fight.

But then I think… who’s going to tell the stronger ones what it’s like to be at the bottom of the darkest pit?

And that’s when I wonder if the stigma will ever completely disappear. I wish I were braver.


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