Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Beach Junkie's Guide To Breaking Stigma

Hello there everyone!

So, you may have noticed that I wasn't posting anything for a while. 2015 was basically one long hiatus. I was in the process of moving into a different house, and along with that, I have been struggling with my ever-present mental illnesses. I'm back now, and am prepared to post as much as it takes to make up for a lost year!  

If you can tell from the title of this post, there is a stigma surrounding mental illness. In case you don't know what stigma means (I didn't prior to being diagnosed), it means that a characteristic of an individual may develop a socially negative attitude towards the individual. Now, I'm sure that in some areas mental illness is more widely accepted by the general population. However, that is not the case where I live. Seriously, you can't begin to imagine the kind of responses I get from people in my local area. (I intend to make more posts in the future talking about my personal illnesses).

I, like most people suffering from this, remained mostly quiet about it. I had a psychologist, whom at one point, encouraged me to share my story with others. She said that a lot of people are afraid to speak up, and talking about what I go through might help others feel less alone in the world. Well, I understand the feeling of alone pretty well. But I refused her advice to talk about it. It wasn't until just last fall that I changed my mind. A person confided in me that they suspected they had a mental illness. I listened to their reasons why, and I agreed that it did sound like something was up. So I said that they needed to see a doctor to get officially diagnosed, and then go from there in the recovery and coping process. They said that they weren't going to go to a doctor or seek help because they didn't want to be judged and picked on by other people. All I could do was stand there and shake my head. Yes, the stigma is strong.

I know that I'm not going to magically break the stigma all by myself just because I've decided to start talking. Unfortunately, as long as there are people in this world, there will always be someone who looks down on those with mental illness. My intention and my hope is that one person suffering, or one person who knows someone who is suffering, will be encouraged, and will seek out the help they need to start recovering and living a meaningful life.

Now, before we're finished here today, I want to recommend a book to you (I am a book blogger after all!) that isn't necessarily a book about mental illness, but it definitely could fit into that category. It's one that I enjoyed very much. I was laughing so hard at one point, I got those annoying little stitches in my side! So if you're curious to know more about these illnesses, and if you like hilarious protagonists, here's my recommendation:

   According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It's supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold's head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it's an alphabetical order thing), but she's never really known him.

The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father's newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it's working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He's cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.

In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance. -
Summary and cover image from Goodreads

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