I’m so tired of mental health stigma. It’s everywhere these days. The Mental Health Foundation of Australia wants us to fight stigma. SANE Australia wants us to “say no” to stigma. Beyond Blue would like us to not only reduce stigma, but increase wisdom. And across the internet, untold legions of writers pen sensitive thinkpieces on the terrible stigma of mental health and how important it is to fight it.
I’ve had enough of it. I don’t want to hear any more about stigma. I’d just like a few days off from fighting the stigma of my mental illness, so I can spend a bit of time fighting the illness itself.
Which is not that easy, as it happens. I’m keen to avoid overstating my own situation – I know my problems are pretty mild in the scheme of things – but three or four gut-churning panic attacks every week and the regular arguments between warring halves of my brain on the question of whether I need to die today or not can definitely wear one down.
I don’t want awareness. I don’t want to fight the stigma. I don’t want to be asked whether I’m, OK. I want real help. Thousands of people all around this country need real help. They need resources to keep them alive, and to make being alive worth the effort. They need a society that takes their illness seriously enough to stop paying feelgood lip service, to admit that the keys to mental health problems don’t lie in wrongful thoughts, but in the vacuum of meaningful actions.
In the end the stigma we’re all suffering from is the stigma of living in a country that’s happy to see thousands of its people laid waste by their own minds. That stigma we could really stand to end.
– Ben Pobjie