By Nancy Virden (c)2021
You walk up to a new co-worker to introduce yourself. You say, “Hello, my name is New Hairstyle. You can call me Ponytail for short.”
Does that make sense? You are not your hairstyle anymore than your new coworker is her car. In the same way, no one is to be identified as depression or any other mental health challenge.
The six letters of the word STIGMA form a helpful acronym. Today’s blog looks at I.
I = Identity
No one IS a disease, condition, or experience. We confuse a person with their struggle by using phrases such as “he is bipolar” and insults like “she is cuckoo”. Sticking a title on a friend, let alone a demeaning one, leaves little room in our minds for growth or acceptance during his process of recovery.
Assigning poor character as a cause for depressive episodes and mental breakdowns is ignorance. You can hear these assumptions in comments like, “she needs to stop being lazy and get back to work.”
Major depression messed with my thinking, not my faith or character. The Lord was near as he walked me through complicated mood swings and remodeled my belief system. He did not scold me into compliance. Instead, he stood with me in the dark offering enough light for one step at a time. If my character was lazy or weak, I never would have done the work.
Saying, “take your pill,” when a friend’s mood is not as we want it, is about our comfort, not their health. It points the finger and suggests depression is only a bunch of molecules and neurons. Medication is not happy pills, it is a helpful tool. Kindly try asking if they are having trouble staying on the regimen. Offer to dole out their medication or to remind them when it is time.
As for the oft-misused “she just wants attention,” think that through. Of course someone seeks attention when in desperate pain. Consider what needs are not being met; maybe you can help meet them.
Identifying people as if they are their struggle adds to the hopeless mindset, “This is all I am,” and “nothing can change” that can accompany severe depression. Use positive statements and change “he is” to “he has.” Leave titles to books. Many people have mental health difficulties and are not defined by them. -COMMENTS WELCOME
Today’s Helpful Word
1 Corinthians 13:5,7
Love… does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking… It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Nancy’s latest FREE e-books! Click on the pictures for immediate access:
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
HOLY BIBLE, NEW LIVING TRANSLATION, COPYRIGHT © 1996, 2004, 2015 BY TYNDALE HOUSE FOUNDATION. USED BY PERMISSION OF TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC., CAROL STREAM, ILLINOIS 60188, PER BIBLE GATEWAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://WWW.BIBLEGATEWAY.COM/