The symptoms have had a significant impact on me and on my family. Whilst primarily I was the one who was most affected by the sudden onset of life changing symptoms it was my family who had to see a well rounded, intelligent individual go from being at the top of her game to the bottom of the pile in just a short few days.
In many ways, an illness or problem that cannot be seen with the naked eye is often harder to understand. The symptoms have had a significant impact on me and on my family. Whilst primarily I was the one who was most affected by the sudden onset of life changing symptoms it was my family who had to see a well rounded, intelligent individual go from being at the top of her game to the bottom of the pile in just a short few days.
They were helpless. There wasn’t a plaster they could give me or an x-ray to see what was ‘wrong’ with me. My family just had to wait and try to hold it together for me. Within this time, I was admitted to a mental health hospital where the care was exemplary. But what about my family? What about their needs? Mental health problems can’t be diagnosed with a urine sample - it takes time. Time that they did not have. Each day, they would come in and see me and make sure that I was ok. The medical team kept my family informed but they too were unsure what was going on.
My illness progressed and eventually I reached a plateau. It was only when I was relatively stable that I was diagnosed. My family had their label and with the best of intentions embraced it. If you have a broken arm you can see what is wrong and you can get it treated. If you have a mental health illness you cannot see it so how can you treat it? A diagnosis is often hard to acquire, and when one is given does it make any difference? Will it cure you? Probably not. Will it help you get better? Possibly. One thing is for certain, a label or diagnosis can carry stigma and discrimination. A label can be described as a brief description given for purposes of identification. So my label of a schizoid type illness, is that my identification? Not my goals and aspirations? Not my achievements to date? I find this really hard to comprehend. I am one of the 1 in 4 people in the UK who have a mental health illness and I will refuse to let my label become me.
I am a strong independent woman who strives to become the best that I can be. My illness can sometimes make things harder but working towards the best things is never easy. That’s my label.
If you would like to write a blog post about your experiences of stigma or related issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org