My Wish List

By December 21, 2014Blog

Merry Christmas

For my family, this is a joyous Christmas. My five-year-old son “gets it”, and playing chief elf is super fun. Plus there are all the traditions to establish from various outings to tree trimming and favorite carols . . . We’ve also made a pact to teach our son the “true meaning” of Christmas. I think it means something different for everyone. For us, we think of it as the Season of Giving.

But since I’m having a selfish moment, I’ll digress and pen my own wish list:

For those afflicted by a mental illness and living without the help they need – may they find a road to sustainable wellness;

For those successfully managing their diagnoses, may they have the strength and support to stick with their health care regime;

For the homeless — a warm bed and a roof to shield them from the cold;

For those who manage our nation’s fledgling health care system, that they be blessed with the tools necessary to properly treat mental health just as freely as “physical health”;

For empathy — to enable everyone the ability to find the resources and energy to live a kind life;

For snow. A white Christmas would be lovely;

For a bountiful Christmas dinner celebration with close family and friends.

Now, I tried wishing for the end of stigma, but couldn’t find the words. I asked myself why and realized that for me, it’s too complicated for a nod on a wish list.

What is stigma? I think, like anything, it’s defined differently for each of us, but it’s equally troublesome for everyone. For instance, I stigmatized myself for almost two decades before finding the ability to speak my full name and my diagnoses in one sentence. But during those years of silence I was able to establish great support and a strong family support net. For that, I am lucky.

During those years of managing both my diagnoses and my silence, I learned tools to help me to ultimately lead a life I never dreamed possible — a loving husband, son and home.

So, of late, I’ve better understood the difference between two brands of stigma. For me, it’s been a struggle between self-stigmatizing and self loathing — and being judged, misunderstood and/or criticized for a mental health diagnoses by others.

So what’s my final hope for my Christmas List?

For anyone who’s felt stigmatized that they find the power and fortitude to talk about it and help others understand how they’ve been hurt. And, that they acknowledge the power of doing this — not just for an important social movement – but for their own well being.

At the moment,  I wish for a brighter, more tolerant world, open to the realities of mental illness. Let’s see what strides we’ve taken by this time next year!

3 Comments

  • MOM says:

    Dad and I are proud of the path you have taken and the courage to find your voice!

  • Sunbug says:

    End the stigma. Don’t be afraid to talk. Someone might need to hear your story without fear Blessings. I have lived it and you are not alone. XO

  • Kate says:

    To the BC2M community — It’s been thrilling to see such great response to my recent blog, “My Wish List”. I hope and pray all are able to enjoy this special Christmas season. No one dare say overcoming a mental health diagnoses is easy — but with the right support, ability to see through the muck and mire and enable yourself to ask the burning questions, there is a positive future for us all. Be well and take care of yourself. The best support system you can have starts with you. Merry Christmas! Kate

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