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  • Writer's picturejoannadoane

Blogging Against Stigma

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

A few weeks ago I blogged about some top reasons to use - and for professionals to consider providing - online counseling/psychotherapy. But it occurred to me that, perhaps, I should share my own reasons for going into this profession, and my reasons for writing little blogs to combat stigma and provide education. Generally, I just want people to stop suffering in silence. I want to be a part of the solution to a problem that has existed long before mass shootings. And mass shootings have much more to do with hatred than mental illness. But, I digress.

Combating Fear & Shame

For therapists to help people, those people have to not be afraid and ashamed of their symptoms. Put simply, if people who are struggling emotionally stop being afraid and ashamed, they will instead feel safe to ask for help when they begin to need it. If they ask for help when they begin to need it, they will be less likely to suffer in silence. They will be less likely to feel so alone. They will be less likely to die in ways no person ever should. So my writing these little blogs are my attempt to help educate the public. So that someday, with a cumulative effort across society, people may stop dying and suffering from things like depression, anxiety, and psychosis.

Towards this end, over the next two weeks, I will be sharing posts dedicated to historical figures who have struggled with mental illness. Now, this is not a new concept. However, these posts will be composed in a way that combats the stigma that prevents citizens from reaching out versus sensationalizing symptoms. The posts will also not represent these figures as unique in their ability to accomplish great things despite mental difficulties, but instead highlight their struggles in the context of living in a society without support and quality treatment options.

Blogging Against Stigma Series

Blogs have been scheduled to post over the next two weeks as follows:

Week 1:

Mon Oct 28: Series Intro (this post)

Tue Oct 29: Vincent Van Gogh

Wed Oct 30: Charles Darwin

Thu Oct 31: Isaac Newton

Fri Nov 01: Abraham Lincoln

Week 2:

Mon Nov 04: Edvard Munch

Tue Nov 05: Nikola Tesla

Wed Nov 06: Pablo Picasso

Thu Nov 07: Virginia Woolf

Fri Nov 08: John Nash

My Ultimate Reason Because, ultimately, there is no such thing as "crazy". The symptoms of mental illness are no more unique than the symptoms of heart disease, and no more connected to a "weakness" on the character of the individual sufferer. Brains are organs, just like hearts. Sometimes things don't go as planned, and treatment is needed. An antidepressant should be no more stigmatized than nitroglycerin. And just like life stressors and traumas contribute to heart attacks, migraines, and ulcers -- they also contribute to the development of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and psychosis. Both types of illness, left untreated, can lead to death.

Kind Regards, Joanna Doane Ottavio, LCSW

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