“Never own a disease” images, allowing stigma to continue?

Published April 8, 2015 by Crystal


I don’t like this image.  I’ve seen it come from several sources of late and each time I have felt uncomfortable and unhappy.  I have spent time thinking about it and I think I know now what bothers me.
I understand the power of positive thinking.  Looking at the bright side. Seeing the rainbow and not the rain.  I get all that.  But my disease is depression.  And sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to why the rainbow is grey. There is no logic as to why I am so utterly miserable while my family posits parties around me.  And it is not like I am trying to remain depressed!  It is not as if I don’t want to enjoy the time with loved ones. Depression hits and my mood dives.
The image above demands silence from me on the matter of depression.  To not talk about those low episodes.  To not discuss what helps or what affects.  And that comes to me as a very personal attack.  Depression doors sit in the consciousness.  It is a mental illness.  But that aside, by being silent on the topic means sufferers continue  in that silence.  The illness remains.  It continues to affect daily.  We continue to be hurt day in and day out.  But we say nothing because it, what, bothers other people?  Because our illness is a negative in a positive life?
But it is not just depression that this image attacks.  I feel for anyone with an illness that affects their daily life.  Physical effects that mean daily life is always that little bit harder than for the person without “disease”.
When an illness is a significant Othery in a person’s life it is wrong to suggest that that person remain silent on the topic.  It is offensive to suggest the person give no time to the illness.  Almost as if living like a “normal disease free” person is the preferable!  But actually what we encounter can change and enhance our lives.  Yes I have depression but it makes me a while lot more empathetic or at least sympathetic to others in pain.  It helps me to understand how hard the simplest task can be.
So I am calling bullshit on this new age crap “advice” that wants to lessen me as a person because of an illness I am all too conscious of.  The more we talk, the more the awareness and understanding, the less the stigma.


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