Daisy's story - Self-stigma
Hi there, my name is Daisy and I’m here today to talk to you a little bit about how stigma is perpetuated in our society, within our workplaces, organisations and within our relationships.
I live and work in Melbourne on Wurrungjeri land. I am a wife, a mum and a friend, and I live with what is commonly referred as a mental illness.
One of the interesting things I’ve found about living with mental illness is that often we are so stigmatized that we don’t even realize it’s happening.
Stigma can be so subtle.
It permeates its way into our relationships with ourselves, others and with our organisations and communities.
Stigma is often created unintentionally by societies that are afraid of things they don’t understand, and it is our job, collectively, to change this narrative.
For me, it was shame, stigma and fear that I was holding onto. I was so worried and concerned that people would look at me differently because of what I was experiencing. I was worried that people would question my capacity. That I wouldn’t be given the opportunities that I had been given in the past.
I was worried that I would be judged.
This fear was holding me back. And this fear wasn’t something that I had created, but it was the messages that I’d been given over and over again by the world around me.
We are constantly bombarded in the media, stories and throw away lines about people who are experiencing mental illness. But when we hear these messages often enough we begin to internalise it.
My rational brain knows that I’m self-stigmatizing, but the reality is that my journey - like so many other people’s journeys around their mental health is one of complexity, of highs and lows, beauty and pain, of confusion.
Stigma blocks us from telling our stories. Stigma is fear and it creates fear.
So while something might seem like a harmless comment to some, to me this is adding to the bucket of stigma that I’ve been experiencing my whole life.