As a community, how can we support a person with a mental health issue, without creating stigma?
I have a mental illness in a regional city. I had an episode of anger which I understand is due to acute anxiety, at my daughter’s school. Three years on, people still cower, there is gossip about me, that is of the effect that I am going to coffee shops to ‘meet’ and ‘pickup’ men, and that I am most interested in meeting married men. I am told I have to just move around and amongst the society, (by my psychologist) but I find it safer and apparently I am becoming more reclusive, to remain at home. I don’t condone aggressive behaviour. The school and my workplace, were trying to ‘support’ me, by having psychologists at the school, monitor my behaviour and have people behave ‘accordingly’. I began to feel I was living ‘The Truman Show’, and realise none of my interactions were authentic. Initially those people were being ‘kind’ but misguided, in supporting me, and I guess, my daughter. I have 3 years until she leaves school. I will go ‘somewhere else’. Michael Kirby has spoken of the chaplaincy program being a ‘front’ to filter through students of need/risk. I plod on. This stigma came into my new workplace. I plod on. Btw: this is not my paranoia. Underneath, I find it deeply alienating and distressing.