5 Techniques to Stop Mental Health Self-Stigma
During my mental health journey, I have experienced the harmful effects of stigma with regard to learning disabilities and mental illness. In school, students bullied me for being the last person to finish tests. Therefore, I thought I was stupid. The stigma placed upon me by my classmates led me to shame (or stigmatize) myself. Thankfully, I have gained many strategies to stop self-stigma from controlling my life. Here are five techniques I use to stop self-stigma.
5 Strategies that Help Me to Reduce Self-Stigma
- I remain mindful of my triggers. One of the most important lessons I learned about self-stigma is that mindfulness is key. I cannot solve the problems that I am not aware exist. When I was in grade school, reading was difficult for me. It took me a very long time to finish a book. When I have been slow at certain tasks in my adulthood, I have stigmatized myself by calling myself names and using negative self-talk. However, I now know that I have learned and overcome many things since my childhood. By keeping this perspective, I have changed my mindset and feel less ashamed of myself.
- I genuinely appreciate compliments. When I was young, I thought compliments were insincere and said out of pity. For instance, when teachers told me that I exceeded their expectations, I thought that meant they had very low expectations for me. But I now know that people usually mean what they say when they give compliments. So when someone tells me that they like my writing and that it resonated with them, that makes me feel really good. I replace self-stigma with gratitude.
- I talk to my dogs. Honestly, I was never really a fan of dogs. But after my family got two dogs this year, I have found it has been nice talking to them. They might not be able to understand what I am saying, but I know that I can vent without receiving judgment. Also, when they sit on my lap, it gives me a warm feeling. I do not feel alone. Stigma makes me feel unloved and unlovable. However, my dogs remind me that I am loved.
- I write about mental health. Writing about mental health is helpful because it gives me a chance to process my thoughts. It feels like doing stretches after a workout. When I am in pain, doing a short writing session helps me to recover. I can stop crying and smile again. As I am writing about self-stigma, I am reminding myself that I do not have to be ashamed of my imperfections.
- I reach out to my support network. Learning from other people's experiences has helped me to stigmatize myself less. I have friends who have shared struggles similar to mine. Seeing them succeed has given me hope for myself. I am also part of many support groups. People talk about where they were before they started treatment and how they have gotten to a much better place. I can honestly say that their positivity has rubbed off on me. It has also helped me to realize that I am in a much better place than I was just a few months ago. This helps me to feel much more stable and grounded.
Those are just five ways I have learned to reduce my self-stigma. To learn more about my experiences with self-stigma and the lessons I have gained, watch the video below.
Lueck, M. (2022, May 17). 5 Techniques to Stop Mental Health Self-Stigma, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, November 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/toughtimes/2022/5/5-techniques-to-stop-mental-health-self-stigma