Self-stigma: The Internal Barrier Affecting Your Mental Health

Self-stigma: The Internal Barrier Affecting Your Mental Health

By Satvika

 

There are numerous stereotypes, prejudice, and stigmas surrounding mental health. One of which is Self-stigma. Self- stigma refers to the negative attitudes, including internalized shame that people with mental illness have about their own condition. Self-stigma is a result of public-stigma. For instance, some people believe that those who suffer from mental illness are dangerous. Because of this, the individual suffering from mental illness could believe that they are dangerous. Which may lead to isolation and make the symptoms worse.

Your self-stigma is holding you back from improving your mental health.

Self-stigma leads to low self-esteem and self-efficacy. Because of public stigma, some people believe that mental illness is a weakness. Which could lead to the ill person thinking I am weak because of my condition. This can have negative consequences on the illness itself. Due to low self-esteem the individual may start expecting failure and may develop a fear of failure. The phenomenon “why try” refers to a feeling of futility in which people assume they are unworthy or incapable of achieving their own goals because they apply the stigmas associated with mental illness to themselves. Which could lead to a changed attitude towards the treatment and recovery aspect. People may refuse to take medications under the assumption only the mentally weak resort to taking medications.

 

 

How does self-stigma affect your daily life? 

 Self-stigma might make people feel distant from those around them. Which can make it hard to ask for help. It is also possible that people might start blaming themselves for their illness. They start regarding themselves as a burden and may start to minimize relationships. The current relationships may suffer as a result of self-stigma, and it may be challenging to build new ones since individuals start believing that they are unlovable and unworthy of love.

A person with mental illness because of self-stigma could decide not to apply for a job because they believe they will not be hired or they are not qualified. Additionally, some individuals may begin to think their mental illness would have a negative effect on their jobs.                                     

Many of us find it difficult to discuss stigma, let alone self-stigma. We don’t even realize the judgment we put upon ourselves and how it is further impacting our mental health.  We must recognize and comprehend its potential consequences. If we can’t accept and help ourselves, it is likely that we won’t be able to accept help from others either.

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