A friend told me once about how one time, in their psychology class, they’d been studying a disorder and their teacher inadvertently asked who had…

A friend told me once about how one time, in their psychology class, they’d been studying a disorder and their teacher inadvertently asked who had ever had the disorder. Some raised their hands. It was supposed to be rhetorical, yet (I’m assuming) the way it was posed probably made people misunderstand the intent behind the question. Then some spoke about their experiences with the disorder.   To this story, I reacted with some degree of shock (at first, at least). I had always thought that people my age who had been diagnosed as mentally ill and had undergone treatment were especially keen on keeping their experiences private. Considering the stigma one may face when diagnosed mentally ill, I thought that people would be extremely cautious about disclosing that kind of information.   I’ve realized now that it is this same openness about mental illness that will lead us all to come to accept it as valid and profoundly affecting as a physical illness, and is not an illness designated strictly on those who commit horrible crimes, nor on brilliant artists or whatever. There are millions who live in the shadows, in fear of what will become of them if they disclose information about their illness(es). By being more open about what many see with fear or disapproval, then we’re one step to finding that sense of acceptance.   – Allyson

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