Depression & haemorrhoids, opposite ends of the body.... What do they have in common?
“a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person”.
My own mental health journey started off with anxiety and developed into depression as my illness progressed. Even now I still struggle to discuss the details of my illness and I’m surrounded by people who work in the MH sector and have an incredibly open and accepting environment.
It’s easy to think that with 1 in 4 of us struggling to maintain their mental health that surely
the stigma surrounding mental illness isn’t really that much of a thing any more.
But it is.
Part of my job for BTG is going around and visiting gyms that can potentially be physical
therapy providers for the people on our programs.
About 2 years ago I met with a local gym owner, told him all about BTG, what we do, how
amazing the service is, and his response? “thanks but I don’t want to work with nutters”.
I was gobsmacked. “Nutters”. Is that how people see me?
And it got me thinking.
Is ending the stigma the key to saving lives and is that even realistic? Or will there always be awful ignorant people in the world. And is focusing solely on ending stigma derailing us from more important goals.
Mental illness is an illness. Medical records of illness and procedures are kept strictly
confidential, because some things are private, and that’s ok.
50% of people will have haemorrhoids by the time they’re 50 years old, it’s incredibly
common, it’s no one’s fault, it’s not a sign of weakness or a reflection of you as a
Yet it’s not something we talk about, there’s still a stigma.
If I’m honest I can’t see people ever being 100% comfortable discussing depression or
haemorrhoids, but it’s still a lot easier to get effective treatment for haemorrhoids than it is
Ending the stigma would be great but it can’t be the only priority, we can raise awareness
and funding for research into the causes of mental illness. We can fund the development of more treatment options. We can have more public promotion and education on how to identify the early signs of illness. We can have more resources and information on how to look after our mental health so we don’t get ill. We can have more education and funding poured into the services currently available.
It’s ok not to be ok, and it’s also ok if you don’t want to share that just yet. If you’re worried
about the stigma you can get help completely confidentially, for your head or your bum.