MHAM 16: The Struggle is Real

Topic: How has the stigma impacted you, and how have you fought it?


People don’t like being reminded that they are not immortal or immune to everything. So it is normal behavior to make it the “sick” person’s fault that they’re body is not in perfect condition. Even when the condition is genetic or result from something the person had no control over, people will find or make up a “reason” this happened to the “sick” person. Then the “healthy” person can say “that will never happen to me.” Then it is normal for the “sick” person to be push out of the social circles. The “sick” person becomes a “downer” and most don’t want them there.

There are a lot of stigmas that impacted me and I could go on. It becomes amazing how labels, stereo types, and such impacts your life the moment a symptom enters your life. And how those make drastic changes in how others see us, how we see ourselves, and how we are allowed to contribute to society over night. So I will rant about a few.

I was a theater major when I got sick. I was honest with my professor and turned down a leading role. The next play I was second lead and I had a few migraine episodes while other students were being jack-asses playing with the lights. (At this point I had not had a seizure yet.) After that show everything went to hell. I lost my job in the workshop and I wasn’t given a part in the next play. I had to do both of those things to keep my scholarship. It went as far for a professor to give a lecture about the importance of staying healthy in order to give performances and do well in acting classes. I went from the best in the department to the outcast in a few weeks. A rumor spread that I was diseased and wouldn’t be able to hack it. And then one professor was surprised her best student dropped all her classes…

In school I was told constantly that I couldn’t do it, I was going to flunk out, and I needed to drop. Why? Because sick people are not able to think critically, learn, pay attention in class, concentrate, or perform academically in general. They also drag down the class and make classmates uncomfortable. Sick people should not live on campus because they lack the skills to care for themselves. So, a sick person is stupid, inconsiderate of your feelings, and should be invalids? I fought it by living on campus, having a kick ass thesis, getting a 3.6 gpa, and being awarded a scholarship to graduate school. There was a bet on if I would make it through my thesis presentation. I encouraged it. There was standing room only. A friend of mine made a killing. I fought the same crap in grad school. I fought it mostly by having a kick ass thesis and getting a 3.6 gpa.

I am a druggie. A druggie is “a drug addict” or a person addicted to a specific substance, typically illegal. I am dependent on my prescription medication. I need it for my brain to function properly.  If I stop taking it, my body will have an adverse reaction. Prescription medication is illegal without a prescription. Would you like to see my prescription? This is a major problem with having to take medication in public. Suddenly I am explaining to strangers what I’m taking and why so they do not call the police. Would I really be popping illegal pills after an alarm went off in public? Stranger, if this looks like an illegal drug, how do you know? I’ve never seen one…

Why am I a unemployed bum living in my parents home? Maybe because I can’t live on my own and I do a lot worse when I work. Why don’t I have an online job? Please help me find one that does not require me to be on the phone or type all day or that is not a scam. What is that, no? I am in a lot of pain, pain makes it hard to function because it does this to the body (insert list) which make it hard to function. The doctor agrees it would be hard for me to work and I shouldn’t work for more then 10 hours and that if I do work it (insert list). Long educational talks that are repetitive and they don’t listen to anyway because most people just wanted to say “Your lazy, should be working, living on your own, and need to stop being a burden to your parents.”

Why are you working being a pain in our ass? Because I need to pay bills? I’m told I need to stay home and live off of disability. That I am too sick to work. My pain makes me unreliable, bad worker, undesirable, disabled, need a better doctor, I must be lying about seeing a doctor, I don’t eat, I eat the wrong foods, I don’t sleep, I must


have had a brain injury I am lying about. It was crazy the things I herd and was told. I fought back by not quitting. I decided that my bosses were going to have to fire me. But each time I ended up quitting on doctor’s orders. Oh it is so annoying.

This is how I slowly watched my world change. How I saw my friend

s dwindle, place in society change, my roles shift, other’s expectations from me disappear, my dreams go out the window, my future change. Because of physical limitations and stigmas.

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Filed under #MHAM, awareness, migraine/headache, pain

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