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Liz’s story

“All I really want is for people to continue their relationship with me as though I am healthy.”

What kind of stigma did you experience/observe?

People who don’t know what to say tend to distance themselves, not because they don’t love you, but because they feel helpless to do anything to make you feel better.

Stigma story

I’ve had about 4 major depressive episodes over the past 25 years. My first one was seemingly out of the blue and no one knew what was wrong with me. When I was finally diagnosed and given treatment I recovered and rediscovered myself. But I did have one very close friend totally drop out of my life.

We had been friends for 2-3 years and she just couldn’t understand or deal with the obsessive and anxious component of my illness. Now when I am having an episode, I am filled with the fear that another of my friends will stop loving me because of this one person’s inability to deal with the illness. This is my struggle, to quell the fears. I do this by trying not to share too much about myself and this hurts me. I have lost my ability to trust new people and am working very hard to overcome this because I realize not everyone is that one person. There may be others but that doesn’t mean I am not worthy of love and acceptance.

What could someone have said/done to make it ok?

All I really want is for people to continue their relationship with me as though I am healthy. I don’t need to be treated as though I am fragile. I need to know they still love me and can handle the tough times. Because if they treat me like the disease, they are not seeing the me who is still there under the depression. Call me, laugh with me, talk about your life. And listen to mine. It will get better and we’ll be ok.

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