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Naomi’s story

“I felt bad about feeling bad.”

What kind of stigma did you experience/observe?

I have generalized anxiety disorder and also experience episodes of severe clinical depression. These facts have cast a shadow over the rest of my experiences. I was afraid that people would see me acting “abnormally” and think I was “crazy”. I would do my best to fit in and would withdraw from being around people during times when my symptoms got worse. I would have troubles making it into work and wouldn’t feel I really had a reason for not going. I just hadn’t been able to get out of bed that day. I felt bad about feeling bad.

How did you overcome this experience?

Over time I have become friends with other people with mental illnesses. Within this group of people, I have found a community of people who have had similar experiences as me. These people accepted me exactly as I was so I, in turn, accepted them exactly as they were. I realized there wasn’t anything shameful about my experience.

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