In the era of social media, we often see only the “perfect” parts of people’s lives, but in reality, everyone has challenges. For those living with mental illness, it can be especially difficult to open up about the disease and get treatment and support because of the stigma associated with it. Whether you have depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety, know that there are doctors, counselors, support group members, and family and friends who stand with you. You don’t have to fight the illness alone. Here are some ways you can take a stand against the negative effects of the stigma.

  1. Talk openly about your condition when appropriate: Hiding it only fosters shame and self-doubt. Mental illness, like chronic physical illness, is a disease.
  2. Don’t go it alone: Seek professional help to manage the physical and emotional aspects of the disease. Remember, safe medicines and psychosocial treatments are also highly effective.
  3. Replace “I am bipolar” with “I have bipolar disease”: Your condition doesn’t define you.
  4. Join a support group and find a buddy.