Link – How Comparing Mental Illnesses Can Lead to Stigma

I’m not sure how this ever became a thing. Yes,it may be somewhat normal to look around and see that there are other people out there who might have it worse, I’ve never understood using that as an excuse to not get treatment, or to ridicule others.

If you broke your arm, you wouldn’t look at someone with cancer and say “they have it worse, I’m not hurt that bad. I won’t get any medical treatment.” Of course not. Just because other people may have more obvious, or more dangerous conditions, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of yourself.

It also shouldn’t give anyone a reason to make judgements about people who may have a “worse” condition. Again, that person with cancer wouldn’t be the target of your ridicule, why should someone with a mental health diagnosis?

It’s a natural thing to make comparisons, but when we compare mental illnesses, it can lead to stigma when you start using it, whether consciously or unconsciously, to figure out who’s sicker. While it’s very likely not intentional, when we, as people with mental illnesses, start keeping score, so to speak, we’re doing more damage than good. We end up seeing both kinds of stigma — stigma against others and self-stigma — as a result of comparing mental illnesses.

Photo by Leonard J Matthews

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