Have you ever wondered how some people can speak out about almost anything, no matter the consequences or possibility of repercussions? If only we could all mirror that boldness and audacity. Many of us, however, would not choose to open ourselves up to the sometimes cruel opinion of others.
On a smaller scale but no less critical, imagine you have something very personal that needs attention, of which you are pretty sure others will not approve. How do you deal with the decision of who to tell or whether to tell anyone at all? For many people, the mere thought of a private or personal disclosure brings fear. Let’s discuss those fears and attempt to uncover their reasons and our reactions to them.
We are social beings. Early in life, we seek acceptance, recognition, and love. On the other end of the spectrum, we shy away from discrimination, criticality, and cruelty. Somewhere in the middle lies indifference, ignorance, and denial. How can we expect anyone to speak out for help when possible social stigma stares at them? Understanding the fear also means understanding the stigma associated with facing the fear.
Stigma is discrimination against a person or an identifiable group of people, usually due to a lack of knowledge. Early in the pandemic, stigma existed against some ethnic and minority groups, first responders, people testing positive for COVID-19, and healthcare providers. It is now widely known that no one person or group is more likely than others to spread COVID. Imagine all the people having to endure the disassociation related to that discrimination. Verbal and physical abuse can cause a person to go into hiding and sometimes result in fear of disclosure.
We may not be able to stop the stigma of pandemic proportions. Still, we can equip ourselves with knowledge and resolve to face and overcome the fear of others’ uninformed opinions. Your mental health relies on your diligent self-care. When fear interrupts the ability to make essential changes and take necessary steps, it may be time to seek the support of a friend, loved one, or a professional.
Mental health is the overall state of a person’s mental, psychological, and emotional well-being; it affects our thinking, feelings, and relationships with others. Caring for your mental health may be why you are reading this article. As mentioned above, you may also be curious about the fear of asking for help or the stigma associated with disclosure. Interestingly, a person’s mental health may or may not encompass mental illness. In other words, everyone has mental health, but not everyone has a mental illness or disorder.
Fear of asking for help can accompany a myriad of issues. Whether your concerns lie with alcohol or substance dependency, panic attacks, questioning your sexual identity, or losing concentration, they all affect your mental health. Consequently, so do your fears, which is why taking action is so important. Perhaps your first step to finding help can be collecting knowledge through research and questioning others.
Just thinking about a medical or dental procedure can make a person anxious and nauseous. Fearing the actual process is expected, so you probably do your homework to learn what will happen. Gaining knowledge is an excellent way to squelch your fear of the procedure. You are exhibiting healthy coping techniques and facing your fears.
Maybe you are afraid to talk with a mental health professional, counselor, or representative or undergo treatment. You are already taking a step toward overcoming your fears by going to treatment websites and reading about your concerns. Conferring with someone experiencing similar symptoms can be helpful, as well. Knowing someone else has been in your shoes provides comfort and eases self-doubt, and helps alleviate feeling alone.
Self-stigma refers to a person’s doubts and shame about themselves and their perceived condition and is related to negative, self-defeating attitudes. When coupled with fear of stigma from other people or groups, a person’s mental health and dependency issues are subject to worsening. Additionally, they are less likely to seek help than those not experiencing self-stigma. If you are a family member or friend recognizing these issues with a loved one, try talking privately with them and expressing your concerns about their health. Make sure to listen, as well, as they may offer information you can use to further assist them toward treatment and recovery.
There is help out there. You or your loved one does not need to go through this alone. You can speak with someone you trust or call for professional assistance and counseling. Remember that time is of the essence, as any appropriate treatment will aid your well-being and quality of life.
At Sage Recovery, we believe that awareness and knowledge are fundamental to recovery. Fear is real, but you do not have to live in fear. Your overall mental health and well-being are more important than others’ opinions of you. Our programs are tailored around you and help you manage mental health-related symptoms. We build a community that helps raise awareness and advocates for those in need. If you or a loved one are experiencing mental health issues or signs, or are experiencing alcohol or substance dependence, remember you are not alone. We can help with compassionate support and treatment. Please do not hesitate to ask for help. To find out more, call us today at (512) 306-1394.