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Stigma in research

Have you been a victim? Or have you contributed to your own stigma?

by AvantGarde » Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:57 am

So, I stumbled upon something a bit disturbing.

I research a lot of topics, and the theme of the day today was supposed to be empathy and mental illness, specifically in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. All my experiences with people with schizophrenia and bp were with people with high levels of empathy. Especially because we've been through so much and dealt with the worst of people, and we're very emotional and it's easy for us to relate to others' emotions.

But... All I could find was research on the lack of empathy we show, not one single article on high levels of empathy, not one.

This is wrong right? Or am I being too nit picky?
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by Duckysmom » Sat Aug 27, 2016 7:44 am

I agree with you. The people I know who have mental illness are the most empathetic people I know. I myself am able (whether or not I want to) soak up the emotions another person. My mother used to call me the emotional human sponge. If she was upset, I cried. Just the other day, a guy I work with sent me paperwork with multiple errors. Not like him at all. I approached him and could feel his pain immediately. Turns out he had just gotten word of a death in his family, had rushed through his work trying to get it done so he could leave. I actually had tears well up, told him I would make the corrections and told him to just go.

But I think some may view us with a lack of empathy because we have to steel ourselves and protect ourselves from potential triggers. We have to be aware of our own moods and emotions. And when manic, I tend to talk too much, not listen well, mentally run over other people. When depressed, I can't get out of my own head sometimes. I was hypomanic when I approached this guy, someone I like, but don't know well. I was depressed by the time I got back to my desk. (Damn triggers! And rapid cycling!)

I would guess this research had to be based on behaviours and what the outside world sees. Because if they could crawl inside and feel what I feel, I think it might just be too overwhelming for them.

I feel this everytime I talk to my daughter and she calls for support. She's a newly single, single mother, dealing with a full time job, an almost 4 year old, former husband and his family, and taking part time college classes to better her future. I can listen for a short time, but she says I seem remote and uninterested, and then I say I have to go. She doesn't understand that I am hurting so bad for her that it becomes agonizing for me.

Well, those are my thought anyway.
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by Lisa » Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:11 am

AvantGarde wrote:by AvantGarde » Sat Aug 27, 2016 7:57 am

So, I stumbled upon something a bit disturbing.

All I could find was research on the lack of empathy we show, not one single article on high levels of empathy, not one.

This is wrong right? Or am I being too nit picky?


by Duckysmom » Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:44 am

I agree with you. The people I know who have mental illness are the most empathetic people I know.

I would guess this research had to be based on behaviours and what the outside world sees. Because if they could crawl inside and feel what I feel, I think it might just be too overwhelming for them.


As Duckysmom stated, the predominant attitude is probably from individuals dealing with bipolar family members, their perceptions, complaints, and grievances. Much like the parent or spouse complaining that 'it's all in your head', we 'should be stronger and not let stress affect' us, and finally, the 'your not depressed, you are just selfish or needy'. Studies are limited from our jumbled perspectives, but progress is being made with improved medications, therapy, and recent publications.

I see far too many people being hindered by the judgemental attitudes of siblings, parents, and spouses. Fortunately, many of the individuals coping with these illnesses are highly functioning & perhaps the better equipped to survive our episodes with medication, therapy, and healthier habits than those bitching about our selfish needs for stability. We know for a fact that our daily struggles are 'too overwhelming for them', as Duckysmom says. Otherwise, they'd have it together and not be the asses they often are XD
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by AvantGarde » Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:36 am

Duckysmom wrote:I would guess this research had to be based on behaviours and what the outside world sees. Because if they could crawl inside and feel what I feel, I think it might just be too overwhelming for them.


I agree. It seems that right now we fall prey to the psychopath stigma, inadvertently, like we all fit in the same category just because we're all mentally ill.

I'm sorry it's so hard on you. It happens the same to me, in order not to feel so much I retract from the interaction. It is difficult to deal with, I'm trying to deal better with it, let myself feel it and learn how to react better.

My mom has depression and anxiety, and when she's down I'm down, when she's nervous, I'm nervous. now I understand why that is. So, my mom is a major trigger for me. :?
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