Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Spreading awareness and minimizing stigma

This blogpost is one I have wanted to write for a while, but also one which I haven't quite know how to write, so I appologize in advance for it probably being a bit incoherent.

It is no secret that there is a history of alcoholism in my family. Specifically, my father was an alcoholic, and died as a direct result of his alcoholism (he fell and broke his neck while drunk). This happened a long time after I moved away from home, and during my childhood, my father mostly managed to stay away from alcohol, though with several yearly drinking binges. In other words, growing up, I only suffered mildly from the consequences of my father's alcoholism.

This might be part of the reason why I have never been ashamed of the fact that my father was an alcoholic. Obviously, I didn't like the fact, especially not after he started drinking heavily around the time I was 25 or so, but it was nothing I felt I had to be ashamed of.

When talking with other people, and mentioned the fact that my father was an alcoholic, I have found out that I am not typical in this. Many people who have had, or have, an alcoholic parent or grandparent, feels ashamed of it, and don't mention it. Except they did, when I had told that my father was one, but then only in privacy.

I found out that a lot of people have experienced alcoholism pretty closely, yet have been afraid to open up to other people because of the social stigma associated with it. This has left them to try to cope on their own, often at great personal costs.

This is a problem.

A problem which we should try to do something about.

Social stigmas like this are destructive, and blocks people from seeking help and support when needed.

One great thing about the Internet is now we can use it to share our stories and spread awareness of something, trying to help others overcome their fear of a stigma, in order to help them in the long run, or even in the short run.

One example of someone who has done so is the YouTube vlogger HappiLeeErin, who usually talks about Manga, but who in June 2013 posted a deeply personal video about her struggles with bi-polar disorder.

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Several people have posted in the comment section that the video has helped them seek the help that they needed.

Please don't use ad-block or scriptblocking when viewing the video, as it will ensure that HappiLeeErin doesn't get paid for the views, which in turn, makes it harder for her to do work helping other people.

Another YouTube vlogger who has posted about her disorders in order to help other people is Courtneypants, who in May 2013 posted about her eating disorders.

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Before then, she had posted about her problems with trichotillomania.



Internet personality and actor Wil Wheaton has also opened up about his problems. In this case with depression.

When YouTube vloggers like HappiLeeErin and Courtneypants and personalities like Wil Wheaton open up about these problems, they are helping other people that they are not alone, and that it is OK to seek help if they feel they need it.

Given the current social stigmas that are connected to these issues, I don't think everybody can be as brave and open about their problems as the people I've mentioned above, but I think it is important that the people who are able to do, do it, so we can help remove the stigma, and help people who need help.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Kim Bach said...

Very important, thank you for posting this.

I try to do the same, I am diagnosed with bipolar mental disorder, and in that respect I am involved in the project "EN AF OS" http://www.en-af-os.dk/, a danish adaptation of the british project "time to change" http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/

January 01, 2014 8:31 PM  

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