Kitt beneath a fig tree

Kitt fights stigma even as she stands beneath a fig tree in her back yard

Why is it that we as a society seem to accept depression in women more readily than other mental illnesses? We seem to find it acceptable when a woman harms herself, turns her pain, frustration, and anger inward; yet, should she lash out at those making demands of her, such as her children, she is seen as a monster.

Why does it seem more acceptable for a woman to suffer from postpartum depression than postpartum bipolar disorder or postpartum psychosis? Do we not understand that the hormones of pregnancy can push depression to bipolarity or lead to psychosis, as in psychotic depression? Anyone of us is vulnerable to mental illness, even psychosis, given the right circumstances.

If we are to destigmatize mental illness, we must stop distancing ourselves from and judging certain diagnoses as worse than or other than. For years, I turned my rage onto myself rather than attack others. I internalized the stigmatization of certain brain disorders over others. For some reason, I accepted the diagnosis of depression. Bipolar, not so much.

Stop bashing troubled women who need our understanding, support, and treatment. Stop making distinctions that further stigmatize mental illness and marginalize those in need.

Learn more about stigma and mental illness for women, read this excellent article:

“I do not wish to be taken as a witch!” Stigma and Wellness
By Walker Karaa, PhD · STIGMAMA.COM · July 14, 2014