Stigma at work/school

Has anyone else faced stigma and discrimination at work or school because of their symptoms or side effects of meds? I’ve been on ssi for years but recently returned to school for nursing. I would like to get into psych nursing one day.One of my professors noticed I have hand tremors and look a little tired from the meds-I overheard her saying something about me looking “crazy” and “weird”. I know if it isn’t something said directly to me I can’t really report it anywhere and I guess I shouldn’t give a sh*t about her opinion but I’m just really tired of the stigma. At my last job as a direct care counselor I was labeled as “crazy” by a couple of coworkers-I have social anxiety and I guess it shows alot at times. I eventually left that job and went back on ssi because I was tired of being looked down on constantly.I’m not going to run away from the situation this time-I want to be able to stick with it and keep a job.

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How to let people know that you are mentally ill:

At some point you’ve been diagnosed as having some variation of a mental illness You know that it affects your life considerably, but those around you may not. They may not understand your actions when the disorder is actively present in your life. Thankfully, you can tell them about what you have, so that they may be more understanding.

Be selective. Only tell those who would truly benefit from knowing of your condition, such as your boss, fellow students and co-workers that you do a lot of work with, family members, etc. Other people simply don’t need to know. There are many misconceptions about mental illnesses, so you have to be careful with disclosing the diagnosis.

Make any explanations short and sweet. Don’t start using medical jargon in explaining what you have. This will only confuse the other person. Instead, break down any good descriptions you may find into plain English by replacing
higher vocabulary terms with lower ones that will make sense to whomever you tell.

If you aren’t good at explaining things, don’t feel obliged to do so. Ask your counselor, psychiatrist or whoever helps you manage illness. for an easy-to-access and simple resource that you could refer your friends and family to. They will still get the message, but you won’t be the one explaining anything.

Don’t victimize yourself. Simply because you have a long-term emotional condition doesn’t mean you can’t have a successful life. Always remember that whatever affects you in life isn’t going to make or break you- it’s your reaction to it that counts.

Don’t make a big deal out of it. You might be mentally ill, but it doesn’t have to be the defining aspect of your life- if you don’t want it to be. People with this condition eat, sleep, and breath the same air like everyone else. You still have to manage it, but avoid ruminating over the diagnosis. It’s going to affect your life, but not necessarily in a negative way.

Don’t tell those who have a limited understanding of the world. Those types of people will be more likely to be judgmental, rather than empathetic, and may not be ones to count on to keep what you have shared confidential. Some people might treat you differently after they learn about your condition. They might be victims of popular misconceptions, or they may not understand what the diagnosis means.

Usually, good friends and family won’t treat you any differently. But your acquaintances and those whom you don’t know well are the ones most likely to do so. Try not to take it personal if they do treat you differently. Most of the time, they simply don’t understand what mental illness is and the struggles of those who have it.