Thursday, June 16, 2005

Mark of the Beast

Commentary on Living with Stigma

No, this article has nothing to do with fundamentalism or
doomsday prophecies. I do, however, think "the Beast" is an
apt description of mental illness and we, ourselves, are
beasts of burden who must bear the weight of the suffering
it causes.

Whether there is a mark upon us literally as with the young
author of Label Maker, who must wear a Medic-Alert bracelet
with the words MANIC DEPRESSIVE engraved on it, or simply
scars upon our psyches, we live with the stigma of it
everyday. People with mental illness are called "nuts",
"crazy", "cuckoo", "not playing with a full deck", the list
goes on and on. There is a stereotype of those with mental
illness as behaving in bizarre ways, being unkempt and
dirty, and being dangerous to be around. Those with
depression are often further labeled as "lazy" or

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