As someone who lives with PTSD, I experience a lot of stigma firsthand. I also see a lot of stigma in the media.
If you've watched the news or read the newspaper in the past few days, you've heard about the shooting in the Florida airport. My local newspaper attributed the crime to the shooter having "mental health issues" and his being a military veteran. I am deeply saddened to see mental heatlh portrayed this way.
At this point, I think that anyone who's saying definitively that the shooter suffered from PTSD is just speculating... No one that I've seen on the news has come forward and said that he legitimately has PTSD, but all the media I've seen is blaming the shooting on his "mental health issues" and stressing the fact that he is a veteran.
When I have confided in people that I have PTSD, I have been accused of stealing, lying, manipulating, possessing weapons, and having intent to harm or kill people.
I have never stolen anything in my life. I am an incredibly honest and straightforward person. I have never manipulated anyone to my knowledge, especially not intentionally. I do not own a single firearm or even a hunting knife or a pocketknife. I have never physically harmed anyone or threatened to kill anyone, and as far as I know I have never caused anyone emotional harm either.
PTSD does not make people do those things. If someone does any of those things it's because there is an underlying problem with their sense of morality and their personality and values. A mental illness does not inherently make someone a bad person. I don't know why people don't seem to understand that.
I have lost basically all of my friends and have been distanced from my extended family over the years because of my mental illness. I honestly think that the media needs to portray mental illnesses differently, because people have the wrong idea. They think we are vicious killers, lawless robbers, gun-obsessed psychopaths, and manipulative, seductive liars.
If you tell someone that you are struggling with a mental health disorder, you are likely going to lose them, unless they have gone through the same experience themselves. I have learned throughout my life to keep my circles very small and be extremely careful who I trust and confide in.
Does anyone else experience stigma about their disorder regularly?