Posted on / by Bryan / in Mental Health Information

Not All Labels Are Created Equal – Labels and Diagnoses

Labels are an integral part of language and culture. But, not all labels are created equal. Some labels come with a positive connotation (wise, tall, compassionate, strong, healthy), and some come with a negative connotation (shy, aggressive, distant, obese, lost).

Thus, it is absolutely common knowledge that no-one wants a label, when that label is socially perceived as negative.

When it comes to health and wellbeing, all health conditions have labels.

A negative label is the foundation for prejudice and discrimination, leading to debilitating feelings of shame and humiliation – further presenting a threat to our mental health. But, the label has to be directed towards someone’s identity – not the health condition.

For example, ‘he is depression’ doesn’t fit, and ‘he is depressive’, is descriptive (adjective) of a state or experience. More correctly, ‘she has anxiety’, does not indicate her identity, but the existence of a health condition, or an experience. The pain people experience in relation to Social-Stigma (society’s beliefs and values), is identifying with the term as “Me” – called Self-Stigma. When we experience Self-Stigma, we have identified with the term ‘depression’, as well as all the other negative connotations that our culture has determined for it. Self-Stigma is a far greater threat to mental health than Social Stigma – it means you believe what society says about that health condition – the ‘negative label’. We need to be talking about, and acting on Self-Stigma as a personal strategy, as well as Social-Stigma as a cultural strategy.

Thus, if ‘YOU experience a mental health condition, chronic or acute, YOU have not received a label, The HEALTH CONDITION has received a label.

So free yourself

YOU may have received a Diagnosis.

YOU‘ are free of any debilitating label, and can just stick to managing a health condition.

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