Have you done anything that embarrassed you so much you wish you never got out of bed that day? This isn’t an everyday occurrence, right? Would you appreciate others defining you by this one very bad day? Now imagine if your mind betrays you from time to time, and your embarrassing moment is so incredible and memorable others choose to say “That’s who he is . . . That’s what she’s like all the time.”
The truth is our symptoms aren’t who we are. Yes, we have mental health conditions that may affect our behavior. These sometimes bizarre, sometimes disruptive, and sometimes embarrassing behaviors are merely symptoms like sneezing with a runny nose when you have a cold or avoiding bright light when you have rabies (this is a joke, although it is a real symptom of rabies).
Have you ever sneezed with a runny nose? Is this who you are? Of course not.
This Stand Up To Stigma education program brings peer volunteers forward to share their life experiences openly and bravely, to let you know “I’m Not My Symptoms.”