Living with stigma

Things are never simple with bipolar/schizoaffective disorder. My current struggle is filling out the paperwork necessary for me to study in Cairo. I need to have my psychiatrist and a general practitioner fill out health clearance forms. These forms don’t hold much back. I have to explain my mental health history, not in huge detail, but enough that they know what’s going on.

I’m so nervous that they’ll decide I can’t go. Everyone around me keeps saying it will be fine. They legally can’t discriminate against me because of my mental health condition. But isn’t it sad that I’m so afraid to reveal it to anyone? Mental illnesses should be like any other conditions. Diabetes, asthma, food allergies. Yet I fear the stigma. I wish I were brave and stood up more for mental health. Maybe I will one day, once I have tenure. Until then, I have to live with the fear.

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