December 20, 2010
Reprinted from the Sentinel with permission
By Naomi Creason, Sentinel Reporter, December 20, 2010
One area woman knows all too well the stigma associated with mental illness.
Jane, whose real name is being withheld to protect her identity, started having trouble with severe mood swings when she was 15. It wasn’t until more than a decade later that she found out why she was like that.
She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about six years ago, and now in her 30s, she is just beginning to receive treatment from the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute in Harrisburg that appears as though her life is getting a little more stable.
Even though the treatment was a success, getting back into the community proved to be more difficult than she imagined.
Jane lost her job after her employer decided that the treatment wasn’t covered by medical leave, and she still can’t discuss her problems to anyone but her family, boyfriend and closest friends.
“I haven’t really talked about it,” she said. “Sadly, I do feel like it has a negative connotation. I’m not embarrassed by it, but there is that worry about what others’ perceptions are. People don’t see it the same way as when people say they have cancer or have diabetes, but psychologists will tell you that it’s no different (having a mental illness) from having something like diabetes.”
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