I’ve lived with anxiety and depression along with an eating disorder pretty much as long as I can remember, but understand that that doesn't define me: I am ME.
I have never really felt stigmatised because of this, and I’m very much a 'take me as I am' person, at least on the outside. Recently though, I had my first blatant experience of stigmatisation, and I’m so angry and shocked I feel I need to speak out about it...
I went on a date with a guy, we had spoken for the previous week and he knew pretty much from the offset about my mental health issues, and I knew his ex had similar problems to me. At the end of the date he said he thanked me for the good evening and I said I would message. He told me not to, which I was taken aback by but let go over my head. I messaged him yesterday to see how he was to which he responded I 'wasn't the lady for him' because of my anxiety and depression.
I was nice about it (as always) but it has left me with such a bitter taste in my mouth...here’s what I wish I had said to him:
“Do you know what – I’m actually angry that I apologised to you. How dare you stigmatise me because of my mental health?
I am ME, not my condition, and I can tell you that you have missed out on someone and something amazing.
I am one of the most loving, compassionate and dare I say it, AWESOME people you will ever know, and I refuse to get down because of your small-mindedness.
I know you have had a bad experience in the past, but I told you from the outset about my issues. To carry it on and go on a date, almost out of pity, is not on. I wish you luck on finding someone as good as the woman your small-mindedness just lost you.”
I live with anxiety, depression and an eating disorder, but I am me, I am unique...and a pretty awesome unique at that. Your loss mate!