I am a registered student with a disability here at UM, so I receive accommodations to help me succeed. Even with the accommodations, I do not have the same ease as other students have. My life can be very difficult at times but I am determined to succeed like all other neurotypicals. My previous mentor knew about this and she understood my issues. She tried her hardest to make the workplace an inclusive place for me. But as said before, she is no longer here. Her absence has made this stigmatized world a challenge for me.
People do not yet understand how a severe mental illness can cripple someone. They see someone anxious and say “calm down” or they see someone depressed and say “cheer up.” My previous mentor understood what mental illness truly is as her partner suffered with the same disability as I. I was lucky to have someone so compassionate and understanding as her. Without her, when I have a ‘flare up’ or ‘relapse,’ there is no one to sub in for me. At times, I physically cannot do the mouse injections so I have to tell the other undergraduate student he has to do them all. I know that he does not understand as many people don’t. This makes me feel inferior and different (and not in a good way).
This disability will always make life harder for me. It is invisible, and it is highly stigmatized. I hope one day this stigma will no longer burden us but as of today, we have to work harder than most to get what needs to be done accomplished and to try to blend in with others.
From schizophrenia to obsessive compulsive disorder to depression, all need their stigma erased.