• Michelle Partington

Stigma – The silent killer.

I bet every single person knows someone or is THE person suffering in silence through a mental illness. Also caring for people with mental illness isn’t easy and they may also be subjected to stigma. Carers may include experienced professionals, family members, friends and potentially work colleagues who will see you slowly deteriorate through their silence. Living through my own journey sometimes to some very dark places, it I have not hidden the fact that some days I have been thinking about how I can end this misery whilst making it look like an accident. Despite these thoughts I am all to aware of lives that have been lost without choice through other deadly illnesses. What right do I have to take my own life when it has been mainly my family who have seen me through all my good and bad struggles, I couldn’t repay them by giving up but it is so very difficult trying to keep it together on these down days.

My Facebook posts don’t portray my struggles in full but I do try to ensure I talk about my thoughts and feelings in order that my friends will kinda understand the place I’m at day by day. Obviously reading words alone cannot grasp the enormity of my journey but it does give some idea of what living with a hidden injury is like. What it also does is portray my acceptance of the situation and willingness to share the good and bad in order to raise more awareness, which is also why I write this blog.

Sadly throughout my experience it has become very evident that it’s charities help an individual far more than ‘the system’. Most don’t know that 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental illness in the UK alone yet there is little or no support or understanding of them. Ignorance however is no excuse for throwing out abuse or isolating a person. Charities are set up by individuals who identify a gap in provision of a vital service. However, it shouldn’t have to be the case. In speaking out about my hidden injury I hope to add a voice to help end the stigma surrounding mental illness and thus help reduce the number of preventable suicides.

Mental health is difficult to understand and a very emotive subject which is why it carries such a stigma. This stigma however carries so much pain for the sufferer as well as their families, friends and not forgetting work colleagues. The sufferer is completely trapped by their inner demons, being strangled from the inside whilst your head is buzzing and throbbing that much it feels like it’s trapped in a vice!

From Jan 15 I will be commencing a charity event which will take me a few months to complete. I am going to travel around speaking at various venues, talking about my journey and subsequent management of. I will take no wage from this but most venues already booked have offered to make a donation to my charity. I plan to travel to most of these events in my camper van to cut down costs. I am hoping to source a sponsor who can spray paint the outside of my camper and if anyone reading this knows anyone who would consider this I would be greatful of their support.

I am also going to challenge myself to be ready to take part in the ‘Walking Out Of Darkness’ 10 mile walk along the Thames in London. There will be 1000’s taking part and given my current fear of crowds and noise, this will be a massive thing for me. I may also talk about my journey at this event. The walk which is due to take place on 16 May, organised by CLASP Charity (Counselling Life Advice Suicide Prevention) is arranged to increase the awareness for those suffering from a mental illness and feel unable to talk about it for fear of the stigma attached to it. The walk is also held to remember those who were sadly so consumed by illness the only way out they could see was to take their own life. I will mention Lexi, a beautiful lady with a troubled soul who could not see another way to escape her inner demons. R.I.P lovely sweet lady.

The challenge will be complete on 10 Oct and will end with a charity evening of music. The Leigh Sports Village have agreed to sponsor the evening which will include live music, hot fork buffet and a silent auction. The evening will be hosted by the awesome actor/DJ Wil Johnson. Tickets will go on sale from May 15.

If anyone would like to book me to talk at a venue near you then please email me at: stigmaorenigma@gmail.com. Also if any of you would like to support me by making a donation then please text as little as just £1 to PTSD52 TO 70070 (PTSD52 £1). All donations go to CLASP charity, (Reg: 1154383).


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