I hope you enjoyed my poem. I wrote it several years ago, when I was not yet familiar with the term “self-stigma.” Self-stigma occurs when one with a mental health diagnosis internalizes the negative prejudices of the public (including children–even my own!). This phenomenon can have the unfortunate consequence of generating shame and effecting one’s self-esteem (among a myriad of others). In the case of my poem, those beliefs may go something like this: There’s something dangerous or scary about people who are mentally ill. Therefore, since I identify with someone with a mental health diagnosis, I might feel bad and/or ashamed of it.
In my novel, Lullabies in Bedlam, the protagonist Ursula grapples mightily with her own shame and guilt, partly because of her own actions, but also because she has internalized what others have to say about her.
For a scholarly article on self-stigma, I am providing the link to Patrick Corrigan’s article, On the Self-Stigma of Mental Illness: Stages, Disclosure, and Strategies for Change
By Patrick W. Corrigan and Deepa Rao