MAXIM New Zealand

Breaking the STIGMA of MENTAL HEALTH

Late legendary musician John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans”, and for most of us, this is true. But for those who have suffered some form of mental illness, life can appear to exist in a vacuum — a limbo of sorts — limited socially by prejudice and perception, and individually by self-criticism and deprecation. With the goal of transparency and reflection, here I’d like to share my experience with mental illness in order to knock down the social and self-made barriers and fight the stigma, forcing us to question the way we talk about mental illness and the effect it has on all aspects of our lives.

For years, my career as a Clinical Nutritionist has combined knowledge gained through university study and gathered from years of clinical practice that specialised in mental health and the brain, with my own personal experience of wading through the depths of my own major depressive disorder. I am innately aware of the rollercoaster of anger and resentment, the numbness of deep despair and the resultant self-loathing that comes from suffering with a mental illness. I am cognizant of the person able to function throughout immense pain and confusion and the stigma surrounding mental illness that touches every facet of their life, from familial relationships to chapters of their career. I am sensitive to societal attitudes and casual language that views mental illness as weakness and lack of strength, and I applaud anyone who steps forward to share their own journey with the goal of increasing awareness in the

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