Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Reflection- Let's end the stigma together

Photo courtesy of Northern Exposures

Hi there and welcome to another moment of the mania! I'm Ann Shannon, the manic writer. I blog about PTSD, encouragement and write book reviews and romantic fiction. My passion is the military, soldiers, and veterans, especially those with PTSD. I love that you stopped by, grab a drink and make yourself at home. Leave a comment or find me on social media, I'd love to meet you and get to know you.

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD.

That’s one of my taglines. Today I’d like to reflect on what I mean by that, how I might do it and how you can help me. defines Stigma as a mark of disgrace or infamy: a stain or reproach, as on one's reputation. The second definition in the listing refers directly to mental health. A mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease. The word itself dates back to the 1500’s and originally referred to the mark a criminal or a slave got, a brand or tattoo, that marked them as a slave or a criminal. We now use it to refer to mental health conditions that are misunderstood and stereotyped. That makes me sad. Individuals who are struggling with PTSD, depression and other mental illnesses are not slaves or criminals, they are human beings who need us to understand them not mark them.

So what do I mean when I say it is my goal to end it?

I’m not a doctor, or a therapist, I don't even have a degree in psychology. My degree is in Christian Ministry and I hardly use it now. Well, I did learn to write while I got it, so I use that part. I realized just after I finished it that the ministry wasn’t where I needed to be and I walked away. I realized that the work where I could help make a difference was on the front lines of PTSD. My husband has it, my Mom has it. And, I want to help others not go through the hell I’ve watched them go through. I want to end the stigma that comes with a soldier saying that he or she has it. I want you to be unafraid to admit you have a weakness and it is PTSD because we all have weaknesses. I want to walk beside you, help you understand it more and guide you to your healing.

So how can I work to end it?

Socrates Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel

I believe in education. I believe that understanding is the beginning of acceptance. In the case of PTSD I think misunderstanding causes fear and fear breeds stigma. We are afraid of that which we do not understand. My goal with this blog and the book I will eventually finish is to help people understand PTSD more clearly. If we can end, or reduce, the stigma that comes with saying “I have PTSD” then maybe we can more help for those who need it. Maybe then, instead of trying to get it accepted as a real condition, we can discuss and implement better treatments. Maybe.

I believe healing is possible. What I don’t believe is that you will be the same person you were before. None of us are the same person we were 2 years ago, 5years ago, 10 years ago. Life changes us and we adjust, with PTSD that adjustment is difficult and sometimes, most of the time, you need help.

So I write. I research. I share. I encourage.

I use this blog to share my research and my encouragement. I’m in the midst of writing our PTSD story, how we got where we are and I will include it in a book about PTSD. I will compile the posts I’ve done into that book and publish it in the hopes that it helps someone find their way through the forest. I will befriend you whether it be through my blog, through twitter or facebook or IRL. I will walk beside you and comfort you, listen to you and offer you my hand when I can.

Help Wanted?
How can you help me?

You can get help if you have PTSD and you haven’t already. Take care of yourself, you deserve it. You can share my blog and my other work with others. The more people who see it the great the chance I can help someone. You can keep the conversation going, tell others what you’ve learned. Education is the key to ending stigma.

We can do this if we all work together.

It is my goal to end the stigma that comes with PTSD. I blog about PTSD once a week, searching the mountains of information out there and bringing you the best of what I find. I review a book on PTSD every other week and I publish a weekly encouraging reflection and tweet encouraging quotes for PTSD survivors daily, follow me to be encouraged. Together we can make a difference.

When I'm not blogging about PTSD or trying to encourage those of you living with it. I'm an author. I write romance. I just finished my first book and I am revising and editing it. With any luck, it will be published later this year, in the meantime you can get a sample of my work on the web. Original work can be found here, and fanfiction can be found here. Let me know what you think, and tell me how you found me!

I usually blog about PTSD and if you come here for that don't be discouraged by the different topic, this is what I do when I'm not talking about the subject that fills every corner of my life. I will be continuing to blog even while I write. It helps, a lot, to have something that I love to do and for me that's writing love stories! Even my husband gets in on the action, discussing books ideas, plots, and characters with me for hours. My work is available for free right now, just check out my links to the right. And make sure you make time for fun too!

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