25 Ways to Fight Stigma in the Media

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I’m packing my bags for Alexandria, VA and heading off to present at the Mental Health America Conference this week!

The Power of Storytelling
Gutless, Grateful and the Power of Words: Healing Through Our Stories

I couldn’t be more excited to be part of this year’s conference.  And this year’s theme particularly excited me: Media, Messaging and Mental Health.

In their own words:

MHA’s 2016 Annual Conference: Media, Messaging, and Mental Health will take an in-depth look at the impact and influence of media and the entertainment industry on the complex issues of mental health and mental illness. With a particular focus on the entertainment industry, the digital landscape, and the press, we will explore the good and the bad of portrayals on the big and small screen; how the digital landscape is revolutionizing how we deal with mental health; how celebrity can be used to influence the conversation; how messaging and language can sometimes contribute to and perpetuate the destructive stigma and discrimination of people living with mental illness; and how mental health advocates can work together to change the conversation. Check out the fantastic agenda!

Messages and the Media

What messages do you get from the media about mental health?  What do you see on TV, hear on the news, listen to on the radio, see on posters, billboards, and read in magazines that tell you to think, act or look a certain way?

I’ve thought a lot about this in my own life.

My hope is that, through my own presence in the media, I’m empowering others to know that we all have the inner strength to overcome obstacles and navigate various “detours” in our lives, by transforming adversity into creative growth.

Soaking Up Messages: Are You a Sponge?

Every day, whether we like it or not, we are walking, breathing, talking, living sponges, soaking up messages from everywhere.

However, this is not a post about the negative messages we get from the media. 

This is not a post about how society makes us feel like we’re not good enough, smart enough, successful enough, pretty enough.

Unfortunately, those messages will always be there whether we like it or not.  We’ll always be blasted with perceptions of how we should act, there will always be some message that threatens to perpetuate stigma, and there will always be individuals who make assumptions, no matter how much awareness we spread.

So then why should we advocate for mental health?

I fight in the open for mental health to speak my truth and hope that with my story, I might be able to affect one person and cause a chain reaction.

.As advocates, that’s all we can do, right? Help spread mental health awareness to others?

Wrong. There is one more thing we can do.  The MOST important thing, actually:

No matter what message we hear, we must take care of ourselves.

I struggle with symptoms of PTSD. (You can read more about that here.)

When we struggle with

signs of depression,

or PTSD,

fiery red anxiety,

or a relentless addiction,

any kind of physical or

mental health obstacle…

…or just life in general, we need to find ways to become…

anchored in the moment.

How do we get in the moment? 

If we’re truly in the moment, nothing can break us.  We have ourselves – the most powerful tool of all.

I would like to share 25 thoughts that help me love myself enough to stay in the moment.

25 Affirmations To Remind You How Powerful You Are

  1. Heroism is hanging on one-minute longer.
  2. I can do this.
  3. I can handle whatever today brings me – being outside, spontaneous, following my heart, keeping track of when my mind takes over and learning to let go, release, trust.
  4. Each day passes.
  5. What I don’t get done today, I can still get done tomorrow.
  6. Changing the routine is good.
  7. Interacting with people leaves a spark in my chest.
  8. It is beautiful outside today – follow my heart.
  9. Treat today like it’s endless and there is no conception of time.
  10. Feel free to express any feelings – they are my way out of this.
  11. Evaluate any feelings of “fear.”
  12. Adversity makes us stronger if we push through it.
  13. This is the only way through it – it’s either one discomfort or the other – progressive pain or habitual pain which will keep you stuck.
  14. My heart never wants to stay numb.
  15. Focus on being inside of moments rather than doing – hang on to the moment, commit to it full-force and full body.
  16. Don’t already have one foot out the door… sit into it. 
  17. It’s not dangerous to relax into each moment – you won’t drown.
  18. Where will you go, what’s the worst that can happen?
  19. The only thing to fear is staying the same. 
  20. Everyday is a new beginning.
  21. Live life for me, not for production or for anyone else
  22. If I find myself jumping off the path because my mind scares me, just gently escort myself back to my heart’s path – don’t freak out.
  23. Process matters more than goals right now.
  24. Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to understand ourselves.  (Carl Jung)

Remember, IN THE MOMENT, we’re invincible.

We can overcome everything when we just ARE.

IN the moment, we realize how beautiful we really are.  Beauty is true power.

And stigma can’t hold a candle to that.

We get many different messages daily from the media.  But…

…What message are YOU sending into the world today?

See you at the Mental Health America Conference!

All artwork was created by Amy on her detour. Learn about her speaking, or catch her touring Gutless & Grateful, her one-woman musical, to theaters, colleges, conferences and organizations nationwide.   Learn about her mental health advocacy programs for students, and find out how to take part in the#LoveMyDetour movement, and learn about her upcoming book, My Beautiful Detour at www.amyoes.com.

25 Ways to Fight Stigma in the Media

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