Mad Pride

Newsweek tagline: “Why some mentally ill patients are rejecting their medication and making the case for ‘mad pride.'”

From The Growing Push for “Mad Pride”.

I am familiar with various movements that celebrate the positive aspects of difference such as Disability Pride, Deaf Pride and Crip Pride, but only recently came across the idea of Mad Pride, a movement that celebrates the positive aspects of mental health diagnoses. The movement has been around for awhile, but a recent Newsweek article was the first I learned of it, at least that I remember since I received my own mental health diagnoses.

There is much good that comes from accepting a mental health diagnoses and “coming out” to friends and family. Benefits include an increased understanding, a sense of community with others with like experiences and a greater openness to receiving help and managing lifestyle. Of course there can also be negative consequences, but I believe that the perception of those is generally greater than the reality.

On the other end of the spectrum from “mad pride” there are many who suffer from the debilitating effects of “mad shame”- an unwillingness to acknowledge a mental health diagnoses in ones self. In between those two extremes are the masses of people who have a mental health diagnoses that treat it as an illness managed through some combination of pharmaceuticals, self-medication or other treatment options.

When first diagnosed with a mental illness, I found myself somewhere in the middle- never ashamed, but neither was I anxious to shout it from the rooftop. Since that first diagnoses there have been long periods of darkness and frustration, I’m in a good place now with a completely different diagnoses (ADHD). I now freely share my diagnoses and am feeling successful in work and family life and my ADHD is a an important part of that success.

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