It has occurred to me when I go to my shrink's office and have to deal with the office staff (who know my name by now), that they must wonder why I am there. I am sure that they do not know that I am being treated for obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD, just as they don't know why any other patient is being seen. And so what if they did know? Would that be so terrible? Well, it really wouldn't be so horrible, but it would be an invasion of my privacy. For all I know they might know something due to an oversight in paperwork.
This brings me to the stigma so often associated with mental disorders. It is true that some disorders are more stigmatized than others, and I won't venture to guess which ones are in the top 10. Mental disorders can be just as painful and harmful as physical ones, in many ways. That is my opinion. People with physical ailments will usually talk about them, but people with mental ailments will not; exceptions may be close family members and friends. I believe that those of us who have some sort of mental disorder are afraid of being called crazy, which is the ultimate stigmatizing word.
We know of course that we are functioning human beings, and beneath it all, are like everyone else. Yesterday, my shrink said she doesn't think I have clinical OCD, but perhaps something along those lines. That is the way I understood her. She said, in so many words, that every human being has issues and accompanying defense mechanisms. She really stressed the importance of those defense mechanisms.
I do not know much about the history of diagnosing mental illnesses, and how they came to be viewed as something shameful. I do know that people who were considered rebellious, or who just did not fit in with the norms of a given society, were considered mentally ill, and perhaps still are in many places. Up until recently homosexuality was said to be a mental illness.
No matter what the ailment- be it mental, physical, or emotional- there is no need to inflict further harm by stigmatization.