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"We live to change"

Xandra: Bachelor Social Science, but not working. Complex PTSD from my early puberty, which affected all areas of my life and personality. It was only later in life that I was diagnosed with complex PTSD. That's why I say: 'Stand up for yourself, look for good help, do not think it’s your fault .' PTSD is a deep injury. Learn to take care of and accept your own vulnerability, in the light of your self-esteem. Claim your own space again. Now it is your time!

I have not changed, I have become myself ...



Stigma literally means brand, you can also apply a stigma to yourself. Then it is called a self-stigma. A condemnation of who you are and the shame that comes with it.


People who are psychologically vulnerable are often confronted with stigma. Self-stigma is one of the most stubborn forms of stigma. It is the image that you have of yourself after you have been diagnosed with a psychosis or psychological problem. This is often accompanied by a great deal of shame. You often hide it fearfully from others because you are afraid of their judgment.


Social stigma is the way in which "society" views people with psychological vulnerability. This is not always accompanied by the necessary mildness. People often judge without knowing your background.


Self-stigma takes place in four parts:


  • Putting yourself down: "I often feel the least in company." "I'm not going to that birthday party, people find me strange and so I'll be alone all night."
  • Feeling inadequate: "I no longer count socially." Or: "It no longer makes sense to apply, I don't have enough skills anyway."
  • Social withdrawal: "I might as well stay at home, I can't make contact with others."
  • Fear of public stigma / low stigma resilience: "I am afraid that people will no longer want to go with me when they hear that I am being treated at mental health care." Or: "People are seeing for sure that I have a mental illness.'


For many people with mental illness, stigmatization is a major barrier to recovery and participation in normal life. Shame and lack of self-esteem: like other negative thoughts, self-stigmatizing thoughts are difficult to control and can start to lead a life of their own.


I have also condemned myself for years for my "weaknesses," I am too weak for this society, I cannot keep up with the "if-you-really-want-you-you-can-achieve-everything-society" train. I have failed in social terms, I have studied hard but cannot do anything with my diploma. Others celebrated their success around me and the perfect pictures on Facebook made me brave again and again. I failed, I failed ...


This is what self-stigma can look like, we don't even need others for these harsh convictions of ourselves. Living with psychological vulnerability remains complicated and is a path full of challenges. By learning to work on our attitude towards ourselves, space can be created for what is still there, or for discovering what is important in our own lives. With PTSD, it is not only the self affected by PTSD, but also by what others have done to us. We often regard ourselves as weak and reprehensible because we could not stand up for ourselves when needed, but how could we have done that at such a young age? It is very essential and helpful to try to translate this conviction into action and look for opportunities to stand up for yourself in the broadest sense of the word.


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