Negative beliefs in families

Sadly, families can be a harbor for stigma.  If someone in a family has a “diagnosis” it becomes so easy to label that person as the diagnosis, and a label can help create the perception and bring it to reality.  For example, lets imagine a person named Susan who is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  The moment Sudha starts thinking of herself as “I’m a bipolar” instead of “I am living with bipolar” she has created a stigma within herself.  Families must not reinforce a label.

The problem is, once you have a label, you tend to act within the label.  So, if you have a child with ADD, do not reinforce that label.  Don’t let your child develop a sense of “Oh, I’m an ADD person, that means I’m expected to act a certain way.”  Why is this important?  Because when we slap a label on someone, over time, that label becomes an identity.

A child who learns they have ADD may very easily come to start behaving a certain way not because of ADD, but because it is expected.  Labels prevent people from recovering, they lower expectations.  Labels are stigmas in and of themselves.

We should not take a diagnosis and turn it into an identity or a label.  When a diagnosis becomes an identity, then stigma has prevailed.