Stigma is one of the meanest and most difficult aspects of addiction, because it explains why people like me hide the disease. My message to that fellow Coastie who is out there struggling, or to the member who wonders whether their shipmate has a problem, just take that first step.
Tag: break the stigma
A person’s career is not necessarily in jeopardy if they seek help for depression. Even 12 years ago, the Coast Guard realized that depression is a potentially deadly disease and treated my situation medically, not administratively.
When I finally asked for help, I received treatment and my command was extremely supportive and understanding. I was lucky, and it all seemed to align. I was finally taking action to become a better version of myself, which in fact was just the old me.
September is both National Recovery Month and National Suicide Prevention Month. In light of these co-occurring observances, the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Steve Cantrell is trying to break the stigma of asking for help.
It is very important to know that we all struggle at various times along our journey as Coast Guard spouses and children, and regardless of what struggles we face and how tough things can often seem, this is a wonderful, family-oriented organization to be a part of, and there are many resources available to us to help when times get really tough.
Beating down the stigma of mental health has been difficult, but the more it is seen and discussed the easier it gets. For anyone who may be ignoring or stuffing their feelings, emotions, or possible traumatic events, I highly suggest seeking out help early and often even if it doesn’t seem like an event has affected you.